In his book entitled ‘the Legends of the Enlightened Ones’ Ahmed Eflaki narrates that His Holiness Mevlana performed three days and nights, seven days and nights, sixteen days and nights and forty days and nights nonstop sema.
The sema at the time of His Holiness Mevlana is narrated as an activity which had widespread participation and was based on trance. In our day, the sema ceremony which is officially known as ‘mukabele’, has become an activity which is limited to thirty or thirty five minutes.
The reason for this change was a Mevlevite Sheikh, Adil Celebi, who lived 350 years after His Holiness Mevlana; he had a vision and changed the sema or modified it to what it is today.
In 1998, at a seminar held in Switzerland this subject was discussed and upon the request of the participants a 3 days and 3 nights sema similar to the ones at the time of His Holiness Mevlana was organized in Switzerland. At the aforementioned event sema continued unintermittantly for 3 days and nights, only the semazens were changed; the music also did not stop and only the musicians changed.
Since the 3 days and nights sema carried out in Switzerland pleased everyone, it became a cornerstone for similar activities elsewhere. After this long sema many sema organizations were organized in Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Austria and Spain. The number and the duration of sema organizations performed in these countries are as follows:
- 31 times 3 days and nights
- 5 times 5 days and nights
- 7 times 7 days and nights
- once 9 days and nights
- once 16 days and nights
- 3 times 40 days and nights
- once 66 days and nights
- once 99 days and nights
- once 114 days and nights
During the final stages of the 99 days and nights sema it was seen that the participants wanted to prolong the event. From this point of view many comments were made about the duration of the next event, and in the end a 114 days and nights of sema organization was agreed upon. This event started on May the 1st 2017 and ended on the 23rd of August.
The duration of 99 days and nights sema event was decided inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah. The decision about the duration of the 114 days and nights sema event was based upon the number of suras in the Holy Qoran.
Nonstop sema, and unintermittant dhikr (invocation) and music are the basic principles of this event. The semazens and the musicians perform in shifts. Many successful examples of this kind of activity were demonstrated previously.