Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Qawwali

Qawwali

Overview
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 regions of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Hyderabad, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, and other parts of northern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It is a musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years.

Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines or dargahs throughout South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, largely due to several releases on the Real World
Real World Records
Real World Records is a record label started in 1989 by Peter Gabriel to record and produce world music.-Overview:The label grew up alongside the success of the WOMAD festivals and Peter Gabriel's exploration of music from other cultures, and helped push world music into the general public's...

 label, followed by live appearances at WOMAD festivals.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Qawwali'
Start a new discussion about 'Qawwali'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 regions of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Hyderabad, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, and other parts of northern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It is a musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years.

Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines or dargahs throughout South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, largely due to several releases on the Real World
Real World Records
Real World Records is a record label started in 1989 by Peter Gabriel to record and produce world music.-Overview:The label grew up alongside the success of the WOMAD festivals and Peter Gabriel's exploration of music from other cultures, and helped push world music into the general public's...

 label, followed by live appearances at WOMAD festivals. Other famous Qawwali singers include Pakistan's Sabri Brothers
Sabri Brothers
The Sabri Brothers are a Qawwali party from Pakistan.-Original members:The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of Ghulam Farid Sabri , Maqbool Ahmed Sabri , Kamal Sabri The Sabri Brothers (Urdu: صابری برادران) are a Qawwali party from Pakistan.-Original members:The Sabri Brothers originally...

, Bahauddin Qutbuddin and Aziz Mian
Aziz Mian
Aziz Mian Qawwal was one of Pakistan's leading traditional qawwals and also famous for singing ghazals in a unique style of qawwali. Aziz is still one of the most popular qawwals of South Asia...

.

Origins


The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia (today's Iran and Afghanistan). During the first major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Sema
Sema
Sama is a Sufi ceremony performed as dhikr. Sama means "listening", while dhikr means "remembrance". These rituals often includes singing, playing instruments, dancing, recitation of poetry and prayers, wearing symbolic attire, and other rituals...

 migrated to South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Amir Khusro Dehelvi
Amir Khusro
Ab'ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrow , better known as Amīr Khusrow Dehlawī , was an Indian musician, scholar and poet. He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent...

 of the Chisti order
Tarika
Tarika may refer to:*Tarika , musical group from Madagascar*Tariqah, school of Sufism...

 of Sufis
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 is credited with fusing the Persian and Indian
Music of India
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several eras. It remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as...

 musical traditions to create Qawwali as we know it today in the late 13th century in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The word Sama is often still used in Central Asia and Turkey to refer to forms very similar to Qawwali, and in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the formal name used for a session of Qawwali is Mehfil-e-Sama.

Qaul (Arabic: قَوْل) is an "utterance (of the prophet)", Qawwāl is someone who often repeats (sings) a Qaul, Qawwāli is what a Qawwāl sings.

Song content



The songs which constitute the qawwali repertoire are mostly in Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 and Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 (almost equally divided between the two), although there are several songs in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Brajbhasha and Siraiki. There is also qawwali in some regional languages (e.g., Chhote Babu Qawwal sings in Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

), but the regional language tradition is relatively obscure. Also, the sound of the regional language qawwali can be totally different from that of mainstream qawwali. This is certainly true of Chhote Babu Qawwal, whose sound is much closer to Baul
Baul
Baul .Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.-Etymology:The origin of the word...

 music than to the qawwali of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, for example.

The poetry is implicitly understood to be spiritual in its meaning, even though the lyrics can sometimes sound wildly secular, or outright hedonistic. The central themes of qawwali are love, devotion and longing (of man for the Divine).

Qawwalis are classified by their content into several categories:
  • A hamd
    Hamd
    A Hamd is a poem or song in praise of Allah. A hamd is usually written in Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, or Urdu. The word "hamd" comes from the Qur'an, which Muslims believe to be Allah's Word; its English translation is "Praise"....

    (حمد), Arabic for praise, is a song in praise of Allah
    Allah
    Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

    . Traditionally, a qawwali performance starts with a hamd.
  • A naat
    Naat
    A Na`at is a poetry that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many of the famous scholars in the earlier days of Islam wrote Naat. People who recite Naat are known as Naat-Khua'an or Sana'a-Khua'an.-History:...

