Favorite Sufi Songs

Note: Words described here are solely personal thoughts. I may be wrong at places. Corrections and suggestions are welcome.

Maula, Khuda, Ali, Khwaja - Names related to Islam. The words, which are used frequently nowadays in our music. 'Islam' itself means 'to submit, surrender or to accept'. And the songs, all reflects the same. The words says that I'm all yours my almighty, whatever I'm is because of you. You are the beloved and protector. You are the 'only one'. Help us to come out of this unfaithful world.

Urdu/Sufi has such lovely feel in its devotional songs/poems. It speaks, directly to the almighty. It says directly everything to God. For example, 'Piya' Haji Ali or 'Mere' Maula or 'Mere' Khwaja, all songs have the 'possessiveness' which I love the most. Now, word of caution here. This doesn't make me deviate from my own religion - Hinduism. Hinduism is a belief that can not be defined. But it teaches you to believe in belief. Believe and respects others beliefs. That exactly is what I'm doing.

Last Sunday, while visiting Dargah of Khwaja at Ajmer, Rajasthan - I had this playlist. What an awesome experience it was. Here are the songs that I love the most. I have somehow restricted myself to the mainstream songs. Because the list can go longer if I incorporate 'the' sufi songs. As usual, the list is in random order.

Arziyaan-Maula Maula : |Delhi 6|
Maula - literally means 'the protector'. Also it has the meaning of 'Master'. Here the protagonist requests his 'Maula' to mend his destiny. The song talks about realization that when I came to your sight, I found 'myself' from within. The lyrics written by Prasoon Joshi makes deep impression on listener. Lines like 'Sajde mein rehne do, ab kahin na jaunga, ab jo tumne thukraaya, toh sanwar na paunga' - Let me be under your kind eyes, if rejected, I will not be able to survive. And the most favorite lines of mine - 'Jab tu Ru-ba-ru aaya, nazarein naa mila payaa, Sar jhuka ke ik pal mein, maine kya nahi paaya' - When I found you in front of me, I couldn't match eyes & by bowing my head, I found everything. The lines are sure to make lump in throat. And superb composition by Rahman-the master of Sufi leads the song to a new height. Javed Ali and Kailash Kher outperforms.

Al Muddath Maula : |Mangal Pandey|
Al Madad - means asking to almighty for help. In the movie help was required to come over the darkness. Darkness abound by rule of foreigners. The song has a dark feel. To describe pain of people, Javed Akhtar uses effective lyrics. The song talks how the anger is rising amongst all and how dedicated the martyrs will be. And ends with lines - Qaid Se Azaad Hoga Kya Junoon Ek Din- Rang Layega Deewane Ka Khoon Ek Din'. Recitation of word 'Maula' by Rahman leaves you speechless. Kailash Kher, Murtaza & Kadir provide excellent support to the song.

Ha Raham : |Aamir|
Amit Trivedi's one of the first works. Who later delivered smash hit like Dev D. with lyricist Amitabh gives this awesome soulful Qawalli for the movie Aamir. Quite altered version of Qawwali - featuring (again) Murtaza and Quadir Khan, Amitabh and Amit Trivedi. Song describes how the protagonist's light of life is fighting against strong winds. It urges Khuda - to keep his kind shelter, upon him, keep him backed as he is fighting on his own. It talks how fragile the string of life is, how the fake joys of life are short living and where actually the happiness lies. And lastly the words about Khuda, that how almighty you are - kya majaal teri marzee ke aage… bando ki chal jayegi… thaame ungli jo tu kathputli bhi…chaal badal jayegi. Minimal sounds and maximized vocals make this track awesome.

Khwaja Mere Khwaja : |Jodha Akbar|
The song is dedicated to Hazrat Khwaja Ghareeb-un-Nawaaz of Ajmer [Rajasthan, India] - descendant of Hazrat Ali, who was the son-in-law of Hazrat Prophet Muhammed. Again Javed Akhtar And A R Rahman team up for the divine track. One of the best works Rahman ever did. [this can be used for all such songs of Rahman, where he outshines himself]. A qawalli blend with devotee's dedicated words. Song has got an amazing picturization. And the way it concludes, with Shehanshah Akbar himself watching divine light and dancing along with Qawwals. Amazing feel. 'Tere Kadmo ko mere Rehnuma nahi chhodna ganwaraa...' - It doesn't feel right to leave your side o my lord.

