Şemsi Tebrizi (“The Sun of Tabriz”) was the spiritual guide, inspiration and companion of Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî.
Mehmet Şemseddin Tebrizi was an itinerant dervish whose travels eventually brought him to Konya.
In 1244 he met Rumî, and the two mystics became spiritual friends.
To Rumî, Şemsi became “The Sun,” a spiritual light that guided him in his quest for union with the Divine. Rumî stopped teaching in the medreses (seminaries) in order to spend more time in communion with Şemsi.
Alarmed by the hold Şemsi had on their master, a group of Rumî’s followers murdered the itinerant dervish in hopes of reclaiming Rumî’s loyalty to them.
Plunged into despair by the murder of his friend and inspiration, Rumî withdrew into prayer and meditation, and eventually laid the groundwork for the foundation of the Mevleviorder of (whirling) dervishes.
Şemsi Tebrizi’s mosque is undistinguished. It was once used as a tekke, or dervish hall, which explains the square shape of the main hall.
There is a tomb beneath the cenotaph now considered to be that of Şemsi Tebrizi, but there has been no conclusive evience that the tomb belongs to Şemsi—or even, in fact, that Şemsi was murdered. He may have simply been driven out of Konya. We’ll probably never know.
Still, the devout come and pray next to the cenotaph.
The Şemsi Tebrizi mosque’s imam is particularly jolly, friendly and welcoming. He has greeted me kindly on every visit over several decades. On a recent visit, he passed out candy bonbons to all and sundry.
The mosque and tomb, open during daylight hours for free, is just a minute’s walk north of Alaettin Caddesi, the main avenue, in the center of Konya.