     (نعت), Arabic for description, is a song in praise of the Prophet Muhammad
    Muhammad
    Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

    . The opening hamd is traditionally followed by a naat.
  • A manqabat
    Manqabat
    A Manqabat is a Sufi devotional poem, in praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Muhammad, or of any Sufi saint.In Qawwali, manqabats are sung to music. The most well known of the qawwali manqabats is "Man Kunto Maula", written by Amir Khusrau in praise of Ali...

     (مناقب), Arabic for characteristics, is a song in praise of either Imam Ali or one of the Sufi saints. Manqabats in praise of Ali are sung at both Sunni and Shi'a gatherings. If one is sung, it will follow right after the naat. There is usually at least one manqabat in a traditional programme.
  • A marsiya (مرثية), Arabic for lamentation for a dead person, is a lamentation over the death of much of Imam Husayn's family in the Battle of Karbala
    Battle of Karbala
    The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present day Iraq. On one side of the highly uneven battle were a small group of supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson Husain ibn Ali, and on the other was a large military detachment...

    . This would typically be sung only at a Shi'a concert.
  • A ghazal
    Ghazal
    The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

     (غزل), Arabic for love song, is a song that sounds secular on the face of it. There are two extended metaphors that run through ghazals -- the joys of drinking and the agony of separation from the beloved. These songs feature exquisite poetry, and can certainly be taken at face value, and enjoyed at that level. In fact, in Pakistan and India, ghazal is also a separate, distinct musical genre in which many of the same songs are performed in a different musical style, and in a secular context. In the context of that genre, the songs are usually taken at face value, and no deeper meaning is necessarily implied. But in the context of qawwali, these songs of intoxication and yearning use secular metaphors to poignantly express the soul's longing for union with the Divine, and its joy in loving the Divine. In the songs of intoxication, "wine" represents "knowledge of the Divine", the "cupbearer" (saaqi) is God or a spiritual guide, the "tavern" is the metaphorical place where the soul may (or may not) be fortunate enough to attain spiritual enlightenment. (The "tavern" is emphatically not a conventional house of worship. Rather, it is taken to be the spiritual context within which the soul exists.) Intoxication is attaining spiritual knowledge, or being filled with the joy of loving the Divine. In the songs of yearning, the soul, having been abandoned in this world by that cruel and cavalier lover, God, sings of the agony of separation, and the depth of its yearning for reunion.
  • A kafi is a poem in Punjabi
    Punjabi language
    Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

    , Seraiki
    Saraiki language
    Saraiki , transliterated as Sirāikī and sometimes spelled Seraiki and Saraiki, is a standardized written language of Pakistan belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages. It is a language spoken in the heart of Pakistan...

     or Sindhi
    Sindhi language
    Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

    , which is in the unique style of poets such as Shah Hussain
    Shah Hussain
    Shah Hussain was a Punjabi Sufi poet who is regarded as a Sufi saint. He was the son of Sheikh Usman, a weaver, and belonged to the Dhudha clan of Rajputs. He was born in Lahore...

    , Bulleh Shah
    Bulleh Shah
    Bulleh Shah was a Punjabi Sufi poet, a humanist and philosopher.-Early life:Bulleh Shah is believed to have been born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur, Punjab, in present day Pakistan. His father, Shah Muhammad Darwaish, was a teacher and preacher in a village mosque...

     and Sachal Sarmast
    Sachal Sarmast
    Sachal Sarmast was a Sufi poet from Sindh during the Kalhora era. He was born in daraza near Ranipur, Sindh. His real name was Abdul Wahab and "Sachal" was his nickname. He also used it in his own poetry. Sachu means truthful in Sindhi while Sarmast means mystic in Sindhi and Urdu...

    . Two of the more well-known Kafis include Ni Main Jana Jogi De Naal and Mera Piya Ghar Aaya.
  • A munadjaat (مناجاة), Arabic for a conversation in the night, is a song where the singer displays his thanks to Allah through a variety of linguistic techniques. It is often sung in Persian, with Mawlana Jalāl-ad-Dīn Rumi credited as its inventor.

