This is the website of the Swiss Branch of the Mevlevi Order. The main language here is German, however we offer on it also some space for interested persons of other languages. This part of our Website offers some limited information in English. For a complete information please consult the websites of our brothers and sisters in English speaking regions. Their addresses are listed under “Links”. May our doing be of service to all human beings striving for the real purpose of their existence! May we be allowed to do this in the light and under the protection of our Pir Hazreti Mevlana! May Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate protect us!

Mevlana's Mausoleum in Konya
Mevlana’s Mausoleum in Konya


Drehritual in Zürich                                                 Sema in Zürich


On the communication of sacred statements: Why is Rumi so popular in the West? (2023)

(Workshop on communication, Medipol University Ankara, 25th of November 2023)

Short speech by Peter Hüseyin Cunz, Mevlevi-Order in Switzerland


Bismillahi ar-Rahmani ar-Rahim


The Pir of the Mevlevi Order, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, has conquered the West with his poems like no other poet. This is a new phenomenon of the 20th century. In earlier times Mevlana was no better known than al-Ghazali, Ibn ‘Arabi, and other Islamic scholars. How was this accelerated awareness possible in today’s time?


I was asked to talk about communication. Any communication includes a source and a receiver. Both contribute to the success of the transmission of a message. Would you listen to me now if you were not interested in what I had to say? Certainly not! As a speaker, I depend on your interest. Therefore, anyone who communicates must have the recipient in focus. If we want to understand the communication of Mevlana, we have first to know his personality, and then we should ask: “To whom was Mevlana’s message addressed? Who was interested and pleased by it? And who felt challenged by it?”



About Mevlana’s personality I just want to emphasize that he had great reverence for our Prophet. His thoughts and actions were guided by the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Islamic customs (Sunnah), as it was the standard for a person like him. He served as a jurist to the Seljuq rulers in Konya; Islamic jurisprudence (fıkh) was his bread and butter. From an academic point of view, he had reached the pinnacle of Islamic scholarship.


Through his meeting and friendship with the mystic Shams of Tabriz, and mainly through the loss of him later-on, his point of view shifted. He started to see the world in a new light. He began to dictate poetry and cultivated his love for music and Sema. Without having sought it, he became a great master of mysticism. He describes the achieved state in his typical way:


Those who have polished their hearts have escaped from mere scent and color;
they contemplate beauty at every moment without tarrying.

They have left the form and shell of knowledge;
they have raised the banner of certainty.

Thought has gone, and they have found light;

they have found the essence and the sea of divine knowledge.

                                                                       (Mesnevi 1:3492 ff)


After loosing his friend Shams of Tabriz, Mevlana behaved more or less the same way as before, and he continued to serve the Seljuk ruler in matters of jurisprudence. But now he addressed people who had already developed a certain openness to the divine world. They were deeply touched by him. Mevlana enlarged their view of this world and fostered their inner access to the divine.


All this happened over 750 years ago. And how is it today? One thing is clear: whoever is a serious pupil of Mevlana today will be a serious follower of the Islamic faith. I’m afraid there are not many of them in the West! Therefore, the popularity of Mevlana in the West has little to do with following his doctrine. Mevlana never asked to become a “free thinker” according to the fashion of today’s Western culture. (By the way, when I talk about the Western culture it includes that part of the population in Türkiye that loves the European and American way of life.)


We have now understood that it is not Mevlana’s doctrine making him popular in the Western culture. But why are non-Muslims and seculars touched by him? In the West we can observe a spiritual isolation of the individual. Many people reject the traditional religions for understandable reasons and look for new spiritual teachings. Thus, a veritable spiritual market has emerged in which thousands of self-proclaimed masters from East and West offer a spiritual program. The individual person is completely overwhelmed by the amount of seductive offers and thus easily falls into their trap.


Many of these offers include the claim to communicate directly with the Divine. For me this is completely pretentious and absolutely unacceptable. I learned from Mevlana that we are not entitled to a direct communication with the King. The King does not speak directly to the common people. He has ministers and officials at his court for that purpose. According to Mevlana, the way to perfection is through the Shaykh and the Prophet.


