Friday, 24 May 2024
The Beginning of Mevleviship: Rumi and the Origins of the Mevlevi Order

The Beginning of Mevleviship: Rumi and the Origins of the Mevlevi Order

During Rumi’s time, a group of disciples gathered around him and in his madrasa. These disciples attended Rumi’s lectures and conversations without being affiliated with any official sect. An interesting point is that there is a special ritual performed for those who want to initiate Rumi. This ritual is called “chehâr darb” and involves cutting a small amount of hair from the person’s hair, moustache, beard and eyebrows. This ritual symbolizes the person’s participation in the sect and is stated to have taken place before the meeting of Şems-i Tabrizî and Rumi, that is, before 1244.

Rumi wrote genealogies for some of his educated disciples and sent them to various regions, which is accepted as an indication that the foundations of the Mevlevi Order were laid.

According to the findings of Mevlevi historian Sâkıb Dede (d. 1735), Mevlevi order, in addition to its own manners and customs such as samah, sefa, ecstasy and state, it was founded on the principles of the Naqshbandi sect and the love and attraction foundations of Shams. This definition is considered one of the most beautiful explanations of the sect.

In addition, the Mevlevi way, beyond being just a sect, represents the way of love, the way of attraction. At the same time, it stands out as a cultural movement and a way of life that leads to wisdom. This path is not seen as a means to withdraw from the world, but rather as a means to understand the world and achieve inner wisdom. Over time, Rumi’s teachings and Mevlevi order ceased to be just a sect and became a deeply spiritual and cultural movement.


Leadership Change in Mevlevi Order After Rumi’s Death

Rumi’s death in 1273 was an important turning point for Mevlevi order. After his death, Çelebi Hüsameddin, the scribe of Mesnevi, was deemed suitable for leadership by Rumi. This choice stemmed from a response Rumi gave to those around him in the last periods of his life. He was asked: “Who will be the caliphate after you?

Who will replace you?” He responded by saying “Çelebi Hüsameddin will be our caliph.”, thus he indicated who would take over the leadership seat after him.

Although Rumi’s son, Sultan Veled, was at a mature age (47 years old) at the time of his father’s death, he refused to assume the position vacated by his father and he deemed Çelebi Hüsameddin suitable for leadership.

Çelebi Hüsameddin died in 1284, after serving as a sheikh in the Mevlevi order for 11 years, and this made it necessary for Sultan Veled to assume the leadership position. This leadership change after Rumi’s death was of great importance for the continuation and development of the Mevlevi order. This period is considered an important transition and transformation process in the history of Mevlevi order. Under the leadership of Sultan Veled, Mevlevi order became more widespread and deepened.

Mevlevi Order in the Period of Sultan Veled: Institutionalization and Spread

Mevlevi order experienced a significant transformation under the leadership of Sultan Veled and entered the process of institutionalization. During the leadership of Sultan Veled, which lasted approximately 28 (or 21) years between 1284 and 1312, Mevlevi order made significant developments.

During this period, the number of disciples and friends increased, relations with the palace strengthened, and more importantly, Mevlevi practices such as Semah, music and Mesnevihan were brought into a certain order. These regulations formed the basis of the institutionalization of Mevlevi order. In the following years, with the restructuring carried out during the heraldry of Pîr Âdil Çelebi (d. 1460), the Mevlevi manners and customs, which were built on this foundation, have continued without any major changes until today.

During the reign of Sultan Veled, Mevlevi order, on the one hand, was based on certain methods, and on the other hand, thanks to the ambassadors sent by Sultan Veled, it began to spread in various parts of Anatolia, especially in Kırşehir, Amasya and Erzincan. These ambassadors were welcomed with great sympathy wherever they went, and Rumi’s ideas won hearts through Sema and music in the established Mevlevi lodges.

With the death of Sultan Veled in 1312, the principles of the Mevlevi Way were largely determined. The next leader, his son Ulu Arif Çelebi (1272), had already educated himself during his father’s time and made efforts to spread Mevlevi order in Anatolia and Iran. Sultan Veled’s leadership and the period after it are considered one of the most important phases in the history of Mevlevi order. This period is of critical importance both in terms of the formation of the institutional structure of Mevlevi order and its widespread.

To summarize, the emergence and development of Mevlevi order was shaped around Rumi and his disciples. While the disciples gathered around Mevlana attended his lectures and conversations without an official sect, Mevleviism followed its own path with its original rituals such as Sema and love. After Rumi’s death, leadership first passed to Çelebi Hüsameddin and then to Sultan Veled, and during this period, Mevlevi order entered the process of institutionalization and expansion. During the reign of Sultan Veled, Mevlevi order spread to various parts of Anatolia and gained a wide area of influence. This period is seen as one of the most important phases in the history of Mevlevi order, as it is of critical importance in terms of both the formation of the institutional structure and its wide spread.