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Qawwal Gharanas 

Qawwal Bachha Gharana – Jalandhar

1: Faisalabad Family:

Ustad Mubarak Ali & Ustad Fateh Ali Qawwal / Rahat Fateh Ali Khan / Rizwan Muazzam

Mubarak Ali Khan Fateh Ali Khan performing at radio Karachi


Mubarak Ali Khan Fateh Ali Khan performing at radio Lahore

The great duo of Ustad   Mubarak Ali Khan (1881-1974) and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Qawwal (1903-1964) born in          Jalandhar, India. They were undoubtedly the pioneers of qawwali in Pakistan and were appreciated by           laypersons and notable classical musicians alike. Till the death of Fateh Ali Khan in 1964, they were the most celebrated qawwals in the sub-continent. The family of these qawwals has been associated with qawwali for centuries.

Basically   they were Pathan and had migrated from Ghazni, Afshanistan to the Sub-Continent and settled in Jalandher, India. Their father Mola Bakhsh Khan started singing qawwali in India. He had four sons Mubarak Ali Khan, Salamat Ali Khan, Fateh Ali Khan and Nawazish Ali Khan. After partition they settled in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

First ones to receive Pride of Performance in 1962, Mubarak Ali and Fateh Ali had international fame and were admired by the political leaders in unforgettable words. Muhammad Raza Shah Pehlvi the emperor of Iran said about them “kamal-e-fun khub ast o talaffus farsi kamal ast”. Pandat Jawahar Lal Nehru said, “Undoubtedly the art of Ustad Fateh Ali and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan is without precedent and there are great musicians of Asia”.

Receiving Pride of Performance

Liaqat Ali Khan the first Prime Minister of Pakistan commented, “Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan have bestowed a new spirit upon the Muslim world through the meaning of Iqbal’s kalam.

The next generation of Mubarak Ali Khan and Fateh Ali Khan was crowned by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997) born in Faisalabad, who had an unprecedented national and international fame.

After the death of his Father Fateh Ali Khan in 1964, started out with his uncle Mubarak Ali Khan and was later joined by Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan (1922-1994) who was born in Jalandhar, after the death of Mubarak Ali Khan in 1971.

Nusrat Fateh Ali khan performing with his uncle Mubarak Ali khan in 1964 at radio Lahore

  Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan became a representative of national identity of Pakistan at first and with his popularity people living in foreign countries came to know of Pakistan through Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He worked with famous music directors in the West who featured his voice in Hollywood mega productions. Peter Gabriel tapped his vocal gravitas for the soundtrack of “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Nusrat Fateh Ali also collaborated with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on the soundtrack for Tim Robbins’ Dead Man Walking. His voice majestically filled the background of the prison-riot scene of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.


Keeping himself within the stylistic ambit of his father, which was singing powerfully and meaningfully in the upper octave and improvising with paltas and tanas, he developed a new style of his own. He is said to be the pioneer of fusing qawwali with Western instrumentation and gave the genre exemplary heights of popularity in the sub-continent supported by his contribution in Bollywood Cinema.

The stylistic dominance of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s singing is observable in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who is the son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan (1954-2003) born in Faisalabad, and learned from his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.



Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Rizwan and Muazzam performing at Coke Studio Karachi

Rizwan (1978-) Muazzam (1981-) who the sons of Mujahid Mubarik Ali Khan have also toured the West and worked with Peter Gabriel. They started training from their father in 1993 and later according to the desire of their father who passed away in 1996 they learned from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Their career continues as they are representing tradition with innovation.




Pakpattan Family

Din Muhammad Qawwal with his family in Jalandhar

Deen Muhammad , Dina Qawwal Family ,MiandadKhan Akram Dad Khan ,Badar Mian Dad ,Sher Mian Dad

Din Muhammad Khan

The family of Din Muhammad aka Dina Qawwal (1885-1935) born in Jalandhar, links to the ancestors of Mubarak Ali and Fateh Ali Qawwal. These two families are the fifth generation of two brothers Sahab Dad Khan and Khalaq Dad Khan, who were the sons of Saadat Dad Khan and were renowned qawwals of their time known to be inspired by Khusro family famous as qawwal bachon ka gharana. The grandfather of Saadat Dad Khan was Muhammad Sharif Khan. It was the son of Haji Maroof Khan, who migrated from Ghazni to Basti Sheikhan Wali, Jalandhar, India nearly six hundred years ago. The family produced many qawwals of notable stature, such as, Baray Miandad Khan, Itar Dad Khan, Peer Dad Khan, Jhando Khan, Ali Bakhsh Khan and Din Muhammad. Amongst these, Din Muhammad achieved great fame in India and is one of the most popular of the pre-partition qawwals. HMV released 110 records of Din Muhammad and awarded him Gold Medal and the title of the Emperor of qawwali.  

Akram Hafiz Dad Khan

After Partition, the family of Din Muhammad settled in Pakpattan, his brother Ahmad Din Khan was patronized by the diwaan Qutbuddin, who was Sajjada Nasheen of Pakpattan. Ahmad Din Khan died in 1948 leaving his family under diwaan Qutbuddin. The other branch of family represented by Mubarak Ali and Fateh Ali got settled in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Tracing recent history of his family, Akram Hafeez Khan (1942-) told that his grandfather Misri Khan had three sons, namely, Umar Din known as Ajab Khan (a title given to him for his ability to sustain his voice on a note for an extraordinary length of time), Din Muhammad Khan and Ahmad Din Khan.

Taught by their father, and being a follower of Chishti Sabri order, these three brothers formed a qawwal party in Jalandhar and Din Muhammad was the main vocalist. Din Muhammad famous for combining Sufi and folk tradition of singing (known as doaaba ang ki qawwali; mostly rendered in the upper register) and therefore was quite popular in masses. He died in 1935 at the age of 50 years.

The tradition of qawwali was continued by the sons of his younger brother Ahmad Din Khan. Amongst the four sons, Miandad Khan, who was born on the day Din Muhammad died became the main vocalist of the qawwal party of four brothers. Interestingly, as Ahmad Din Khan died in 1948 and Mian Dad Khan was barely in his teens, he and his younger brothers leaned qawwali from their mother, Barkat Bibi. Akram Khan told that she taught them to play harmonium and tabla which she leaned from Misri Khan.




Mian Dad Khan

Mian Dad Khan (1935-1985) born in Jalandhar, remained attached throughout his life, with radio Pakistan, Multan and thus, served the art of qawwali and worked hard for its promotion. He also remained associated with the Pakistan television from 1974 to 1985.

The kafi of Baba Ghulam Fareed, “sanwal mod muharan was one of his famous qawwalis. Like his father, he was famous for singing in upper register and being the qawwal of masses, he kept on including folklores such as sohni mahinwaal, sassi punnu, heer ranjha, and laila majnun in his qawwalis. EMI made numerous discs of his qawwalis and at last, in 1985 this prodigy, a genius, left the scene of qawwali because of an unexpected death (Private publication).

The sons of Mian Dad Khan and the younger brother Akram Khan are carrying the legacy of their forefathers. The sons of Mian Dad Khan have made a considerable presence in the qawwali scene of Pakistan. Badar Mian Dad (1962-2007), who was born in Pakpattan, made a party with his brothers.



Badar Mian Dad Khan

At the chehlum of his father in 1986, Badar Ali Khan gave first performance of his life, where elite people of the world of Art along with his family men, were present. This performance lasted for two hours which was cheered up and much appreciated. Deewaan of Pakpattan Sharif and Nusrat Fateh Ali announced “dastar bandi” of Badar Ali Khan and declared him the admiration for him. Badar Ali Khan continued to march on the road of progress.



Sher Mian Dad Khan

 In 1988, Rehmat Gramophone Company of Faisalabad recorded Badar Ali Khan for the first time. At present, more than one hundred audio cassettes, nearly 50 cds and vedio cassettes are available. After the death of Badar Miandad his younger brothers Sher Mian Dad, Fakhar Mian Dad, Ali Dad Khan, Ali Raza Khan and Faiz Fareed Khan are contributing in the genre.

