Whirling_dervish

whirling dervish

noun
a dervish whose actions include ecstatic dancing and whirling 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

whirling dervish

fraternity of Sufis (Muslim mystics) founded in Konya (Qonya), Anatolia, by the Persian Sufi poet Rumi (d. 1273), whose popular title mawlana (Arabic: "our master") gave the order its name. The order, propagated throughout Anatolia, controlled Konya and environs by the 15th century and in the 17th century appeared in Constantinople (Istanbul). European travelers identified the Mawlawiyah as dancing (or whirling) dervishes, based on their observations of the order's ritual prayer (dhikr), performed spinning on the right foot to the accompaniment of musical instruments.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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