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Sufi Music

            20,000 people, listening to one rhythm. Their heads, moving in an enchanting trance, and their minds seem to link with one single source; the music sprouting through the traditional instruments and amplified via the Boss speakers. This is a scene from a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan concert in NYC, circa 1994. What is this music? What culture does it represent? Why is it so appealing to an audience that at large, not even understand the lyrics of the song? These are the questions that fueled my curiosity to write this report: Sufi Music, the art form that defines a culture.
             A major part of my child hood was spent in the Pakistani province of Sindh. This land is famous for its Sufi scholars and their teachings. The area also possesses a legacy of Sufi music that I grew up listening to. Upon my first encounter with the western world ten years ago, when I landed in New York, I was surprised to see a devout following and a fan base for the music. Since then, I was intrigued by the fact that why is this message of Sufi music so popular, that it is even recognized by people who don't even share and understand the basics of the culture it represents? This question was of prime interest to me when I decided to write this report.
             • What is Sufism?.
             Before I shall confer to the report's core subject, I think it's a better idea that the reader should be familiarized with a general context of the culture of Sufism, the very notion that dictated the art of Sufi music. .
             Derived from the Arabic word Suf, meaning wool, the term "Sufi- was originally used to describe a type of ascetic Muslim who wore coarse woolen garb. Sufism "often referred to as Islamic mysticism "emphasizes the beneficence of God and the spirit of faith and submission. Sufism developed in the 7th century alongside the emergence of formal Islam in the Middle East and spread to Africa in the 12th century AD. Beginning in the 19th century, Sufi orders proliferated in Africa, and in the 20th century they became a venue for political and economic organization.

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