But still, despite Mevlana’s clear affiliation with traditional Islam, the spiritual market of the West has found him as suitable bait. Single verses picket out from the context lend themselves to a cheap promise, a promise of spiritual experience without effort and without submitting to an existing form. Today’s providers of books on Mevlana succeed in presenting a New Age-view on Mevlana. They do that by leaving away all what has to do with Islam, and by leaving away all statements that talk about the hardship of a spiritual path (tasawwuf). Also they simplify and shorten the verses, and they don’t indicate the source.


It just so happens that people love fantasy bubbles. Our world is full of them – we only need to observe the huge consumption of virtual worlds offered with advanced electronics. In the West, Mevlana is misused as an instrument for freedom and liberation from all religious forms. Adapted excerpts of his poems are used to legitimize a spirituality that seeks well-being. It is the spirituality of our time that mostly serves one’s own Self (nafs).


So we can conclude now that Mevlana’s popularity in the West is not based on an authentic relationship with him, but on a supply of adapted and romanticized verses of his poems. The spirituality of New Age declines his insisting to surrender to the prophetic path, and it is not interested by his repeated reminder to work hard.


Let me end with the general question of how religiosity and sacred statements can be communicated. I remind you again that the recipient of a communication is as important as the source. It is not enough to preach sacred texts if there is no interest in them. Among the Sufis we know the ritualized spiritual teaching (sohbet), in which the Shaykh speaks to the listeners. A necessary condition for this is that the listeners listen attentively. For all Sufis there is an irrevocable commandment that no one interrupts the Shaykh. If this condition is fulfilled and those present listen devotedly, an atmosphere is created where the Shaykh is inspired to say what is necessary for those listening. Thus, a sohbet does not succeed solely because of the Shaykh’s knowledge, but much more thanks to the devotion and openness of the listeners. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) put what I wish to convey to you in a nutshell:


Worldly things must be known so that they can be loved.

Divine things must be loved so that they can be known.


Applied to Mevlana, this means: one must love all his statements in order to understand him. And this includes a love for Islam and the Prophet. For you this is normal because it is part of the Turkish culture, but for people in the West it is difficult. Their understanding of Islam is shaped by what they read in the newspapers, and thus they fear Islam. Without support they can’t discover its beauty. So they tend to rather follow a romanticized view of Mevlana and not bother about Islam.


In the hope for a spiritual experience many people from the West travel to Türkye. They believe that the Whirling Dervishes know the secret of spiritual experience. But then they are disappointed because they encounter only theatrical folklore. This can’t be in the interest of Turkey. Please be aware: the tourists attending Sema are not stupid, they can very well distinguish between serious spirituality and theatrical spectacle.


In your beautiful country there is an immense richness of spiritual knowledge. But the way Mevlana’s name and the Sema are currently communicated and misused for all sorts of advertisement gives me cause for concern. Türkye should be proud of its spiritual heritage and not allow its degrading to the level of cheap spiritual fantasies! Sema is not only part of the cultural heritage but much more of the spiritual heritage! I think that the authorities of this country have a responsibility to emphasize the religious aspect and the seriousness of the Sema and other Sufi rituals. They should do this in respect for Islam.


Thank you for listening!


Speech on Magic and Tasawwuf (November 2023)

Int. Mevlana Foundation Istanbul, November 20th 2023 by Peter Hüseyin Cunz



My Shaykh Hüseyin Top Dede mentioned some month ago here in this room the
problem of magic. Our Prophet was attacked by malice magic, and he needed
protection. So the Sura 113 al-Falaq (the daybreak) was revealed. This gave me the
idea to give to you some detailed information about magic.

We all believe in Angels and love them, don’t we. They protect us. But likewise
we have to accept the existence of Devils. Do you know where the angels and devils
are located? Are you clear about where they come from to help us or to create
difficulties? That’s about what I’d like to talk now. And of course, after that you may
ask questions. Read More

The awareness of Islam and the Prophet (December 2016)

Peter Hüseyin Cunz, Congress in Konya, 15.12.2016 


Bismillahi ar-Rahmani ar-Rahim, assalamo aleikum, 


Praise be to our Prophet Muhammad, he who serves as our reference! Peace and Blessings of Allah may accompany him and his relatives! 


I express my sincere thanks to the Authorities of Konya and to the organizers for having invited me to this event. And I thank the family Çelebi for being the custodians of Mevlana’s heritage, making it possible for us in Europe and elsewhere in the world to understand the Prophet and his light! 


