Whirling dervishes from Konya take Islamabad by storm

Zubair Qureshi

Seldom one enjoys the company of spiritual persons while in Islamabad such gatherings are rare, rather near to impossible. However, credit goes to Turkish Ambassador Sadik Babur Girgin who hosted an evening featuring ‘Whirling Dervishes and Sufi Music Ensemble’ at the embassy’s premises to turn Friday evening into a perfect weekend. The event was indeed organized in collaboration with the Embassy of Turkey and the Akhuwat organization which working to educate and support the underprivileged.
One could spot among the galaxy of guests, IT Minister Anusha Rahman, former Minister and ex-speaker National Assembly Gohar Ayub Khan, Executive Director Lok Virsa Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, ambassadors, diplomats and notables of the towns. These dervishes have earlier performed in Lahore, Karachi and Multan which is sister city of Konya. Ambassador Babur gave a brief introduction of Turkey’s famous city Konya where Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi’s tomb is situated. These dervishes had travelled all the way from there and it took the embassy almost three years to make their visit possible. last time they performed in 2014 here in Islamabad.
In Konya, the ambassador said, each year millions of people come together to celebrate the life and work of the 13th-century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi. Maulana Rumi has quite a large following in the spiritual, mystic and religious circles of the subcontinent (India and Pakistan). Ambassador Sadik Babur quoted Allama Iqbal who called Rumi his ‘Murshid’ or spiritual leader. He also introduced Jalaluddin the master Dervish who said Pakistanis and Turkish people were actually “two people of the same culture.”
Later the dervishes along with their team of musicians performed to the sheer joy and ecstasy of the audience. It was a night of religious submission with the Sema, a form of remembrance of God performed with the dervishes singing and dancing, and a Turkish music ensemble recited poetry and prayers, while playing their instruments.

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