Ajmer Wale Khwaja : |Yahaan|
Another song dedicated to Khwaja of Ajmer. Its a wonderful classical piece. The song is about sadness due to distances between the two protagonist. And pray to meet beloved.Sung and composed by Nizami Bandhu alongwith Sameeruddin and Abhishek Arora - the track is haunting. I wonder why such talents do not come up in mainstream cinema.

Noor-Un-Allah : |Meenaxi-A Tale of 3 cities|
I can easily put Meenaxi under top 5 albums of Rahman. Here MF Hussain himself writes a great Qawwali about Light of God. And as vibrant his visuals - words of Hussain complements them. Sample this - "parindon se poochha...parindon se poochha kahaan parwaaz hai; khamoshi se poochha kahaan aawaaz hai; phoolon se patton se rangon se aayi sadaa...noor-un-ala". Though the song doesn't clearly states its all about praising the almighty. Noor-Un-Ala means 'the grand light'. But the depiction of lyrics, clearly makes it a praise to Allah. Also Nur is one of the ninety-nine Attributes of Allah. Add beautiful Tabu as visual delight and superb rendition of Murtaza and Quadir Khan - Rahman does it again !!

Piya Haji Ali : |Fiza|
Haji Ali. One of the most famous saint of Islam. And no doubt Khalid Mohammad chose Rahman for the song about Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Fondly called Haji Ali. This is perhaps first sufi song by Rahman. And still it keeps returning on my playlist. Rahman gives his heart for the song alongwith Ghulam Mushtafa and Srinivas. Written by Shaukat Ali - the song beautifully captures aura of Haji Ali. The song is so powerful that can make non believers-believe.

Meherbaan : |Ada|
Rahman the Great. Again. With pretty unknown name for Lyricist - Raqeeb Alam. A simply outstanding 'Hamd' - a poem in praise of Allah. No words are enough for this shear beautiful lyrics. A charming melody that Rahman rarely composes, and his voice - enough to make you soak in subtle feeling of divinity all around you. No one can describe this song better than our very own theBollywoodFan. (Refer to his excellent post).

Allah Ke Bande : |Waisa Bhi Hota Hai|
Guitar strings. And a new voice. Kailash Kher's claim to fame. With minimum music arrangement by Paresh-Naresh. Penned by Sadaquat Hussain, the song easily goes to Kailash whose vocals makes it so special. Song talks about not go ranting on what has been lost and rejoice cause it will come again, in a better way.

Is Shaan-E-Karam : |Kachche Dhaage|
How can this list be complete without H.R.H. of Sufism - Nusrat Saab?? This is third song on this list which mentions Khwaja ji of Ajmer. The song was at crucial time in the movie. And shot perfectly at the dargah. (or was it a set at filmcity??) Nusrat Saab alongwith fabulous chorus makes this qawwali written by Anand Bakshi- a perfect one.

Bhoola Tujhe: |BLUE|
Sung flawlessly by Rashid Ali, penned amazingly by Abbas Tyrewala - the song takes 'Hamd' to another level. Here, the protagonist is feeling sorry about how he forgot the God. Words used here, 'Pyaare Khuda' makes it so much personal. Makes Khuda very possessed by the protagonist. And quite tricky words like Hayaat Qayamat ki yaa hai Qazaa.. make it more absorbing. Wonderful composition by Rahman which sounds like Opera. (Read translation at tBF's Blog). Also see the video linked under song's name, it has got some fabulous pics of Bandagi.


  1. Gr8 post man though i havent heard meherbaan n i didnt like bhula tujhe(didnt thought it had tht sufi feel), but the rest of the songs are in my list also n its great to see maula from mangal pandey, love tht track but it didn't went out to be tht popular like other sufi tracks by rahman.

  2. True that Sufi songs are Roohani by nature. Arziyaa is a current favourite for me, but when Khwaja or Piya Haji ali was released, I was absolutely mesmerized. Anything common in them??? Oh yes, Rahman Sir.

    Other than that.. Nusrat Saab goes without saying is the one who actually brought sufi music out as a genre rather than a dying art..

    I'll give you a shout on twitter if I come across some awesome Nusrat numbers. Thanks again Darshit for this awesome playlist

  3. the post is pretty good bt a big thanks for reminding the song Noor-Un-Allah.. it used to be one of my fav song when it came.. used to hear it a lot.. bt somehow just forgot it.. i saw the name here nd became nostalgic..
    thank u again

  4. Yippie! You just saved me a lot of homework to create my first CD of Sufi songs :D Thanks!!!

    My other ATF sufi songs are:
    * jise tu na mila, Refugee (2000)
    * aaya tere dar par, Veer Zaara (2004)
    * dulhe ka sehra, Dhadkan (2000) [I'm not sure whether this is considered sufi or not but it makes me feel it is]

    Please do share your other songs so at least I know what news ones have come out and what old ones I have never heard. Please please please! :)

    Thanks, Darshit!! Btw, welcome back. :) Hoping the wedding and holidays were great!

    ps. Like the new banner. Looks like it's Kajol.

