Stories about sufi

How a visit to Baba Auliya’s shrine in Karachi made me feel human again

A sense of excitement ran through me as I set foot on the Pakistan’s soil. I was participating in the Urs celebrations of Qalandar Baba Auliya, the grand master and founder of Silsila Azeemiyya, commemorated every year on January 27th. In particular, the topic for the International Spiritual Workshop, ‘Man and Human’, had gripped my attention, as I had not seen them as two different points of existence. As I was driven through the streets of Karachi, my heart paced in anticipation of meeting the current patriarch of the Silsila, Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi, a renowned Sufi saint and spiritual scholar. Setting foot into ...

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The city of Sufism, saints and nirvana – Multan has more to offer than you think

Earlier this year, I took a trip to Multan that was meant to be an official excursion, and yet somehow proved to be a bit of a life changer. As I waited to board my flight, I “checked in” on my Facebook account, and in turn was presented various sites referencing Multan as the “City of Saints”. All I knew about Multan was that it was famous for its blue pottery and other textile items, which is why this revelation made me feel excited at the prospect of my trip to the city. Coming from Karachi, I genuinely did not ...

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Are there too many cooks in Coke Studio’s broth?

It’s that time of the year again, when the most anticipated musical project of the country hits our screens and is seen dodging the pressure of incredulous expectations attached to it. Coke Studio is back with its ninth season and will stick around for the next two months – all the while retaining an essential chunk of our national narrative. People will love it, hate it, love to hate it, and hate to love it – but everyone agrees there’s nothing quite like Coke Studio. Here are my two cents on the first episode of the current season. 1. Sasu ...

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The B-side: Junaid Jamshed and untold stories behind the controversies

After leaving a lucrative career as a pop singer, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) has evolved into a preacher and poster boy for the austere deobandi group, the Tableeghi Jamaat. He once jokingly remarked, “When I was a singer people use to throw rose petals at me, since I came into Islam they throw stones at me.” This simple statement does more to highlight Pakistan’s state of affairs than explain how someone, who has been referred to by his musician friends, and in his Islamic circles, as “the nicest person one can meet”, can be party to one controversy after another? Some say, he is ...

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You can play Holi too, even if you are Muslim

Phagwa, more commonly known as Holi, celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun (the 12th month of the Hindu calendar), is a festival that heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated with colours, it is a symbolic expression of the changing of temperatures and the blossoming fields of green. My childhood memories are consumed with numerous instances from Holi. Living in a predominantly Hindu neighbourhood in Delhi, and belonging to one of the few Muslim families, we were surrounded by bright, colourful faces on the day of Holi. The enthusiastic crowd did not hesitate to smear my parents with colour the second they stepped out, ...

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A city within a city, the magical walled city of Lahore

I grew up visiting nooks and corners of Lahore with my father as a weekend trip. From Lahore Fort to Data Darbar, streets of Bhati Gate to Anarkali food street, my father made sure that Lahore’s heritage was a major part of my upbringing. This urge to visit Lahore has been there in my heart ever since and I go out on the streets to replenish it every now and then. For more than a year, I have been going out to the walled city, talking to people, understanding their stories and clicking their portraits. I don’t consider myself a photographer, ...

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In conversation with SomeWhatSuper: Let their ‘Bandook’ blow you away

In the age of the cloud, things are progressing fast and people are accepting changes coming along with it. The internet has revolutionised not only the way we consume media, but also how the media infiltrates into our lives, and into the lives of the ones who control it. Our music industry is witnessing a positive change, thanks to the internet, and new musicians with their creative music, are showing the world the amount of talent our country has. SomeWhatSuper is one such duo who recently came out with their single ‘Bandook’, a catchy dance track. But here’s the catch, it’s in Punjabi, which makes ...

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Coke Studio 7 comes with strings attached

What an opening! The much-awaited Coke Studio season seven begins with the hope of fresh music, sounds, return-to-roots and much more. Strings have teamed up to become the sound producers of a huge franchise even though they have no prior music production experience. It was but expected that, apart from picking all the right people, their overall presentation would be a ‘celebration of strings’, given Bilal Maqsood’s love for the guitar. Episode one fared well and stumbled a little as well, but gave much to celebrate. Ustad Raees Khan and Abida Perveen: Mein Sufi Hoon Who can go wrong placing these two maestros together? It was a joy to see ...

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Aqsa Mahmood, the ISIS bride

I might be wrong but I believe I can almost imagine her. I can imagine her thoughts, her anguish, her pain and her emotions. I can imagine her heart nagging her as she would watch those numbers, those scenes of brutality, death and destruction on television, newspapers and social media; feeding on the truth and on Western propaganda against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I can imagine as she would study extremist religious content and wake up every day feeling that everything she has done, everything she is doing, this whole world, is so pointless. She should rather be doing something ...

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I found God in Turkey

“Whatever is meant for you, […], is bound to come to you. It may have to come all the way from Istanbul to San Francisco, or even by a more roundabout route, but it will come to you.” – Sheikh Mozaffar Ozak And that is how I found myself at the Dubai airport, waiting to board my next flight to Istanbul, wondering how on earth I ended up there. Wasn’t travel one of those things that other people did, but never me? Wasn’t it for carefree people? Surely not for me, for I have too many responsibilities. I am not a mom who leaves ...

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