Sufi is a form of devotional music mainly inspired by the works of numerous talented Sufi singers. It started as a way of achieving union with God. As its popularity grew it is now widely being enjoyed by non-believers as well. This music can heal people who are sick and doctors in countries like Turkey play traditional melodies to treat patients. They believe it has the power to heal a person psychologically as well as physiologically. It is no secret that Sufi singers can calm people and make them feel much better.
Sufi can transport you to a state of trance which is basically an altered state of consciousness wherein the person’s will and consciousness is fragile and voluntary action could be missing. In recent times Sufi singers have moved from the shrine to the stage where it is appreciated by the masses irrespective of religion. However many people believe that original Sufi music is being corroded in order to fit in with the popular culture. Bollywood too has been enamored with Sufi music and numerous famous singers in this industry have tried their hand at this music. Many of Bollywood’s albums have at least one inspiration from Sufi music.
Sufi singers in India usually sing qawwali which was traditionally performed at dargahs by the descendants of disciples. The essence of this music is essentially a devotee’s love and longing for his/her God. The relation between a sufi singer and his/her words is more like the relation between a teacher and his student.
Ghazal music from its poetic form evolved into light classical music. However unlike other forms of classical music which are considered to be for the elite class, Ghazal music is enjoyed by the common man. The delightful combination of meaningful words, soothing melodies and honeyed, melifluous voices etch a permanent mark on fans and listeners. The primary subject in Ghazals is unattainable love. The lover is aware that he will not be loved but resigns to his fate and continues loving despite the circumstances. This theme being relevant to modern times has been one of the main reasons as to why Ghazals have been so well accepted by people of diverse backgrounds.
A Sufi singer and Ghazal singers have their obvious differences; Sufi music is more religious and often reserved for important ceremonies, it is their common goal of expressing one’s desire that makes them similar.