Sikandar Badar Miandad

The sons of Badar Mian Dad, Sikandar Badar Mian Dad (1987-), and Ali Badar Mian Dad are making their name in the field by contributing in Pakistani cinema as well. The sons of Akram Dad Khan, Masood Akram, Farid Akram and Mehboob Akram (1981-) are performing for the last ten years and have released 12 albums in the market.

Qawwal Bachha Gharana – Delhi

Munshi Raziudin Qawwal Family 

Farid Ayaz & Abu Muhammad Qawwal

Munshi Raziuddin

Munshi Raziuddin (1919-2003), Manzoor Niazi (1922-) and Bahauddin (1934-2006) belong to same family roots as all are associated with qawwal bachon ka gharana or Delhi gharana. The origins of qawwal bachon ka gharana are linked to Amir Khusrau.  To propagate Islam throughout the entire Sub-Continent of India, Hazrat Amir Khusro banded together twelve elite youngsters and personally imparted special instructions regarding Sufiana style of music, namely qawwali to them and appointed Mian Saamat as its leader. This group named as qawwal bachcha gharana of Delhi and afterwards as Delhi gharana.


The Delhi gharana achieved further acclaim through Al-Haj Mir Qutab Bukhsh, famous as Tanrus Khan who went on to become the royal tutor to Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the mughal emperors. After the sad demise of Tanrus Khan Sahab his elder son Ustad Ghulam Ghous Khan remained in Hyderabad (Deccan) to look over and prolong the versatile, dynamic and powerful living tradition of qawwal bachchay while the younger one namely Ustad Umrao Khan shifted to Lahore and dominated as well as look after the disciples of central part of Indo-Pak specially Punjab and later his son Ustad Sardar Khan fulfilled this responsibility until death in 1963.

Ustad Ghulam Ghous Khans had four sons namely Ustad Abudl Raheem Khans, Ustad Abdul Kareem Khan, Ustad Abdul Azeem Khan and Ustad Haji Muhammad Suleman Khan. Out of these Ustad Abdul Kareem Khans shifted to Delhi to look after the family affairs there as well as guarded the spiritual affiliation and connection with the Sufi order of Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya Mehboob-e-Ilahi, being the head of main qawwali group namely qawwal Bachchay or else chowki Tanrus Khan, until his death. The group was inclusive of all the persons now residing in Delhi, running their own groups and claim themselves as Main chowki of Dargah Nizam-ud-din Auliya.

Among the sons remained in Hyderabad (Daccan) Ustad Haji Muhammad Suleman Khan took the responsibility to take care of the family tradition and in this relation guided, imported the basic music specially qawwali and accordingly founded a young qawwali group with the name of Manzoor Niazi Qawwal and Ensemble inclusive of geniuses and dynamic personalities like Manzoor Ahmad Khan Niazi, Munshi Raziuddin Ahmad Khan, Ustad Qawwal Bahauddin and his brother Ghulam Moin-ud-din and Qutab-ud-din (late), Ustad Abdul Hameed Khan and his sons Nizam-ud-din and Naseer-ud-din Sami diverted towards classical music and now apart from being qawwal also renowned as a reputed classical singer and is bringing forward the unique and loving tradition of qawwal bachcha gharana, classical music.

Originally the party was known as Manzoor Niazi Qawwal party but then it went through a split as in 1966 Bahauddin Qawwal as solo artist and then in 1969 made his own party on the advice of his father. Munshi Raziuddin and Manzoor Niazi remained in the same party however, Raziuddin, who was born in Delhi, was a scholar in Persian and Arabic and was well read in hikmat and Mysticism, became a popular icon.

The distinction of Munshi Raziuddin has been his persistence in keeping the traditional qawwali alive. Sarwat Ali writes in this regard:

Munshi Raziuddin was the last qawwal in the traditional mould despite tremendous changes that have racked this genre of music. Listening to him was a throwback to a bygone era when qawwali was basically an extension of the creative expression built round the shrine, and even while evolving its own semi-autonomous form, did not sever the umbilical chord with its origins. (Ali 2009).

Farid Ayaz Qawwal

Munshi Raziuddin died in Karachi, Sindh and his tradition is now carried by his son Farid Ayaz (1954-). Farid Ayaz has toured Europe and Middle East with his companion Abu Muhammad and other party members. He is considered as one of the qawwals who prefer to maintain the Sufiana qawwali tradition. He performs qawwali in Persian, Urdu and Hindi languages. He has been awarded Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan.

Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Performing

Manzor Niazi Qawwal Famliy

Abdullah & Masroor Niazi Qawwal – Subhan Niazi Qawwal

Manzoor Ahmed Khan Niazi

He was the disciple his uncle Suleman Khan. Manzoor Niazi told that Muhammad Ali Khan, Muhammad Hussain, Murlee, Imam Buksh were his companion qawwals and he also learned from Murlee. He got training of cutting of lai, which was a difficult task. Murlee was a qawwal of Shah Jahanpur. Mubarak belonged to Delhi and Muhammad Ali belonged to Lucknow. Manzoor Niazi has been a follower of silsila niazia and his peer was Abdul Qadir Niazi Qadri Chishti Sabri Nizami Qadri. His shrine is in Karachi. He performed in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq at the shrine of Imam Qazim, Khawaja Hussan Basri, Kuwait, and Saudi Arab. He got Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 1937 in Bombay India. This distinction was given to him by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He received Pride of Performance in 2006 by General Parvez Musharraf. He received the title of Bulbul-e- Deccan by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1937 (The New Nation 1993).

Manzoor Niazi performing with his Sons in Karachi

Niazi brothers

The tradition of Manzoor Niazi is now carried by his seven sons. The Niazi brothers are a 9 member party. Five of them are brothers and two of the five Abdullah Niazi (1960-) and Masroor Niazi have made a name in the genre. The party has toured US, Canada and Europe many times. Their cousin Subhan Ahmad Nizami (1980-), who is the son of Afaaq Ahmad Nizami Qawwal is also a very famous qawwal.

Abdullah and Masroor Niazi
Subhan Nizami

Bahaudin Qawwal Family

Najamudin & Saifudin Qawwal

Ustad Qawwal Bahuddin performing in Karachi

Ustad Qawwal Bahauddin who was the younger in the three made his party in 1969. Won prizes and acclaim from very tender age of six years singly as well as active partner of Manzoor Niazi Qawwal and party. In 1947, he was decorated as “nunhay ragi” in 1949 received certificate of performance, in 1951 earned the title of nunhay hind ragi from the Indian Prime Minister and in 1976 earned the title of ustad from the Mayer of Durban and Vice Chancellor of Durban University. In 2000 and 2002 he was awarded the Tamghai-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan.

Bahauddin Qawwal and his family have been continuously associated with the Sufi orders since last seven centuries. The tombs of Mian Niagahi and Mian Dargahi, his ancestors, mureed and sama khawan of Hazrat Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, adjacent to his shrine and have been awarded with permanent rooms adjacent to the shrines of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz, Nizam-ud-din Auliya and Hazrat Allauddin Ali Sabir Kalyari in Ajmeer, Delhi and Kalyar due to their regular services and continuous attachment with these Sufi saints. Furthermore, the descendants of Hazrat Mehboob-e-Elahi conferred certificate of affiliation to him and turbaned him and his sons in recognition of their family attachment with silsila of Hazrat Mehboob-e-Ilahi.

Bahauddin Qawwal’s legacy has been taken up by his sons Najmuddin and Saifuddin, who have demonstrated great sense of commitment in learning the Sufi’s poetic verses, the vocal and instruments from their father. They have also benefited from other masters in the field including their uncles and cousins. Apart from belonging to the music and a prominent gharana all his children are educated and have command on presenting qawwalis in Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Saraiki, Birj Bhasha, Purbi, Sanskrit as well as in English languages. They apart from accompanying him are performing since 1993. They have extensively traveled to USA and Europe.