Composition of a qawwali party



A group of qawwali musicians, called a party (or Humnawa in Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

), typically consists of eight or nine men including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmonium
Harmonium
A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument similar to a reed organ. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion...

s (which may be played by the lead singer, side singer or someone else), and percussion. If there is only one percussionist, he plays the tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

 and dholak
Dholak
The Dholak is a North Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese double-headed hand-drum Madal. The name dholki may also refer to a slightly different instrument that uses high-pitch tabla style syahi masala on its treble skin. This instrument is also known as Naal or Dholki....

, usually the tabla with the dominant hand and the dholak with the other one (i.e. a left-handed percussionist would play the tabla with his left hand). Often there will be two percussionists, in which case one might play the tabla and the other the dholak. There is also a chorus of four or five men who repeat key verses, and who aid and abet percussion by hand-clapping.

The performers sit cross-legged on the ground in two rows — the lead singer, side singers and harmonium players in the front row, and the chorus and percussionists in the back row.

Before the fairly recent introduction of the harmonium, qawwalis were usually accompanied by the sarangi
Sarangi
The Sārangī is a bowed, short-necked string instrument of India which is originated from Rajasthani folk instruments. It plays an important role in India's Hindustani classical music tradition...

. The sarangi had to be retuned between songs; the harmonium didn't, and was soon preferred.

Women used to be excluded from traditional Muslim music, since they are traditionally prohibited from singing in the presence of men. These traditions have changed, however, as is evident by the popularity (and acceptance) of female singers such as Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen , is a Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music . She sings mainly ghazals, Urdu love songs, and her forte, Kafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussion and harmonium, using a repertoire of songs by Sufi poets...

. However, qawwali has remained an exclusively male business. There are still no mainstream female qawwals. Although Abida Parveen performs many songs that are in the traditional qawwali repertoire, she does not perform them in the traditional qawwali style. Typically missing is the chorus which repeats key verses, as well as the handclapping.

Musical structure


Songs are usually between 15 to 30 minutes long. However, the longest commercially released qawwali runs slightly over 115 minutes (Hashr Ke Roz Yeh Poochhunga by Aziz Mian Qawwal
Aziz Mian
Aziz Mian Qawwal was one of Pakistan's leading traditional qawwals and also famous for singing ghazals in a unique style of qawwali. Aziz is still one of the most popular qawwals of South Asia...

). The qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has at least two songs that are more than 60 minutes long.

Qawwalis tend to begin gently and build steadily to a very high energy level in order to induce hypnotic states both among the musicians and within the audience. Songs are usually arranged as follows:
  1. They start with an instrumental prelude where the main melody is played on the harmonium, accompanied by the tabla, and which may include improvised variations of the melody.
  2. Then comes the alap
    Alap
    The alap is the opening section of a typical North Indian classical performance. It is a form of melodic improvisation that introduces and develops a raga...

    , a long tonal improvised melody during which the singers intone different long notes, in the raga
    Raga
    A raga is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made...

     of the song to be played.
  3. The lead singer begins to sing some preamble verses which are typically not part of the main song, although thematically related to it. These are sung unrhythmically, improvised following the raga, and accompanied only by the harmonium. After the lead singer sings a verse, one of the side singers will repeat the verse, perhaps with his own improvisation. A few or many verses will be sung in this way, leading into the main song.
  4. As the main song begins, the tabla, dholak and clapping begin. All members join in the singing of the verses that constitute the refrain. The lyrics of the main verses are never improvised; in fact, these are often traditional songs sung by many groups, especially within the same lineage. However, the tunes are subtly improvised within the framework of the main melody. As the song proceeds, the lead singer or one of the side singers may break out into an alap. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan also popularized the interjection of sargam
    Swara
    The seven notes of the scale , in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, and are shortened to Sa, Ri or Re , Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam...

     singing at this point. The song usually builds in tempo and passion, with each singer trying to outdo the other in terms of vocal acrobatics. Some singers may do long periods of sargam improvisation, especially alternating improvisations with a student singer. The songs usually end suddenly.


