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Forms of Poetry used by Sufis

HAMD is a poem written in praise of Allah.

NA’AT is a poem written in praise of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)

MANQABAT is a poem written in praise of other religious figures.

SALAAM is a poem written as a form of salutation to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his family members, addressing their presence and high spiritual status. It is read while standing as a sign of respect.

GHAZAL is the most popular form of poetry which has also been extensively used by the Sufis as a medium of their poetic expression. It is a collection of several couplets with the same meter. There can be multiple rhyming couplets at the beginning called Matla, while the last couplet usually contains poet’s name called Maqta. Each couplet is semantically independent, though it is quite common to find a series with a coherent theme i.e. Ghazal-e-musalsal.

NAZM has a central theme with a title. It has been traditionally written in rhymed verses, but modern Nazms at times do not follow these rules and even presented in un-rhyming free verses.

RUBA’I is quatrain i.e. it has four line of equal length. All lines are in the same meter, but first two and the fourth one rhyme. The first three lines develop an idea and the fourth concludes it.    

QAT’A means stanza, piece or fragment of poetry. Qata-band is more than one couplet read together to form a complete sentence.

MASNAVI consists of indefinite number of rhyming couplets on an epic scale. Mevlana Rumi has immortalized this form of poetry in his Masnavi Ma’anvi.

KAFI: A traditional style of Punjabi poetry used by the Punjabi Sufis where a phrase, verse, or group of verses repeated at intervals throughout the poem, especially at the end of each stanza. Baba Bulleh Shah and Khwaja Ghulam Farid are very well known for this form of poetry.

GEET is written with an intention to sing, hence it has a certain mood to it. It is of a feminine nature with a soft display.  Geets are pre-dominantly written in Hindi language.

DOHA is a two line Hindi poem in simple words that coveys a vast message. Kabir Das is considered the final authority in Doha writing. 

MUSTAZAAD is written as couplets with a short piece attached to each. Each added piece usually rhymes with its parent line and adds to the beauty of Qawwali.

MANAJAAT is a prayer written in a lyrical style.

BASANT refers to the arrival of spring. Hazrat Amir Khusro directed this feeling of festivity into the poetic expression of a flowering consciousness.

HOLI is an Indian festival of colours celebrated in spring. Sufis of India have written a large number of poems in reference to Holi for reflecting unity within the diversity.