Najamuddin Saifuddin Qawwal performing in concert

Rubabi Gharana:
Santu Khan Qawwal

Ustad Santu Khan Qawwal

Mushtaq Ahmad known as Santu Khan Qawwal (1870-1989) belonged to a Rubabi clan and was fully conversant with the music of Sikhs. Born in Taran Taran, Amritsar, he got his training from Ustad Bhai Lal and was an ardent follower of Chishti order. Due to this he performed mostly at various shrines across the sub-continent.

Manzoor Santu Qawwal Family:

Asif Santu – Ali Raza Santu –Shah Nawaz Santu – Bukhtyar Santu

Manzoor Santu Khan Qawwal

In an interview with his son Manzoor Hussain Santu Qawwal (1934-), born in Garhi Shau, Lahore, who learned the art of qawwali singing from his father. He told that his grandfather Ustad Mola Buksh started qawwali in his family and learned from Tanrus Khan’s Gharana. He added that by profession we were formers at that time and our ancestors came from Saudi Arabia. His grandfather became the disciple of Mian Inam Bukhsh in Amritsar and learned traditional classical music. He admired the genre of qawwali to the extent that he started practicing it.

Santu Khan was admired internationally. Manzoor Hussain Santu who toured Saudi Arabia extensively mentioned with pride that when he told some of the people that his name is Manzoor Santu one of them step forward and touched his feet and told him that your ancestors belonged to this land and you are a family member. Saying this he took him to his village where the whole his family welcomed him.

Santu Khan as most of the qawwals are was inspired by the Sufi thought. When he became the disciple of Bhai Lal in Amritsar, he met with Pir Nawazish Ali Shah who was the follower of Sabri silsila. Santu Khan became a devoted follower of Sufi order and became the disciple of Pir Nawazish Ali Shah as well. On his advice he went to Bengal and sang a qawwalitaen ta mera yar na milaya mein ki jana teri khudae” for Bhagat Surdaas film which became an instant hit, he also sang with K.L Saigol.

It is difficult to state with complete certainty that what particular factors played a key role in shaping the stylistic repertoire of Santu Khan. At maximum what we find are influences, but to what degree, to what extent and to which effect they influenced the basis of his vocalization is something that we cannot be scientific about. However, Santu Khan had in his vocal formation, the peculiarities of khayal gayaki, the intricacies and subtle delicacies that would make him stand apart from the qawwals of his time have been witnessed a supported by the well known listeners one comes across with. He had a sweet and melodius voice, which supports the fact that in his aesthetic vocabulary, the mellow, the soft and the subtle had utmost importance. Logically, the features of singing, which one may observe in different forms of singing like khayal, thumri, dhrupad and qawwali have a common root, i.e. the mind of the artist. Due to this, a subtlety which might be resultant of learning under a different tradition of gayaki, can be adopted and used in another form with similar potency to achieve similar result. It would not be farfetched that if Santu Khan had not adopted the genre of qawwali, he would have been a great khayal singer of his time and possibly of all time.

Asif Manzoor Santu Khan

With Manzoor Hussain , eight out of his nine sons are performing as a party having Asif Ali as the lead vocalist, the remaining one is settled in South Africa and has a musical band performing there. Asif Manzoor Santu, who has been a disciple of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as well, has quickly made a name of his own. He is considered as one of the most promising Qawwals of the younger generation.

Munawwar Santu Family

After them, there is a new generation of qawwals in the making as the grandsons of Manzoor Hussain are quickly making their names by appearing on local TV channels and concerts. Manzoor Hussain’s brother Munawwar Santu (1945-) used to play clarinet in the qawwal. Now he has formed his own party withparty his son Naeem Munawwar Santu.

Sikanderabad Gharana

1: Kallan Banne Qawwal Family:

Kallan Banne – Nooruddin & Badaruddin Nizami Qawwal

2: Zaki Taji Qawwal Family:

Zaki Taji – Zaman Zaki Taji – Ali Zaman Zaki Taji

Kallan Khan Qawwal

Kallan Khan Qawwal is undoubtedly one of the best qawwals in the history of Pakistan. He was famous for singing in “khamsa”. As a duo with Banne Khan Qawwal, he received Sitara-e-Pakistan from Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Pride of Performance from Liaqat Ali Khan in 1948. Unfortunately, he has not been highlighted in texts on qawwali. From an interview with a younger member of Kallan Khan’s family the following information is retrieved.



Kallan Khan was born (1908-1975) in Skinderabad, India. He was the son of Umer Khan who was a classical musician. Umer Khan and Latif Khan were two brothers. Umer Khan had five sons from two wives. From one wife he had two sons, namely, Bandu Khan and Musharraf Khan, who were qawwals and performed in India, and from second wife there were three sons, Kallan Khan, Banne Khan and Noshey Khan. Latif Khan had four sons Abdul Hameed Khan, Muhammad Nazir Khan, Naseer-ud-din Khan and Abdul Majeed Khan. Abdul Hameed Khan had sons, Abdul Rasheed, Muhammad Ismail, Muhammad Ishaq, and Khursheed. Nazir Khan had sons, Muhammad Shafique.  Naseer-ud-din Khan has only one son Professor Sami-ud-din. Abdul Majeed Khan had four sons Waheed Nizami, Noor-ud-din Nizami, Badur-ud-din and Zia-ud-din Nizami. Waheed Nizami had two sons Mehboob Nizami, Arooj Nizami and had a qawwal party with the name of Waheed Nizami Qawwali.


After shifting to New Delhi Abdul Hameed Khan and Nazir Khan also made a qawwal party. Ustad Kallan and Banne Khan had their party in Delhi before partition with the title of Kalwa Banne Qawwal. Kallan Khan and Banne Khan Qawwal migrated to Pakistan before 1947 and attended the marriage ceremony of daughter of Nawab Lasbela. Kallan Khan had Ghulam Farid Sabri in his party as well and was used to sing at the shrine of Hazrat Ali Ahmad Sabir.

Kallan Khan had got training of classical music from his father Umer Khan and his uncle Latif Khan. He also got training of qawwali from his cousins Abdul Hameed Khan and Nazir Khan. Kallan Khan died in Karachi.

A name that deserves serious consideration in this family is Waheed Nizami Qawwal (1948-1996) he was born in Karachi and got training from his father Abdul Majeed Khan and uncle Kallan Khan. According to Noor-ud-din Nizami the brother of Waheed Nizami, his father   Abdul Majeed Khan was a famous column writer and was given the title of “Rustam-e-Qalam” from Nawab of Hyderabad in 1945 he was the person who proposed the “Daily Jang” helped in publishing its first issue in Delhi. Waheed Nizami started qawwali in 1965 and received the title of “nizami ragi” by Hazrat Pir Zamin Nizami Syed Bukhari who is Sajjada Nasheen at Dargah of Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya. He had frequently performed in radio and television.

Nooruddin Badaruddin Nizami Qawwal performing in Karachi

He toured India in 1981 and 1984 and performed qawwali on 23rd May and 14th August in the Embassy of Pakistan. Mehboob Alam, the second secretary of the Embassy of Pakistan said that their performance was greatly appreciated by all officers and staff of Embassy including the Ambassador. They are no doubt among top Pakistani qawwals.

He was spiritually motivated person and was believer of Sufi orders particularly Nizami and Qadri. He was the follower of Pir Najam-ud-din of Iraq. After the death of Waheed Nizami Qawwal, Mehboob Waheed Nizami and Arooj Waheed Nizami are his sons and carrying the tradition of qawwali with their uncles Nooruddin Waheed Nizami (1951-) and Badaruddin Waheed Nizami (1954-) successfully. Nooruddin Nizami and Badar Nizami are very famous qawwals of Karachi and also performed in radio, television and all over Pakistan.

