24 June 2016

For millions of Muslims, the murder of Sufi singer Amjad Sabri is about way more than music

Amjad Sabri, a master of qawwali, the devotional music that is wildly popular across the Indian subcontinent and well beyond, was gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan. The man who spent his life singing the praises of the prophet Muhammad, continuing a centuries-long tradition of musical veneration, was accused of blaspheming the prophet, and he was executed for it.

That is so important, so painful and so hard to make sense of for the many Muslims — particularly for Pakistanis like me — because qawwali is part of our religion. At a time when Islam is reduced to warlike, uncivilized violence and portrayed as an angry, intolerant faith, qawwali is evidence of something different. The historic spread of Islam through much of what we call the Muslim world happened largely through architecture, calligraphy, poetry, but perhaps above all, music. [The Washington Post] Read more