3 of 6: The Unfolding Universe

April: we will read and discuss The Unfolding Universe – up to page 127 (ends with Wherever You Turn, There Is the Face of God).

Please share your thoughts on this section below.

7 thoughts on “3 of 6: The Unfolding Universe

  1. saimma Post author

    Selma – your interest into Shaikha Camille’s background in the tariqa…perhaps we will all learn more when her new book is released…although it may be a while yet…

    I too found Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch’s words beautiful: “I did not write these lines for people to wear them or repeat them, but to put them under their feet and fly with them.” Indeed that is exactly what Mevlana does to me…

    The raw strength of these women blows me away…how numerous and vital they were in the lives of all the men everyone knows about today…I feel sadness and then anger and then acceptance, quickly followed by anger again, that Ibn Arabi does not come hand in hand with his great female teachers – without whom he would not be Shaikh Al-Akbar! Some might say that this is a foible of our feminist age – or just a personal foible – the need for recognition, acceptance, visibility…But No, this is important, needed, it is not vanity but a social disease that has wounded woman-kind for millennia…

    Like Daniel, I believe something is happening in our time, in this moment to redress the balance, to uncover the matriarchial heart of our societies and give it light and air, to purge the toxic elements from patriarchy and restore it in balance with matriarcy…as Shaikha Camille says herself:

    “God willing, a new time is opening for the greater sharing of spirituality among men and women, in purity, patience, and mutual support, as we turn in steadfast and trustworthy devotion to the One who turns in us all. As the shaykh or shaykha prays in one moment of the whirling ceremony:

    May Allah grant you total soundness,
    O travellers on the Way of Love.
    May the Beloved remove the veils from your eyes
    that you may see the secrets of your time and of the true center.

    …and may it be for each of us that Wherever you turn, there is the Face of God.”

    I imagine a mixed sema one day soon, with our beloved Shaikha in our center, and tears flow…


  2. adila

    Just finished reading this section and my hearts is filled with gratitude!

    “Till when will continue the patience of these clean and pure hearts in the soil? Go all together, jump, blow up, exit from the tombs. A favour of forces comes to you as help.”


  3. adila

    I’ve fallen behind with my reading, but thought I’d share that I found the sufi legends ascribed to ‘old women’ quite touching.

    Also, Eva De Vitray-Meyerovich after translating the whole of the Mathnawi joined her intention with Mevlana’s, “I did not write these lines for people to wear them or repeat them, but to put them under their feet and fly with them.” I am eternally grateful for those who love like this and teach me something about wholeheartedness.

    Aside from this, I did just want to say in response to Daniel, Ameen. With love and gratitude.

  4. Daniel

    There was such grace flowing during our Skype call with Camille Ana last night. It made me return to her chapter, “Wherever you turn, there is the face of God” in which she speaks about the great women of the Mevlevi Order.

    I feel a longing to be able to evoke their names as easily as the names of Sultan Weled (Rumi’s son) or Bahauddin Weled (Rumi’s father). Much honour on:

    Mu’mine Khatun (Rumi’s mother)
    Gevher Khatun (Rumi’s first wife)
    Kerra Khatun (Rumi’s second wife after Gevher’s passing)
    Meilike Khatun (Rumi’s daughter)
    Fatima Khatun (Sultan Weled’s wife)
    Mutahhara Khatun (Sultan Weled’s daughter)
    Sheref Khatun (Sultan Weled’s daughter)

    May I commit them to memory.

    It also makes me reflect on the current status of women in our Mevlevi Order. It is wonderful to read the letter from the previous Chelebi (descendant of Rumi and guardian of the order). In 1991 he granted permission for mixed public semas on the anniversary of Mevlana’s birth and death (30 Sep and 17 Dec). This is to be celebrated, and we have hopes for a mixed public sema here in the UK in December to mark the anniverary of Mevlana’s passing into the Unseen. But perhaps we need to ask Camille Ana if we are still restricted to these dates. Might we even petition the current Chelebi to have mixed public semas at any time? It feels like now is the time to finally arrive at that place.

    And this leads on to the other pressing issue: the official recognition of the female leaders in our community such as Shaikha Camille, Shaikha Nur Arturan, and Shaikha Esin Chelebi. Might the mureeds of Camille Ana and Kabir Dede, join the mureeds of Shaikha Nur Arturan and Esin Chelebi and respectfully petition the current Chelebi on this issue too, expressing our longing for them to receive equal recognition with the male Shaikhs. We could cite the examples Camille Ana uses of female shaikhs in the early years of the Mevlevi Order; for how is that hundreds of years ago a woman could lead the sema, yet today this is not possible? It feels like the floodgates are about to burst and the male privilege that has been allowed to creep in is about to be swept away. But how much of an active role we might play in bringing this to fruition? What would be the best adab?

    “Wherever you turn, there is the face of God” – surely now is the time to redress the balance by turning more to the feminine face of God.

    Much love to All,


  5. Selma

    Hi Saimma, I wrote a comment on the chapter Hidden Way, only to realise afterwards that is not part of this month discussion. Once I realised my mistake, I did not want to post it but as I am short of thoughts so here it is!

    May Allah reward Al-Termidhi for his testimonial! What integrity he displays! He is certainly a Saint not only for writing about his wife and passing to future generation the legacy of her input in his ascension on the path but also for having such a polished heart/ego where there is no display of misogyny when it comes to acknowledging the status and contribution of his wife to his learning.

    It is also lovely to see a couple sharing the same quest and supporting each other particularly that they did not have a spiritual sheikh to guide them along. As someone who does not have a spiritual sheikh, I know how hard it can be at times to decode the signs/messages/thoughts that come randomly to me and the torture I go through trying to work out if they are real guiding clues/prescriptions as opposed to over interpretation.
    I am not surprised that his wife receives messages through dreams on his behalf though. My sister who is definitely receptive to dreams and visions, get dreams that are messages for me. They are clear and do not require often interpretation, whilst mine are rare and involve lots of symbolism and reading into them. I noticed though that when the nature of the message is very private, I am then the recipient of the dream. I think sometimes, it is more a divine gesture, to keep us close and support each other though the hardship of the path.

    Reflections on the unfolding universe section :
    -I am speechless by the energy, dedication and intellectual rigour of Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch. Forty books, translation of the Methnawi into French and teaching at Al-Azhar University in Cairo!!! I hope the French government gave her the Legion d’honneur for the later. I certainly recommend her book Prayer in Islam as a light but pertinent alternative to the Revival of Religious Sciences by Al Ghazali.
    -I was interested by Camille Helminski and Annemarie Schimmel’s backgrounds as well as of some of the Mevelvi Turkish Ladies, and their involvement into the practices of the tariqah.

  6. saimma Post author

    Friends – please see new post on Skype call invitation with Shaikha Camille, and recorded meditation added to Resource page.

  7. ASMA

    I think this section has responded to a lot of the qualms that arose from the previous one..stories of rich,fully engaged yet pious lives of Real women including our beloved Camille Ana..how wonderful to have Mevlana arrive at your home for Siema.His example of complete honouring of the women in his life mirrors exactly that of the Prophet pbuh..his sheer joy at our very existence..it’s in that glow that women shine most and can reciprocate best ..honouring the Divine within. I am struck by how people were completely in the two worlds Unseen and Seen..especially Mevlana, sometimes I forget just how drunk and in ecstatic Love he was.

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