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SUFISM      


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Music is an important element of Islam, as is the case with all religions. The attractive, purifying, taming characteristics of religious music, that keeps man close to God, has played an important role in the social life of the Turkish people.

Religious music is the kind of works sung by imams, singers, prayer singers, those who memorize the Holy Koran or other people who are present during recitation or prayers at tekyes, dergahs and mosques. The music developed during the practices such as calls for prayer, tilavet (correct reading) of Koran, Tekbir, Tevhid, Tehlil, Tesbih, Salavat, munacaat (praying) and Khutba is called "Music of Mosque". The music developed in tekyes and dergahs during practices of sufi masses, Bektashi folk songs, sema dances and religious poetry is called the "Music of Tekye" of "Sufi Music". The music of mosque does not use any instruments. Music of tekye is performed both with and without instruments.

Music for the sufists, who aim to seek for the pleasure of God, is not a target but a means to reach God. The sufist music emerged with participation of "mugannis" to sing hymns at masses.

Mugannis inspired the Sufis with their beautiful voices and music and lead them to dance and sema. They used to pass out during these sema dances and witness a supernatural state of mind, which was called “vecd” (awe). As it was reached with music, music became an indispensable part of masses of some orders.

In religious music, the greatest repertoire is in the form of hymns. The theme of these hymns, written to express religious and sufist feelings, was mentioning the name of or praying to God, mentioning the beautiful morals of Mohammad the Prophet and greeting his memory. The hymns of mosques are categorized in several groups such as recitation hymns, paternoster hymns, sugul, religious poetry and exclusive hymns for holy months.

Mevlevihanes were especially a home for the sufi music to develop as it was taught as a lesson besides Turkish, Arabic, Persian, calligraphy, gilding, sema and music. The mevlevihanes spread all around Anatolia to the smallest and farthest villages as far as Balkans and Middle East were a kind of concert hall with their sema dance halls, thus contributing the development of Ottoman music for centuries and helped to spread it.

Sufi music still continues to attract audiences to this formidable world with sema performances.