It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” - Kabir, sufi poet.
Music is unarguably a major element in Indian culture, even a backbone if you will. It seeps through many ordinary facets of life in the country be it the whistle of the dhobi as he washes clothes, the song of the mattress flutter as he traipses through city streets in search of work, the snake charmer's flute as he attempts to earn a few coins with his skills and of course, prayer. Devotional music is one of the largest genres of music you'll find in the Indian subcontinent and Sufi music is much the same.
Invariably seen as an Islamic form of music, thanks to its origins, it is neither a religion nor a cult as many would believe. It is but a dimension of the religion that preaches peace and pluralism while attempting to encourage people to use the music in a manner which would help them deepen their relationship with the Creator. As such, it would be safe to say that there's a fair bit more depth to this kind of music than the other Bieberized madness we're used to hearing these days.
There's a lot of ambiguity regarding Sufi's origins and etymology but a common claim is that the word itself comes from 'safi' meaning pure. However, the most commonly accepted view is the one that refers to 'sufe'— the coarse wool worn by Sufi mystics. The lyrics most often deal with the pain of separation from the creator and is greatly inspired by the works of Sufi poets like Rumi, Kabir and Hafiz.
It's undoubtedly one of the world's oldest musical genres and has traversed the globe for a millennium now. From the mountains of Pakistan and Iran to the deserts of Africa and Egypt it has been moulded into several different types, shaped by different languages (Turkish, Persian, Arabic and more) and in general, Sufi thoughts have found expression in a vast number of cultures.
The most common arm of this form of music is the one present in India and Pakistan—the Qawwali. It was made globally accessible by the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and has been known to move audiences deeply.
All in all, the aim of Sufi music has always been to arouse a mystical love and divine ecstasy in its audience, a state of emotional rapture. Considering it has been so readily accepted by so many nations around the world, it seems apparent that its aim has always been fulfilled.
-Pictures courtesy heliosblog.com-
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