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   Undertoad  Tuesday Jun 3 12:26 PM

6/3/2003: Iraqi Dervish



I've always heard the term "whirling dervish" and never understood it.

It turns out that "dervish" is a Muslim sect especially in Turkey and Iran/Iraq. It's a fanatical sect (of Islam? surprise), a branch of the Sufi Islam which seems to be a bit more peaceful than the others (not a reach). I don't know but it seems like the Sufis turn their devotion inwards instead of outwards, and focus on their own behavior instead of the behavior of the rest of us. That's respectable.

Sufis believe that their primary goal is purifying their hearts and souls of thoughts other than of Allah, so they take on all kinds of activities that they figure will help them do that. That's what this guy is really trying to do. The "whirling" aspect is similar; not all dervishes do it, but it involves swaying and chanting and slowly building up to a frenzy of prayer. This frenzy often builds up to whirling, thus the term.

I can think of similar activity in other religions. The yogic flyers of Transcendental Meditation bounce up and down until they really believe they are levitating. "Speaking in tongues" remains a concept of Christian fundamentalists in this country.



Undertoad  Tuesday Jun 3 12:27 PM

Oh, also, that must be one of the finest unibrows ever displayed.



dar512  Tuesday Jun 3 12:41 PM

The whole dervishkabob thing is strange just to look at. But can you imagine what'll happen when he needs to cough or sneeze? Ewwww.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jun 3 01:04 PM

I wonder why there is no blood. Have they been in so long
they've healed? Even if the blood has coagulated wouldn't
any movement cause more bleeding? I think I'd rather tithe.



Undertoad  Tuesday Jun 3 01:23 PM

No; another picture, which was taken just before this one, shows the guy inserting the pins. Maybe the bleeding begins when he takes 'em out?



Beletseri  Tuesday Jun 3 01:53 PM

I'd be thinking ouch ouch ouch rather than allah allah allah.....



juju  Tuesday Jun 3 02:52 PM

The places that he pierced himself don't really bleed, I don't think.

The idea with sticking metal objects through your face is, if your mind is completely filled with Allah, then you'll feel no pain. So it's like a test of their religious devotion.

I saw a video of this in an anthropology class, and it had 12 year old kids going through this ceremony as a sort of religious graduation. There was a lot of rhythmic drumming and dancing, and then it all built up to a crescendo, whereupon the kids would lick red-hot pokers. It was quite something to see. Apparently, if you're really, really devoted to Allah, you can lick red hot metal and not feel a thing!



goethean  Tuesday Jun 3 05:45 PM

[insert adolescent mocking from the perspective of Western materialism of a many-centuries-old spiritual tradition here]



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jun 3 05:55 PM

Quote:
you can lick red hot metal and not feel a thing!
I can see that's possible.......the second time.


Bitmap  Wednesday Jun 4 12:06 AM

Re: 6/3/2003: Iraqi Dervish

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
"Speaking in tongues" remains a concept of Christian fundamentalists in this country.
Speaking in tongues is actually a sin when not done in a Godly light. The purpose of miraculous feats like Said things are only for the furtherance (or praise) of God. When speaking in tongues there must be three things: 1 The language must be an actual language, gibberish or just weird noises are not. 2 The speaker must not have studied the language or have any previous knowledge of the language, in order for it to be a miracle. 3 The Person must be using this blessing in a manner that is uplifting to God. A good example would be if a missionary were walking through the jungles of India (any country) and comes across a tribe of people. If the Holy Spirit then enables him to communicate with these people so he might be able to share the gospel with them that would be a miraculous Speaking in Tongues experience.

Just standing in church feeling moved by the music and then blurting out of nonsensical noises is not and does not constitute a Christian fundamentalist ideal. if any thing it is an extremists and ungodly act.



