The Israeli Dervish – Al Jazeera World

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Miki Cohen is a 58-year-old college teacher who has ‘discovered’ the works of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, a 13th-century Muslim poet and Sufi mystic.

Attracted by Rumi’s writings and philosophy, Miki translates his works into Hebrew and practices whirling in worship.

What makes Cohen’s story so remarkable is that he is an Israeli. The son of holocaust survivors and a veteran of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Cohen found himself searching for answers to his spiritual identity.

“I was in the Israeli army in the ’73 war. And the war mentality, the killing mentality, the feeling that we are on one side victims and on the other side we are the oppressors. So, what are we? So I started, you know, looking for bigger answers let’s say or deeper …. For many years I was looking in many places,” he explains.

Along with several other Israelis, he undertakes a spiritual search and is attracted by the mysticism of Sufism.

But Miki goes a step further. He travels to Konya in central Turkey, the resting place of Rumi and a city once known as the ‘citadel of Islam’ with a reputation for religious conservatism. It is the centre for the Mevlevi Sufi order of Islam.

Miki becomes one of few outsiders – and certainly the only Israeli – to be granted access to the inner sanctum of the whirling Dervishes.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Muslim ,I support every effort of every human being to pursuit happiness , weather its in Islam or any other way of life , I don't have the right to judge anyone its Allah's job not mine.

  2. I want to suggest miki that he must give his hands in the hands of a مرشد murshad (spirtual master ) . It will play the roll of guiding light and you would be able to travel your dark path with a burning candle☺

  3. Let's see if Arab Muslims try to be as open-minded as these Israeli Jews and learn about Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism)? I can guarantee you, that will NOT go down well with Muslims. The goal of the Muslims is to subtly convert these Israeli Jews. Miki Cohen will have to say the Shaddah, which means he is a Muslim.

  4. MIKI COHEN STOP DECIEVING PEOPLE. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR SOUL. STOP TELLING THEM THAT SNAKE AND SCORPIO WILL LEAD THEM TO SALVATION. YOU ARE CHANTING ALLAHO ALLAHO…..DO YOU KNOW WHO WAS AND IS ALLAH. GO AND EDUCATE YOURSELF. STOP MISLEADING PEOPLE.

  5. It is a Muslims duty to kill infidels. Who are the Infidels? All non Muslims are considered INFIDELS. You guys should go and study what is the truth. YOU ARE CONFUSED.

  6. Not Christian or Jew or
    Muslim, not Hindu,
    Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.
    Not any religion How could God of Jesus be Allah???? You guys are deceiving people. You are blind and leading blind. Yes Rumi didn't believe in any systematic religion but you guys are deceiving people with your messages. Where in Quran can you find " LOVE YOUR ENEMY"?

  7. You guys are deceived by devil. How could Allah and God of Jesus be the same. In Quran 2 :216 Allah orders Muslims to go and fight whether they like it or not and then we have Jesus saying " Love your enemy". There are 435 violence enticing versus in Quran. You guys are "SUGER COATING" the truth. Yes Rumi was a magnificent poet. He was a Sufi, but Sufism is not Islam. You guys should study more.

  8. Rumi was my great grand father. And Darvishes they do not call their God Allah. They call them Ya Hoova or Ya huuv … And Rumi originally was not from Turkey , but IRAN or Balkh which was at the time part of IRAN. Rumi was not arab. Please….

  9. I know in most north American cities dervish have weekly gatherings in Iran they have different orders in different cities  one of the main thing in dervish ways they care little about world possessions to reach that inner peace and reach higher level you have  to be able to leave behind what locks you to this world its easier  said than done.

  10. Sufis sometimes used hashish  in there soup ( abgosht) same as hassan e sabbah the founder of hashishion or assisin in Alamut castle cetral iran he incorporated hashish into his ceremonies.

  11. this is not true in Iran there were few Iranian Jews belonging to dervish way as far as 18 centaury rumi was a Persian sufi and poet when he died in where is turkey now there were no turks in that area turks  seljug turks were given a city in that area by Iranians which it grow in time and became ottoman empire ask any Persian Jews in Israel they will tell you that Jalal-e-Din Mohamm ad Molavi Rumi was born in 1207 CE at Balkh in the north-eastern provinces of Persia I am told that when you read it in Persian that's when you grasp the debt of it

  12. Astagfirullah , It's not Islam , why you Idiots are spreading these Innovations ?

    May Allah Give you proper knowledge or destroy you before you can cause more harm to Islam and Muslim Ummah.

  13. I am from Makkah , Miki Cohen , Shalom my friend , hopefully, one day , with people like you and your friends we will have a world with no borders , no check point where we all celebrate every single holiday there is. Enjoy your beautiful life my friend.

  14. the way of true spiritual path same God whether he be follower of Moses of Jesus or Mohammed turns whole-heartedly to God."Ahl al Haqq" "the followers of the Real" only one who is pure in heart can become a Sufi

  15. Just for the sake of info;
    And to be abrupt..
    Truly, to understand Rumi you have to be at certain level yourself………
    Rumi was Muslim but for the origin of Rumi and to understand Dervish philosophy you have to start in Balkh, Afghanistan, where Rumi and Sufism is from…..
    Their family residence is called Khoja Bahaweddin of Balkh or Bactria….
    Peace of Sufism starts in the original monotheistic religion of Zaruastronism…
    Rumi was writing in Dari, Royal Persian….

  16. jalaladi rumi crazy name so the turks brought this area some mystic poetry dervish dance? nice of them, they can dance smoke pott connect with the air lol but for me is it just funny beautiful panorama nice pictures thanks for sharing this is some interesting stuff.

  17. "Islam is taking over the world because it's such a nice religion" is kinda what this report wants to portray. But in the end it's just very selective issue reporting that has a propaganda flair.

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