Come, whoever you may be
Even if you may be an infidel, a pagan or a fire-worshipper, come
Ours is not a brotherhood of despair.
Even if you have broken your vows of repentance a hundred times, come
The vision steals your breath: five robed Sufis, heads cocked, eyes closed, arms outstretched in supplication, spinning. Seeing Turkey’s whirling dervishes is an experience of sight, sound and soul that you never forget.
Yet an authentic performance is harder to find than you might imagine. In touristy Istanbul, several cafes and restaurants have whirling dervish evenings. But while the performances have justifiably become tourist attractions, the dance is a mystical Islamic ritual with deep spiritual significance, performed as a means to reach the divine.