Meeting with an Anatolian Sufi

ArthurInterview, Production, Sufi, The Essence

The region of Anatolia is a broad peninsula that lies between the Mediterranean and Black seas. It’s one of the great ancient crossroads between Asia and Europe and today, most of the region is part of modern day Turkey. This land carries with it a long history of the Sufi tradition. One of the most well know saints of the Sufi tradition associated with this region is Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, also known as Rumi.

We had a chance to spend two months (Dec. – Jan.) living in Istanbul. During this time we were working commercially so we can continue funding The Essence film as well as learning more about the local culture and diving deeper into the Sufi tradition. With the help of our friends Ayse & Kerem we had a chance to meet with Dede Hasan Çıkar and watch a live soma ceremony of the whirling dervishes of the Mevlana order which is a direct lineage of Rumi. After our first explorations into the Sufi tradition and learning more about this mystical path we understood that the Mevlana order is a Devotional path and that it was not fitting the subject matter of our film. So we continued our exploration deeper and learned that Sufi tradition also has an approach through the path of knowledge that is associated with masters like Ibn Arabi. This approach seemed to be more aligned to our film’s content so we continued to learn more while waiting for the right opportunity to meet with one of the most respected Sufi mystics and philosophers in Turkey – Metin Bobaroğlu.

Kerem had a direct link to Metin as he had worked with him on a previous documentary Göbekli Tepe, a film that explores the oldest (12.000 year old) Vedic temple found in Turkey. When Kerem explained to Metin over the phone that we were interested in interviewing him and that we wanted to uncover the metaphysics of the Divine Feminine in Islam, his reply was: “Of course, that’s what the world needs today.” Metin’s wife and his students were surprised by his response as we later found out when they told us that he doesn’t give interviews so easily and especially on such a topic in Turkey these days when the state is becoming increasingly more conservative.

After arranging our date of interview, we traveled to one of the islands off the coast of Istanbul to where Metin and some of his students & friends live in a community setting. We had the opportunity to spend the whole day with Metin, his wife and a few of his students & friends that were hosting this rare gathering at their house. Eren, Kerem’s sister was helping us translate our questions to Metin, as well as conduct the interview because it was all in Turkish.

It was a beautiful day of sharing between all of us over some food & wine, Metin gave us some of his inspiring wisdom in a 2.5 hour interview while everything was unfolding so beautifully & effortlessly…

While most of Metin’s published materials are in Turkish we found some interesting articles in English to share with you.

The Concept of Female Principle in The Hajj Ritual

Anatolia, Ashura and Sohbet

Dialogos as The Anatolian Tradition of Sohbet


Metin’s interview is now fully transcribed and is currently being translated into English by Eren in Istanbul,  so hopefully we’ll be able to share some content from the interview soon.