Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Dervish (from a Persian word = doormat, i.e. beggars at the door), a class of Mohammedan begging monks, who are bound to poverty, chastity, and obedience. Some are in monasteries, others scattered among the people. They somewhat resemble the fakirs of India. At their public services, the highest order, the dancers, whirl round and round, shouting incessantly, "There is no God but God," while the "howlers," a less exalted class, sway themselves backwards and forwards, shouting the same sentence. These services are one of the sights of Cairo. The term is also applied to the fanatical Soudanese troops of the Mahdi, or to those of them who have been a pilgrimage to Mecca.