What is a dervish?

   A dervish is a member of a Muslim religious order. Dervishes, or fakirs, represent the mystical Sufi movement in Islam, which encourages direct experience of God. Like Christian monks and friars, most dervishes are committed to repentance, abstinence, and poverty. Generally, initiates live in monasteries and lay members in secular communities, but some dervishes wander about begging.    Dervishes meet periodically to celebrate the dikhr, or liturgy, which may include prayer, howling chants, and whirling dances Many dervishes do charitable work, and all are missionaries of Islam.