Mevlana Farsi from Konya
Mevlana Rumi

The name Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for an ecstatic flight into the infinite love.


Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi was born 6 Rabi'al-Awwal 604 (30 September 1207) in Balkh, a city in the north of Afghanistan.

His father and mother were well known for their comprehension (irfan) and scientific knowledge. His mother was Mu'mine Khatun, the daughter of Rukn al-Din, the Emir of Balkh. His lineage by his mother descended from Ali, the third Caliph of Islam. His Father Baha al-Din Walad,was called the Sultan of Scholars

Migration From Balkh

Baha al-Din Walad decided to leave Balkh before the coming Mongol threat. Immediately after their leaving, Balkh was destroyed by the troops of Jenghiz Khan.

The journey, which started from Balkh while Mevlana was only five or six years of age, lasted years, and extends via Baghdad and Mecca to Damascus, Malatya, Erzincan, Akshehir and came to a halt in Larende (Karaman) in Turkey.Here Mevlana's father continued his lectures in the madrasa of Karaman.

When Sultan Ala al-Din Keyqubat I learned that Baha al-Din Walad was in Karaman, he invited him to Konya, the capital of the Seljuks, Mevlana's father died ther on February 24, 1231 Two years after his father's death Mevlana and Sayyid Burhan al-Din left for Halab and Damascus for four (or seven) year.

Back in Konya Mevlana mets the man that opened his heart to divine secrets,Shams al-Din Tabrizi. Mevlana died in the winter of 1273, on Sunday, 17 December 1273. while the sun was setting.

People from every religion were joining in at Mevlana's funeral, Muslim and non-Muslim. When a group of Muslims said to the non-Muslims: "What business do you have with this funeral? Mevlana was the leader of our religion. " They replied: "We realized the truth of Moses, Jesus and other prophets from Mevlana's plain words and saw in him the actions and personalities of the prophets as we have read in our own Holy Books. Just as how you Muslims recognized him. Just as you loved him, we loved him too, and became slaves for him far more than you did."

A Greek monk added: "Mevlana was like bread. No body can keep himself away from needing bread. Have you ever seen a hungry man who refused to eat bread?"

His tomb, which is also known as the Green Dome (Qubba-i Hadra), was built by the efforts of Sultan Walad and Ala al-Din Qaysar, and by the material support of the Seljuk Emir, and his Georgian wife Gurju Khatun. Its architect was Badr al-Din from Tabriz and was completed a year after Mevlana's death.

On the 1st of November, 1922 Atatürk addressed the Turkish Parliament. In his address, he touched on the subject of religion several times. Saying that Islam was a tolerant and modern religion, which the Arabs had understood and applied according to their own physical conditions. But that over the centuries Islam was diverted from its original purity 'by rulers and some religious leaders, who had gone along with those rulers.'
According Atatürk, Mevlana was 'a mighty reformer, who had adapted Islam to the Turkish soul.'

While visiting Konya on the 20th of March 1923, 'The Sufi-Vatican' build around the shrine of Mevlana, Atatürk is quoted as saying:
'Whenever I'm to come to this city I feel excitement inside. The thoughts of Mevlana envelope me. He was a great genius, an innovator for all ages.'

Ataturk visited the convent and tomb of Mevlana. He stayed for over three hours.
He witnessed a performance of the whirling dervishes and was full of praise. Ataturk stated that approaching God with music and movement was the 'most natural statement of the Turkish mentality.'
Atatürk expressed even Mevlana-ideas in his sayings. Mevlana wrote: Whatever there is in this world involving love, I'm there. Whatever there is in involving war, I'm not there.
Atatürk simplified it to: "Peace at home, peace in the world."

