Reflection on October’s theme: The interpretation of a sacred text is true if it stirs you to hope, activity, and awe. ~ Mevlana
On a recent trip to Urfa in Turkey, we visited the cave where Job, Hazrati Ayyub, prayed while he was undergoing his trials. The cave was tiny, barely able to contain the few of us there. As we sat inside, we repeatedly recited the Quranic ayah associated with Job:
Affliction has befallen me: but Thou art the most merciful of the merciful![Quran, 21:84]
In that enclosed space, we reflected upon the ayah’s meaning, upon Job, his disease, his patience in accepting God’s will, and upon the mercy of the Sustainer who eventually delivered him from his afflictions.
That day, something resonated within me and I would often think about the significance of that verse. I used to work as a medical interpreter in the UK for Arab patients, mostly children undergoing liver transplants and heart surgeries. The patients and their families constantly provided me with lessons: in acceptance, in perseverance, in faith, in humility. Naturally, there was frustration, but always hope, always gratitude – always Alhamdulillah for His mercy.
As I think of personal hardships, everyday injustices, and regional conflicts, the words of that ayah come back to me. Ayyub personifies the supreme virtue of patience in adversity (sabr), according to Muhammad Asad, and as I listen to the verse being recited, I think of the sabr of those who undergo tremendous trials and the superseding mercy of God and I draw strength from that.
I recently bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in years. When I told him I had just returned from Turkey, he said, “Come, I have something for you.” He invited me to listen to a song he had written and composed: a song revolving around the verse associated with Job. No details had been mentioned about the trip. The brief encounter was so surreal it felt like a message from another realm, and my friend, a messenger, was sent to me to reinforce the power of that ayah.
Job’s du’a is now ingrained in my mind. It resonates with truth. I listen to it and I am stirred beyond comprehension in awe, with hope, and faith in the mercy of God through every trial we face and in every action we perform.
~ Amira Abd El-Khalek, Cairo
November’s theme is: Wash your hands of the cheap metals of existence like those who matured, So that you may find the philosophers stone of love and be gold yourself…
We welcome your reflections on this theme. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Qur’an on Interpreting the Qur’an
David Ginsberg from Threshold California compiled a selection of verses from the Qur’an for last month’s theme of the month, looking at what the Qur’an says about itself.
We have not sent down the Qur’an to you to distress you
but only as a counsel to those who stand in awe of God,
a revelation from Him Who created the earth and the high heavens;[20:1-2]
Download the full PDF here.
Introducing the Mevlevi Ceremony at the Vatican
Organised by the International Mevlana Foundation, Faruk Celebi, Esin Celebi and Celal Celebi introduced the Mevlevi Sema at the Vatican palace on September 24th.
Your Eminence, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen. Since Turkey is a part of Anatolia we know that we are also former citizens of the Great Roman Empire. We are aware that, Tutte le strade portano a Roma. Tonight, as the 23rd generation descendant of Jelaleddin Rumi and a representative of the 800 year old tradition, I am glad to be with the distinguished and honored members of your great society.
Read Celal Celebi Efendi’s full introduction here.
Rumi’s Urs Celebration
Rumi’s Circle with whirling dervishes from The Threshold Society are pleased to announce a three city celebration of Mevlana Rumi’s Urs, the anniversary of his union with the Beloved. We will have world-renowed musician and composer, Latif Bolat, joining us for an evening of music, whirling and poetry. Please book your tickets now – especially for London as seating is limited! More details and booking information here.
We have two new videos on our YouTube channel of semas from the recent Turkey trip, filmed by Karin Vlietstra – enjoy!
Nov 8th: Rumi’s Circle are performing at The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester on Saturday 8th November, 7:30-10:30pm, The Ukranian Centre, 31 Smedley Lane, Cheetam Hill, Manchester M8 8XB. See here for more details.
Dec 6th: Threshold London Monthly Open Group, 7pm, Library room, Westminister Quaker Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, off St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4EH (look for ‘Gymbox’ sign – and lots of scaffolding!). Newcomers to the group are asked to seek a telephone introduction and briefing with the host/facilitator before attending. Please phone Sadat on 07710 511517, or e-mail Mahmoud on email@example.com with your phone number so he can call you back – please do this at least two days in advance.
Dec 12: Manchester Urs celebration with Latif Bolat, buy tickets.
Dec 13: Bradford Urs celebration with Latif Bolat, buy tickets.
Dec 20: London Urs celebration with Latif Bolat, buy tickets.
Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you — a favourite piece from Mevlana, your own poetry, reflections on the path… please do contribute. We learn so much from each other, may this space be an opportunity for community, connection and companionship.
Saved from Words
If every heart could hear the Divine revelation,
why would there exist in the world any words and sounds?
That which is the very essence of grace to the vulgar
may seem like wrath to the close friends of God.
The coarse have to go through great pain and difficulty
to become able to perceive the difference,
because, O companion within the Cave,
from the perspective of one united with Him
these go-between words are only thorns, thorns, thorns.
Much tribulation, pain, and waiting are needed[Mathnawi IV: 2982-2986, The Rumi Daybook]
for a pure spirit to be saved from words—
some people become more deaf, more stony,
while some become purified and rise in the light.