Articles  >  Imagine  >  Eastern music of Sufi: Qawali

Eastern music of Sufi: Qawali

Author: 15.08.2017 | tradition, art
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.

Sufi did not want to lead their life locked up whether that be any restrictions emerging from the bounds of family, borders of one house or limitations of the country. They had to refuse from comfortable conditions overcoming hankering to down-to-earth things. In such a way roving life began being interpreted as the only possible way of spiritual development, freedom from attachments to the ordinary and customary items not to mention people. Sufi endued into the woolen clothes (suf) that looked simply and a bit coarse resembling floppily woofed cilice. How have we got aware of these facts? Certainly, we know everything concerning Sufi from the ancient songs considered as the only thing remained in the frailty of life after it was scattered to four winds. One of Sufi poets called Rumi talked about that in such a way: ‘On the Earth soul resides in the prison and it will stay there until it resides on the Earth’.


Sufi Qawali is usual to divide into two types. One that is called as Rind praises free life restricted by one day. Line after line, Sufi were speaking that only leaving teeming activity behind and looking at life as it is applied to the nations offering philosophically estranged view on the world. According to their opinion, a person has a streak to live by the recollection of the past experience or devote himself to the plans of the future. The followers of Rind direction accepted the possibility of short date entertainments the main criteria of which was acceptance of the highest pleasure here and now. However, such a philosophy was maligned in the teaching of another movement called as Salik. This word meant ‘those going by mystic path’. The wanderers and seekers of spirituality followed the path of disavowal from the creature comforts, stood for the certain austerity in life, refusal from luxury and pleasures of the flesh. They performed divine vows and rituals framed in some word ‘rejoicing’ accompanied by different musical instruments while the leading role was given to the flute neya.

Before becoming a Sufi, the singer had to go through the special education which upon its complexity could be comparable with the modern university study. Sufi was expected to acquire knowledge of theoretical philosophy to perfection, get aware of the details of various cultures as well as speak several languages (such as Arabian, Persian, and Urdu). By the way, Sufi took a huge examination in the frame of which articulating more than five hundred poems so as to confirm the languages proficiency.


In the environment of Sufi Qawali songs were considered as the spiritual practice because their texts included the implications about any given interspace of Earthly path conducted by a person who was likely to be willing to experience his inner world. Particularly, Qawali gives narrations about the necessity of repentance (tauba), abstinence (vara), refusal from material resources (zuhd), recumbency upon divine justice (tavakkul), humble endurance in the course of beggary (fakr), patience (sabr) and words of gratitude not only for the riches but also for the ordeals (shukr).

Among the ancient representatives of Sufi movement the history feels the traces of Jalaleddin Rumi (XIII century) influence. Rumi was the ruler of spiritual institution of dervishes. In his poems he espoused principles of human equality regardless of social background and material status. One of the most famous literature opuses of Rumi got a name ‘Divan’ that combined Eastern genres such as kasida, ghazal and rubais. In his chants Rumi advised to follow the path of Sufi. Which award was told to wait for the obedient followers? The performers of Qawali told about the spiritual harmony which meant a union of divine presence, love, appeasement, hope, passion, trust, calmness, and, finally, deep confidence in the own power.

In every poem which Sufi folded into the musical rhythms love was sounding. However, applications to the Beloved one did not imply the love appreciation addressed to the exact person. In such a way Sufi adverted to the highest forces calling for good power in the society because they believed that hatred and enmity came from the absence of love and wisdom inside the person. Rumi symbolically sang about that in Qawali narrating how four friends decided to buy the grapes. Honestly, these people were originated from the different countries where this fruit had own names whether it be ‘angur’, ‘uzum’, ‘stafil’, and ‘aynab’. Not willing to hear the reasons of each other, friends had a real quarrel. Definitely, this parable does not tell about the silly friends who were not able to find common ground in such a simple question but about the political and religious disagreements where each state wanted to watch over only own interests not thinking over other nationalities. That is why at the end of Qawali Rumi confirmed: ‘The war would finish at once / Though words are different, they hold the same truth, / However, only wise person / Could cease the awkward argument!’


Rumi set up a brotherhood of dervishes who were strangers and dancers in such a way giving birth to Sufi tradition to dance lively over live music. Meanwhile, dance in singing ritual Qawali had special rules. Particularly, it had to represent whirl with gradual raise of arms to the sky what symbolized the prayer of a human. Dervishes appeared in front of accidental spectators of religious performance being attained in the hats and black capes. While dancing performers threw capes down on the ground and dervishes remained in while robbing. Herein, black color was considered as the symbol of death while white color gained the meaning of soul resurrection that followed the physical downfall. Sufi regarded the combination of dance and melody as the most efficient way of emotional cleanup because music contained the most sincere and unpurchaseable application to human heart. 

