Thursday, November 17, 2011

Volume Two: Khwaja Aslam Sabri Qawwal

Wandering Sufi musician

The qawwali of Khwaja Aslam Sabri has proven to be one of the most popular posts over the past several months.  Tonight I post 5 more lovely spiritual songs in praise of Moin’uddin Chisti of Ajmer, India’s greatest Sufi figure.

Wonderful stuff as usual.

As I’ve not been able to unearth any biographical details about Khwaja sahib (always open to readers steering me in the right direction!) I post some wonderful Islamic popular art of the sort to be found for sale at all good dargahs across the subcontinent.

A poster of the name of Mohammad (PBUH). As depiction of the Prophet is forbidden in Islam posters such as this are very common around shrines and mosques.  The Prophet’s name is written in large calligraphic style, but inscribed inside is a longer Quranic text called the Ayat-al-Kursi, a prayer for the protection from evil and other purposes. The image serves the purposes of decoration, veneration as well as protection.

Burraq. A mythical beast that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) rode to heaven during his Mi'raj or ascension. Notice the Indian features of the women - she could be straight from the poster of a Hindu deity - Radha, Sita, Saraswati... Animals or non-human creatures have a special place in a devotee's mind.

Jamaat. A gathering of people from different strata of society for a collective namaz (Muslim prayer). Notice the torn and tattered clothes of a person (in white) standing next to a supposedly wealthy nawab or a king. On the top is the Urdu translation of a Quranic verse about obedience to God.

Meeting of the Saints: An imaginary gathering of some important saints - clockwise from bottom left - Baba Farid, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Ghuas-e Azam, Hazrat Bu Ali Sharif, and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.

         Track Listing:
         01 Ae Mere Haji Ali
02 Ajmer Nager Mein
03 Hai Kahan Koi Mustafa Ki T
04 Kya Haji Malang Ka
05 Mil Gaya Unka Dar Jisko Ta

Listen here.

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