Kallan Banne Qawwal family contributed in the promotion of the genre of qawwali through three qawwal parties in terms of blood lineage and one qawwal party in terms of teaching lineage, i.e. Zaki Taji qawwal party. Their contribution to qawwali is by no means a contribution that does not deserve admiration.

Genealogical Chart of Kallan Banne Qawwal’s Family

Zaki Taji Qawwal’s Family

Zaki Taji Qawwal

Zaki Taji, who was born (1948-) in Delhi, is the son in law of Kallan Khan. Zaki Taji belonged to a musician family, which he refers to as Sikandarabad gharana. Zaki Taji is the grandson of Badi-uz-Zaman and son of Qutubullah Khan who were classical vocalists. Zaki Taji is associates to blood lineage to Ada Rang and Sada Rang, the famous musical icons. Apart from these two famous brothers, others famous ustads from the Sikandarabad gharana have been Qudratullah Khan, Kifayatullah Khan, Azmatullah Khan, Ahmad Zaman Khan, Muhammad Zaman Khan and Zaki Taji’s grandfather Badiuszaman Khan. Shafiuszaman Khan who was the son of Badiuszaman Khan and father of Zaki Taji was a great vocalist of his time.

Zaki Taji performing in a concert

Zaman Zaki Taji Qawwal

The family of Zaki Taji Qawwal have been singing qawwali at dargah of Nizam-ud-din Auliya for over seven fifty years. Zaki Taji has been performing in radio Pakistan for the last forty five years and on Pakistan television for the last thirty years as an outstanding artist. He has many gramophone records and cassettes on his name and is proficient in thumridadraghazal and kafi. He had extensively toured Europe. His legacy is now carried by his son Muhammad Zaman Zaki Taji (1969-) born in Karachi, for the last thirty years. Ali Zaman Taji is also performed qawwali with his father Zaman Taji and grandfather Zaki Taji.


 Ali Muhammad Taji Qawwal

An important Qawwal of Taji family who is the son in law of Zaki Taji and also his nephew is a well known and international qawwal, Ali Muhammad Taji (1954-) born in Karachi. His father was Ustad Fateh Muhammad Khan who was the son of great classical vocalist Ustad Mehtab Khan. Ali Taji learned classical music from Habibuddin Khan, Sarwar Khan, Boob Khan and Manzoor Khan. He performed all over Europe and Middle East. He also performed in India and some of his qawwalis were featured in Indian cinema. He also establishes a link with “khas qawwal bachha” from his Paternal (Jaipur) and Maternal (Sikandarabad) lineages. His son Saqib Ali Taji is also performed qawwali and is also an exceptional khayal and thumri vocalist. The family claims to be the original qawwal chauki of dargah Saleem Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya.

Genealogical Chart of Zaki Taji Qawwal’s Family

Kerala Rajpoot Qawwal:

1: Mian Barqat Ali Qawwal Family:

Rasheed Ahmad Faridi – Majeed Ahmad Faridi – Nazeer Ahmad Faridi

2: Muhammad Ali Faridi Qawwal Family:

  Abdul Rahim Faridi – Moeen ud din Faridi

3: Din Muhammad Qawwal Family:

Haji Mahmoob Qawwal

Agha Basheer Ahmed

Rasheed Ahmad Faridi Qawwal (1922-1985) and people belonging to his family have contributed in their own significant way to enrich the genre of qawwali. This is the only family who has produced a number of notable qawwals each an expert in his own right.  The qawwals such as Muhammad Ali Faridi (1901-1978), Hafiz Ata Muhammad (1908-1987), Haji Mehboob (1914-1991), Agha Basheer Ahmad Faridi (1919-1992), Nazir Ahmed Faridi (1925-1994) and Majeed Ahmed Faridi (1931-2000) are respectable names for music connoisseurs


Agha Basheer Ahmed

They belonged to Rajpoot family of Amritsar. Their forefathers were a great qawwals of his time. Basheer Ahmad primarily learned from Bhai Lal Amritsari and then became the disciple of Fateh Ali Khan and Mubarak Ali Khan Qawwal. 

Rasheed Faridi, Mian Barkat Ali (his father), mian Mehar Ali and mian Din M. (father of Haji Mehboob

Rasheed Ahmad Faridi

Rasheed Ahmad Faridi was the follower of Pir Hazrat Mehr Ali Shah of Gulra Sharif. He started his performance broadcast in 1948 from radio Pakistan Peshawar centre.



In 1952, he started performances for radio Pakistan Lahore centre and shifted from Peshawar to Lahore. He also performed for the inauguration of radio Pakistan Muzafarabad centre, Rawalpindi centre and Quetta centre. Before the arrival of television in Pakistan, Rasheed Ahmad Faridi performed for American television on event of Jashn-e-Baharan. He was appreciated a lot by Field Marshal Ayyub Khan and Raza Shah Pehlvi, Emperor of Iran.  In addition to being an extra ordinary artist, he was deeply concerned with the promotion of the Pakistani artist. He became the President of “Pakistan Artist Equity” and through his hard work succeeded to get many benefits from the Government for the artists. Rasheed Ahmad Faridi was a man of principle and a perfectionist; he did not pass on his art to his sons as he was off the strict view that they would not do justice to it.

Rasheed Ahmad Faridi performed for American television on event of Jashn-e-Baharan at Quetta Radio
Muhammad Ali Faridi performing in India with Hadier Baksh Falosay (sarangi)

The art of qawwali transferred from Muhammad Ali Faridi, born in Jalandhar, who was the cousin of Rasheed Ahmad Faridi and Agha Basheer Ahmad Faridi and disciple of Bhai Lal, to Abdul Rahim Faridi.

Abdul Rahim Faridi Qawwa

Abdul Rahim Faridi (1932-1996), who was born in Amritsar and died in Lahore, become a renowned qawwal and poet.


 For his life, he remained attached with the gargah of Hazrat Farid-ud-din Ganj Shakr. He also got dastar-e-fazeelat. He got his training from five teachers, namely, Pandat Chiran, Mehr Ali Waheed, Mian Hassain Baksh, Allah Ditta Khan and Bhai Lal. He started singing qawwali from the age of 8 years with his father Muhammad Ali Fradi. Before partition the famous qawwali of Muhammad Ali Faridi was “heer”. He was expert in singing of heerMuhammad ki ulfat badi cheez hei”. He had sung the kalams of great poet like Qateel Shifae, Ghalib, Atish, Mohsin Naqvi. He performed on radio and television frequently and also toured Iran. Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan had presented him Pride of Performance to my grandfather in Hari Pur Hazara, but he refused saying “For me Baba Farid and Tonsa Sharif are enough”.He has many recordings on Gramophone records and tapes preserved by his son Moeen Faridi (1962-) born in Sheikhopura, who is carrying on his tradition of qawwali singing and have performed in all over Pakistan.

Hafiz Ata Muhammad Qawwal

An important name of this family is Hafiz Ata Muhammad (1908-1987) who was born in Jalandhar, India and migrated to Gawalmandi, Lahore in 1947.

He was basically a naat khawan and learned qawwali from Ali Bukhsh Waez Qawwal (of Hyderabad Deccan) and classical music from Ustad Tawakkal Khan. His singing style was inspired by thumri gayaki. His qawwalis were featured in Pakistani films. His son Akhtar Ata is now representing his legacy and he also performed on all over Pakistan.

Hafiz Ata Muhammad Qawwal


Akhtar Ata Qawwal


Haji Mehboob Qawwal

The contribution of Haji Mehboob cannot be sidestepped as he is the only qawwal for whom many of qawwals agree to entitle him a proper darbari qawwal.

He spent all of his life at Golra Shareef and belonged to Kerala Rajput Gharana. He started qawwali at the age of 21 and was a specialist of tawheedi ang qawwali. His training of qawwali can be attributed to Pir Mehr Ali Shah of Golra Sharif, who taught him Persian and Arabic kalams.

