Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Halveti-Jerrahi Dhikr - An Ancient Sufi Ritual of Rememberance 1980

Journey to the Lord of Power
The Halveti-Jerrahi Dhikr
An Ancient Sufi Ritual of Rememberance
Inner Traditions ITI 1001 - P.1980

Side A

Halveti-Jerrahi dhikr pt. 1  - 22'15

Side B

Halveti-Jerrahi dhikr pt. 2  - 28'23

I am at the moment totally immersed in Sufi music from Mali to East Turkestan and I have been selecting material for a lecture tomorrow. While looking for musical samples I found this record that I had digitized long ago but not edited the photos of the sleeve. I think it is a very nice recording carried out at the Vanguard Studios in 1980 when the group was on a tour in the US. So you are in for some love and unity and the whole message is you have to invite goodness into your heart and you will become a part of the whole. For some reason I don't really like the title, but I probably have too much ego left. I'll work on the salvation of my soul and try to humble myself and it should not be to hard as I guess I really am nothing compared to God and lately I have not felt enough power to put up any resistance.

Reminds me of a story, I do not know the origin of it but I like it very much so if anyone does please tell me!

Long ago in India a mighty Monarch was to be honoured in the great banquet hall. The Ministers were seated on the right, the provincial Kings on the left. The Noblemen, Generals and other titled dignitaries were assembled in all their ceremonial robes according to rank. All was in readiness–only the central seat was vacant–everyone waited for the Monarch’s entrance..

At that time the door opened and a wandering ascetic came in off the street. He was dark and dusty. His hair was long and matted and his clothes were in tatters. But his eyes were bright and he walked up the red carpet with such an air of authority that no-one dared challenge him. Who was he after all?
The stranger walked right up to the Monarch’s vacant seat and sat down!

By this time the Chief Minister came to his senses and leaned over to inquire…

“Sir, I do not recognize you–are you a noble-man?”
“No,” said the ascetic, “I am more than that.”

“Are you perhaps a King from the out-lying districts?”
“No, I am more than that.”

“Are you the Monarch himself?”
“No, I am more than that.”

The Chief Minister was getting annoyed. “So what do you think? That you are the Almighty God!?”
“No, I am more than that.”

The Chief Minister was red in the face. “What! Nothing is greater than God!”
“Yes,” said the ascetic, “I am that nothing.”

Anyhow here is something to read from the back of the record, 
hope you enjoy!

According to tradition before God created the worlds... before He created Man, He created the Universe of Souls and this Universe contained all the souls which were destined to inhabit all the bodies of Man for all time to come. After the creation of the Universe of Souls He or dained that the seven planets and all the celestial spheres and their related heavenly bodies be set in motion. The souls then heard the divine harmony of creation in the movement of the Universes. Then God created Adam and with His breath He blew Adam's soul into his body. And Adam's soul knew the divine harmony of the Universe. Then God made Adam's heart to beat in rhythm with creation and He gave him a voice to sing and Adam sang aloud the praises of God and His Creation.

This praising of God is the essence of Journey to the Lord of Power, the sacred music of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order of Dervishes from Istanbul and their spiritual leader, al-Hajj Sheikh Muzaffereddin Halveti al-Jerrahi, bearers of the Sufi mystic tradition.

Journey to the Lord of Power is the first complete recording of the religious ritual dhikr (Remembrance of God) whose goal is the perfection of the individual and his mystical union with God. For Sheikh Muzaffer, his thirty dervishes and musicians, it is the ritual of dhikr which awakens the power of the heart.

The ceremony follows a traditional form dating from the 17th century: the dervishes sit in a circle and engage in a succession of unison chants celebrating the Name of God. Their intonation speeds up until they develop a deep cadence. The words become frenetic pulsations while three Hafizes (cantors) sing the Name of God to the accented beat of drums and the wailing sound of the reed flute. As the dervishes rise and begin to turn, their diffused forces gather into a single energy, calling out for divine union. The ceremony is based upon sacred formulas and culminates in a collective ecstasy, always perfectly controlled, as the circles of dervishes begin to spin in an evertightening knot around the Sheikh, as planets around the sun. They are drawn by the mysterious energies of the rhythmic breath, breathing as one body and beating as one heart, they reach for God.

