Sama and qawwali

The different sources used by the Sufis in the Sub-Continent, among these Mehfil-e-Sama, got the focus point and received much popularity. By this method common man come to know about the reality of Islam. The lucidity and taste of Hearing (Sama) had put deep impact on the heart and mind of human and he diverted towards right path. According to Hazrat Zunnoon Misri (RA), Hearing (Sama) is a mental-contact with Allah, which makes a person restless and moulds him towards Allah. Therefore, one who “hears” in the true sense gets the truth. In fact, Hazrat Moin-ud-din Chisti (RA) started the Mehfil-e-Sama in the Sub-Continent. It was the part of your spiritual mission. When you came to Hindustan, the exploitation of Human values was the part of the society. Singing and playing musical instruments was so common that people used to do their worships even by singing and playing musical instruments. In these circumstances, Hazrat Moin-ud-din Chisti (RA) started the method of Hearing (Sama) for preaching the message of Love and peace of Islam and said to some of his Caliphs and followers to read the statements about Identification and Oneness of God by playing tambourine (Daf).

Influencing by this method lacs of people started converting into Islam. The renowned Sufis like Hazrat Khawaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki (RA)  and Hazrat Baba Freed Ganj Shakar (RA) further flourish Sama, the important branch of Mystic (Tasawwuf) and Hazrat Khawaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki (RA) died during the Mafil-e-Sama. Hearing (Sama) got peak in true sense in the period of Hazrat Kawaja Nizam ud-din Aulia (RA). In Mafil-e-Sama the beginning of “Qawwali” also started in the period of Hazrat Kawaja Nizam ud-din Aulia (RA). Yours loving Caliph and follower, the “Tooti-e-Hind” Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA)) was called the pioneer of Qawwali. Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) inclined due to his innovative temperament, invented many Saz, Raag and Talain. According to the historical evidences, Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) invented these inventions on the challenge of a singer named Naik Gopal Das contemporary of King Allauddin Ghori. Naik Gopal Das came to Delhi after gaining much popularity among various cities of Hindustan. In that period was the custom that the defeater used to give his Tambour “Tamboora” to the Victorious. In Delhi, Naik Gopal met with Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) and demonstrated his art. Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) wept so much that his handkerchief got wet. At the end of the meeting, Naik Gopal uttered his heartfelt that nobody has been born like him and will not be in future. Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) condemned him, but he remained stick to it.

Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) said to him to come after a year, whatever you will say, I will give it to you. Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) selected four boys among who used to come to get the education of Quran, Hadith and Fiqa and taught them the secrets of music in such a fascinated way that these boys got popularity in a very short time. Singing of ‘Dharo’, ‘Dhawa’, ‘Matha’,’Chundo’ and ‘Parband’ was the custom in that period. Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) composed ‘Qol’,‘Qalbana’, ‘Naqsh’, ‘Gul’, ‘Khayal’ and ‘Tarana’ in their places. He invented ‘Dohlak’, ‘Tabla’ and ‘Sitar’ in place of ‘Pakhawaj’, ‘Mirdan’, and ‘Tamboora’. He trained his boys on these instruments in such an expert way that when Naik Gopal came after the year, was greatly impressed by the maturity and expertise of the boys’ art. He was so convinced that backed away competing these boys and converted to Islam in the hands of Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) and became the student of his students. When Sultan Alauddin Ghori was informed about this incident, he called on these boys with great enthusiasm and by the advice of Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) bestowed them the title of “Qawwal” and gave them many gifts.

Likewise, these four boys were first called the Qawwals of the world. Among these Qawwals were included ‘Jigri Qawwal’, ‘Muhammad Ahmed Qawwal’, ‘Ahmed Hassan Qawwal’ and ‘Amir Bhaidi Qawwal’. The heredity of these Qawwals was transferred verbally from generation to generation. Many master artists were born in the family of Muhammad Ahmed Qawwal, who by their diligent work conferred peak to their Monastery (Khanqahi Qawwali) in the true sense.

