“When you see my funeral don´t say: What for a separation.
It is time for me to meet the lover…”
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the great islamic mystical philosopher, who lived and taught in 13th century in the city of Konya in Middle Anatolia, Turkey, died on December 17 in the year 1273. This day is named as “Şeb-i-Arus”, what means literally translated “wedding night”. Every year on December 17 is a special day in Konya, when hundreds of people come together at the tomb of Mevlana to speak “Dua” (petitionary prayer).
“Come, come again, whoever you are, come …”
September 30, 2007 was the 800th anniversary of Rumis birth and the UNESCO declared this year as “Mevlana Year”. Until today his thoughts and poems, written in the “Mesnevi” and “Divan-i Kebir” in Persian language, are for many people, not only for Muslims very important.
Central topic of Mevlanas teachings is the Love, which he understood as the main power of the universe. Because of God´s love the universe exists at all, human beings must learn to love God, so they will learn to love everything what is God´s creation, thus as human beings, nature and all things.
“For the lovers of God is God alone the source of sorrow and joy.
It is the wages of their work and to be really rich.”
In the last years 1,5 million visitors and pilgrims flowed every year to the Mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, which is today one of Turkeys most visited museums.
200000 visitors came from foreign countries, from every part of the world people are visiting the mystical poet, many of them speaking “Dua” (petitionary prayer) at his tomb.
After Mevlanas death on December 17 in the year 1273 the mausoleum was established over which today rises up the “Kubbe-i-Hadra” (the Green Dome), it became the symbol of Konya. Rumi was buried near his father in the Rosegarden of the Seljuk Palace.
Later altogether 55 family members and companion or highranking Mevlevi-Dervishs like Selaheddin Zerkub and Husamedin Celebi found their last peace at the mausoleum, beside Mevlana his son Sultan Veled.
The “Tekke” was built, a building for meetings and studies, the Sema hall for mystical dances and small cells for meditation practice like “Zikr” (thinking of God).
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi was born 1207 in Balkh in the Persian region Horasan (today Afghanistan). His father was the respected scholar Bahaeddin Veled, who left the city with his familiy because of the forthcoming Mongol invasion.
After travelling through different areas and a longer stay in Karaman, finally they came 1228 to Konya, which was the capital of the Rum Seljuk under the powerful Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat.
After the death of the father, Rumi became also a respected theological scholar. But the meeting and special friendship with Shemseddin Tabrisi, a dervish of the calendar order, Rumi met 1244 in Konya, brought him on the mystic way.
Shemseddin went away to Damaskus (Syria) and Mevlana sent his son, to bring the friend back to Konya. But some years later Shemseddin was missed and nobody could find him. Maybe he was murdered by members of the conservative society in Konya.
In 1958 a seljuk grave was found near to Mevlanas house. Today there is a small mosque and tomb for Shemseddin at this place. Mevlana missed the friend very much and his longing became part of his mystical poems.
The Sufi Dervishorder of Mevlevis, which was founded after Mevlanas death, got political influence during the time of the Turkish Seljuk and after 15th century in the Ottoman Empire.
The order was closed, when the new Turkish Republic was established at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today exists in many countries, even in Europe and America small private groups as well as single followers, who cherish the thoughts of Mevlana about Love, Peace and Tolerance and partly continue with mystic practices, like Zikr and Sema.
The ritual of Sema, the mystic dance of turning Mevlevi dervishs found its origin in an inspiration of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Accompanied by the sounds of the flute NEY and other instruments, the whirling dervish is turning around his own axis, the right hand upward to be ready to receice God’s beneficence and the left hand downward to the earth. It symbols the mankind with their connection between heaven and earth.
The day of Mevlanas death on December 17 in the year 1273 is named as “Şeb-i-Arus”, what means literally translated “wedding night”.
For the inhabitants of Konya at that time Mevlanas death was a drastic event. Sheikh Sadreddin Konevi, another mystic master from Konya, who should speak the last prayer for Mevlana, fell in faint because of sadness.
To Rumis funeral came numerous representatives of all groups and religions, also Christians and Jews. Despite of the Muslim funeral they were reading from the Old and New Testament and described the character of Mevlana as equal with Moses and Jesus.
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi had designated the death as typical for the sufis as “wedding”, a kind of still more intensive mental combination with God.
© Text/Photos by Jens Helmstedt
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Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the great islamic mystical philosopher, lived and taught in 13th century in the city of Konya in Middle Anatolia, Turkey.