Friday, August 2, 2013

Urdu Poetry and its Forms

A beginner's guide to the different Urdu Poetry Forms. Here you will find brief descriptions of each form. The most well known and popular form is the ghazal. For a more detailed description, please check the article archive. Some commonly used terms in Urdu poetry are defined in the glossary.If you have any suggestions about this page, please e-mail them to me at
Introduction to various Forms of Urdu Poetry
Ghazal (pronounced as "ghuzzle"): Ghazal is a collection of couplets (shers or ashaar) which follow the rules of 'matla', 'maqta', 'bahar', 'qafiya' and 'radeef'. The couplets are complete in themselves. All the couplets of a ghazal must be of the same bahar, end in the same words(radeef) and have the same rhyming pattern (qaafiyaa). Every ghazal MUST have a matla. A ghazal may or may not have a maqta but if it does, it has to be the last sher of the ghazal.
Ghazals which do not have a radeef are called Gair-muraddaf ghazals. In such cases, the rule of qafiya is strictly followed. These type of ghazals are very rare. Ghazals with the same radeef are called hamradeef ghazals.The ghazal (Arabic/Pashto/Malay/Persian/Urdu: غزل‎; Hindi: ग़ज़ल, Punjabi, Nepali, Turkish gazel, Bengali, Gujarati is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th-century Arabic verse. It is derived from the Arabian panegyric Qaida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are similar in stringency to those of the Petrarch an sonnet. In style and content it is a genre that has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central themes of love and separation. It is one of the principal poetic forms which the Indo-Perso-Arabic civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.
The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century due to the influence of Sufi mystics and the courts of the new Islamic Sultanate. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Dari poetry and Urdu poetry, today it is found in the poetry of many languages of the Indian sub-continent.
Ghazals were written by the Persian mystics and poets Rumi (13th century) and Hafiz(14th century), the Azeri poet Fuzûlî (16th century), as well as Mirza Ghalib (1797–1869) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), both of whom wrote ghazals in Persian and Urdu, and the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976). Through the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), the ghazal became very popular in Germany during the 19th century; the form was used extensively by Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866) and August von Platen (1796–1835). The Indian American poet Agha Shahid Ali was a proponent of the form, both in English and in other languages; he edited a volume of "real ghazals in English".
It is common in ghazals for the poet's name to be featured in the last verse (a convention known as takhallus).
The Arabic word  ġazal is pronounced [ˈɣazal], roughly like the English word guzzle, but with the ġ pronounced without a complete closure between the tongue and the soft palate. In India, the name sounds exotic, as the voiced velar fricative (ġ sound) is not found in native Indo-Aryan words. This phoneme is often replaced by average Indo-Aryan and Dravidian speakers with the voiced velar stop /g/ or the murmured velar stop /gʰ/. In English, the word is pronounced /ˈɡʌzəl/ or /ˈɡæzæl/.Themes Illicit unattainable love The ghazal not only has a specific form, but traditionally deals with just one subject: love, specifically an illicit and unattainable love. Ghazals from the Indian sub-continent have an influence of Islamic Mysticism and the subject of love can usually be interpreted for a higher being or for a mortal beloved. The love is always viewed as something that will complete a human being, and if attained will lift him or her into the ranks of the wise, or will bring satisfaction to the soul of the poet. Traditional ghazal love may or may not have an explicit element of sexual desire in it, and the love may be spiritual. The love may be directed to either a man or a woman.
The ghazal is always written from the point of view of the unrequited love whose beloved is portrayed as unattainable. Most often either the beloved does not return the poet's love or returns it without sincerity, or else the societal circumstances do not allow it. The lover is aware and resigned to this fate but continues loving nonetheless; the lyrical impetus of the poem derives from this tension. Representations of the lover's powerlessness to resist his feelings often include lyrically exaggerated violence. The beloved's power to captivate the speaker may be represented in extended metaphors about the "arrows of his eyes", or by referring to the beloved as an assassin or a killer. Take for example the following couplets from Amir Khusro's Persian ghazal Nami danam chi manzil buud shab:
nemidanam che manzel bood shab jayi ke man boodam;
be har soo raghse besmel bood shab jayi ke man boodam.
pari peykar negari sarv ghadi laleh rokhsari;
sarapa afat-e del bood shab jayi ke man boodam.

