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Qawalli: The Mystic Sufism Ritual




Qawwali is the central point of Sufism rituals. It was founded by Amir Khushrau, the favorite disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin.

Once considered as a great art, Qawwali has been debased altogether in modern times. There used to be a time when affluent ones used to organize private gatherings for Qawwali. In those gatherings Qawwals used to directly interact with their audience. Now, performances, if any, are organized in open area where people can go by buying a ticket. Audience has totally lost the true touch of Qawwali.

Bollywood has given a big blow to the art of Qawwali. In fact, Bollywood is the biggest reason behind the debasement of this great music form. Great singers like Mehdi Hasan and Ghulam Ali have compromised to make themselves tuned with the demand of Bollywood.


Qawwali is a genre of song which is performed to achieve the mystical experience. But, Alas! In recent decades, the same mystic experience emanating from Qawwali is lost somewhere in the blind commercialization.

The singing group of Qawwals is accompanied by dholak, tabla, and rhythmic chorus. The Urdu poetry is recited in stress-intense manner. The metaphoric sufi songs are full of imagery words which makes people forget the world. However, one needs to understand these stuffs in its true sense otherwise one may take it as vulgar.

Qawwali is thriving in these times in dargahs like Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer, Gharib Nawaz and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia in New Delhi. Sabri Brothers and late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are recent great Qawwals that the world has seen.

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