  5. guys, shuld not miss the one in the film "Tathastu" song "Allah O Ali ", there's one line saying " aaj mein leke jhaoonga, tere dhar se jo chahoonga"......amazing

  6. Rahul
    Thanks Raul. You should listen to Meherbaan on top most priority. Its a song which rarely comes. Just love it because of fantabulous lyrics.

    You're welcome. Sure. Nusrat saab's nos. are always a pleasure. Love his work, wish he had stayed longer in this world.

    The thumping beats in Noor Un Ala makes it extra special. That song was answer to critics at that time, Rahman showed everyone that he hasn't lost it all. and he 'can' do the Shashtriya music too.

    Thanks for stopping by and welcome.

    Its been a long time Kanan. Glad to see you back. I have a long list of song actually. Will be adding more soon. Those are nice picks you have noted. But somehow I feel Dhadkan's no. is sung as Sufi style, but it ends up as a marriage song.

    Thanks for the wishes. Yes, indeed the time was best in my life.

    oh yes, that's apni kajol.

    Karthik S
    Thanks for stopping by Karthik. Its an honor to have u hear.

    Riaz Hassan
    Interesting pick here. I haven't heard of the song. Will get it and add it soon. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Have only heard a few of these. Thanks for the links though. Will go through and listen for sure. Because of the language barrier, all translation is lost of me, but can still enjoy the music for it's simplicity and mood.

  8. Darshit, this is a splendid post! As always, thanks so much for the links, truly appreciate it.

    First of all, it's great that you got to go to Ajmer, it must have been a surreal experience.

    Really like your point about sufi music not making the listener deviate from his/her own beliefs, many don't get that part, so kudos to you buddy. And it's not only sufi music. Take for example 'O Paalanhaare' from Lagaan, easily applicable to anyone who believes in any Supernatural force! (Despite the clear references, the goodness referred to is similar, so I would tend to agree with your view.)

    Also really glad you included Haan Raham and Noor un Ala Noor, those are easily among my favorites! The Quran actually has the exact term 'Noor un ala noor' in reference to Allah, and this song plays around the term and I think implies use for Tabu! I'm all for it, a lot of the sufi poetry integrates love of person with love of God, in fact, praising God for creating a person (such as Tabu! ;), so how can that be a bad thing? That's just my opinion, I think the controversy around it was unnecessary.

    Also, Maula from Mangal Pandey, just very authentic in terms of its picturization, such a 'mast malang' ambiance, and it takes a sufi (A. R. Rahman) to bring it out that way, I think.

    Great, I'm so sorry for the delay in writing here. Hope to get to being more regular.


  9. Abbyy11:23

    Add one more from movie Striker "Maula Ajab Teri Karni Maula"...as goes with all sufi/qawwali (Devotional Song)...this as well is very meaningful song...hats off to swanand kirkire for nice and light rendition ....

  10. shell
    Yes, sufi songs are little tough to understand because of urdu/farsi words used in it. Many times I have to search for their meanings too. But the way it is sung, is also superb to listen.

    Thanks tBF. Indeed Ajmer was 'an experience'. One can feel Sufi in the atmosphere. Was there at early morning and was fantastic to pray there.

    Totally valid point there about O Palanhaare. The song is universal indeed. And with Rahman, nothing can wrong at all. Thats the best devotional song we have till date.Talking about Noor Un Ala Noor-I remember that controversy. Useless I would say. But I din't know it is taken from The Quran. Thanks for the info. And yes, Khuda deserves to be praised for creating Tabu. :D

    Welcome Abbyy.
    Striker's song are really absorbing. I m getting into it. Swanand has created a superb track - words,music and vocals - all dept. Swanand shines. Love the simplicity. Thanks for suggestion. Will be adding to post.

  11. WowowoW thanx alot ..my name is khan ohhh gud its the most perfect movie this years ...in india there is only the one guy King Khan ...wowow most perfect and wonderful actor ...he is the king of the world

  12. Roro
    Thanks for the comment. Welcome to my blog.
    Yes,agree that King Khan is King.. no doubts about it :)

  13. Anonymous02:33

    Hi Darshit

    Really nice blog post. Really enjoyed the post, and I must admit, your taste is impeccable.