ChrisD  Wednesday Jun 4 10:28 AM

Re: Re: 6/3/2003: Iraqi Dervish

Quote:
Originally posted by Bitmap

1 The language must be an actual language, gibberish or just weird noises are not.
What constitues an 'actual language', one that's been spoken before or is currently spoken someplace in the world? See: Snake Handlers and speaking in tounges. I saw an interesting anthropology film on this, and they most certainly didn't appear to be speaking a known language, let along anything above gibberish and weird noises.


juju  Wednesday Jun 4 10:40 AM

I saw a video on snake handlers, too. They'd actually throw the snakes across the room at each other, repeatedly! But the funniest thing was, they'd shake the snakes in the vicinity of the people who hadn't contributed money yet, to try to scare them into tithing. Yep, gotta love those Christian fundamentalists.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jun 4 07:23 PM

Quote:
Speaking in tongues is actually a sin
See, I told everybody them furiners comin to the US of A was a bunch uh sinners. I told y'all, I did.


Bitmap  Wednesday Jun 4 11:45 PM

Um.... Snake handlers are extremists. not fundamentalists

Quote:
fun·da·men·tal·ism ** *P***Pronunciation Key**(fnd-mntl-zm)
n. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.
Adherence to the theology of this movement.
<i>
------------------------------------------------------------------
man you people suck at engrish</i>


Bitmap  Wednesday Jun 4 11:59 PM

Re: Re: Re: 6/3/2003: Iraqi Dervish

Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisD
What constitues an 'actual language', one that's been spoken before or is currently spoken someplace in the world?
I think that if the language is spoken at one point but is not spoken now would be fine, but the case of a language being (for example) latin or Greek there would need to be a spiritualy endowed translator, that also must adhere to the same rules that the speaker adhears to.
In the case of snake handlers, they are testing God and it says implicitly in the bible NOT to test God, If they are testing THEIR faith in God then i can think of quite a few better (more sane) ways of testing ones faith.
But as for me, I know the standing of my faith in God and i don't need a snake to reinforce my faith.


bjlhct  Thursday Jun 5 12:59 AM

Unless

Unless it's proving it to their buddies.

Faithfuler than thou!



rumi  Sunday Jun 15 10:02 PM

<i>I've always heard the term "whirling dervish" and never understood it.</i>

And you still don't. Sufism/dervishes and this picture are totally unrelated.


<i>It turns out that "dervish" is a Muslim sect especially in Turkey and Iran/Iraq. It's a fanatical sect (of Islam? surprise), a branch of the Sufi Islam which seems to be a bit more peaceful than the others (not a reach). </i>

Sheer idiocy on your part. "Dervish" is not a sect, it is simply a word meaning "student". Instead of showing the world what a moron you are, you might consider consulting an encylopedia once in a while.

The sufis are not a sect either; sufism is simply a spiritual dimension of mainstream Islam. To say sufism is fanatical is like saying 'psychology is a cucumber'. If you would like to learn about American sufi practioners (including the real Whirling Dervishes), check out http://www.sufism.org

Anyhow, I just have to point out for those that don't know: You are really, really dumb. Really. You remind me of Cliff Claven from Cheers-- making up things as you go along, in a futile attempt to look like you know something.



Undertoad  Sunday Jun 15 10:55 PM

That's fine -- my info, in this case, came from the official caption, probably written by the AP. And they are often a little confused.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jun 15 11:19 PM

I was under the impression the Muslims followed the teachings of Mohammed and the Koran. Who gave this M.J. Rumi the authority to tell people how to go about following Mohammed's teachings. Is he like the "pope" of Islam? Or in the catagory of Ghandi?



rumi  Monday Jun 16 07:16 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
I was under the impression the Muslims followed the teachings of Mohammed and the Koran. Who gave this M.J. Rumi the authority to tell people how to go about following Mohammed's teachings. Is he like the "pope" of Islam? Or in the catagory of Ghandi?
Yes, there is no pope in Islam, but that doesn't mean that everyone interprets scripture for themselves. The people who have authority to tell people how to go about following scripture are the scholars... if you want a western analogy, think of the legal system or the academic system. Everyone can read and understand the law, but it's the word of the judges and established academics who define exactly how to interpet the law. Your personal interpretation doesn't matter, because you don't have the necessary skills to do a proper legal interpretation. This isn't a coincidence, since both universities and elements of our legal system have roots in Al-Azhar university in Egypt. (Even the tradition of wearing robes at graduation comes from there.)


xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 16 10:04 AM

The problem with scholars is it comes from schoolers. As any student can tell you, the only way to successfully graduate is to agree with the teacher. Then, when the student becomes the teacher, the same ideas are carried on. When a scholar develops an independent line of thought, he can lobby his peers to accept it. But, it seems in Islam, anyone with independent thought is branded a heretic and killed.



juju  Monday Jun 16 02:38 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by rumi
Sheer idiocy on your part. "Dervish" is not a sect, it is simply a word meaning "student". Instead of showing the world what a moron you are, you might consider consulting an encylopedia once in a while.

Anyhow, I just have to point out for those that don't know: You are really, really dumb. Really. You remind me of Cliff Claven from Cheers-- making up things as you go along, in a futile attempt to look like you know something.
Come on, man. Don't be an asshole just because the internet lets you.

Simply not knowing much about an obscure subject only makes you ignorant of that subject. It doesn't make you a moron. And since no one can know everything about everything, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. He's at least shown an interest in the subject, I'd think that would count for something.

Like I said, you're being an asshole, and you're exploiting your knowledge to do it. I think that's disgusting.


OnyxCougar  Monday Jun 16 03:11 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by juju

Like I said, you're being an asshole, and you're exploiting your knowledge to do it. I think that's disgusting.
Glad I'm not the only one to think so.

One can be educated without being belittled. If anything, the person doing the belittling is ignored just for that reason.

If you want to have a discussion on a topic and get your opinion across, it's not very effective to alienate your audience.



Undertoad  Monday Jun 16 03:22 PM

I didn't take rumi's advice and look it up in an encyclopedia. I looked it up in the dictionary. Just now.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=dervish

For the record then, all of the definitions given:

<li>A member of any of various Muslim ascetic orders, some of which perform whirling dances and vigorous chanting as acts of ecstatic devotion.

<li>One that possesses abundant, often frenzied energy.

<li>Word History: The word dervish calls to mind the phrases howling dervish and whirling dervish. Certainly there are dervishes whose religious exercises include making loud howling noises or whirling rapidly to induce a dizzy, mystical state. But a dervish is really the Muslim equivalent of a monk or friar, for the Persian word darvsh, the ultimate source of dervish, means “religious mendicant.” The word is first recorded in English in 1585.

<li>One of the fanatical followers of the Mahdi, in the Sudan.

<li>A Turkish or Persian monk, especially one who professes extreme poverty and leads an austere life.

<li>An ascetic Muslim monk; a member of an order noted for devotional exercises involving bodily movements

So there it is, and rumi, oh dear, none of them mention the word "student". I won't rub it in too hard though, because I'm a nice guy.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 16 05:40 PM

Quote:
I won't rub it in too hard though, because I'm a nice guy.
I will. Take that you silly heathen.:p


rumi  Monday Jun 16 05:59 PM

Dervishes are not a sect. They are student initiates in sufi orders. Sufism is not a sect either; they are brotherhoods/sisterhoods that Muslims (and occasionally some Christians and Jews) belong to. The definitions you cite are at best incomplete. The fellow in the photograph is more likely a circus performer than a sufi dervish.

I am very pleased, however, to see that you're taking the time to learn more. Keep it up, and I'm sure we'll see less inaccurate/xenophobic statements from you. If you really want to understand what it means to be a dervish, check out the aforementioned http://www.sufism.org and http://www.uga.edu/islam/ (written by U of Georgia professors). It's fascinating stuff. The latter is an incredible source of information, from an American perspective.



warch  Monday Jun 16 06:26 PM

Well thanks for the links. Seems the basic difference with the Sufi's is they encourage letting your freak flag fly to find god. This pisses off the rest of Islam, particularly those scholars that have secured the ability to get the straight scoop over the rest of the gang. I'll keep trying to learn.



