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The Mevlevi Order


Contrary to popular misconceptions, the Mevlevi order, named after Rumi, was actually not established by Rumi. The foundations of this order were laid by Husam al-Din Celebi and Rumi's son Sultan Valad. So then which path or which dervish order did Rumi follow when there was no Mevlevi order? As is commonly known, tariqah in Arabic means path, way, path of God, and the path taken during the spiritual jour­ney. So, then, which path did Rumi follow to find the truth, attain God, and became Rumi?

Risale-i Sipehsalar, one of the most reliable historical accounts of Rumi's life, tells us that Rumi followed his father Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Valad's path, character, and order. From this account it is understood that Rumi's first spiritual guide and shaykh was his father Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Valad. Afterward, Sayyid Burhan al-Din Muhaqqiq al-Tirmidhi, one of Sultan al-'Ulama's deputies, became Rumi's spiritual guide and shaykh. Both Sultan al-Ulama and Burhan al-Din Tirmidhi were members of the Kubrawiyyah order. Hamdullah Musevfide writes that Rumi's father, Sultan al-'Ulama, was one of the deputies of Najm al-Din al-Kubra who was the founder of the Kubrawiyyah order. In addition, there is an account in Nefahatu'l-Uns that Sultan al-Ulama was one of the deputies of Najm al-Din al-Kubra Similarly, in his book Hadiqatu'l-Awliya, Hoca Zade Ahmed Hilmi relates Sultan al-Ulama to our Prophet through the following silsila, The well-known saints in this silsila are as following:

  1. The Beloved of the Lord of the Worlds: Muhammad Mustafa, peace and blessings be upon him.
  2. Hadrat Ali
  3. Hadrat Husayn
  4. Maruf al-Karhi
  5. Junayd al-Baghdadi
  6. Ahmad al-Ghazali
  7. Shaykh Ismail Kasri
  8. Founder of the Order: Najm al-Din al-Kubra
  9. Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Valad (may God be pleased with them and exalt their secre

There are also those who relate Sultan al-Ulama's silsila through Hazrat Abu Bakr. Prof. Furuzanfar, contradicting an account by al-Aflaki, relates Sultan al-Ulama's attachment to Najm al-Din al-Kubra, the founder of the Kubrawiyya order. Just as Baha al-Din Valad was a deputy of Najm al-Din al-Kubra, who was martyred in 1221 while fighting against the Moguls, Sayyid Burhan al-Din was also Sultan al-Ulama's deputy. Sipehsalar nar­rates Sayyid Burhan al-Din's attachment to Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Valad as follows:

Sayyid Burhan al-Din was not in Konya when Sultan al-Ulama passed away (1231). When he received the news of the passing of his shaykh, he became so sad that the dirt of sorrow was spread over his head. His heart burned, and he mourned a long time. For one complete year he melted like a candle because of his shaykh's death. One night he saw Sultan al-Ulama in his dream. He angrily addressed him: "Burhan al-Din! How is it possible that you have left my Muhammad (Muhammad Jalal al-Din) alone and made a mistake in his custody?"

Because of this dream, Sayyid Burhan al-Din came to Konya. He worked for the guidance of the young Rumi for nine years. Sayyid Burhan al-Din not only granted deputyship to Rumi but also to Salah al-Din, the jeweler. As Aflaki relates, Burhan al-Din Tirmidhi expresses the fact that he is a disciple of Sultan al-Ulama when he says: "I received two bestowments from my Shaykh Sultan al-Ulama: One is the ability to speak well, and the other is the beauty in spiritual states. Since Rumi has beauty in spiritual states I granted my ability to speak well to Salah al-Din. " Sultan Valad express his love and devotion to his father's shaykh and spir­itual guide Burhan al-Din Tirmidhi beginning with the following couplets:

Rumi was with Sayyid Burhan al-Din for nine years. He was in his service. Then he became his equivalent in terms of both knowledge and spiritual maturity Since their hearts were one in the spiritual world, they were one on the outside as well as inside. Afterward Sayyid Burhan al-Din migrated from this world, from the world of non-exis­tence to eternity, the world of existence. Jalal al-Din became an orphan. He worshipped God day and night. For this, he aban­doned sleeping, eating, and drinking. He raised the flag of search for a spiritual guide. In this way he spent five years in devotion to his spiritual guide with mourning, heartfelt crying,lamentation, and self-mortification.



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