    Its interesting that the most of the work that has been featured has been by A.R.Rahman, because he is the cornerstone in innovation. That says a lot about the kind of music that has been put up for sale as "Sufi" music. I find most of the new offerings apart from what you shared to be quite banal, and sometimes forced on musicians because apparently Sufi sells. (The Teri Ibadat, Teri Pooja etc etc. compilations). And in my humble opinion, my understanding of Sufi music is very different from what the perception is in the Hindi industry. Now, I can be completely wrong, and it is just a personal opinion.

    Now, I donot come from a "Barelvi" family, and hence donot have association with Sufi music as most people assume Muslims to have. This kind of music was as much an exploration for me, as for anyone else. However, the devotional music that is closer to me is more folky (Punjabi, Sindhi) as compared to sufi music in Urdu. Also, though I dont frequent any of the mazaars (ah, Wahabism), most of the shrines in Lahore (where I am from originally) has more of a Dhamaal-usque feel to it. Even the more popular qawwalis at these shrines are more in the local flavour (i.e. Punjabi, ofcourse Urdu Qawwalis are also popular).

    Hence, the "Sufi" music that is closer to my heart, Urdu or Punjabi, has a certain transcendental feel to it, a bit more dhamaal in it, a bit more psychedelic feel to it. Even the qawwalis are fun when there is a sense of improvisation, which one misses in the recordings. Or I like Qawwalis for the non-devotional reason ("Dil lagee bhool jaanee paregee" "Tishnagee to Jinjhor detay hain").

    However, also looking from the outside in, I have started to appreciate the different kinds of Muslim devotional music. and kudos to you to select a very good selection of "Sufi" music!

    Excellent Post

  14. is bhoola tujhe a sufi song??
    reply asap

  15. akshay ofcourse man. again same answer. lyrics.. sufiana. pop sufiana

  16. Anonymous19:28

    Sufi music is very sweet&romantic&very soulful..I like Sufi music very much..

  17. Raju Singh16:01

    Hii everybody

    I think all songs mentioned here are devotional..I am great fan of these songs... but when it comes to sufi as gener the top on my fav list is ' Chhap tilak sab chini re mose naina milai ke " .. which is not mentioned here..

  18. Thanks for your addition Raju Singh, that is another song i love. Just that, I have limited this post to Sufi music in recent films.

  19. Anonymous13:30

    You may like this sufi song


  20. The only one we all missed every one life that is the sufi legend Nusrath Fatheh Ali Khan Saab thanks to god Aap ku panaya sufi songs ke liya.

  21. Anonymous06:13

    beautiful collection of sufi songs...............luvd it ol...thanx...

  22. great collection. .finally i got the right place what i was searching for.I really love the mood of sufis. The way you explained add colors to the sufis.thank you very much. . Keep on posting. .

  23. a very very beautiful song is not in ur list.I'm sure that u will like this song.The song is 'beshak mandir masjid todo'from film'bobby'.ek gazab kalam by bullehshah

  24. a very very beautiful song from film 'bobby' 'beshak mandir masjid todo'

  25. Uttam Thakor10:55

    Very Useful information on Sufi songs. Nice Post.

  26. Awesome post...please include Kun Faya from Rockstar...also Mere Maula Karam Ho Karam from Khakee

  27. To add another jewel, "kun fayakun" ... Awesome song from movie Rockstar

  28. albela sajan mera - kailasha , think about this song

  29. Anonymous23:47


  30. Thanks a lot. Plz if u have any more songs related to god of any religion or any saint plz let me know.

  31. plz add another song banda re from raaz 2. nice song

  32. Dear writer, we think a lot alike. Some of the lines you quoted here are my favorites too! Listen to Dumadum Mast Kalandar and Man Kunto Maula.. both are terrific!!

  33. Thanks for the compilation of soul touching songs.Resourceful songs to surge your soul towards Peace within.
    when peace grows in you and those around you get that breeze of Peace.
    Its just a great compilation. Thanks much again.

  34. Glad you liked my post Naema. Thanks for the appreciations.
    So, whats your favorite from this?

  35. Anonymous15:07

    How Can You Guys Forget Real Sufi:-

    1) Yaad Piya Ki Aye - A Thumri Rather, By Wadali Brothers. The Song was made By Amir Khusrav and then revived by Bade Ustad Gulam Ali Khan.

    2) Tune Deewana Banaya By Abida parveen.


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