The Dervish is the story of the life of Ahmed Nurudin, sheikh of the teleija of the order of the Mevlevs in a provincial town in Bosnia at the time of Turkish domination. The first-person narration, with the leading character telling the story, begins shortly after a turning event in Ahmed Nurudin’s life that will lead him to ruin. Ahmed Nurudin lives in his world of absolute certainties and eternal truths, as codified and sanctioned by the Koran, detached from the world of ordinary men and women, over whom he claims leadership. His attitude is that of the spectator, or witness – never that of participant. But at a decisive moment for him, life forces him to do what he is escaping from: to act and take sides.