RIP Amjad Sabri, symbol of a syncretic Sufi culture increasingly under attack —Posted on June 23, 2016 by beenasarwar
A sad, sad day. Rest in peace, Amjad Sabri, qawwal, shot dead in a target killing in Karachi today. Shortly afterwards, the young naat-khwan, Farhan Ali Waris escaped a murderous attack on his way home from a recording where he had in fact waiting for Amjad Sabri to join him. A continuation of the trend of killing Shia and Ahmadi doctors for their faith, now musicians…? But Amjad Sabri was not just a ‘musician’.
He was the most famous of Pakistan’s qawwals – an exponent of the faith-based music that #fasadis consider haram. The extremist Saudi-inspired Wahabi mentality doesn’t like qawwali. Or Shias. Sabri represented both through his music (though he himself wasn’t Shia).
Qawwali is part of the uniquely Southasian syncretic Sufi culture through which Islam spread in the Indian subcontinent. It is a form of devotional music that transcends religion, touches hearts belonging to all faiths. Except cold hearts full of hate and bigotry. Uplifting, inspiring, transformative.
Here’s an old recording of what is possibly the group’s most famous qawwali (the start has a couple of seconds of audio glitch):
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