The singing style of qawwali is different from Western singing styles in many ways. For example, in words beginning with an "m", Western singers are apt to stress the vowel following the "m" rather than the "m" itself, whereas in qawwali, the "m" will usually be held, producing a muted tone. Also in qawwali, there is no distinction between what is known as the chest voice
Chest voice
Chest voice is a term used within vocal music. The use of this term varies widely within vocal pedagogical circles and there is currently no one consistent opinion among vocal music professionals in regards to this term...

 and the neck voice (the different areas that sound will resonate in depending on the frequency sung). Rather, qawwals sing very loudly and forcefully, which allows them to extend their chest voice to much higher frequencies than those used in Western singing, even though this usually causes a more noisy or strained sound than would be acceptable in the West.

Traditional sequence of a Chishtiya Sufi order qawwali performance

  • Instrumental: This is supposed to be the announcement of the arrival of Moinuddin Chishti
    Moinuddin Chishti
    Sultan-ul-Hind, Moinuddin Chishti was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE. Also known as Gharīb Nawāz "Benefactor of the Poor" , he is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order of the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the order in South Asia...

    , as Sufi believes their saints are free of time-space. Also that Nabi
    Nabi
    Nabi may refer to:* Prophets of Islam, humans who, in the Islamic faith, have been chosen as prophets by God**Nabi * Butterfly in the Korean language** Nabi , a 2001 South Korean film** The Korean language title of Mr...

    , Siddiq
    Siddiq
    Siddiq is an Islamic term and is given as an Honorific title to certain individuals. The feminine gender for Siddiq is Siddiqah. The word is sometimes used as a title given specific by Muhammad, according to Islamic sources...

    , Shaheed, and Saleh
    Saleh
    Saleh or Salih was a prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur'an, who prophesied to the tribe of the Thamud. He is mentioned nine times throughout the Qur'an and his people are frequently referenced as a wicked community who, because of their sins, were ultimately destroyed...

     category of faithfuls are never dead, just gone into some other state from where they visit whenever they are mentioned, especially if there is a function in their honor.
  • Hamd
    Hamd
    A Hamd is a poem or song in praise of Allah. A hamd is usually written in Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, or Urdu. The word "hamd" comes from the Qur'an, which Muslims believe to be Allah's Word; its English translation is "Praise"....

  • Naat
    Naat
    A Na`at is a poetry that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many of the famous scholars in the earlier days of Islam wrote Naat. People who recite Naat are known as Naat-Khua'an or Sana'a-Khua'an.-History:...

  • Manqabat
    Manqabat
    A Manqabat is a Sufi devotional poem, in praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Muhammad, or of any Sufi saint.In Qawwali, manqabats are sung to music. The most well known of the qawwali manqabats is "Man Kunto Maula", written by Amir Khusrau in praise of Ali...

     Ali
  • Manqabats in praise of Sufi saints
  • Manqabat Shaikh: Praise of the Shaikh/Pir if the performance is at an Urs
    Urs
    Urs is the death anniversary of a Sufi saint in South Asia, usually held at the saint's dargah . South Asian Sufis being mainly Chishtiyya, refer to their saints as lovers and God as beloved...

     celebration
  • Rang or Badhawa: If it is an Urs performance, then it is usually Rang, a poem by Amir Khusro
    Amir Khusro
    Ab'ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrow , better known as Amīr Khusrow Dehlawī , was an Indian musician, scholar and poet. He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent...

    . The audience is often asked to stand when the Rang is sung. If it is the Shaikh's birthday, it is usually the Badhawa.

Qawwals of the past

  • Aziz Mian
    Aziz Mian
    Aziz Mian Qawwal was one of Pakistan's leading traditional qawwals and also famous for singing ghazals in a unique style of qawwali. Aziz is still one of the most popular qawwals of South Asia...

  • Badar Ali Khan
    Badar Ali Khan
    Badar Miandad , also known as Badar Ali Khan, was a Pakistani singer and Qawwal. He released 22 albums in Pakistan. Several albums were also released under U.K. and Indian labels.-Early life and career:...

