Sufi, Sufism and Sufi music

Sufism and India

Sufism has a special place in India. In fact Sufism is in a way native to India. Sufi from all over world (read middle east) found refuge in India. Most Sufi Tombs (burial places) are secular yet Islāmic places of worship. People of many faith visit and perform rituals for fulfillment of their desires. There is a long page on Sufism in Wikipedia according to which Sufism was later institutionalized which by itself contradiction of terms. Unfortunately the said page is a typical example of too much water but not a drop to drink? Too much details but very little practical information.

Names of rather famous Sufi are Rumi and Bulle Shah, who were also famous poets and who knows singers as well. This is a Sufi music sung by singer Richa Sharma from India. It is a live performance.

Who is a Sufi?

Sufi were rebels. They rebelled against the rituals. As can be under stood from the songs of Bulle Shah sung by two talented singers in the links given at the bottom, they criticized Holy dip in rivers and going for Haz in same breadth. Sufi believed in God or Allah  but refused to follow any ritual. They worshiped Allah without any image. In fact some denied existence of self by calling that only God is in existence. One such Sufi was “Sai Baba” who is now worshiped as Hindu deity. The interesting journey of Sai Baba can be read here.

Reverting back to Sufis. They hailed from places as far back as Arab and Persia but were treated as infidals. Many were murdered as well. Hence they sought refuge in India. Most settling in North.

Recently I came across an a Bangla music album called “Sufi” sung by Fakir Shabuddin. I am wondering if Sufis had traveled to Bengal as well. Of course they traveled to South as well with coffee beans.

Sufis were mystics who were experts of human programming. Often they had pupils whom their families had considered handicapped or misfit in society. It is not that normal people did not follow them. They had followers from all walks of life. These people with insufficient programming found their code corrected or better understood by Sufis. They lived life on core principles of Islam minus Koran or Shariyat.

Core principles of Islam

It appears there were four core principles.

Of course the first one is that there is one God who has no shape and form but he is omnipresent and is omniscient. Truth is another core principle of Islam. Do not lie. Come what may, state the truth. Third is Honesty. Do not deceive. It can be said to be an extension of first. Austerity is fourth. Do not accumulate. Do not splurge. Spend what you earn today and Allah will bless you again tomorrow.

The last principle of austerity was most difficult for the society to digest. Hence the persecution.

Unfortunately the Tombs of Sufi have become milking ground for donations. Huge trusts manage these shrines and trustees follow anything but austerity.

Sufi worship

Sufism practiced love for God. They would sing, craving for God like a beloved. It is said they would sit or lie or even stand in one posture for hours, as if meditating. There singing itself was a rebellion from musical traditions.

Sufi Music

There are two types of Sufi Music. One is Qawwali. A recent famous Qawwali is sung by Adnan Sami in movie “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”. Click here to watch youtube of this Qawwali.

The other Sufi music tradition can be watched in the following videos.

Here is my favourite Bulle Shah sung by Hadiqa Kiani, a talented singer from () But this does not seem to be live performance.


There are many singers specialize in Sufi Music but what is Sufi music?

Notice that singers leads rest of the musical troupe. It is high pitch singing, testing vocal cords. As n Hindi with call it testing “Pancham Sur” or the fifth cord. Every person can not sing in such pitch. In west only Celione Dion has such a voice. None else.

Kailash Kher was a natural Sufi voice holder. No wonder he entered Music industry at the age of 40 and became a hit.

Basically Sufi Music is singing from the depth of heart and no music is required. Listen to this one by Farida Parvez from () and it is a live performance.

Hope the above clarifies the Sufi Music. If you know fine details of Music or is interested in theory, I am not the right person to answer.

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