First Qawwal Gharana of the World

Anis Arif Nizami Qawwal belongs to the world’s first Qawwal Gharana. Among these sacred people, Khawaja Buksh Khan Sahib, Mian Shadi Khan Sahib, Mian Murad Khan Sahib were called the unmatched in their art. Shadi Khan Sahib and Murad Khan Sahib were called the “Madadgar-e-Rag Adhia and Suradhia”. For reference see “Sarmaya-e-Ishrat” Page no. 36. The author of the historical musical book “Madan-al-Mauseeqi” has accepted the invaluable services of these in the field of Classical Music. In it, Murad Khan Sahib has been the inventor of “Sargam singing”. One of the famous incidents of Shadi Khan Sahib, Murad Khan Sahib was of Mahraja Dattia.

Mahraja remained ill for long. He was hard of sleep. Hakims / Waids advised him to be got treated by music. Mahraja heard the songs of many singers but didn’t get relieved. Then he called Shadi Khan Murad Khan from Delhi. Only half an hour has passed him singing that he went into sleep and slept around 8 to 9 hours. On rising, he called on Shadi Khan Murad Khan and admired his art and bestowed him with one lac twenty five thousands gold coins as a gift and said none would have given such a big present to any singer. On hearing this, Shadi Khan Murad Khan distributed those gold coins among common people in front of the Mahraja and said that our real prize is that you got well. Wealth has no value in our eyes. After this incident, people started calling him “Lakhi Gawayay”.

The sons of Khawaja Buksh Khan Sahib, Safdar Khan Sahib and Bahadar Khan Sahib was on the high position due to their expertise and mastery in Qawwali. Safdar Khan Bahadar Khan is also ranked as a special Qawwal of shrine “Dargah” of Hazrat Khawaja Nizam uddin Aulia (RA). He had an authority on the special composition “bandishain” of Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) like ‘Qol’, ‘Qalbana’, ‘Naqsh’, ‘Gul’ and ‘Tarana’, which has been transferring into his family from generation to generation. The sons of Bahadar Khan Sahib, Dilawar Khan Sahib and Dildar Khan Sahib have rendered ideal services for the propagation of Monastery Khanqahi Qawwali and Classical music. The Mahraja, Abba Sahib of the State of Puna bestowed Dildar Khan Sahib with the title of “Professor”. The British Government in 1911, in the Delhi Shahi Mela, gave the medal to Dildar Khan on his long lasting services.

The sons of Dildar Khan Sahib, “Farooq Ahmed Khan Nizami”, “Muhammad Ahmed Khan Nizami”, “Mahmood Ahmed Khan Nizami”, “Khaleeq Ahmed Khan Nizami” and “Raees Ahmed Khan Nizami” conferred further peak to their family’s heritage. They not only peg the Flags of Success and Victory but also enlightened the name of Pakistan. Among few prominent Qawwals of the country, many names of this family are enlightened. Among them Farooq Ahmed Khan Nizami was bestowed with the titles of “Baba-e-Qawwali”, Mahmood Ahmed Nizami with “Mian Goon Rang”, Raees Ahmed Nizami with “University of Qawwali” and Anis Arif Nizami with “Khusravi Fankar”.

Baba-e-Qawwali & Brothers

Baba-e-Qawwali Farooq Ahmed Khan Nizami, was recognized among public due to his special way. Baba-e-Qawwali always presented Aarfana and Sufiana Kalams. In 1924, on the occasion of Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizam ud din Aulia (RA), few devotees from Bombay revealed their desire that they wanted to hold Qawwali in Bombay. On that the Shrine (Dargah) administrators said that Qawwali is held only at Khanqahs. They said insisting on the wish that they wanted to hold Khanqahi Qawwali. On that time the special Qawwal of Shrine (Dargah), Farooq Ahmed Nizami was sent to Bombay.

Farooq Ahmed Nizami due to complete command on Khanqahi Qawwali held successful program. That was the first time when Qawwali was arranged in the private sector besides Khanqah. Likewise, where Qawwali was only restricted to Khanqah, Baba-e-Qawwali introduced Khanqahi and Sufiana Qawwali in the public. He also has an honor that he visited various cities of Hindustan after Bombay and played an important role in prevailing Sufiana Qawwali in the world. The great writer like Khawaja Hassan Nizami was also the admirer of the art of Farooq Ahmed Nizami. Often, you mentioned that the Kalam and bandishain of Hazrat Amir Khusro (RA) is the specialty of the Farooq Ahmed Nizami and his family. Among his admirers, besides Sufis and Sheikhs, Nawabs, Mahrajas and Wali Dakan Mir Usman Ali Pasha and the Prime Minister Mahraja Kishan Parshad Jee are also worth mentioning.

Mahraja Kishan Parshad Jee gave the special certificate in 1939, in which he wrote that none would be better than Farooq Ahmed Qawwal of Delhi or Farooq Ahmed Nizami collected several Awards and Titles for his admirable services in Sufiana Qawwali. In 1956, the organization “Idara-e-Farog-e-Ilm-o-Fun” gave the title of “Shabab-e-Moseeqi”. In the Urs of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA) held in 1958, Hazrat Qambar Ali Shah bestowed with the Gold Noratan along with the title of “Ishq Ragi”. In 1962, in the Urs of Khawaja Khanoon Gawalyari (RA), Maulvi Mawahid ud din along with the Medal and Certificate was being bestowed with the title of “Andleeb-e-Chamnistan-e-Khusravi”. In 1967, Hazrat Baba Zaheen Shah Taji (RA) bestowed with the title of “Ravi –e- Kalam Ul kiram”.

In 1971, Hazrat Khalid Shah Chisti Sabri (RA) laid him the Gold Crown. In 1976, Imam, Khawaja Razi ud din Nizami (RA) blessed Farooq Ahmed Nizami with the Gold Medal along with the Certificate and the title of “Baba-e-Qawwali” for his maturity in art and playing an important role in prevailing Sufiana Qawwali. No doubt, he has invaluable services in prevailing the art of Qawwali. He not only introduced the important branch of music but also introduced many Qawwals about its secrets and precisions. The list of his students is lengthy. By your loving and sincere temperament, the newcomers got encouragement. This is the reason that many famous Qawwal parties are consisted on his trained students.

Muhammad Ahmed Khan Nizami

Muhammad Ahmed Khan Nizami had command on Qawwali and Classical Music. He remained attached with the Lucknow Radio India as a composer from 1935 till 1946 and from Radio Pakistan Karachi from 1948 till his lifetime. He continued to represent Iqbaliat specially on his maturity on Kalam-e-Iqbal.




Mahmood Ahmed Khan Nizami (Mian Goon Rang)

Mahmood Ahmed Khan Nizami made his name accepted in the field of Qawwali and Classical Music in the very young age. Mian Goon Rang besides Qawwali composed bandishain in innumerable ‘Khayal Astayan’, ‘Sargam Astayan’, ‘Dhurpad’ songs and difficult Tals. Mian Goon Rang was unique in the art of Classical music. He was the great Naik Gaik of his age. He delivered poetry in Sufiana Qawwali and his said Naatain, Manaqib and Arfana Kalams are very famous.



Khaleeq Ahmed Khan Nizami

Khaliq Ahmed Nizami, was completely aware about the secrets of Qawwali as a caretaker of the family heredity and his personal abilities provided it with eternal life. He had command on the ups and down of the Sufiana Qawwali and spontaneous discussion. He was considered as the heart in the Mahfils of the Sufis. Its reason was his ability of face reading. During Qawwali used to add a couplet according to the Qawwali and made the Mahafils livelier than before. According to Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Niazi (RA), Khaliq Ahmed Nizami was the King of repetition (Takrar ka Badshah).


Raees Ahmed Khan Nizami (University of Qawwali)

Raees Ahmed Khan Nizami also came in front like a glittering star in this family. He was called the “University of Qawwali”. To get these distinctions and rewards to the members of the same family is also certainly the mark of honor. Raees Ahmed Nizami stepped into the field of Qawwali along with his elder brother “Baba-e-Qawwali”, Farooq Ahmed Nizami and due to his hard work and God gifted capabilities blended himself into Qawwali to great extent. Raees Ahmad Nizami has entered in the field of Qawwali with his brother Baba-e-Qawwali Farooq Ahmad Nizami and earned name with hard work and God gifted capabilities. Considering the artistic capabilities and love with Qawwali of Raees Ahmad Nizami his elder brother Farooq Ahmd Nizami established a Qawwal party called Raees Khaleeq Farooq Ahmed Nizami. This party was counted as renowned party amongst the top listed parties in Pakistan.

This party performed many functions in various cities of India before the partition regarding movement of Pakistan and donated all the income to the movement of Pakistan being filled with the passion of national sacrifice. After the existence of Pakistan performed many times before the Leaders of Movement of Pakistan like Liaqat Ali Khan, Sardar Abdul Rab Nashtar, Hussain Shaheed Suharwardi, Shaikh Abdul Hameed, I.I.Chudrigar, Choudhary Khaliquzzaman and Mother of Nation Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah and received great admiration by them. Raees Ahmad Nizami joined Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1948. He was being awarded the title of “Dast-e-Rang Nawaz” along with Gold Medal by Hazrat Hairat Shah Warsi (RA) in 1959, on the occasion of Urs-e-Mubarak of Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (RA), for his great services in prevailing Sufiana Qawwali. In 1961, he was being awarded by the title of “Madani Qawwal” by Hazrat Baba Zaheen Shah Taji. Raees Ahmad Nizami also has the honor of having First Qawwal of Karachi among others who performed from the Lahore T.V. Centre at the time when there was no T.V. station established at Karachi. Raees Ahmad Nizami had master command over the precisions, Raag and Classical Tals. In 1975, in a program arranged by the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Central Production unit on the eve of Hazrat Ameer Khusro’s Day, he recorded Qawwali in the Special Bandishain and classical Talon.

Raees Ahmad Nizami was also called the inventor of Classical Tals in Qawwali. In 1984 he was being awarded the title of “Nawab Qawwal” by the Dewan Hazrat Dada Mian (RA) of Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar (RA). Raees Ahmad Nizami did not limit his art only to his personality but also encouraged the new artists being a good human being and polite nature. He held the position of Academy in his personality. Considering his continuous price less efforts for the art, Idara-e-Fan-O-Saqafat awarded him the title of “University of Qawwali ” in 1992. Raees Ahmad Nizami trained his sons Anis Nizami, Arif Nizami, Asif Nizami and Mehboob Ali Nizami in a very loveable way. And these brothers regarded the legacy of their ancestors in a way that still today the amateurs of Qawwali seems to appreciate the services and greatnesses of this family. Anis Arif Nizami also conferred eternity to sufiana and established his individuality by adopting sufiana type along with keeping harmony with the modern demands and struggling untiringly for the propagation of this art.    

Anis Arif Nizami Qawwal “Khusravi Fankar”

Anis Arif Nizami started Qawwali at the age of seven. He received the education of Qawwali and Classical from his father Raees Ahmed Nizami and uncle, Farooq Ahmed Nizami. Anis Arif Nizami established his Qawwal Party under the guidance of his father and uncle. Anis Arif Nizami has complete command over Amir Khusro’s specific composition “bandishain”, “Qol”, “Qalbana”, “Naqsh”, “Gul” and “Tarana” and full expertise in Qawwali in Classical Tunes (Talon). Besides Qawwali, Anis Arif Nizami has full mastery over “Khayal”, “Dhurpad”, “Sargam”, “Thumri”, “Dadra”, “Sadra” and “Ghazal” and has full control over Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Sindhi, Poorbi, Pushto, Punjabi and Urdu languages. Several T.V. Channels like PTV, QTV, ARY, GEO TV, HUM TV, Indus TV etc telecasts their Kalams every now and then. Different recording companies have released their various CD’s and VCD’s, which are very popular in public. Their Salient features is that one of their lead singers Arif plays the Dholak and Tabla while he sing for no other Qawwali group has this peculiar style of Qawwali. He has received many awards in Qawwali due to his continuous services. He has also represented Pakistan in many national and international tours.

Anis Arif Nizami has participated in many aid programs for the flood-affected people of Bangladesh in 1973. He attached with Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1974 and also participated in many programs from Lahore. He attached with the Pakistan Television in 1974 and besides Karachi Centre participated in many programs from Lahore and Islamabad Centre. He has been participating in the yearly Urs of Hazrat Baba Fareed-ud-din Ganj-e- Shakar (RA) since 1973. He is very much admired by the administrators and Sufis. He performed in front of the higher authorities of Air force in Risalpur and Peshawar in 1977. Commodore Shazada Tahir Alam awarded him with the best performance certificate. He had visited India successfully in 1981. On the eve of the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA),

The Manqabat of Hazrat Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA) “Aan Pari Main Toray Charnan Khawaja” received great popularity. He participated in many programs in India and the audience was much impressed by his art. In 1981, The Nizam ud-din Aulia (RA) committee awarded him with the Gold Medal and Certificate along with the title of the “Khusravi Fankar” due to his expertise and command over his art. He got the blessing of Umra in 1989 and he also visited the Rauza-e-Rasool (SAW). He also participated in many programs in Jeddah and toured successfully in Dubai. He made a successful tour of India in 1991, in which he demonstrated his art in front of the prominent musicians and received very high admiration. The audience liked very much the Manqabat of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA) “Tosay Lagi Lagan Khawaja” and the Tarana of Raag Darbari “Tom Tana nana”. Mehbood Elahi Trust laid the Gold Crown in 1995. He participated in the official programs in 1997 on the eve of 50 years ceremony of Independence Day and fascinated the public due to his glorious performance. In 2000 in a program organized by ISPR, the higher authorities of Pakistan Army were greatly impressed by his performance in Islamabad and Colonel Zahid Mumtaz awarded him with best performance certificate.

He showed splendid performance representing Pakistan in Oslo Mela, Norway and audience was much impressed by his art. Besides, he also toured Germany. In 2007, Jamia Nizamia awarded Anis Arif Nizami by the “Mehboob-e-Elahi” award due to his prolong services in sufiana Qawwali. Golden Crown was laid by the Al-Mustafa Committee in 2007. Nizami Foundation awarded him with the title of “Tooti-e-Khusro” and certificate in 2008 due to his services, correct pronunciation and sweet voice. He also received special award 2008 and best performance certificate by presenting splendid performance in the International Mystic Music Sufi Festival in 2008. Anis Arif Nizami is liked greatly in Sufis by virtue of his different way. He longs to introduce the mostly appreciated type “Qawwali” of the Sufis of the Sub-continent in the world.

Ayaz Ahmed Khan Nizami

Ayaz Ahmed Khan is that able son of Anis Nizami, who in his very young age i.e. in the age of five years stepped in this field. Ayaz Ahmed was born in Karachi on 14th August 1989. He presented Classical in difficult Tals in front of the masters of the field. Seeing his hidden God gifted capabilities the predictions of the masters of the field proved word to word correct. Ayaz Ahmed is getting the education of Qawwali and Classical from his father Anis Nizami and Uncle Asif Nizami. He impressed the audience of Sama much in the national and international visits in the very young age. On the event of the Urs of Hazrat Baba Fareed Ganj Shakr (RA) in 1997, in Pakpatan presenting the Sufiana Qawwali fascinated the audience. In 1998, got the National Anthem recorded on the T.V. Channel.

In 2002, he presented the live program from the Channel ARY with actor Nadeem and Moin Akhter. Hearing Ayaz Ahmed, the actor Nadeem said that this child is the future of Pakistan and in the coming years Ayaz Ahmed will be counted among the great masters of Pakistan. He attached with the Radio Pakistan Karachi and PTV in 2006. In 2007, Caravan-e-Adab awarded him with the award “Amir Khusro” due to his mastery in art. Besides ‘Qawwali’ Ayaz Ahmed has complete command over “Khayal”, “Sargam”, “Tarana”, “Thumri”, “Ghazal”, and “Geet” etc. Ayaz Ahmed will definitely play an important role in enlightening the name of Pakistan further.