publish date 2021-09-25 12:14:17
Influenced by Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi and his teachings, the American Catholic priest Professor Craig Victor Winter embraced Islam, and called himself Ismail and settled in Konya (central Turkey) to be close to Maulana Rumi (his shrine in Konya) and to learn more of his teachings.
Venter was born in 1955 in North Carolina, United States, grew up in Los Angeles, and at the will of his family attended Catholic school until he became a priest.
Venter worked for about 10 years. During that period, he received an academic education, then became a university professor, and began giving religious lectures at universities.
Although Venter was taught about his faith and beliefs, he began to sense an emptiness within him and set out to find a way to fill it. In 2004 Asin Chalabi met Bayrou, the twenty-second generation granddaughter of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, while she was in the United States.
Venter began to get his first information about Mevlana and about Islam, after which he went to Konya in 2005 at the invitation of Bayrou, and attended the ceremonies commemorating the death of Rumi.
Venter was greatly influenced by the teachings and the spiritual atmosphere that accompanies the rituals of the Mevlevi Order.. Until he converted to Islam in 2006, influenced by what he experienced and lived.
Venter received lessons on Islam and the order from Mevlevi Sheikh Nadir Qarni Buyuk, whom he had met during the festivities. Two months ago, Venter settled in Konya to be closer to Mevlana and to get to know the Mevlevi way better.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Ismael Venter talked about his conversion from a Catholic priest to Islam.. Then he settled in the Turkish city of Konya.
He said that he was raised a devout Christian since his childhood, and that his family always went to church on Sundays, and that his cousin was also a priest in the church.
He added that religion was very important to his family, and that his grandmother wanted him to become a priest, so he went to a school of monks (theology) to learn monasticism.
Venter noted that at school he had always been taught that God was Christ, but that some things seemed illogical to him.
He continued, “I believed in God, but there were things that were not true. Then the information I was explaining to my students started to seem illogical to me. So I have spent a large part of my life researching.”
He explained that he was giving lessons at the school of monks, adding: “But I was not convinced of what I was teaching the students. After a while, I saw that I could not go on with it, and I quit my job as a pastor, quit church and went back to my family in California, and got busy with music.”
And he added: “Music carried a lot of meanings, but my heart was empty. The applause from the crowd was great, but something was missing from me.”
Venter mentioned that he met Asin Chalabi Bayrou, granddaughter of Rumi, when she came to San Francisco on the advice of a teacher, and that he went to the house where the mystics meet, and then a woman came with her translator, and Venter did not know who she was, then he learned that she was a descendant of Jalal. Rumi religion.
He said that he listened to her and was very impressed with what he heard from her, as if he had found what he had been looking for all his life.
He added: “I told her (I feel as if I am at the bottom of the ocean, but I do not know where the treasure is). She replied, “Your search for treasure is the treasure itself, so you have already found it.”
He added, “I was very moved by this phrase. I went to Konya in 2005 at the invitation of Mevlana’s granddaughter and attended Rumi’s death anniversary celebrations.
** Supplication in Maulana Museum
Venter indicated that he had a special feeling while watching the Mevlevi dervishes performing the ritual of “allowing” (Mvlv rotation), and that he visited the Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi Museum while he was in Konya.
He mentioned that he visited the museum at the time of the dawn prayer, and the sheikh of Mawlawi “Qarni Buyuk” took him to the prayer window next to the green dome, and told him how to pray. Then he stood watching compare to Buyuk as he called.
Winter described the scene around him by saying that the whole place was covered in snow, and there was a red rose in the snow. Then the Sheikh called him to recite the supplication, so he went to the window without knowing what he would do.
He added that he began to pray. Then a strange thing happened that he did not know, but he felt shocked as if his heart had been torn, and he started crying and reciting the supplication several times. He felt as if Maulana Jalaluddin al-Rumi was calling him, so he cried for hours.
** “This is where I need to be”
Venter, asking Elder Qarni Buyuk to teach him a few things before his return to the United States, took him to his hotel room, opened the voice recorder and began to chant. He also read the Qur’an to him and some supplications and recorded them.
He pointed out that he did not understand anything of what he said. Compare Büyük in Turkish, but nevertheless, he understood it with a feeling, because they were speaking the language of hearts, so he finally realized that Mawlana’s path is the path of the Prophet Muhammad, and then he embraced Islam in the following year.
He continued, “I decided to settle in Konya to be close to Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, because I realized that this is where I should be. Before that, I used to come to Konya every year because it was the most suitable place to learn more about Mevlana.”
He went on to say that walking in the footsteps of Jalal al-Din al-Rumi in Konya is completely different from being in the United States, and that one of the young dervishes asked him about his family, and when he told him that his parents had died, the dervish told him, “My family and I, we will be your family.”
Winter concluded: “That was the most important thing someone said to me. So I kept coming to Konya until I settled there completely.”
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Source : ألدستور