Genealogical Chart of Kerala Rajpoot Qawwal’s Family

Wairan Wale Qawwals

1: Muhaamad Shafi Qawwal Family:

Baba Ghulam Kibriya – Ghulam Muhayyudin

2: Molvi Ahmad Hassan Family:

Molvi Akhtar Hassan – Molvi Haider Hassan

3: Molvi Hussain Ahmad Family:

Zameer ul Hassan

    Molvi Ahmad Hussain

Molvi Ahmad Hassana

Molvi Akhtar Hassan


Molvi Haider Hassan

Baba Ghulam Kibria

Baba Ghulam Kibria

This family belongs to a village in Jalandhar, India known as Baihran (Wairan in Punjabi). The oldest noticeable exponent of music is Ghulam Ghous who had three sons, namely, Fazal Din, Ali Bukhsh and Hussain Bukhsh. Hussain Bukhsh had four sons Ahmad Hussain (1914-1971), Ahmad Hassan (1920-1968), Hussain Ahmad and Muhammad Mohsin. Ali Bukhs had two sons, namely, Abdul Hameed and Muhammad Shafi who formed a separate qawwal party after the partition. Their descendants are qawwals and amongst them Baba Ghulam Kibria (1952-2003) who became one of the renowned qawwals of Pakistan. Belonging to Chishti Nizami order, he followed Sayyad Pir Maqbool Hussain Shah Kazmi and learned qawwali singing from his father, Muhammad Shafi. After him his son, Ghulam Mohaiuddin Habib Kibriya (1983-) is performing qawwali. The other stream comes forth from the family of Hussain Bukhsh. Hussain Bukhsh taught his son Ahmad Hussain who then became the teacher of his younger brothers. Ahmad Hussain was classical vocalist, a poet and a composer. The most prominent qawwal after partition was Molvi Ahmad Hassan Wairan Wale. The important thing to notice is that this family did not came from a strictly musical background but from a religious and scholarly background. The ancestors were into preaching Islam and were known as molvis.

The lineage connects to Maulana Abdul Quddus Gangohi (1456-1537), who was born in Rudauli, India and was a prominent Sheikh of Sabri order. According to Zamir-ul-Hassan who is the son of Molvi Muhammad Mosin, it was Abdul Quddus Gangohi who advised his forefathers to preach Islam through qawwali. He added that Phool Khan, a prominent qawwal in his forefathers performed with Maulana Abdul Quddus Ganghi. However, the tradition continued until the later Khalifa Maulana Abdul Rasheed Gangohi (1829-1905) banned preaching Islam through qawwali. The tradition reappeared with Moulana Abdul Qadir Rai Puri (1878-1962), who is a very famous deobandi scholar, as he advised his followers to continue with qawwali.

The family has contributed in the genre of qawwali in its own distinct way. Due to a direct and perhaps greater association with the religion and its scholarship their qawwali had a different outlook. They did not became popular in the masses due to the fact that they remain limited to their area, however, the initiated listener of qawwali and the qawwals know them as one of the most traditionally accurate qawwals. In addition to Molvi Ahmad Hussain, two qawwals of this family and their decedents require serious consideration.

The first name is Molvi Ahmad Hassan (1920-1968), who was born in Behran, Jalandhar, India and at the time of partition migrated to Mai Di Jhuggi now Hajveri Town in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He connects with Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri and was the regular qawwal of Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shakkar. He performed all over the sub-continent and after winning a noble stature died in Faisalabad. Molvi Ahmad Hassan had three sons, Molvi Abid Hassan, Molvi Akhtar Hassan (1951-1983) and Molvi Haider Hassan (1954-). Molvi Akhtar Hassan and his brothers performed with their uncle Muhammad Mohsin, cousin Asghar Hussain, who was the son of Ahmad Hussain and two sons of Hussain Ahmad, Zahid Hussan and Zameer ul Hassan. At present Molvi Haider Hassan (1954-) and Zameer ul Hassan (1962-) who was born in Faisalabad, are performing as duo. They have performed in all over Pakistan and also toured Europe.

Molvi Haider Hassan & Party Performing @ NCA

Genealogical Chart of Wairan Wale Qawwal’s Family

Happur Gharana:

1: Farooq Ahmad Nizami Qawwal Family:
Farooq Nizami – M Ahmad Nizami – Mehmood Nizami – Khaleeq Niazami – Laeeq Nizami – Maqsood Nizami – Ateeq Nizami – Adil Ali Nizami – Haider Ali Nizami
2: Jafar Hussain Nizami Qawwal Family:
Shakir Ali Nizami – Tahir Ali Nizami – Amir Ali Nizami – Mahir Ali Nizami
3: Raees Ahmad Nizami Qawwal Family:
Ahmad Nizami – Arif Nizami – Asif Nizami – Mehboob Ali Nizami
4: Intezar Ahmad Qawwal Family:
Mursaleen Abrari – Nasir Ali – Zakir Ali – Azeem Zakir

Jaffar Hussain Nizami Qawwal

Four brothers, namely, Shadi Khan, Murad Khan, Safdar Khan and Bahadur Khan are known to be the founders of Happur Gharana of Delhi to which Farooq Ahmad Nizami and Jaffar Hussain Nizami belong. Both of these qawwals have significantly contributed to the repertoire of qawwali in Pakistan.

Farooq Ahmad Khan Nizami (1896-1978) was born in Delhi and is popularly known as baba-e-qawwali. He was the grandson of Bahadur Khan. He started qawwali in 1914 at a tender age and performed all over the sub-continent. After partition he moved to Karachi along with his brothers; Muhammad Ahmad (1901-1970), Mehmood Ahmad (1904-1994), Khaleeq Ahmad (1929-1999) and Raees Ahmad (1933-2005). He and his brothers were a qawwal party and had a specialty to perform sufiana qawwali, i.e. a qawwali which specially focused on the kalam of Amir Khusro. He was awarded many honors and titles such as Shahab-e-Mousiqi, Ishq Ragi, Andaleeb-e-Chamanistan-e-Khusravi, Ravi-a-Qalam-ul-Karim, and Baba-e-qawwali. His career spans over 64 years. He is said to have innumerable students, Jaffer Hussain Nizami was one of the brightest.

Farooq Ahmad Khan Nizami Qawwal & Party Performing

Jaffar Hussain Nizami performing in a concert

Jaffar Hussain Nizami Qawwal (1924-2002) was born in Delhi India. Because his family was serving at dargah Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya as qawwal so he used to perform there with his father Yawar Hussain Khan (late). After partition his family migrated to Pakistan from India. Jaffar Hussain Nizami Qawwal was one of the founders of radio and television where he served as a qawwal till his death. He has served 47 years at the biggest dargah of Chishti silsila in Pakistan “dargah Hazrat Baba Farid Gunj Shakar of Pakpattan, where he performed “rang” every year.


He was awarded several titles such as tooti-e-chishti, Khusro ragi, and mashaiq ragi. He was also a poet of Urdu, Hindi and Purbi languages. Jaffer Hussain Nizami died at the age of 78 years but after teaching his art to his sons Shakir Ali Nizami, Tahir Ali Nizami and Mahir Ali Nizami. The three brothers can sing in Urdu, Persian and Purbi languages. They have won many awards such as Ahmad Rushdi Award, Sabri Brothers Award and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Award. They were also awarded the title of toot-i-nizam and have toured abroad as well.

 Shakir Ali, Tahir Ali and Mahir Ali Nizami
Shakir Ali, Tahir Ali and Mahir Ali Nizami Performing @ NCA

Four sons of Raees Nizami are also performing qawwali. The names include Anis Ahmad Nizami (1958-), Muhammad Arif Nizami (1965), Muhammad Asif Nizami (1967) and Mehboob Ali Nizami (1975). The party started qawwali in 1971 under the tutelage of their father and Uncle Farooq Nizami. They toured India, Dubai, Germany, Norway, and Saudi Arabia. They are performing at radio Pakistan since 1974 and till date have released 6 Albums.

