Sema Illustrated

The Musicians

      The musicians sit on a raised platform opposite the sheikh. The hafiz (one who has memorized the entire Qur'an) chants a prayer to Mevlana and a sura (chapter) from the Qur'an.               The sound of the kudum (kettle drums) then breaks the silence. The dervishes, now [...]

The Selams

The musicians play as the semazenbashi approaches the sheikh; bows to him with right foot over the left and arms crossed at the shoulders; kisses the right hand of the sheikh, then steps away backwards to a position five feet from the post, in order to direct the sema. Each dervish then approaches the sheikh [...]

The Turn

All of the dervishes unfold their arms and whirl as the sheikh stands at his post, the musicians play and the chorus chants. The semazens extend their arms, right palm facing up and the left down. The energy from above enters through the right palm, passes through the visible channel of the body, then passes [...]

The End of the Ceremony

The sheikh arrives at his post, bows, sits, and kisses the floor. The semazens sit and put on their cloaks. The sheikh recites the Fatiha, the first sura of the Qur'an, then the dervishes kiss the floor and rise. The sheikh then sounds an invocation to Mevlana and Shams-i Tabriz and begins the sound "Hu." [...]

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