Realities of Sufi Whirling
Naqshbandi Secrets of the
Sufi Whirling Dervish’s
Secrets of Heart of Quran and Surah Ya Seen
God Almighty: I am no where to be found not in the
Heavens nor on Earth but, you may Find Me in the Heart of My Lover
From The Teachings of Mawlana Shaykh Hisham al Qabbani as Taught by Shaykh Sayed Nurjan Mirahmadi
36:83 So glory to Him in Whose hands
is the dominion of all things..
One day when Prophet (s) was giving a Friday sermon, a Bedouin came and said, “Ya RasulAllah (s), when will the Day of Judgement occur?” Prophet (s) did not answer the Bedouin and remained silent for some time. So the Bedouin asked again, but again Prophet (s) did not answer. After a period of time the Bedouin asked his question for a third time. Immediately, the Angel Gabrielappeared before the
Holy Prophet (s) and said, “Ask him what has he prepared for that day?’
The Bedouin replied “Nothing except my love for you, oh beloved Prophet of God (s)!!” Prophet (s) then answered, “you will be with those whom you love.” Upon hearing this conversation, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq asked the Holy Prophet (s),
Will love alone suffice?”
Prophet (s) then said, “Yes. The main thing is love!” Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was so happy with this answer that he began to whirl. [ The Opening of the Siddiqia Secret of Love ]
According to the teachings of our Master, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (may God bless him and raise his spiritual station higher), the Sufi whirling technique which was taught by the famous Sufi Master Muhammad Jalal ad-Din Rumi (qs) contains tremendous realities. The first interaction that many Western people have with Sufism is often through the poetry of Rumi, a poetry which sought to explain a Heavenly love which flowered in his soul, and what our Master wants us to realize is that while this poetry is nice to read, the “sema” or the practice of whirling is a technique which can actually open that love, which is what Rumi is trying to encourage people to do through his poetry. Rumi was saying in his poetry, “seek the beloved!” and the question comes to us, “how do I seek Him?” It means that the poetry of love and Divine attraction is first rooted in the whirling and what was trying to be taught by the whirling. We are a micro version of this greater galaxy. Therefore, in order to understand this greater reality we are taught to look within and understand ourselves. As God says in the Holy Quran:
“We will show them our signs on the horizon and within themselves, until it will be manifest to them that it is the truth.” (41: 53)
Submit Your Body to the Light within the Heart
Everything in this creation is spinning counter-clockwise, from our atoms and the electrons that spin around the nucleus to the earth which spins around itself and moves counter-clockwise around the sun. As everything is spinning in that love of the Divine and in submission to the Divine power that is powering all of creation, Sufi Masters were teaching us to mimic that reality.
Therefore, in Sufi whirling the body represents the earth and the heart represents the sun. As the earth rotates around the sun, the Divine is showing you that when you are moving towards that process of enlightenment you will find God present in your heart because God says “I cannot be found in Heaven or on earth, but I can be found in the heart of my believer.”
Body = Earth Heart = Sun
It means we govern our life by our heart and not our head. Our physicality should follow what our heart wants, but most of our lives we actually do the reverse. We are making the heart to follow the body and its desires. The heart wants to sit and meditate but the body wants to go to Las Vegas. To reach towards those realities of light, however, Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi [Q] was teaching us that all of our physicality and all of our desires must submit to the light, must submit to the heart. It is the same reality that Jesus was teaching because all Prophets taught the same reality, just as all Sufi Orders are teaching the same reality in different ways.
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Thy will be done, not my will be done.
So then the secret of whirling is that the physicality is being crushed in its whirling, grounded in its whirling, and all of the contemplation is now focused on the emanation of the Divine light that is coming to the heart.
The focus in Sufism is always on the heart. Other systems focus on different chakras and different endocrine, but these are all of secondary importance in comparison to the heart chakra. If the heart is sick, the whole body will be sick because the heart is the source of all power and energy in the body.