The Sufi orders of the Ottoman Empire from the 13th century to the present have been responsible for the finest examples of Turkish poetry, art and music. The Jerrahi dhikr is a living and vital example of the poetic and musical excellence achieved by Sufi mystics in their Jorney to the Lord of Power.

The Jerrahi branch of the Halveti Dervishes is particular in that the representatives of all the major Sufi orders, the Mevlevis, the Qadiris, the Rufais, the Naqshbandis and countless others gave them their blessings in the form of symbolic gifts. Some gave their ilahis (hymns consisting of poems written by ancient Sufi masters set to music), others gave an element of their garb, the sash, and the particular way the hidaria (vest) is trimmed with twelve stitches, while others gave their very posts (sheepskins representing submission and the transmission of Divine influx since time immemorial), thus making the Halveti-Jerrahi Order inclusive as well as a standard bearer of the spirit of all the major orders of Sufism. As Islam inculcates the spirit of Judaism and Christianity, the Halveti-Jerrahis encompass all its tenets, and as such are universal in their aim and scope.

The current leader of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order is al-Hajj Sheikh Muzaffereddin Halveti al-Jerrahi, nineteenth Sheikh and direct recipient in the line of succession from Hazreti Pir Nureddin Jerrahi, the founder of the order in the 17th century. Sheikh Muzaffer is a wiseman, steeped in the universal tradition, having received his rich and vast religious background from the last great scholars and divines of islam and Sufism and he has been an intimate of the most venerable and enlightened Sheikhs of our time.

For many years he preached in the great mosques of Istanbul, at the same time guiding his dervishes. He has authored seven monumental works on Sufism and one volume of poetry. All his work is currently being translated and will soon be available in English. Sheikh Muzaffer and the Halveti-Jerrahi Dervishes have performed at the international Arts Festival in Rennes, France, and have toured Europe and the United States performing dhikr to audiences of all faiths.

The vocalists Hafiz Ihsan Sedef, Hafiz Kemal Tezergil Ozmutlu and Hafiz Ali Gulses who appear in Journey to the Lord of Power, along with the Halveti-Jerrahi dervishes, are three of Turkey's greatest cantors. Along with Tugrul Inancer on the kudum and Suleyman Karakay and Baha Tanman on the bendir, two instrumentalists considered among the finest soloists in the Middle-East perform in this recording: Niyazin Sayin is a Neyzenbasi (ney master). He teaches the ney at the Istanbul Devlet Conservatory of Music and plays with the Istanbul Devlet Korosu (orchestra) as its first ney player. Ihsan Ozgen, kemanche, teaches Turkish tanbur and kemanche at the Istanbul Devlet Conservatory of Music and has performed in concert throughout the Middle-East and Europe and at the Unesco Festival.

The ney, an ancient wooden flute which first appeared in Sumer, and the kemanche, a small three stringed instrument which is played both with the bow and fingernails, are the two instruments closest to the yearning voice of the devout calling out to God, the Source of all creation, and the kudum and bendir (percussion instruments) are the closest to the sound of the heart whose beat measures out the rhythm of life.

Of the dhikr ceremony, Sheikh Muzaffer says:
"We begin our dhikr slowly and pronounce each sacred word so that it can be heard. Soot: all that is heard is a heavy pulsating breath, but the dhikr, the Remembrance, continues in our hearts. And God whose vastness does not fit in all the heavens and worlds of Universes beyond Universes, fits into the human heart."

"Adam was the first Sufi. Allah taught Adam all the Names. In the dhikr we are painting the image the beautiful Names of God and tracing the Creation of the Universe, its development, its breakdown and destruction, and finally its joy."

"The music of the dhikr is symbolic of the sound of the Creation. It is the sound of the falling of the leaves in the Garden Eden."


lord haw haw said...

Bolingo, my friend, I am grateful for this recording and the time you give to prepare all of your posts, your blog is a true musical oasis providing necessary refreshment for a parched soul lost on this sidetrip through the digital desert. How can I find out more about your lecture, there is a possibility that we study the same academic discipline, and I have more than a passing interest in this Topic.

Giri Mandi said...

