KARACHI: Humility key to sufism: Abida

February 15, 2007

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KARACHI, Feb 14: Sufi music icon Abida Parveen has said Sufism is a system based on selfless love practised by saints and faqirs to get connected to the Omnipotent and Sufi music offers a medium through which a man surrenders before Him.

“There is no voice in the universe that goes beyond the 12 musical notes (Sur), which create the medium of music and tell that the only way to establish one’s contact is immense humility,” Abida Parveen, one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music and herself a Sufi intellectual, told the audience at the Aga Khan University Auditorium during her lecture on spiritualism.

The huge auditorium was packed to the capacity during the lecture which was followed by an absorbing question and answer session. Besides, at least three vast lecture halls were fully packed in the same vicinity where the proceedings were being shown through close-circuit cameras.

During her lecture, Abida Parveen, a distinguished pupil of the great exponent of the classical genre, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, frequently quoted great Sufi saints including Shams Tabrez, Maulana Rumi, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, Amir Khusro, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Bulleh Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Sultan Bahu, Kavi Kabir and Waris Shah. She also sung their verses in her typical style and received huge applause.According to her, Sufism and spiritualism have no difference. “Sufism has no complexities within; it is as simple as love itself. Love teaches selflessness and without losing self one cannot find Allah,” she said.

“Sufism is grief and sacrifice that purify soul and strengthen forbearance of the one who surrenders his being entirely,” she said citing the example of fire that burns and qualifies to give light.

“It (Sufism) is just like fire and those who are burnt by this fire could learn the ultimate truth,” she added.

When a questioner asked what she usually felt while singing, as the verses she sung overwhelm listeners, she said: “What can the one who himself burns say?”

She recited a couplet of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai saying the creation has no match with the Creator as the former is completely hollow and empty. “But what makes the creation special is his act of adapting a path that leads him to the Creator,” she remarked.

Giving the example of Amir Khusro and his love with Khwaja Nizamuddin, she said it took no time to the death of Nizamuddin when Hazrat Khusro also died and his tomb is next to that of his master in Delhi.

She said the whole universe was a product of love while music was like blood of its whole embodiment.

The lecture was part of the AKU Special Lecture Series. After the questions and answers, Aga Khan University officials thanked her and conferred her token of honour.