Khaleeq Ahmad Nizami who performed with Raees Nizami as duo had three sons who are also performing qawwali, they are Laeeq Ahmad (1958-) and Maqsood Ahmad (1975-), and Ateeq Ahmad (1956-2002) who died in Karachi. The sons of Ateeq Ahmad, Adil Ali and Haider Ali have their own qawwal party.

Four important qawwals are seriously considerable who trace their lineage to Shadi Khan and Murad Khan, Intezar Ahmad Qawwal, Mursaleen Abrari (1965-) born in Karachi, and Zakir Ali (-2003) Nasir Ali (-2010) Qawwal brothers.

Intezar Ahmad born to Irfan Ahmad who was a ghazal singer, he learned from Wahid Hussain Khan of Khurja Gharana and from Munshi Raziuddin as well. He started qawwali with Farooq Ahmad Nizami and later on with Moeen Niazi and Bahauddin Qawwal. His sons Rizwan Ahmad and Zeeshan Ahmad learned from Ghulam Khusro Niazi and run their own qawwal party. His uncle Mursaleen Ibrar has also been a qawwal. He learned from Wahid Hussain Khan, Abdul Rasheed Sabri Qawwal, Moeen Niazi, Zaki Taji and Ali Muhammad Taji Qawwal.

Intezar Ahmad performing with his sons

Nasir Ali and Zakir Ali Qawwal

Nasir Ali and Zakir Ali were also a famous duo of Happur Gharana, who learned from Ustad Asad Ali Khan of Agra Gharana and Ustad Jamil Khusrau. Their father Iqbal Ahmad Khan was also a qawwal but Zakir Ali started his qawwali performance with Jaffar Hussain Nizami and then also worked with Moeen Niazi, Zaki Taji and Bahauddin qawwal. Nasir Ali Zakir Ali released dozens of Albums. Zakir Ali’s son Azeem Zakir Ali carries the tradition of his father and has earned great respect and name at a very young age.

Nasir Ali and Zakir Ali Qawwal


Azeem Zakir Ali Qawwal 


Genealogical Chart of Happur Gharana

Begum Koti Qawwal:

1: Mian Elahi Buksh Family:

Mian Bota Khan – Hussain Buksh

2: Mian Cherag Din Family:

Saiyen Muhammad Tufail Qawwal

3: Mian Shahab Din Qawwal Family:

Haji Rehmat Ali Qawwal – Faiz Ali Faiz Qawwal

Mian Boota Begum Koti (1899-1970) and Hussain Bukhsh (1915-1980) born in Begum Kot, Shahdara, Lahore, were one of the most renowned qawwals of their time. They were trained classical singers and performed qawwali in a way that artists like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan would come to them and in private gatherings sing with them; he used to sing sehra with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Chhote Ghulam Ali Khan at Data Darbar.

Boota Begum Koti was also an exceptional sarangi player, while Hussain Bukhsh was a very good tabla player. They would perform at Data Darbar Lahore. Boota Begum Koti learned classical music from Gul Muhammad Khan and qawwali from his father Mian Elahi Bukhsh, who was a very famous qawwal of Lahore and was the darbari qawwal of Data Gunj Bukhsh.  Mian Elahi Bukhsh was famous in Punjabi qawwali and was popular as qutab qawwal. He had three brothers, Mian Imam Din, Mian Shahab Din, and Mian Charagh Din. From Shahab Din’s family qawwals like Haji Rehmat (1939-2010) and Faiz Ali Faiz (1961-) came forth, while, from Charagh Din’s family was a famous qawwal Saeen Muhammad Tufail (1921-2006). These names are required to be given due consideration.

Faiz Ali Faiz and Haji Rehmat performing at Lahore Radio

Haji Rehmat was born in Ghazipur near Sharaqpur. He started singing at the age of fifteen and learned qawwali from his father Khidmat Ali and cousin Saeen Muhammad Tufail. Haji Rehmad followed Pir Manzoor Shah who was a follower of Noshahi order. He accompanied Agha Bashir for seven years and later Santu Khan, Muhammad Ali Faridi, Hafiz Ata Muhammad and then for a greater period of his life with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as a second vocalist in his qawwal party. With Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan he toured all over the world. After the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan he made his own qawwal party with his grandsons namely Zuhaib Ali Ehsan Ali Qawwal.

Saeen Muhammad Tufail performing in a concert

Saeen Muhammad Tufail (1921-2006) was also born in Ghazipur and was the son of Mian Charagh Din. He had his own qawwal party and performed on radio and television frequently. He learned qawwali from Muhammad Ali Faridi and was linked to Naushahi Order and was a very popular qawwal of his time. He recorded with EMI .

Faiz Ali Faiz belongs to the next generation of the Haji Rehmat Ali and Saeen Muhammad Tufail. He has performed all over the world and has done experimentation by fusing qawwali with Gospel music and Flamenco. Starting qawwali in 1978, he learned from Abdul Rahim Faridi, Ghulam Shabbir and Ghulam Jaffer. He belongs to Chishti Qadri Qalandri order and is a follower of Pir Sayyad Dilawar Ali Shah of Hazara. He also performed in all over the Pakistan

Genealogical Chart of Begum Koti Qawwal’s Family

Individual Qawwals

Sabri Brothers

Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri Qawwal

Haji Maqbool Farid Sabri Qawwal

The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of Ghulam Farid Sabri (1928-1994) and Maqbool Ahmad Shah Sabri (1945-) born in Haryana and Kalyan respectively . Sabri Brothers proudly associate their lineage with Mian Tansen. They were taught music by their father, Ustad Haji Inayat Sabri. According to Maqbool Farid Sabri, who learned qawwali from Ustad Ramzan Khan and Ata Muhammad Shah, he belongs to Banu Hashim tribe of Saudi Arabia and learned from different qawwals. Maqbool Ahmed Sabri formed his first party of qawwals at the age of 11 soon afterwards in 1956 he joined his elder brother Ghulam Farid Sabri, who had been singing with Kallan Khan qawwal and was known as a man of immense spirituality, he was considered by many to be a saint.

Ghulam Farid and Maqbool Farid performed all over the world. They introduced musical instruments in qawwali like Bongo, Chiriya Tarang, Sitar, Surmandal, Dholak, and Tabla. They are known to be the first to introduce qawwali to the West in 1975, when they performed to a sold-out audience at New York‘s Carnegie Hall. Their fame approached such heights that 1982 Indira Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister of India banned the brothers to perform saying that they are not doing qawwali they are preaching Islam as many people turned Muslim. The Emporer of Nepal listened to their qawwali for 90 minutes instead of the scheduled 15 minutes in a marriage ceremony held in Nepal. They performed in radio and televesion for a long time and gave a great contribution of qawwali.

Sabri Brothers performing at Karachi Radio



Sabri brothers also contributed to Film Industry as many of their qawwalis were used in Films. Both were awarded Pride of Performance by General Zia-ul-Haq. Now Ajmad Ghulam Farid Sabri (1973-22nd June 2016) born in Liaqatabad, Karachi, is carrying the art of qawwali and very famous internationally.



 Amjad Ghulam Farid Sabri


Genealogical Chart of Sabri Brothers

Aziz Mian Qawwal

Aziz Mian (1942-2000) has been an immensely popular and distinguished qawwal in many respects. First of all he did not belong to a musician lineage, secondly he did not receive any traditional training of qawwali, and yet he pioneered his own style and stood along with the most renowned qawwals of his time. Born in Buland City near Dehli, India, he migrated with his uncle Bashir Ahmad to Hindu Camp, Dev Samaaj Road Sant Nagar, Lahore at the time of Partition and started living with his Uncle. His Uncle Bashir Ahmad was used to visit the shrine of Data Gunj Bukhsh where Aziz Mian started reciting naat with Harmonium. In his childhood he was given into the guidance of Mian Yasin Chishti and was inspired by the teachings of Chishti Nizami Order. It was after 15 years of this devoted practice that he formed a Qawwal party.