That is why many people who are clinically brain-dead live for many years in a coma because the heart is real source of power. If the heart is purified, it will send that energy throughout the body and the entire body will become purified and the other chakras will activate. But if you focus on activating particular chakras while the heart remains in a contaminated state, then as you play with these chakras the heart is continuing to send its negative energy throughout the body, and the result is that you will be unable to reach the spiritual stations that the Saints want you to reach. So Sufism comes to teach us that as you begin to seek that light, forget about these distractions and focus your energies on purifying and perfecting the heart. It means that you must stop making your heart follow your body and instead make your body to whirl around your heart and follow the desires of your heart.
Then the Seeker begins to turn on their left foot, which is the axis of their earth, and begins the process of spinning, which means that you are beginning the process of busying yourself with knowing yourself.
Who knows themselves will know their Lord, and this is the process of self-realization. You are spinning around yourself in the process of trying to understand yourself and wanting to know “what is my purpose in life? What am I supposed to do and why am I here?” With the Sufi whirling we are trying to unlock that reality and understand ourselves and our Creator.
As the whirler spins on their left foot, he/she is making their body spin around the heart, which is the source of Divine love and Divine grace. The whirling is, therefore, a reflection of a spiritual reality; that what deserves to be worshipped and respected is the Light – not the egoistic desires of the lower self. It is this understanding that is most important because whirling is not about speed, it is about understanding that my body must submit to my heart. When we realize this, then the physical movement of the whirling is now making that understanding manifest, because there has to be an action involved in our quest.
Positioning of the Hands when Whirling
“So glory to Him in whose hands is the dominion over all things” (Ya Seen 36:83)
There are many phrases in English which express the relationship between the hands and a charitable act, such as phrase “to give a helping hand”. When someone falls down they request help by extending their hand, saying “I am in a difficult situation, could you please help lift me up?”
In everything we do in life, we need such support. To graduate from college, for example, requires the support of many people other than ourselves. It requires the support of family, friends, teachers and councillors, all of whom contribute to guiding us on our path to graduation. If this is true of the material world, it is truer of the spiritual realm. When a person seeks the path they need Heavenly support. It is not a path that can be walked alone – even Prophets were supported by the Angel Gabriel – so what about regular people? Therefore, as the whirler begins to spin, he/she raises their right hand asking for Heavenly support and guidance.
Then, Mawlana’s teaching for us is that our way is of personal sacrifice; to want more for your brother and sister than what you want for yourself ,this is to be selfless.
Sayedena Muhammad (s) taught his companions that when you give of charity, the right hand shouldn’t know what the left hand gave, and the left hand shouldn’t know what the right hand gave.
In the Naqshbandia teachings of whirling, this understanding is represented by the left hand, which faces down in service to creation so that the flow of angelic energy which begins to dress the individual actually flows right through them and is distributed throughout the room.
In doing so, the whirler makes the intention that.
“my Lord, whatever you send me I am freely and openly giving that back to creation”
because that energy, that emanation and Divine blessing is coming, but coming for whom? For the benefit of all creation!
Then we find our whirling to be physically balanced by outstretched arms, and our spiritual growth to be spiritually balanced by the understanding that everything which comes to you is for the benefit of other people. hands is Dominion;
Right Hand and the Moon
Sursh Mulk 67:1
Blessed be He in Whose
and He over all things hath Power;-
The right hand has another major importance – it symbolizes the reality of the moon in our creation. Recall that the sun is represented by the heart, so the whirler looks to their right hand because it’s showing you that you can’t look directly into the sun or it will blind you. It is the source of power for our creation, and you can’t look at the source, you can only look to its reflection – the moon – which is represented by the right hand. It means that as we are trying to reach enlightenment, and we begin to ignite the power and the energy of the heart, the heart is actually energizing and reflecting its light to the moon. That light and that power is in the hands, so as the whirler is whirling and ascending towards the Heavens, the focus is on the hand. The energy is opening in the heart and shining onto the hand, and the hand is reflecting that light to the holy face.
The Moon and The Fardani Reality
The Moon is the Light and Perfect representative of The Source of Light emanating from the Sun or Shams. The Sun is the Fire and The Moon is The resulting Light.
