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The Use Made of Music by the Sufis of the Chishti Order

Sama Mystical Music by Syed Mumtaz Ali
Sama Listening to Music by Shaykh Sharafuddin Maneri from this The Hundred Letters
Usage of Music by the Sufis of the Chishti Order

Moroccan Sufism, Music and Power (particular Tariqah Qadiri-Boutchichi of Sidi Hamza's tariqah) by Dr Tony Langlois

The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan 
The Use Made of Music by the Sufis of the Chishti Order
 The Sufi especially loves music, calling it ghiza-e-ruh - food of the soul.

1 The Sufis, in their meditation, have always had music. Music is the greatest mystery in the world. The whole manifestation is made of vibrations, and vibrations contain all its secret. The vibrations of music free the soul and take from a person all the heaviness which keeps him bound. Music reaches the soul in a moment, as the telegraph reaches from London to New York.

 There is one difference between the Sufis and the Yogis, and all the other mystics. Their ideas, their thoughts and their life are quite the same, but you will see the Sufis sometimes in tears and sometimes in joy. Worldly persons think: 'They are mad!', and mystics may think: 'They are on the surface; they are not on the same level'. To the Sufi self-pity, tears at what happens to the self, are haram - prohibited. But tears in the thought of the Beloved, in the realization of some truth, are allowable. Extreme joy for what happens to the self is not allowable, but joy in the thought of the Beloved, is allowable. The heart is touched, it is moved by the thought of God. It is then that the dervishes dance. Sometimes the dance expresses the action of the Beloved, sometimes it is the face of the Beloved.

 The Sufis have used music not as an amusement, but as purification, as prayer to God. The Chishti Order of Sufis especially uses music. This Order exists chiefly in India, and has come from Russia. Chishti in Russian means pure, and Sufi - sara - means pure. There are different means of purification. It is according to our view that all seems good, or that all seems bad. The old Greek motto says: 'Evil is to him who thinks evil'. What may seem an amusement, something light, is prayer to God. There are different ways of praying to God. In times when the world was most interested in music, art, science, and in amusement, these were used to bring before people the idea of something higher. Music and plays have been used, and the churches used some sort of show.

 If you go among people of other occupations you will find them cold. They will pay little attention, they will speak just one word to you. But the heart of the musicians who have to do with sound is warmed by sound.

2 Once when I was sitting in the presence of Shakr Ali Ebah Ganj, a very great mystic, I asked him whether he knew the Sufis of Afghanistan. He had travelled very far. He said: 'They are Chishtis, but they do not like music'. This astonished me very much, because the Chishtis have a great devotion for music. He explained that the cold climate of Afghanistan does not allow music to have its effect.

 The Chishti Order of the Sufis makes a great use of music to warm the heart, to produce feeling. When a person has understood that everything in the world is false, that every being is untrue- when this wisdom comes, then coldness comes. A little child is very magnetic because of its warmth. It is friendly to everyone. When its intelligence grows it distinguishes: 'This one favored me; that one did not favor me. This one was kind; that one was not kind. This one gave; that one did not give'. Then coldness comes. Then we think: 'This one is my enemy; I should not speak with him. This man has written an article against me; therefore I should have nothing to do with him. This man's grandfather was my father's enemy; therefore I should avoid him'. The selfishness and coldness grow in us to such an extent. To stop this coldness, to produce feeling, the Chishtis use music. The vibrations of sound produce warmth.

 When I was travelling through Russia I made this prayer: 'O God, do not let anyone who is poor come here. For anyone who is poor the cold is terrible. If he has no shoes, he has to bind bundles of rags round his feet. If he has no fire in the house, if he has no warm coat, if he has to go out to work or if she has to go out to work thinly clad - it is terrible!'