As they pivot on their left feet, the Dervishes extend their arms with the right hand upward, taking from God, and the left hand down to give to the people, keeping nothing for ourselves.
Whirling, the dervishes utter the name of God and his attributes. They repeat the dance three times, with the sheikh joining in the last time. The music quickens and they appear to enter into a spiritual trance of oneness with God.
The holy dance, with its elaborate costumes, and its haunting music remains unchanged. Its preservation through 700 years is a fitting testimony to its aim of achieving a oneness with God.
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Charles Adelsen, an American journalist living in Istanbul, frequently writes about the Near East.
Tags: Islam Reflections/Inspirational Personality profile