But Ataturk had something going on in his mind. Over hundreds of years an increasing number of valuable artefacts, including manuscripts, inscriptions, calligraphical panels and gold and silver candelabra had been carefully preserved by the Mevlevi's. When he saw the large number of artefacts, he commented that those rendered 'a valuable museum collection.'
Despite all the praise of Atatürk, who made the head of the Konya Mevlana Dergah the first vice president of the first Parliament of Turkish Republic, a decree was issued on 30 November, 1925.
It went into history as the Black Monday for the Sufi's:
The day that a new law ordered the closing of the Tekkelerin (dervish convents), zâviyelerin (dervish lodges) and türbelerin (mausoleums). Law nr. 677 was the end of the Konya Dergah, the central Tekke of the Mevlana Order. The last Head of the order, his family and many Mevlevi's fled Turkey to settle in Haleb (Aleppo) Syria. The 21st generation grandson of Mevlana was the first after Mevlana himself to be born outside Konya, in Aleppo, Syria, in December 1926.
As if the closing was not enough, Atatürk put a minimum of three months imprisonment and a fine to the use of descriptions as sheik, dervish, disciple, dede, çelebi, seyyit, babalik, emir etc. Not only the use of these or other mystical names was forbidden, but also those 'who serve them' had to be jailed for at least three months.

Images provided by Murat Kirbaçoglu

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Brand new biography

The Mevlana Rumi biography by Mohamed el-Fers will be released by Türkevi in a special limited English edition.

The text in red is taken from this biography.
© MMVII Mohamed el-Fers

How to become a Sufi

"I was raw, but now I'm cooked"
In the Mevlevi tradition, to become a Sufi starts in the kitchen. The newcomer knocks on the door and asked to be accepted.
If he comes with an open mind and open heart, and with respect and gratitude, he is shown a special corner of the kitchen. There he sits down and waits three days without talking. Just watching what is going on.
After three days he is asked: "Would you like to continue?"
If he says yes, eighteen days more he will not only sit and watch but will help with the simple cleaning work as the kitchen boy. He has to learn all the people of the kitchen and do whatever he is asked to do.
After eighteen days he is asked again: "Would you like continue?"
If he says yes, that will be twenty-one days that he's already in the training. In one thousand and one days, almost three years, he has to go through the training.
There are eighteen jobs to do to complete this training and the teachers to find the student's capabilities and hidden gift.

During his training the student has a place in the kitchen where he puts his shoes. He himself puts his shoes facing in. When he finds his shoes facing out, he can leave.
Although there is often referred to the dervishes as monks, the resemblance is only slight, since dervishes married, kept their own homes, and made their own livings.
According to Mevlânâ Rumi, man is the finest creation of God. A person who reaches the truth and spiritual perfection, directs his attention to universalism and not individualism and selfishness.
The unenlightened human state is one of 'faithlessness' in which an individual lives in slavery to the false self and the desires of the materials world. The spiritual practices were designed to realize submission to a higher order of reality. Without this submission men is enslaved to the ego and lives in a state of internal conflict due to the contradictory impulses of the ego.
The enslaved ego is cut off from the heart. The heart is the chief organ for observing reality, and cannot receive the spiritual guidance and nourishment which the heart provides. Overcoming this enslavement leads to the realization and development of true humanity. Spiritual maturity is the realization that the self is a reflection of the Divine. God is the Beloved or Friend, the transpersonal identity. Love of God leads to the lover forgetting himself in the love of the Beloved.
Mevlânâ believed that God has so many ways to teach his inspiration. To find the Divine Glory in us and come to be servant of God by reaching higher levels of consciousness. More liberal, more forgiveness. There is a hierarchy according the Mevlevi tradition.
Sufi is a person who tries to reach universalism in stead of individualism. Without abandon worldly matters, but not consider them an ultimate end. Prior is the human love, and all religions can be united by this love.

From the Mevlana Rumi biography by Mohamed el-Fers.

1925 was the year of the abolition of the religious courts, religious brotherhoods, religious schools (medrese) and traditional clothing like the fez for men and veil for the women. Ataturk replaced the islamic calendar by the calendar of Pope Gregorius and made Sunday the official day of rest instead of Friday.
All artefacts and everything of historical and ethnographical value of the forbidden religious brotherhoods was made 'state property' and had to be collected by local museums.
Atatürk made one exception to this rule: The Mevlana Mausoleum and Monastry in Konya should be a museum in its own right.
Not as spiritual centre, as Atatürks Law forbids Sufism in Turkey, but for its great 'architectural and ethnographical value.' This decision was confirmed with a government circular dated the 6th of April, 1926.

© MMVII Mohamed el-Fers
From his biography Mevlana Rumi

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