An ancient aspect of Sufism is the darvesh dance known as Samaa. This dance is a perfectly balanced potion of culture and art. Samaa is greatly attributed to the unworldly connection of one with the creator. Although it is a ritual practiced to achieve the utmost ecstasy of mysticism under the Islamic teachings, it has nothing to do with religion thus, it cannot be affiliated with a particular religion. It is simply a practice of indulging solemnly into the mystic world. Let’s dive into a few more interesting facts about Samaa.
1. History of Samaa
The Sufi dance of whirling darvesh referred to as Samaa, goes all the way back to the 13th century. This dance was born and bred in the Anatolia region of Turkey and is inspired by the legendary mystic of the spiritual world, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Rumi was the one who first performed this dance in the narrow streets of Konya as an expression of pain and sorrow after the demise of his spiritual mentor. Ever since then, this dance has become an expression of spiritual connection with the divine creation.
2. Dance, a form of meditation
Samaa is also considered a form of meditation. Where one becomes completely unaware of the worldly surroundings and dissolves wholly into the spiritual world of meditation. This dance is perceived as the ultimate level of perfection of one’s faith in divine creation, disassociation of worldly desires, and abandonment of one’s ego. Once these levels are achieved, the darvesh dancer swiftly drifts into the peaceful world of ecstasy and divinity.
3. Dance rituals and their meaning
Throughout this performance, the flute and an African instrument, Gnawa are continuously playing in the backdrop of this performance. The most integral part of the dance is the pre-dance ritual of Zikir. Firstly, the solo singer sings a song in the praises of Prophet Muhammad PBUH and followed by the improvisation of the flute, a musical instrument. The part of the ritual is called Naat. Next is the Devr-i Veled, where all the Sufi dancers gather around in a circle and bend over each other. This part signifies the Sufi mystics being breathed life into. And then comes the actual dance, where dancers gathered around the main dancer spread away in whirling circles. And finally, the Taksim part of the dance where the main dancer reads out loud the Quranic verses while twirling away. The counterclockwise whirling symbolizes embracing humanity with love. This spinning movement also symbolizes the rotation of Earth around the sun and the Tawaf around the Kaaba.