In Islam, a member of a Sufi fraternity. These mystics stressed emotional aspects of devotion through ecstatic trances, dancing, and whirling. Dervishes can be either resident in the community or lay members; wandering or mendicant dervishes are called fakirs and are often regarded as holy men who possess miraculous powers. Though viewed as unorthodox and extreme by most Muslims, the movement has endured to the present. See also Sufism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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