Amjad Sabri’s son cried reciting Mai qabar andheri mai ghabraunga jab tanha in Soyem rasm of Amjad Sabri
میں قبر اندھری میں گھبراؤں گا !! بیٹا بھی باپ کے نقش قدم پر، سوئم کی تقریب میں ایسا اقدام، سب کو رلا دیا
Amjad Sabri, a master of qawwali, the devotional music that is wildly popular across the Indian subcontinent and well beyond, was gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan. The man who spent his life singing the praises of the prophet Muhammad, continuing a centuries-long tradition of musical veneration, was accused of blaspheming the prophet, and he was executed for it.
That is so important, so painful and so hard to make sense of for the many Muslims — particularly for Pakistanis like me — because qawwali is part of our religion. At a time when Islam is reduced to warlike, uncivilized violence and portrayed as an angry, intolerant faith, qawwali is evidence of something different. The historic spread of Islam through much of what we call the Muslim world happened largely through architecture, calligraphy, poetry, but perhaps above all, music.
In South Asia, home to an astonishing one-third of the world’s Muslims, preachers and poets composed verse that survived for centuries, embedding Semitic values into local languages, a mix that was as intoxicating as it was unique. Qawwali is the soundtrack of that tradition.