If Islam started in the 7th century, what then does this mean for the science of evolution, for the modern physics and psychology? Or, was Islam since ever? 

If Muhammad is the seal of the Prophets, what then does this mean for 1 billion Chinese, 1 billion Christians, 1 billion Hindus and several billions of rationalists? Or, is Allah also to them  “closer than the jugular vein”? (ayat 50.16) 

Muslims go into war against Muslims, intelligent theologians fight with the tongue against other intelligent theologians because of differences in the interpretation of holy scripts. Muslims build walls instead of reaching hands. What does this mean for today’s Islam who should guide us on a way beyond the boarders of comprehension? 

These are questions to which I have to be able to answer in a comprehensive way when I wish to convince Europeans about the universality of Islam. 


With the internet the world has become very little: ethical values and rules of society are completely different than in the 7th century on the Arabian Peninsula. Today slavery is rejected as unethical, and today it is not tolerated anymore to have the men ruling over women. I have to consider this if I want to convince Europeans about the universality of Islam. 


Dear brothers and sisters, time is relative. Time is bound to gravitation, and it changes according to the condition of matter. Time disappears if we get close to the divine. Saints such as Hz. Mevlana knew this very well. By reducing Islam to its historical context we rob it the universality. 


May we have the courage to testify a universal view of Islam! Allah is not only close to Muslims. Let us stop to reduce Allah to the limited comprehension of the medieval theologians! Let us recognise the Light of Muhammad also in the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu and the rationalist! Let us reach hands, be it with Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or rationalists! Let us be amazed in gratitude, let us look into the heart of each other, and let us together with the non-Muslims bow in front of the incomprehensible cryptic Ultimate that we Muslims call Allah! 


Dear Brothers and Sisters, I’m a thankful guest here in Konya, and therefore I wish to close with a verse of my Pir. It is to be found in the first book of his Mesnevi: 


You are an idol worshipper when you remain in bondage to forms. Leave the idol’s form and look at the reality.

If you are a man for the Pilgrimage, seek a pilgrim as your companion, whether he be a Hindu or a Turk or an Arab.

Do not look at his figure and colour, look at his purpose and intention.

If he is black, yet he is in accord with you: call him white, for spiritually his complexion is the same as yours.

                                                                                                    (Mesnevi 1:2893-2896) 




Introduction to Sema, October 2015 in Canada and USA

By Peter Hüseyin Cunz, Toronto and NY State, October 13th – 20th 2015

Good evening dear ladies and gentlemen! 

Let me start with the first four verses of the well-known masterpiece of poetry, the Masnawi, containing over 25’000 mystical verses dictated by Celaleddin Rumi and recorded in writing by his pupils in the 13th century. The teaching within our Sufi-Order – the Mevlevi-Order – is based on the messages of this saint and spiritual master. His interpretation of the Koran and of the Islamic tradition is highly humanistic and modern. Also traditional Muslims consider him to be one of the greatest saints in Islam. Today he is also much appreciated and loved by non-Muslims. Books with scientific translations and interpretations as well as with romantically adapted translations of his poems are nowadays much in demand. 

Listen to the reed-flute, how it is complaining!
It is telling about separations, saying,
“Ever since I was parted from the reed field,
men and women have lamented in my cries.

I want a heart which is torn, torn from separation,
so that I may unfold the pain of yearning.
Anyone who has remained far from his root,
seeks a return to the time of his union.

(Masnawi 1:1-4)

What did Rumi express in these verses? Please allow me to give some guidance:

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A Still Point in a Turning World (December 2000)

Speech of Hüseyin Peter Cunz in Ankara on 15./16.12.2000 


Honourable Minister, your Excellencies,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I’m thankful to be allowed to be among you, and I congratulate the organisers for this well-done event. Please allow me to outline – in other words – a few points from the paper I offered for this occasion. I begin with a verse from T.S.Eliot:

At the still point of the turning world
Neither flesh nor fleshless
Neither from or towards
At the still point, there the dance is
But neither arrest nor movement

Let us acknowledge that everything in this world is subject to change and movement! And it is not alone the environment, politics and social co-operation that are subject to change. Also religion is confronted with the changes of our time. If we accept that Hz Mohammed was the last Prophet and that Islam was revealed for all people for all time, then we may not simultaneously demand that the culturally conditioned forms of religious expression should never change.