Aziz Mian in his library

Aziz Mian in his library



Aziz Mian was a very literate man; he had Masters Degree in Urdu and Persian and had a serious command on religious doctrines. His most distinguishing feature was “mazmoon nigari” and his own evolved method of “girah bandi” which is better called as “girah nikas” at “muqaam-e-moula”. He had a photographic memory and learned by heart thousands of Urdu and Persian couplets. Due to his religious wisdom, he used the features of “mazmoon nigari” and “girah nikas” as tools for preaching Islam. He was very popular in the masses and particularly in Pakistan Army for his energetic performance.


Although Aziz Mian did not receive formal training in qawwali but even in the initial phase of career he was able to gain admiration and respect from qawwals such as Abdul Rehman Kanch Wala, Manzoor Ahmad Niazi, Sabri Brothers, Nathu Qawwal, Naushad, Yawar Ali Wajid Ali Matkay Wale, Moeen Niazi and Zaki Taji. In the presence of these qawwals, Abdul Rehman Kanch Wala said that after listening to Aziz Mian he was reminded of his teacher Ali Bakhsh Waiz. Aziz Mian was one of his kind of nobody paralleled him in terms of fluency he had for connecting couplets on spot. He performed all over the world and was given Pride of Performance by Pakistan Government. His sons Tabraiz Aziz Mian (1970-) and Imran Aziz Mian (1981-) are carrying his tradition forward (Masood 1995, p.72). They are also performed qawwali in USA and Europe.


Tabraiz Aziz Mian Qawwal

Imran Aziz Mian Qawwal

Genealogical Chart of Aziz Mian Qawwal
Azeem Prem Ragi Qawwal

Sheikh Muhammad Azeem entitled by Khawaja Hassan Nizami as Azeem Prem Ragi (1904-1964) belonged to Agra, India and was a very renowned qawwal of his time. He was one of the very rare qawwals who developed their own style. He belonged to Naqshbandi Order and was a spiritual follower of Subhan Shah and Mastan Shah whose shrine is 90km from Braili near Nepal border in an area known as Pili Bheep.  After partition he moved to Karachi and become one of the most distinguished qawwals of Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Nawab of Kala Bagh and Zulfiqar Ali Bhuuto were his huge admirers. He performed qawwali in Persian, Urdu, Sanskrit and Hindi. He died in Karachi leaving his expertise to his son Fiza Moeen (1939-), who was also born in Agra, and is carrying his tradition.

Azeem Prem Ragi performing in front of Muhammad Ali Jinnah



Genealogical Chart of Azeem Prem Ragi

Bakhshi Khan (1927-1994) Salamat Ali (1931-1982) and Mubarak Ali (1929-1995) were sons of the famous qawwal Rurray Khan, who was born in Jalandhar, India to Molvi Wazir Ali and was the first one to start qawwali in the family. He was the only artist who used dilruba in qawwali and would sing along with playing the instrument. Bakhshi salamat started qawwali with Karam Din Tapai Wala. With partition Bakhshi Khan, salamat Ali and the third son of Rurray Khan, Mubarak Ali, who was considered as very learned classical singer, migrated to Lahore and then settled in Multan and started performing at Shrines and sometimes they would accompany salamat Ali Khan and Nazakat Ali Khan.  From 1958, Bakhshi salamat started performing on Radio and TV. The decade of 1960s came to be the decade of their popularity. In the Paki-India War of 1965, their Taranas colored in qawwali ang became vastly popular. The qawwal party of Bakhshi salamat was exceptional in the sense that all the individual qawwals were exceptionally talented in their own right. For example Sadiq Ali known as Saddo, who was the first disciple of Bakhshi brothers, is known to be a singer of such class that people would cry listening to him. About him Bakhshi Khan said that I loved only two persons in my life one was Khawaja Ghulam Farid and the other was Sadiq Ali. They performed all over the world and are considered to be qawwals of great stature. Their next generation has formed BJS (Bakhshi Javed salamat) band, the first band who performs qawwali in a modern way including standing while singing and Western clothing and opten to instrumental fusion



Genealogical Chart of Bakhshi Salamat


Akhtar Sahrif (1946-) was born in Sarhand Bassi, near Ambala, Patiala, India in a musician family. His father Muhammad Shareef (1919-1984) was a renowned qawwal of Patiala. Akhtar Shareef’s Grandfather Muhammad Bukhsh (1881-1940) was a classical vocalist and served and was in court of Popinder Singh who was the Mahraja of Patiala. Muhammad Shareef learned the basics of music from his father and learned qawwali from Master Abdul Ghafoor who was a famous qawwal of Patiala. In 1947, Akhtar and his father moved to Aaroop, Gujranwala, Pakistan where his brothers Sabir Hussain and Ghulam Ali born. Akhtar got his basic training from his father but later he and his brother Sabir Hussain became the disciples of Bakhshi Salamat Qawwal. They belonged to Chishti Sabri Order. They are the official qawwals of the Data Ganj Bakhsh sanctuary, one of the largest centres for qawwals in the world. For the past 35 years, they have also had the exclusive right to wear the sacred cloth between the concert hall and the saint’s tomb, a privilege which has only ever been given before to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. They started their career on radio and television in 1967, which continues till date recently joined by Akhtar’s son Sarmad. They have also performed in Paris, Poland etc.


Akhtar Shareef Arup Wale Qawwal Performing @ NCA



Genealogical Chart of Akhtar Shareed Arup Wale


Haji Sher Ali Haji Mehar Ali performing in a concert



Mehr Ali (1952-) and Sher Ali (1948-) were born in Qasur and were mainly taught classical singing by their father Badaruddin Khan, who was a court singer of Patiala and learned classical singing from Ghulam Rasool of Talwandi Gharana. Qawwali started in the family with these brothers as Mehr Ali became the disciple of Muhammad Ali Faridi, while, Sher Ali learned from Bakhshi Salamat Qawwals. Both of the brothers belong to Faridi Order and are spiritual followers of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Nazuk Faridi of Rahim Yar Khan. Sher Ali and Mehr Ali fuse two styles as they learned qawwali from different teachers. They have been greatly admired by the masses and are quite popular among the listeners of qawwal especially in Faisalabad where they shifted from Multan in 1980. They have performed in USA, Europe and Middle East and all over Pakistan. Both were awarded Pride of Performance by Government of Pakistan. Abid Mehar Ali, son of Mehar Ali, also perfoming qawwali as saperated party and very famous in Pakistan.

Sher Ali & Mehar Ali receiving Pride of performance
Abid Mehar Ali Qawwal

Abid Mehar Ali Qawwal Performing @ NCA



Genealogical Chart of Haji Sher Ali Haji Mehar Ali

Yawar Ali Wajid Ali Matkay Wale Qawwals

Yawar Ali (1934-2004) and Wajid Ali (1935-1999) known as Matkay Wale qawwal were born in Ali Garh, India. The brothers moved to Karachi after partition. The most distinct contribution of these brothers has been the introduction of “Matka” in the rhythm structure of qawwali. The younger Wajid Ali was a phenomenal Matka Player and this distinct feature made these brothers quite popular in Pakistan. The performed all over the country and are still remembered by many as one of the great qawwals of their time. Their own style which was no more adopted after them as in their family the profession did not continue.

