Mevlevi Tradition
Rumi's Legacy
Origins of Sema
Sema's Symbolism
Mevlevi Practices
Australia's Mevlevis

Mevlevi Australia

The Four Selams

The central part of the ceremony now commences. This consists of the four selams, the salutations. (When Muslims greet each other, they say, ‘Assalaamu aleikum’, ‘Peace be with you’). The selams of the Sema represent various stages in the journey of spiritual knowing which the individual travels in his own consciousness.

The dervishes turn around their own hearts and circle around like the planets. The semazenbashi is like the moon and the Sheikh on his red sheepskin is the Shams, the Sun.

The semazen have their arms outstretched, holding the right palm open to the heavens and the left pointing to the earth. By this, we mean, ‘We receive from God, and we give to man. We hold nothing for ourselves.’ In our hearts there is only Allah and we turn around Him.

The first selam represents the recognition of the Majesty of the Creator, the second, existence in His unity, the third, the rapture of ecstasy which the spirit experiences in surrender, and the fourth selam, in which the Sheikh joins the circle of the semazens, is symbolic of peace in the heart which comes from subsistence in the Divine Unity.

This peacefulness of the completed spiritual journey continues in the taksim (solo) played on either ney or stringed instrument, which completes the selams.