Can qawwalis defeat terrorism?

File photo of a qawwali session

by Zubeida Mustafa

Last night I went to a mehfil-e-qawwali. It is impossible for me to describe the beauty and the exquisiteness of the performance. It was other-worldly, if I may use this term. But that is how I have always found Fareed Ayaz-Abu Mohammad and his brothers’ renderings. They hold one qawwali session every year in memory of their father, the legendary Munshi Raziuddin Qawwal, who died eight years ago.

I wish more qawwalis were organised as they send listeners in a trance and I am certain that has a pacifying effect on the agitated and angry ones among them. Wouldn’t it reduce violence in our society.. Music is good for the soul, it is said.

But I wish those who organise qawwalis would be mindful of punctuality. The card for last night’s performance said “from 8.30 pm onwards”. It started at 10 am with an excellent introduction. The qawwali itself began much later. It was later interrupted when Nasreen Jalil presented a bouquet to Fareed Sahib. I had to leave at midnight because I had promised my driver that I would leave then. He had a difficult journey ahead of him on his motor bike to Korangi which entails the hazards of robbers and police harassment. I just didn’t want to leave the qawwali but beggars can’t be choosers. I believe there was a short documentary that was screened later with the performance ending at 1.30 am.

The performance was at the Marriott in Karachi. Very good arrangement – they remembered that many qawwali lovers like others have had knee replacements and just cannot sit on the floor. So chairs were thoughtfully lined along the wall. But they forgot that to sit on the farsh one has to remove one’s footwear. The mountains of shoes and sandals made me wonder why every guest could not have been handed a plastic bag to place one’s footwear in and keep beside her/him! — Z.M.

5 thoughts on “Can qawwalis defeat terrorism?”

  1. dear sister

    though an unexpected change of taste in this post of yours but i would still love to know if you actually felt closer to Allah SWT or not via the Art of Qawaals?????

  2. It is real ignominy that we Pakistanis are trying to find therapy in above mentioned un-Islamic ways. I can bet in 60% cases these QAWALS sing verses that are not in keeping with Islam

    “Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them inheritance of power, Just as He granted it to those before them. He will grant them authority to practice their religon; the one He has chosen for them and He will replace their state of fear to one of security (provided) they worship Me and do not associate anything with Me. Whosoever disbelieves after this then they are rebellious”

    (surah Nur: 24:55)

  3. Qawalis can help.

    I agree that Music in any form may be Qawali is one such thing which can bring the Temps down and is very pleasing for the soul.Atleast for some time while listening Qawali a shift of Mental anger helps people to enjoy the verses, irrespective of thier interpretation,which varies from individual to individual. Songs and all other Music or poetry related arts should not be attached to religious interpretations as to me when we do relate religion to such things we actually undermine the strength of the religion also insult the status of religion

  4. Music is good for the soul. YES it is.
    Music is universal.Everyone understand the Language of Music whatsoever Mother or National Language may be.
    Mother's music is greatest as it makes a child to go to fast sleep.
    Music is a great healer and cools down the temper.
    Music enhances the beauty of gathering.
    Music makes the journey comfortable.
    Music helps a would-be-mother to have a quality child.
    Music is must for a MUSICAL CHAIR game to go on.
    Musical fountain in any summer evening gives the feeling as if the entire day was cool.
    Music in sorrow helps to overcome sorrow.
    Music in celebration adds charm to celebration.
    Musical way reply to any question is understood more clearly as compared to text reply.
    Music has too many forms (Qawwalis, soft music etc.) and on too many different instruments.

    So why MUSIC cannot win over Terrorist and hardliners? Definitely YES but timing matters.

  5. Sorry!

    While composing the above comments I had in mind to mention the amazing Music between Mother and Child but forget while submitting.

    Before I write about Mother and Child thee are other two important MUSIC of life:

    a. Music of Nature are blessings to humanity. Just feel music of water by standing on banks of any stream or river. Listen to the sweet MUSIC of birds early in the morning to remain musical through out the day.

    b. Punctuality also creates MUSIC in life and to body. Fix your menu for the month on every first day, fix quantity and timing to feed yourself, make other schedules and follow it. Within seven days one can feel that his body is full of rhythm or music.

    c. MOTHER and CHILD: Both are the greatest musician. When mother speaks Child(under 3 years) feels Music and gets attracted toward Mother. When Child weeps father and other relatives would tell Mother that your Child is weeping and make her to stop weeping. But the Mother feels or would say my Child is not weeping but calling me in a musical way. For every mother weeping of a child is like a Music and takes it as an invitation to attend the Music. When a child does not weep for a longer time then every one in home gets worried – hence weeping of a child creates a strong, pure, pious and natural Music.

    The terrorism can curbed or defeated or minimized by Music. But we need to understand as which type of Music (qawwalis or films or soft music), timing and by whom it will be rendered in front of the hardliners.

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