The Mevlevi fraternity (order) was founded by the sheikh Sultan Veled (1226–1312), inspired by the ideas and way of life of his father, a great Persian mystic Muhammad Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273), known in Turkey as Mevlana Rumi.
Among all the Turkish Sufi communities the Mevlevi fraternity was the most prolific in artistic sphere. It has been a host for a good many of musicians, poets, artists and philosophers over the course of many centuries. The refined pieces of music were composed in Mevlevi khanqahs, which further became the foundation for Turkish traditional musical culture and satisfy even the most sophisticated tastes. In the days of the Ottoman Empire every a Mevlevi khanqah was a kind of an academy of music, a fine art academy and a faculty of literature at the same time. Those khanqahs were called Mevlevi Khane.
Sema is really a unique ritual, and Konya dervishes have reached their refined mastership in its performance. It clearly demonstrates a spiritual journey. In the times of Jalaluddin Rumi Sema was performed upon arrival of mystic inspiration, despite of place and time, at the very moment the initiate felt inspiration and spiritual ecstasy. Only in the times of Sultan Veled’s grand grand-son – Peer Adilya Chelebi (about 1460) – Sema got its existing ritualized form and became an integral part of solemn Mevlevi ceremonies.
Compilated based on the article “Paradise dance in Konya”
(Extracts from the book by Professor Fuat Yöndemli translated by Yury Averyanov, PhD in History)