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Jakarta Post

Touching the face of God through the Sufi dance

Fri, May 31, 2019   /   05:47 pm
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    Backlight: A Sufi dancer's silhouette. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Proper wear: A dancer wears a costume called tennur. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    In nature: Sufi dancers love to train outdoors. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    To the heavens: Nurul Hidayah Al-Mubarokah Islamic Boarding School students practice the Sufi dance to get closer to God. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    March on: Sufi dancers head for their dance location. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Local flavor: Sufi dancing has become a part of daily life in Boyolali's Sempu village. JP/ Maksum Nur Fauzan

Maksum Nur Fauzan

People spend time during Ramadan in various ways, one of which is practicing the Sufi dance.

The dance was created by Mawlana Jalaludin Rumi and shown for the first time in Anatolia, Turkey, in the 13th century and it has become an extracurricular activity at the Nurul Hidayah AlMubarokah Islamic Boarding School in Boyolali’s Sempu village in Central Java.

Instructor Musa Asngari said the dance helped students gain tranquility, focus on their interests and promote their physical health through movement.

Every afternoon, a number of santri (students) train in the auditorium or outdoors.

The dance begins with prayers offered by the dancers, who are dressed in costumes comprising sikke (conical caps) and tennur (long-sleeved cloaks). Beginners tend to become dizzy and might even pass out because they are not accustomed to the movements, which are a rapid counterclockwise spin, a symbol of an attempt to resist worldly desires.

They also simultaneously utter dhikr (praise to God) in tune with musical accompaniment. According to student Hermawan, this is a form of meditation for self-improvement and concentration.