"and some said they’d heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn"
This style of ritual dance (known as Sufi whirling or spinning) originated among the Sufi and is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order. By listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning their bodies in repetitive circles, the dancers aim to rid themselves of ego and personal desire, thereby reaching the source of all perfection, or kemal. The spinning has been interpreted as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun.
Djinn (a type of Arabic genie or devil) is a term used to describe dust devils of the Middle East, some of which reach hundreds of metres in height.