Şemsi Tebrizi ("The
Sun of Tabriz") was the spiritual
guide, inspiration and companion of Mevlâna
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
To Rumî, Şemsi became "The
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 Mevlevi order of (whirling)
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
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.