You look to the right hand because the moon is a symbol of guidance. The moon has no light of its own, but it has no ego so it is able to perfectly reflect the light of the sun. The moon has polished itself and effaced itself to such a degree that it is able to reflect that light. Similarly, the perfected guide has lost their ego and reached annihilation serves only as a vehicle for the Divine light to guide seekers back to God. They never claim to be a source of that light. You cannot say you have become “one” with the Divine, but you can witness the light of Divine Presence.
Then the whirler will quickly realize that looking to the right hand provides balance and guidance. If we take the focus off the hand and tries to look around the room, we become dizzy and falls down.
The Imam of the Naqshbandi Order said, Tariqatuna as-suhbah wa ‘l-khayru fi ‘l- jam`iyyah” – “Our way is fellowship, and the goodness is in the gathering”.
Companionship with the Guide.
Keep the fellowship of the guide and learning the way of the spiritual path.
“Obey God, obey the Prophet (s) and obey those in authority.”
Why? Because the Divine is showing you the importance of maintaining your focus on your spiritual guide and on your path, rather than on the material world. If you keep your focus on the guide you will find yourself in that ascension, quickly moving towards the Divine Presence. However, if you become distracted by the allurements of the material world, you will lose your connection with the teacher and fall away from the path. It is a constant battle against the ego, symbolized in the hunger of the eyes to see what is happening in the room instead of focusing on their hand.
Then we move into the numerology of the hands, because each hand is filled with codes. For example, there are three prominent lines on the palm of each hand.
On the right hand, those three lines are “18” in Arabic, while on the left hand, those lines are reversed, showing “81” in Arabic. These codes point us to the names of God and of Prophet (s). For example, on the right hand, the 18th name of God is Al-Fattah, meaning “The Opener”, while the 18th name of Prophet (s) is Rasul ur-Rahman, which means “the Messenger of Mercy”. So the whirler is raising their right hand asking God to open that mercy and dress the whirler in that attribute of mercy, which is then given freely back to creation.
Then the left hand is 81, and the 81st name of God is Al-Muntaqim, “The Avenger”, while the 81st name of Prophet (s) is Dhul Fadil, “the Source of Virtue”. When we ask for God to dress us with mercy, what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that God should give us money and a new car. True mercy is to be saved from evilness, especially from the evilness which lies hidden within the self. So the right hand is opening mercy by asking God to avenge us against all evilness – to destroy that evilness within ourselves. That energy is known as Al-Muntaqim and flows through the left hand. When that evilness has been destroyed, what is left is dhul fadil, a source of virtue, because the soul has been empowered.
[ Means The Suns Highest Point of Heat ]
The Muhammadan Representative
Mass Attraction, Centrifugal Force & Upward Thrust
All of this is dealing with the secret of ascension, which is to ground the physicality and park the desires of the physicality so that the soul can begin its ascension. The secret of the soul`s ascension is found in the three forces that are working in our existence:
- mass attraction,
- centrifugal force (spin)
- and upward thrust.
It means that by our nature and our atomic reality, our electrons and all of our form are attracted to the Divine – the mass attraction. The electrons are wishing to collide with the nucleus, which is the source of Divine light and nourishment. It wants to come in and it`s looking for an opening, but it can`t find one. It never stops in its search, however, because when you truly love something you don’t walk
away. So that love is making the electron to want to collide with the nucleus, but there is no permission for this to occur and that creates the spin around the nucleus, the centrifugal force. As the electron is trying to come in, there is no opening, but there is no giving up so it is constantly looking, looking, looking for the Divine opening to collide with that reality, to reach back towards that reality and what we call the fana, the annihilation; to be annihilated in that Divine Presence. So we have the attraction, which is the love. We have the searching for the opening, which is the spin, and as a result, the third energy which is the upward thrust.
All Life is in This Hologram of Love
Our whole existence is based on that secret. All of our electrons are in love with the Divine nucleus; searching and searching and searching for a way to penetrate and collide into the center of power, but because it can’t it has upward thrust. So we are holograms of that love, and science proves that this form is not real – this life is but an illusion. Your form is just a hologram of all your atoms spinning at a high rate of speed and giving you an illusion of form. If we were to slow down that spin, this hologram would no longer exist. It is a proof for those who contemplate about the magnificence of God’s creation, that if just one atom were to collide with another it would cause a catastrophic explosion, and yet atoms don’t collide. Glory be to the Creator that everything stays in its own assigned orbit – there is nothing random because if it were random you could walk into this room and randomly explode.
