Monday, August 31, 2009

Sain Zahoor Ahmed

This is who I went to hear last night in the Pavilion Theatre at the World Culture Festival. I wept, he was so exquisite and amazing to hear live. In fact, I was sitting in the second row and he was only feet away from me: a small elegant man utterly lost in the ecstasy of Sufi music, song and dance. He wore a sparkly gold costume that flashed in the lights. The Ambassador from Pakistan introduced him. I was delighted and a little surprised that she did, as traditional Muslims are usually utterly opposed to Sufism, the mystical expression of Islam. It is the mystical aspect that appeals to me in any religion, i.e the personal awareness and experience of God without the need for a middle-man or organised structure.


small blue dot said...

Thank you for posting this. You might be interested in the work of Carl Ernst, who makes the point that the "opposition" between Sufism and traditional Islam is not an aspect of lived reality even today but was produced by Western academic discourses to explain the "aberrant" tolerant nature of Sufism; also about the deep collusion between Orientalism and fundamentalism

OR Melling said...

Thanks. I will look at the url you've suggested. But I have to say that the many Muslims I have met - from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - all said "Sufi's are not true Muslims" and "you musn't listen to shaykhs, they are not true Muslims." There is also ample evidence of both historical and present-day persecution of Sufis in Kashmir, Pakistan, Iran,etc and none of this seems to involve Westerners. Highly structured and hierarchical religions rarely tolerate the free joyous expression of mystical experience and direct contact with the Divine precisely because it precludes a ruling priestly elite. The Roman Catholic Church barely tolerates charismatic movements and Christian mysticism while fundamentalist Protetantism tolerates nothing!

OR Melling said...

Oops spelt Protestantism wrong. Sorry.

Anonymous said...


Love to see you like Sufi Music.

I am Gurdeep Toor (From INIDA) Living in Ireland for last 7 Years. I am a Software Engineer. I love SUFI Music and Sain Zahoor is my best SUFI Artist. If you want to downlaod more of his Songs heres the link

Find Sain Zahoor on the page

I missed his dunlaoire show. If you have video of that Please Please send me.