The dervishes were called “the people of the veranda”, in Arabic, “Ahal to Suffa’ where ‘Suffa’ stands for ‘veranda’. In this term, some see the origin of the term ‘Sufi’.
In Medina, behind the tomb of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, there was a terrace where there was a sort of couch. There dervishes gathered every morning doing nothing but talk of the divine, of the news, drinking tea, telling jokes, playing, and when it was time to pray they prayed, and they ate when the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was bringing them food. That was also the best place, to see him as first when he was leaving the house. That’s it.
Some outraged, were protesting: “But it cannot be, make them work, give them something to do. They are so lazy, sitting there drinking tea all day long. What they are for?” And the Divine Messenger replied: “Well, I really do not know. But they love me. And I love them. That’s it.”
With Maulana it is the same thing. If you go to Cyprus you sit, you talk a lot, drink tea, pray, and sit again, chat and drink a tea. Exactly the same thing. The only novelty is that it may come Maulana and say, “Okay, now you, you and you: go to work in the garden.” And you go to work, you reach the garden of orange trees, you begin to pick up some fruit, and after the tenth orange you sit down, you start to peel it, someone brings the tea, and you make a nice picnic in the shade of the trees. Then you come back. And you sit down for a cup of tea and start again to chat and the pryer time comes. There it works like this.