Naqshbandi Sufi Order of AustraliaAllahu Haqq



We offer training and experience in the ceremony and practice of whirling an act of devotion to God for those who express an interest in initiation into its secrets. Through this practice we seek union with the Beloved, our Creator.

One of the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (saw), Sayyidina Abu Bakar Siddiq, asked the Prophet (saw) about the nature of what is required of human beings in life. The Prophet answered, “The main thing is Love!” Hearing this reply, Sayyidina Abu Bakar Siddiq’s heart expanded in ecstatic love and he spontaneously began to whirl.

This exact movement of whirling reemerged a couple of centuries later, again arising from the experience of ecstatic love and expansion of the heart. This time it was the Sufi mystic Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi who began to turn in Divine ecstasy in response to his annihilation in God’s Love following his association with his guide, Mawlana Shamsuddin Tabrizi (Shams-i-Tabrizi). Following this, the ceremony of Sema came into being and developed over time into its current form as practiced throughout the world today.

This Whirling Ceremony conveys subtle meanings and high spiritual knowledge. It is a dance performed in the name of Love, with Love and to connect with Divine Love itself. Sema is as an intuitive method to guide us to open our hearts to Divine Mercy and Compassion. It is a mystical and spiritual journey towards perfection, to dissolve our egoistic concerns and awaken the self to Truth thereby arriving at the Gate of Perfection.

The purpose of Sema is to strengthen zikr, remembrance of God, burning in the fire of Love that scorches everything so that only Truth (God) remains. To the Sema dancer, music is a secret language, the signs of God that can be heard. Upon hearing this secret language, the soul recalls its original dwelling in the Oceans of Light.

Rumi spoke of Sema as a symbol of the cosmos. The revolving body copies the motion of the universe, just like the rotating planets and the turning of the Galaxies. The expanding hands symbolically mark how the hidayah (guidance) of God is accepted by the right hand and travelling through the heart of the dervish is then transmitted to others using the left hand. This whole process represents submission and unification with God.

By whirling their body anti-clockwise, the dancers embrace humanity with love. God is essence of all love, and sharing in this love erases all boundaries (personal, religious, cultural, and ethnic) between all of His creation. This becomes the remedy to heal the disease of egotism within the self and results in perfection of human understanding and character.

Photo by: Kivanç.

Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi