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Day 23 – Q 1.Discuss the contribution of Sufism towards India’s musical tradition.

1. Discuss the contribution of Sufism towards India’s musical tradition.

भारत की संगीत परंपरा के प्रति सूफीवाद के योगदान पर चर्चा करें।


  • India’s musical tradition has a long history. Since ancient times, music remained at the center of religious traditions in India. It is therefore Sufism popularised in India with its musical traditions.
  • Contribution of Sufism in India’s musical tradition is multifaceted, ranging from poetry to musical instruments as well as ragas and Gharanas.


Contribution of Sufism towards India’s musical tradition

Musical instruments:

  • Tabla and Sitar two of the important instruments used in Indian classical music are mainly because of Sufi music. Sitar is believed to be invented by Sufi poet Amir Khusro.
  • Ustaad Bismillah khan, India’s renowned Ustaad of “Shehnaai” was also a Sufi singer.

Poetry & music:

  • Qawwali and Kafi are the evergreen examples of genres given by Sufi music to Indian musical tradition.
  • Qawwali is one of the better known sub-genres of Sufi music. It has its roots in Indian subcontinent, made famous by Aamir Khusro. Traditionally; this style consists of four distinct sections: hamd, naat, and manqabat, which are all devotional songs, and ghazals, which are usually expressions of the longing to be close to the divine. The popularity of Qawwali is due in part to its aesthetic appeal.
  • Kafi style is considered classical, and is generally culled from the poetic verses of well-known writers. Though kafi is similar to Qawwali in the fervor of its delivery, the two forms differ in execution. While Qawwali may be made up of a larger ensemble, kafi music usually consists of a few percussion instruments, a keyboard, and a single vocalist.
  • Similarly “Sama” a kind of Sufi ritual, performed with music and dance, satisfies the souls of many Indians. “Mehfil” and “khayal” are some other contributions of Sufism to Indian music.
  • Other than geners, various aspects of the hindustani music and ragas evolved with the influence of sufism.
  • Gharana, Riyaz, jugalbandi, Ustaad and many such other words and concepts are gifted by Sufism to Indian Music.


  • The Qawwali and kaafi are the most popular styles, and are associated with poets such as Hafez, Rumi, Amir Khusro, Baba Bulleh Shah, Hazrat Shah Hussein and Khwaja Ghulam Farid.
  • Amir Khusro, the parrot of India, is also known as father of Qawwali.
  • Even after so many years, Sufi poets Amir Khusro and Bulleh Shah and many other are still alive in Indian Music.
  • These poets enriched the Indian music by adding Persian and Arabic elements in it.

Contribution of Sufism in modern Indian music

  • From Jodha Akbar to Rockstar, there are many movies which contains the sufi music in modern way.
  • Qawwalis by Sabri Brothers, Sufi songs by A.R Rehaman and Ghazals by Jagjeet Singh are few examples to show how Sufi music became irrefutable part of Indian musical tradition.


In Sufism, God is treated as “Maashooq” (beloved), and Ishq (Love) is a subject favourite to masses, it is tale of every heart. Therefore Sufi music not only made its distinct identity in India’s music tradition but also contributed to classical as well as modern music in India.

Best Answer: Rj Upu

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