Odd_Bloke  Monday Jun 16 07:16 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by rumi
I am very pleased, however, to see that you're taking the time to learn more. Keep it up, and I'm sure we'll see less inaccurate/xenophobic statements from you.
WHich brings up an interesting point: Is someone who knows no better actually being xenophobic?


rumi  Monday Jun 16 07:17 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by warch
Well thanks for the links. Seems the basic difference with the Sufi's is they encourage letting your freak flag fly to find god. This pisses off the rest of Islam, particularly those scholars that have secured the ability to get the straight scoop over the rest of the gang. I'll keep trying to learn.
Not quite. Sufism are *not* a sect, it's simply the inner dimension of mainstream Islam. Those who reject it are a minority; it's mainly the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, etc. who are hostile to Sufism.

The mainstream scholars who accept sufi practices certainly aren't encouraging people let their 'freak flag fly to find God'. They strive to integrate the letter and the spirt of the law. You could say that the wahhabis focus only on the letter, while new age people focus only on the spirit.

Well, just keep on reading, the links will explain better than I can in this short space.


Undertoad  Monday Jun 16 07:17 PM

rumi, my user title used to be "sometimes wrong", until people made me change it because they got tired of looking at it.

I imagine I'm dead wrong about 20% of the time and somewhat incorrect another 20% of the time. But I can't tell the difference between the things I'm wrong about and the things I'm right about, because everything I write and say comes out of my own perspective, with imperfections all around.



juju  Monday Jun 16 07:28 PM

I think that's probably the case with just about everyone.



Griff  Monday Jun 16 08:01 PM

Not me. I'm about 90% wrong 10% right but watch yerself when I think I got that 10% mojo risin. I'll have to look over rumi's links but it sounds like sufis parallel the mystics in RCism, Buddism, and elsewhere, just looking for that transcendent experience which often has little to do with the way the religion they're rooted in is organized. But now I have to follow the link so I don't get picked off.



Bitmap  Monday Jun 16 08:14 PM

I'm acutality right 100% of the tiem.

But keep arguing and discussing i'm enjoying this thread.


<i>-----------------
I like how after you click the "Submit Reply" button it says "Thank you for Contributing" because it never seems like i'm actualy doing that. </i>



Tobiasly  Tuesday Jun 17 02:24 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by juju
Come on, man. Don't be an asshole just because the internet lets you.
Juju, that's the funniest quote I've read in a long time! I'll have to add that one to my repertoire.


goethean  Tuesday Jun 17 10:50 AM

Quote:
I'm acutality right 100% of the tiem.
That's the funniest quote I've seen in a while.


Undertoad  Saturday Jun 21 11:20 AM

It turns out that "Rumi' is the name of an important Sufi poet. Winds of Change, a blog I read, links to this poem today:

http://www.libertyadvance.org/rumi.m....shepherd.html

In it, Allah speaks to Moses to tell him that any way of worship is a good way:

What seems wrong to you is right for him.
What is poison to one is honey to someone else.

Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these mean nothing to Me.

I am apart from all that.
Ways of worshipping are not to be ranked as better
or worse than one another.

Hindus do Hindu things.
The Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do.
It's all praise, and it's all right.

It's not Me that's glorified in acts of worship.
It's the worshipers! I don't hear the words
they say. I look inside at the humility.


Rumi, preaching tolerance in the 13th century. It is excellent.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jun 22 11:21 AM

Rumi's writings are very cool, BUT....

Quote:
The ocean diver doesn't need snowshoes!
They had snowshoes in the early 13th century? If this is a mistake in translation by E. Shepard then are there other mistakes that are more significant?


goethean  Monday Jun 23 11:15 AM

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...wshoes&spell=1



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 10 06:03 PM

TURKEY
Culmination of my coverage for the November 1987 article on Süleyman the Magnificent was photographing the dervishes of the Mevlevi Order in Istanbul. Each December the group commemorates the death of their founder in 1273 by performing this ritual dance with the right hand facing heaven, left hand facing earth. Their spinning symbolizes the planets revolving around God.



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