Genealogical Chart of Yawar Ali Wajid Ali Matke Wale

Muhammad Jameel Qawwal

Jameel Hussain Qawwal
    Jameel Hussain Qawwal performing in a concert
Jamil Hussain Qawwal Performing @ NCA


Jameel Hussain (1943-19th Dec 2019) was born in Lahore and was the son of the famous qawwal Muhammad Hussain known as Bachyan Wale (1921-1986), who played Harmonium with Fateh Ali Mubarik Ali Qawwal. He started to the qawwal at the age of 12 years and was a disciple of Rasheed Ahmad Faridi. He was known for his simplicity in qawwali singing and was therefore quite popular in the masses. Jameel Hussain Qawwal originally belonged to Balakar, Chak Jhumra, Sialkot but he moved to Lahore.  He is a great admirer of his teacher and has all of his important kalams with him. His son Nadeem Jameel Hussain (1st March 1977 –  )also performs with him.


from left Nadeem Jamil Qawwal


Haji Ghulam Abbass Qawwal

Ghulam Abbas (1956-) was born in Sargodha, Pakistan and shifted to Faisalabad in 1962. Basically inspired by Bakhshi Salamat Qawwal, Ghulam Abbas learned qawwali from Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and till date has released 65 Albums. Belonging to Qadri Qalandari Order, he is a very popular qawwal in Faisalabad. He performs on radio and television and also toured USA and Europe. Now his son Azhar Abbas (1981-) carrying the art of qawwali with his father and have performed in many cities of Pakistan.

Raja Aziz Qawwal

   Raja Aziz Qawwal 
Raja Aziz Qawwal & Party Performing @ NCA


Raja Aziz (1953-) was born in Saranpur, Baraili, India. He learned qawwali singing from his father Jamal Ahmad and grandfather Aalam Hussain Khan who is considered as a great classical vocalist and qawwal and who tutored Shamshad Bai, Akhtari Bai Faizabadi and Mohan Dhuni as well. Raja Aziz got settled in Karachi and came into limelight with his performance on Radio and TV in 1965. In the tradition of his family, he mostly performed qawwali at shrines including Ajmer Sharif, Dargah Hazrat Beniaz, Dargah Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz and Data Ganj Bakhsh. He also performed in Dubai, South Africa, and Tanzania. His brothers and sons are performing with him.


Genealogical Chart of Raja Aziz

Moeen Niazi Qawwal

Moeen Niazi Qawwal
Ghous M. Niazi Qawwal


Moin Niazi (1942-1988) was born in Delhi, India. He belonged to Atruli Gharana of Shahab Khan. In the early ages Moin Niazi was use to sing the Kallan Khan Qawwal’s records. He learned classical music from Wahid Hussain Khan Khurjay Wale. Initially he used to sing Ustad Kallan Khan’s records and started attending dargahs at an early age. His repertoire of qawwali is immense. He has toured Europe and Middle East and has frequently performed on Pakistan radio and television. He was given Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan in 2004. In his memory, near Shoe Market, Nishtar Road, Karachi, a street has been named “Moeen Niazi Qawwal Street”. His son Ghaus Muhammad Niazi is following the footsteps of his father with his uncle Muhammad Nasir. His first cassettes were released by Sangeet Mehal Recording Company in 1989.

Ghous M. receiving Pride of performance
Moeen Niazi Qawwal street board
Karam Din Qawwal
Matty Khan Qawwal
Kashif Ali Qawwal
Zahid Ali Qawwal


There are a very few qawwals greatly admired by the maestros of khayal gayaki. Bada Karam Din Tapai Wala was one such qawwal that listening to him Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan could not hold back his tears. Karam Din Khan (1902-1962) was born in Jalandhar, India and spent the greater part of his life in India. After partition he moved to Faisalabad, Pakistan. He got his training from his Uncle Rurray Khan who was the father of Bakhshi Salamat Qawwal. Being a spiritual follower of Baba Meere Shah in India and a darbari qawwal of Baba Lasoorri Shah in Faisalabad, he performed at various venues like Kaliar Sharif, Shrine of Nizam-ud-din Auliya, Ajmeer Sharif in India and all over Pakistan. His famous qawwali was in “raga talang”. “tere ishq nachaya kar k thayya thayya re”. He was an expert composer, a nisbati ghazal gayak, and was influenced by khayal gayaki, even the thekas he mostly used were ektaala, teental, and jhaptal. His qawwalis were recorded by HMV and Young India Company in India and later by Rehmat Gramophone Company in Faisalabad. As a vocalist of tremendous potential, his sons and disciples made a name for themselves too. His son Mattay Khan needs special attention.

Mattay Khan (1957-2006) was the youngest of the four sons of Karam Din Khan. He was born in Faisalabad. With his brothers Nazir Ali (eldest), Munir Hussain and Bashir Hussain, he was the main vocalist in the qawwal party. He also performed in his childhood with his father at various venues. He was a spiritual follower of Mian Sardar Ahmad Chishti Nizami of Chak 344 Pir Mahal, Nangla, Faisalabad. Mattay Khan performed all over Pakistan and appeared on radio and television frequently. His sons, Asif Ali, Abid Ali, Kashif Ali, Wasif Ali and Zahid Ali are performing qawwali under the guidance of their Uncle Nazir Ali.


Genealogical Chart of Ustad Bada Karam Din Dapai Wala
Ahmad Azad Tunda Qawwal
Ahmad Azad Tunda Qawwal in a concert
Ahmad Azad (1939-1990) was born in Mumbai, India and was the son of Wali Muhammad Khan. He migrated from India to Dharampura, Lahore, Pakistan in 1947. He belonged to Qadri Order and was the follower of Basheer Mian of Braili Sharif, India. He learned qawwali from Chhajju aka Pastaul qawwal. Being a Darbari qawwal of Mian Mir, Lahore, he performed all over Pakistan and had many Albums released from EMI. His qawwaliJannat Ki Rail” became the reason for his popularity. He was also a featured artist on Radio and TV. His son Mehboob Ahmad Azad (1966-) born in Dharampura, Lahore known as Pappu Mianmiri qawwal learned from him and is now a popular qawwal


Mubarik Ali (Maakha Leelan Wala)

Mubarak Ali Maakha Leelan Wala Qawwal
Inam Sabir Qawwal


Mubarak Ali (1940-) famously known as Makha Leelan Walan (after partition settled in Leelan Wala, Faisalabad) is the son of Chhajju Khan (1900-1982) who was the son of Mehtab Din and a renowned qawwal of his time. Chhajju Khan was a disciple of Rurray Khan and had his own qawwal party. Chhajju Khan who was a Sarangi player as well later became a member of Karam Din Tapai Wala’s party. Mubarak Ali was born in Jalandhar India and was first trained by his father and later by Karam Din Tapai Wala. Along with his brothers Tufail Muhammad and Niaz Muhammad, he specifically learned masnavi and some ragas from Karam Din Khan and formed his party with his brothers in Faisalabad in 1957 and performed in all provinces of Pakistan. Mubarik Ali has been a spiritual follower of Safdar Hussain Naqvi of Shah Kot and is influenced by the Qadri Order. Mubarik Ali has been recorded by Rehmat Gramophone Company. His son Inaam Sabir and nephew Ibadat Ali are running the qawwal party.

Ata Farid Bhag Qawwal

Ata Farid Bhag (1948-) has been an important vocalist of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s qawwal Party. His parents migrated from a village Nag Pur district Hisaal near New Delhi in India. The name of his grandfather was Faiz Ahmad and father’s name was Muhammad Hayat, both were qawwals. After partition they migrated to pakpattan where Ata Farid was born. He got training from his father and uncles Ustad Niaz Ali Khan and Ustad Inayat Ali Khan. Later on, he went to faisalabd and become the pupil of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He initially worked with Peeru Qawwal and then with Mian Dad, and later with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. After the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he made his own party with Kale Khan. Due to his association and work experience with great qawwals of his time, Ata Farid is undoubtedly a qawwal with a huge repertoire of kalams and stylistic features. His son Kale Khan (1984-) has released an album and is following the footsteps of his father.

Kale Khan Bhag Qawwal