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Sufism and freedom (H. Nur ARTIRAN, July 2009)

Speech by H. Nur Artıran at a conference of the Tariqa Alawyyia in Mostaganem, July 2009 

Distinguished guests, my friends, firstly I would like to express how happy it makes me to be here amongst you, in your esteemed presence. May I pay my deepest respects to every one of you and pray that this meeting at this time reaches all of its objectives and is instrumental in bringing beneficence to the World. 

‘Spirituality and challenges of our time‘ which is perhaps the most important item on our agenda, immediately brings to our memory some couplets from Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi: 

‘You have not come to this World to feed your body which will eventually be prey for the worms in your grave1. You have learned a certain craft or art; you do have a certain profession to nourish your body, to meet its needs. And what have you done about nourishing your soul? Learn the Art of Religion to nourish that.2 Turn to ‘meaning’ (mana) for a change. Do not be attached to the transient delights of the world to live as a ‘free man’ so that you do not become a prisoner of possessions, position, food and drink and suchlike.’ 3

These precious words of Celaleddin Rumi enable us to widen our horizon and look at the notion of freedom from a different angle.

The first clause of the Declaration of Human Rights following the French Revolution of 1789 states that a human being is born free and lives a free life. Although this clause seems to be quite reasonable and acceptable, one believes that certain questions have to be raised regarding this notion of freedom.

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Since the creation of Adam and Eve, the value of women in society has always been a long discussed issue for all religions and civilizations.  Every prevailing society, notion and civilization has presented various opinions regarding women, and based on these opinions, valued and placed them in the society. 

In this context, value of women in society has also been an issue for Muslim nations; however Islam’s true view of women has not been fully understood.  It was a common belief that Islam did not grant the value that women deserved and tried to keep women out of social life.  Certainly, this is not true, but merely an outcome of a prejudiced perspective. 

I believe that if we look at the beginning of Islam and the value of women in numerous societies, then we can better appreciate the value given to women by Islam, by the prophet Mohammed -the supreme announcer of Islam-, and consequently by Mawlana. Therefore, I would like to shortly mention how different societies viewed women. 

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What I learned from Şefik Can Efendi (January 2015)

Speech by Peter Hüseyin Cunz

10th Commemoration of Honourable Şefik Can Dede
Konya, 23rd and 24th of January 2015

Dear Chair-Lady, dear Maqam Çelebi, dear Ms President of Şefik Can International Mevlânâ Education and Cultural Association, dear Governor of Konya, dear Mayor of Konya, honourable Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for inviting me to this event and allowing me to address a few words in remembrance of Şefik Can Efendi. It means a lot to me for the simple reason that I learned a lot from this remarkable man. I met him first in 1996 and many other times in Istanbul and in Switzerland. I thank Allah for these opportunities.

Next to Şefik Can Efendi I always felt a balance of authority and gentleness. With the time I understood that these qualities originated from his authenticity and not from being bound with his nafs. Şefik Can Efendi went through an academic and military career, and until his old age he had clear opinions on political, social and cultural questions. But it was certainly through his engagement with Hz. Mevlana’s messages that his opinions ceased to be an expression of his nafs. In his argumentation I recognized an immense knowledge with free and clear reasoning.

From time to time we invited Şefik Can Efendi to visit us in Switzerland. His sohbets were always heart-warming and elevating, and we were left with a treasure of remembrance and knowledge. Once we celebrated Sema, and of course I asked him to be Postnişin by using my destar. And we had to smile because the destar was too big for him, and we had to find a way of fixing it on his head. Şefik Can Efendi had a great sense of humour also about himself. Vanity was non-existent.

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Speech of Celal Çelebi at the Vatican (September 2014)

Your Eminence, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen.

Since Turkey is a part of Anatolia we know that we are also former citizens of the Great Roman Empire. We are aware that, Tutte le strade portano a Roma. Tonight, as the 23rd generation descendant of Jelaleddin Rumi and a representative of the 800 year old tradition, I am glad to be with the distinguished and honoured members of your great society.

In his book On Heaven and Earth, His Holiness Pope Francis underlined the importance of dialogue and said: “In order to establish dialogue it is necessary to know how to lower the defences, open the doors of the house, and offer human warmth.” First of all, we have come here to build a better dialogue between East and West. Rumi says “I am neither of the East nor of the West; no boundaries exist in my heart.”

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