    , aka Badar Miandad
  • Bahauddin Qutbuddin
  • Fateh Ali Khan
    Fateh Ali Khan (Qawwali Singer)
    Fateh Ali Khan was born in Lyallpur, Punjab, British India in 1901. Ustad Fateh Ali Khan was the father of Qawwali musician, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Their family has an unbroken tradition of Qawwali for over 600 years...

  • Mubarak Ali Khan
    Mubarak Ali Khan
    Mubarak Ali Khan , one of the foremost Pakistani Qawwals of his time, was the father of Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan, uncle of Qawwali musicians Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, and the brother of Fateh Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan. He is also the great-uncle of Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali...

  • Munshi Raziuddin
    Munshi Raziuddin
    Munshi Raziuddin Ahmed Khan was a renowned Pakistani Qawwal and classical musician in India and Pakistan and a researcher of music. He belongs to the best-known gharana of Qawwali, Qawwal Bachchon Ka Gharana of Delhi. Initially, he performed in the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad. However, after...

  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Sabri Brothers
    Sabri Brothers
    The Sabri Brothers are a Qawwali party from Pakistan.-Original members:The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of Ghulam Farid Sabri , Maqbool Ahmed Sabri , Kamal Sabri The Sabri Brothers (Urdu: صابری برادران) are a Qawwali party from Pakistan.-Original members:The Sabri Brothers originally...


Current qawwals


  • Faiz Ali Faiz
    Faiz Ali Faiz
    Faiz Ali Faiz is a Pakistani qawwali singer.Faiz was born into a family of seven generations of qawwals. He studied classical music with Ustad Ghulam Shabir Khan and Ustad Jafat Khan, and qawwali music with Muhammad Ali Faridi and Abdur Rahim Faridi Qawwal...

  • Fareed Ayaz
    Fareed Ayaz
    Ustad Ghulam Fariduddin Ayaz Al-Hussaini Qawwal is a Pakistani Qawwal. He belongs to Qawwal Bachchon Ka Gharana of Delhi. They are the flag-bearers of a school of music which also derives its name from the city — Dilli Gharana...

  • Rizwan Muazzam Qawwali
    Rizwan-Muazzam
    The Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali group is a Qawwali group, headed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's nephews, Rizwan and Muazzam. The sons of Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan, they have been performing together as Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali since the 1990s...

  • Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
    Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
    Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Pakistani musician, and primarily a singer of Qawwali, a devotional music of the Sufis. He is the nephew of the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition to Qawwali, he also performs ghazals and other light music...

  • Waheed and Naveed Chishti
    Waheed and Naveed Chishti
    Qari Waheed Chishti and Qari Naveed Chishti are Pakistani Qawwali singers.They are the sons of the Qawwal Qari Mohammed Saeed Chishti. They learnt Qawwali singing directly from their father, who sang in five languages: English, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Punjabi....

  • Warsi Brothers
    Warsi Brothers
    Warsi Brothers are an Indian Qawwali musical group, consisting of brothers Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi , along with eight accompanists...


See also

  • Filmi qawwali
    Filmi qawwali
    Filmi qawwali is a form of qawwali music found in the Lollywood and Bollywood film industries.It represents a distinct sub-genre of film music, although it usually bears little resemblance to traditional qawwali, which is the devotional music of the Sufis...

  • Islamic music
    Islamic music
    Islamic music is Muslim religious music, as sung or played in public services or private devotions. The classic heartland of Islam is the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, Central Asia, Horn of Africa and South Asia. Due to Islam being a multi-ethnic religion, the musical expression of its adherents...

  • Music of India
    Music of India
    The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several eras. It remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as...

  • Music of Pakistan
    Music of Pakistan
    The music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and modern day Western popular music influences...

  • Religious ecstasy
    Religious ecstasy
    Religious ecstasy is an altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is frequently accompanied by visions and emotional/intuitive euphoria...

  • Sema
    Sema
    Sama is a Sufi ceremony performed as dhikr. Sama means "listening", while dhikr means "remembrance". These rituals often includes singing, playing instruments, dancing, recitation of poetry and prayers, wearing symbolic attire, and other rituals...


External links