What is Darvish?

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What is Darvish?

Darvish is a commonly misspelled version of the word dervish, which pertains to a person in the Sufi Muslim faith who is seeking a path of asceticism. An ascetic is someone who lives a life whose main purpose is to seek spiritual and religious enlightenment. Thus, a dervish is the Sufi Muslim equivalent to what a monk is to Buddhism, a friar is to Christianity or a sadhu is to Hinduism.

Dervishes lead a life of poverty and religious devotion. Dervishes often seek alms, but it is said that real dervishes who are dressed in robes and uses a kashkul (a bow or pot used to collect food and money to deliver to the poor, anonymously) do not beg. It is also important to note that dervishes do not beg for themselves, but rather gives whatever they have collected to the poor.

The most popular dervish is probably the whirling dervish of Turkey or Sufi whirling. This frenzied whirling is a form of meditation for the dervishes, a method by which they claim to reach the source of perfection. When the dervishes whirl, they wear a felt high cap and a dress-like tunic which billows out when they do their fast turns. Because of the visual appeal of the whirling dervishes of Turkey, it has become a tourist draw, and has even given birth to another meaning of ‘dervish’ in the English language, meaning ‘frenzied energy’.

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