WITH SUFIS IN KONYA

Konya looked beautiful, covered in a long white dress of snow. Snow hung from branches of trees like works of art.

TOMB OF SHAMS TABRIZ

TOMB OF MEVLANA RUMI

By Mohammad Mahdi
Thus it was destined for me. My first trip abroad took me to a place where two geographies, two continents and two cultures converge: Turkey. It was an amazing trip! I want to share with you my travel to Konya, a wonderful place in Turkey best known for its association with the famed Sufi Mevlana Jamaluddin Rumi.
Our flight was from Delhi to Istanbul, and from there we took another plane to Konya to encounter a yet different experience. The pilot announced that there was heavy snowfall in Konya. I was excited! I was curious to see how heavy snowfall looks like. As we landed, we saw a thin white sheet of snow all around the runway. We came out of the terminal. A man was there to receive us. We got into his car. In the cold snowy surroundings, the cosy, warm car was really comfortable! We finally arrived at our hotel.
THE BEAUTY OF KONYA
Konya looked beautiful, covered in a long white dress of snow. Snow hung from branches of trees like works of art.
The next day was a great day for me. We attended a short programme and I also listened to people talk on “Konya the City of Peace and Reconciliation”. In the afternoon, we went on a visit around the city. We arrived at a small building which appeared to be very old. We were told that it was very important site. It was a grave of the Mevlana Rumi’s cook. He was known as AatishBaz, meaning the man who plays with fire. Also on our itinerary was a historical well, where the teacher of Mevlana Rumi, Shams Tabrizi was assassinated. His assassins apparently took out his heart from his body and threw it into the well.
The next day we went to the burial place of Mevlana Rumi. On top of the monument there was a big green dome and there were many graves outside. Inside, there were many people. Some were reading something, expressing their love for the Mevlana. I saw a man who was sitting in a corner teaching people something which I could understand because he was speaking Turkish.
There were many old things kept there. The shrine was like a small museum. There was a book which I think was the original copy of MasnaviMaulana Rum, book of poetry written by Rumi.
That evening we attended a special programme, in a huge stadium where Rumi’s death anniversary was celebrated. It was a momentous event. We were led to a reserved area where foreign guests were hosted. The stadium was full. After a while, the programme started with a song which was in Turkish. The song was good. I couldn’t understand it but certainly the music was soothing!
There was an announcement that the Sema was about to start. Sema is a sort of Sufi dance. I like the music of the Sufis and the way some of them dance. It is very unique. The main concept of dancing is to differentiate between the true and false thinking. It was a wonderful experience, this exposure to Sufis.Talking to the Sufi people was amazing. The main thing about them which I liked was their behaviour towards other people.
We left Konya and arrived in Istanbul. Our next flight to Delhi was at night, so we had some time to move around. We visited two most important monuments of the city: theHagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque. Later, we went to see the grand bazar, a famous tourist destination. The market was full of people. There were many shops of different things, including clothes, jewels, Turkish caps and food. The way the people were buying made me happy because it looked like a celebration. We also bought some articles of our interest.
Turkey is a great place to visit. The Quran exhorts us to visit places. Travel is a great way of knowing, leaning and feeling humbled. Travelling also makes us open to other cultures and people – a must for peaceful coexistence.
(The writer is a student
of Class XII in Aligarh
and can be reached at [email protected] gmail.com)

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