36:40 It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day.
They float each in an orbit.
So everything is based on love, based on this upward thrust and looking for an entry to come in. The process of annihilation is to realize that the form is an illusion and all that is real is this huge mass of energy that is moving based on love and its desire to return home to the Divine Presence. So the spin that we practice is mimicking that reality. And we see this throughout nature, whether we break something down and look at its microcosm or look at the macrocosm, the reality is the same. It means that as your electrons are spinning counter clockwise around the nucleus, as the earth is spinning counter clockwise on its axis, as the planets spin counter clockwise around the sun, as galaxy are also spinning counter clockwise, as everything in creation is spinning and making that circumbulation around the light, you are spinning around the Divine light that is in your heart.
All of creation is making that spin, but our ego is refusing.
In fact, we even went so far as to invent time and make it spin “clockwise” while God’s creation spins counter clockwise. So Jalal ad-Din Rumi was teaching us to mimic this reality that is found throughout creation, and submit the desires of the physicality to the desires of the heart because the only way we are going to find that Divine love is to open the heart.
Secrets of Whirling and Surah Ya Seen
All of the realities of whirling are based on the heart and opening the heart, which is why all of the secrets of the sama can be found in Surah Yā Sin (Surah 36), which is the heart of the Holy Quran. As the Messenger of God said,
Everything has a heart and the heart of the Qur’ān is Yā Sin.2
“Ya Seen” is the 11th name of Sayedena Muhammad (s). It means that if you want to move towards the Divine heart, you must come through the heart of the Messenger of the Divine (s). When you come through the heart of Prophet (s), your soul will be dressed with a secret. That secret is found in Surah Yā Sin:
“The word from a Merciful Lord (for them) is: Peace!” (36:58)
It means that the secret of whirling is to receive that peace. When you truly submit, and begin to follow Allah / God’s will instead of your will; when you begin to live a spiritual life and leave the distractions of the material world, God’s attribute of mercy will dress your soul with a feeling of peacefulness that cannot be conveyed with words. And what happens when you receive peace?
The answer is found at the end of Yā Sin:
“But His command, when He intendeth a thing,
is only that he saith unto it: Be! And it is.
Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the dominion over all things!
Unto Him ye will be brought back” (Surah 36:82-83).
God is praising the hand that will reach that reality. In that hand is dominion over all things, and if we reach to that reality, we will be dressed with those secrets. That is why Saints have Heavenly power. Because they opened their hearts to that reality, they were dressed from the Divine heart with the secrets of Surah Yā Sin, and were given the power of kun fayakuun. If they intend something, they need only say “be” and it is, because they have a direct line to Divine Presence.
So Mawlana is teaching that all of the secrets of whirling can be found in Yā Sin. That surah is also describing the relationship of the sun and the moon, which is the relationship of the right hand to the heart:
“It is not for the Sun to catch up to the Moon nor for the Night to outstrip the Day: each is swimming in its (assigned) orbit” (36:40).
The Divine is describing that one doesn’t overtake the other. You will not find the Divine Presence on your hand because each has an assigned location. The right hand is only for the moon, and in that relationship you are able to approach the Divine in a way that would not otherwise be possible.
The moon also represents the station of maqāmu ‘l-fardānī, the “unique station”. In that dialogue with the Divine, the whirler is pleading, “O my Lord, do not reject me until I reach the unique station.” That station is manifesting in Mawlana. The Sultan of all Saints .
This is another manifestation of Muraqabah. Keeping Vigilance of the Guide. Therefore, the right hand represents the need to reach to Mawlana Shaykh’s presence to unlock the power of the heart, because when we find that Divine love and nourish that Divine love within the heart, it nourishes all of the organs and brings spiritual healing to all of the physicality. That has to do with Sufi healing. We don’t need to focus on different chakras and different endocrine, different points on the body. The most essential point to fix is the heart. If we fix the heart and energize the heart and bring the Divine Presence into the heart, then all of the being will be fixed; all of the being will be nourished and filled with the light of that Divine love.