Заглавное фото

It will be interesting:
The Spouse of the Ambassador of Georgia organized a meeting of the Ambassadors Spouses Club and the show of national clothes
The spouse of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to Ukraine Irina Sultanishvili carried out a meeting of the Ambassadors Spouses Club, in the frame of which some traditional clothes was demonstrated.
Handicraft: persian rugs
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Belgian Lace: Waltz of a Thousand Threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops. Having compelled self-will of the thread to a dream about heaven, promised for humility, skills defied despair and need – to secure victory.
Stores, shopping malls, markets - all these places are an integral part of daily goings-on of almost every person on our planet. It would seem there is nothing special about them: they are all alike, just goods and prices vary depending on country or city. In fact, it is not quite true since some markets are only accessible via waterways. Our today’s story is about them.
Fashion Pioneers
Fashion is an act. Fashion is a demonstration of freedom. Not being afraid to once seem ridiculous and odd, a person risks to become a part of fashion industry. Some names it remembers, some are wrongly forgotten and for some it becomes a pursuit, the meaning of the whole life.
Play of Minsk Film Actor’s Studio Theater under support of Embassy of Belarus in the capital
In Kyiv academic theater of drama and comedy under support of Embassy of Belarus to Ukraine and Kyiv city governmental administration it was the play ‘Marriage contract’ of Minsk Film Actor’s Studio Theater. The performance was going in the frame of the tour in Ukraine.
Françoise Barbe-Gall teaches how to talk to children about art. She gives practical advices in her books, teaches to see things invisible to many people, to notice details and forget about labels. But we have to admit that among adults there are very few people who can boast with expertise in this area. If you want to change this order of things, today we offer you to go with us to the museums. Yes, it's a good idea, since we have chosen the best.
Murals: New Approach to Olden Art
Modern cities cannot be imagined without murals – large-scale in size works of picture art that decorate buildings. Not only we have gathered most outstanding works in our collection but also tried to learn as many interesting things as possible about this art movement.
Chinese Sugar Painting: Art From a Ladle
Flowers and trees, animals and birds, dragons and fairytale characters – to put it short, anything that may come to your head can turn into an object of edible art there. Amazing technique of painting with hot sugar is possessed by craftsmen from Sichuan province. Paintings performed in almost caramel can be neither “edited”, nor painted over.
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Vitamins, development of resistance to cold, correct day regimen... That's all good and useful, especially when the winter weather swirls in, but sometimes we all have to pamper ourselves and at the same time to be protected against germs and colds. And the best way to do it is to sip some mulled wine.
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life. Twilight land of legends always have a shelter for a weary traveller: no one is alone on the paths of spirits.
Divine mugham: the music of Azerbaijan
There is music which brings us back to life. It happens even if the tears are falling when one listens to it. The musical genre mugham talks to the audience using the right language. Everyone has lived out unhappy love, loss of a close person or ruin of ideals. These topics became the source of inspiration for the musicians of Azerbaijan movement mugham. OUTLOOK will tell about this unique style of music.
Artaud theatre: life is imitation of art
The power of gestures burns the text to ashes, sound deafens and takes to the abyss from which all of us come and where we return upon the accomplishment of a short time period called as the life. Attending the Theatre of Cruelty, a human appears in the centre of performance as there are everything we are hiding from in the everyday routine, particularly, freedom and isolation, life on the border, merging with the crows till self is lost and lonely residing at the top. The drama of being involves in its mineral resources, the echo of tragedy overwhelms publics and spectator without noticing it appears in the trap of the own perception. That is about the so-called ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ (theatre de cruaute), the child of French playwright and director, eccentric and shocking Antonen Artaud.
Fado: gentleness and deftness of Portuguese romances
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
In Kyiv the Embassies of Lithuania and Australia demonstrated the photo exhibition ‘Olegas Truchanas – legend of Lithuania and Australia’
The Embassy of Lithuanian Republic to Ukraine, the Embassy of Australia to Ukraine and National Museum of Taras Shevchenko represented in Kyiv the photo exhibition ‘Olegas Truchanas – legend of Lithuania and Australia’.
History of a Brand: Cirque du Soleil
Spectacular show project Cirque du Soleil rocked the world of circus art to remind that circus can not only entertain but also create new reality. Crazy experiments on human body defy any power on gravity and miracle-plays of sound and light lure the audience into a twilight labyrinth of philosophical dramas letting them get to the sun together with characters of stagings.
Not just black
November 3, 2008, at the auction Sotheby's with a result of $ 60 million was sold one of the rarest works in the history of Russian art - Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist Composition. Malevich is still considered to be one of the most difficult to understand artists of the 20th century.Kazimir Malevich is still one of the most difficult to understand artists of the 20th century. As if mocking at the public, he signed some of his early works: The content of the paintings unknown to the author. OUTLOOK collected stories connected with personality, creativity, and the name of the artist and hopes that it will bring readers to understand the suprematist.
The Sistine Chapel Illusions
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple. However, while admiring another line intricacy and allusive painting theme, bear in mind that beneath the plot of glossy surface, as per usual, stand painfully familiar disputes with an impatient client, unpleasant surprises from nature and damaged health of painters-executants.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
Outlook facebook page