Our precious Bolingo,

Actually the LP's title comes from the english translation a short treatise by Ibn al-‘Arabī, published by the Jerrahi Order of America:

Ibn al-‘Arabī, Journey to the Lord of Power: a Sufi manual on retreat / transl.: Terri Harris / New York, Inner Traditions International, 1981. Arabic: Risālat al-anwār.

As you can see above, the original arabic title ("Epistle of Lights") may sounds less disturbing (to tell the truth, I also find vaguely disturbing the fake devanagari used for the cover!)

Anyway, deep thanks once more, and best wishes for your Quest!

Miguel said...

let me just plain an simple say:

Allah Hoo

to you too tomorrow and always...


other things some other time ;)

arvind said...

Nice story! Reminds me of the Nasreddin story you told me over the phone some weeks back :)

May this search lead you (and all of us) to a place forever filled with peace and love and to a better understanding of ourselves.

Thanks again for the music and the love!

And good luck with your lecture!

kokolo said...

Not as eloquently, thank you Bolingo!

autumnleaf said...

bolingo-i am humbled at this latest posting. i too picked this up some years ago and thought it would be a pleasant surprise to share it with you...your presentation and the love of the art you share with it is a prod to re-dedicate myself to the task at hand. thanks so very much for sharing the heartfelt art....

bolingo69 said...

Egg Sqeeze me for not coming around here until now. But it has been, and still is, a bit too hectic in my life. I have a few deadlines to meet and will be a bit inattentive for some more days! But I am so very happy to see comments from so many valued visitors!

Lord Haw Haw, your garb is a moroccan galabeia? Looks very nice! THink I had one very much like that, when living in Marakech in the late sixties early seventies. You do know that you can always write me a mail? But I warn you that I may not become very responsive until after the 18th-20th of this month... I have just given a series of lectures on development of Sufi and some of the brotherhoods especially in Upper Egypt but also talking about several others from Senegal to East Turkestan but mostly concentrating on poetry, music and absurd humour, and early guides to threading the path. Favourites are too many to list here but include of course al-Arabi, maulânâ and Kushro. I also could not resist to speak about the unnecessary amount of martyrs and the ignorance of clergy in general regardless of religions. ;-)

Giri Mandi, I feel more at ease with my previous uneasiness with the title after your comment! Totally agree with you about the tasteless font! It was quite popular at the time and alas you can still see it pop up now and then. Exotism at its worst!

Allah Who? Allah Mi! al Hamdullila! Subhan Allah!

Right arvind, Only the Mulla is on to the truth! See you in a while at that place my dear, but first we have some dusty walking ahead of us I am sure.

Kokolo just seeeing your sincere countenance is blissful and rewarding enough!

And to see that my dear and recent acaintance autumnleaf has not blown away in the spring winds but found his way back here makes me very happy. I was wondering where you went to, but I have been to busy to write and inquire! Most welcome here and hope you find something to please your ears in the following days.

All the best to all of you!

Love Letters Journal said...

صلى الله عليه وسل‎ ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam - S.A.W. meaning "Peace be upon him" is a phrase that practising Muslims often say after saying (or hearing) the name of a prophet of Islam.

Interestingly, S.A.W. is also an abreviation for the "Self-avoiding walk", a fractal mathematical concept tending towards infinity.

One could certainly see paralells to the "egoless" sufi path to "the lord of power" and the "rigorous self-avoidance" described in this maths article

eL-Horto said...

I have to write innumerable pranam and mahathanx for You, Dear Lars, who is the Mahatma of the Nation of the Luobaniya.
If there was some information about your email address I could to explain a detailed danyavaad from/by a kindred soul from Hungisthan.
Laszlo Hortobagyi(

Anonymous said...

Bolingo!...God bless you for this balm upon my inner city morning greyness...only last night I dined upon sweet Gamelan ,Touaregs followed by raucous calabash...all thanks to your gracious should be rewarded!...explicit thank you's brother...Mr Crowe

bolingo69 said...

Thank you much for your warming words! I have only been able to maintain what was already made available already long ago but I hope to share some more of my favourite listening coming months … not only for you and Luobaniyans but much for my own wellbeing as I actually like to dwell here much more than time and circumstance has allowed …

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