Sufi Sangeet- Music Close To God


Sufism is a divine derivative of Islam and those who believe in it say that through certain parameters which give control to one’s mind, it’s easy to reach god. Sufis worship god through dance and music devoted to spirituality and regards music as the food for soul. This practice widely spread in India at the time of Mughal era. Apart from India, it is practised in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and middle-east Asian countries. Sufis believe that the whole world exists in the basic element – Music!


Sufi whirling – dance steps in circular motion is also associated with Sufism. From left leg to right leg at the angle of 360 degrees, dancers do this practice. A long top on sleeveless shirt plus a jacket and belt is the costume of Sufi dancers. When one dances assuming body to be earth and heart as sun, he achieves a divine spirituality. These dance sequences are well picturized in the popular song – Khwaja meri khwaja composed and sung by A. R. Rehman in Jodha Akhbar.


Qawali is an integral part of Sufi music. Though it’s associated with Islam, it got popularized in India through many popular songs like Parda Hai Parda of Amar Akbar Antony, Tere Mehfil mein of Mughal-E-Azam, Yeh Ish ishq hai of Barsaat ki raat (1960) etc. Qawali originated in Persia in the 11th century and it’s a branch of Sufi music. It was introduced to India by Sheikh Nizamuddin Owlia of Delhi in daily worships. His disciple Ameer Khusro made some significant contributions to incorporate the elements of Hindustani music with the music of Persia, Turkey etc giving a new form of Sufi music in the 13th century - a tradition still followed. Qawali songs include romantic elements apart from devotion and mostly adapted the works of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is regarded as the Acharya of modern Qawali, who has been instrumental in popularizing the music form among masses. Atheeq Hussain Khan from Hyderabad and Vadali brothers from Amritsar are some of the leading names of Indian Qawali. Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak, Ney, Saranga, Bandir and Bagalama are some of the traditional instruments used for Sufi music.   

Article Posted By : Sandhya RanilView All Articles

Am a die hard fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, though I have listened to only few of his compositions

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Keywords :
Sufi and Qawali , Sufi Sangeet in India


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