I wonder what was the place where I was last night,
All around me were half-slaughtered victims of love, tossing about in agony.
There was a nymph-like beloved with cypress-like form and tulip-like face,
Ruthlessly playing havoc with the hearts of the lovers.
In the context of Sufism
It is not possible to get a full understanding of ghazal poetry without at least being familiar with some concepts of Sufism Many of the major historical ghazal poets were either avowed Sufis themselves (like Rumi or Hafiz), or were sympathizers with Sufi ideas. Most ghazals can be viewed in a spiritual context, with the Beloved being a metaphor for God, or the poet's spiritual master. It is the intense Divine Love of sufism that serves as a model for all the forms of love found in ghazal poetry.
Most ghazal scholars today recognize that some ghazal couplets are exclusively about Divine Love (ishq-e-haqiqi), others are about "earthly love" (ishq-e-majazi), but many of them can be interpreted in either context.
Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani, and Indian musicians. The form has roots in seventh-century Arabia, and gained prominence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thanks to such Persian poets as Rumi and Hafiz and later due to Indian poets such as Mirza Ghalib. In the eighteenth-century, the ghazal was used by poets writing in Urdu, a mix of the medieval languages of Northern India, including Persian. Among these poets, Ghalib is the recognized master.
Important poets of Urdu ghazal
Translations and performance of classical ghazal Enormous collections of ghazal have been created by hundreds of well-known poets over the past thousand years in Persian, Turkish, and Urdu, as well as in the Central Asian Turkic languages. Ghazal poems are performed in Uzbek-Tajik Shashmakom, TurkishMakam, Persian Dastgah and Uyghur Muqam. There are many published translations from Persian and Turkish by Annemarie Schimmel, Arthur John Arberry, and many others.
Ghazal "Gayaki", the art of singing or performing the ghazal in Indian classical tradition, is very old. Singers like Ustad Barkat Ali and many other singers in the past used to practice it, but due to the lack of historical records, many names are anonymous. It was withBegum Akhtar, and later on Ustad Mehdi Hassan, that classical rendering of ghazals became popular amongst the masses. The categorization of ghazal singing as a form of "light classical" music is a misconception. Classical ghazals are difficult to render because of the varying moods of the "shers" or couplets in the ghazal. Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Farida Khanum and Ustad Ghulam Ali are popular classical ghazal singers.
Popularity: Understanding the complex lyrics of ghazals required education typically available only to the upper classes. The traditional classicalrāgas in which the lyrics were rendered were also difficult to understand. The ghazal has undergone some simplification in terms of words and phrasings, which helps it to reach a larger audience around the world. Most of the ghazals are now sung in styles that are not limited to khayāl, thumri, rāga, tāla and other classical and light classical genres. However, these forms of the ghazal are looked down on by purists of the Indian Classical tradition. In Pakistan Noor Jehan, Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, Ahmed Rushdi,Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Mehdi Hassan are known for ghazal renditions. Singers like Jagjit Singh (who first used a guitar in ghazals), Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain, Hariharan, Mohammad Rafi, Pankaj Udhas and many others have been able to give a new shape to the ghazal by incorporating elements of Western music.
In India, in addition to Urdu/Hindi, ghazals have been very popular in the Gujarati language. For around a century, starting with Balashankar Kantharia, there have been many notable Gujarati ghazal writers like Barkat Virani 'Befaam', Aasim Randeri, Shunya Palanpuri, Amrut 'Ghayal', Khalil Dhantejvi and many more. Some of the notable ghazals of these prominent writers have been sung by Bollywood playback singer Manhar Udhas (the elder brother of noted Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas).
Renowned ghazal singer, and pioneer of Telugu ghazals, Dr Ghazal Srinivas popularized the ghazal in Telugu language. Srinivas also introduced ghazal singing in Kannada language, and ghazals in Kannada language were written by Markandapuram Srinivas.
First true-to-form Bangla (Bengali) ghazal are published in "gajaler aayanaay" by Bratish Dashgupta.
The Canadian classical ghazal singer Cassius Khan has the unusual talent of singing in the recitation style whilst accompanying himself on the tabla.
In English
After nearly a century of "false starts" that is, early experiments by James Clarence Mangan, James Elroy Flecker, Rich, Phyllis, etc., many of which did not adhere wholly or in part to the traditional principles of the form, experiments dubbed as "the bastard ghazal"[3] — the ghazal finally began to be recognized as a viable closed form in English-language poetry sometime in the early to mid-1990s. This came about largely as a result of serious, true-to-form examples being published by noted American poets John Hollander, W. S. Merwin and Elise Paschen, as well as by Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali, who had been teaching and spreading word of the ghazal at American universities over the previous two decades.
In 1996, Ali compiled and edited the world's first anthology of English-language ghazals, published by Wesleyan University Press in 2000 as Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English. (Fewer than one in ten of the ghazals collected in Real Ghazals in Englishobserve the constraints of the form.)
A ghazal is composed of couplets, five or more. The couplets may have nothing to do with one another, except for the formal unity derived from a strict rhyme and rhythm pattern.
A ghazal in English that observes the traditional restrictions of the form:
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight?
Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?

Those “Fabrics of Cashmere—” “to make Me beautiful—”
“Trinket”— to gem– “Me to adorn– How– tell”— tonight?

I beg for haven: Prisons, let open your gates–
A refugee from Belief seeks a cell tonight.

God’s vintage loneliness has turned to vinegar–
All the archangels– their wings frozen– fell tonight.

Lord, cried out the idols, Don’t let us be broken
Only we can convert the infidel tonight.

Mughal ceilings, let your mirrored convexities
multiply me at once under your spell tonight.

He’s freed some fire from ice in pity for Heaven.
He’s left open– for God– the doors of Hell tonight.

In the heart’s veined temple, all statues have been smashed
No priest in saffron’s left to toll its knell tonight

God, limit these punishments, there’s still Judgment Day–
I’m a mere sinner, I’m no infidel tonight.

Executioners near the woman at the window.
Damn you, Elijah, I’ll bless Jezebel tonight.

The hunt is over, and I hear the Call to Prayer
fade into that of the wounded gazelle tonight.

My rivals for your love– you’ve invited them all?
This is mere insult, this is no farewell tonight.

And I, Shahid, only am escaped to tell thee
God sobs in my arms. Call me Ishmael tonight.
Agha Shahid Ali
Ghazals composed in English by notable poets
Agha Shahid Ali, "Ghazal ('...exiles')"
Robert Bly, The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy
Francis Brabazon, In Dust I Sing (Beguine Library, 1974).
Lorna Crozier, "Bones in Their Wings"
Judith Fitzgerald, Twenty-Six Ways Out of This World (Oberon), 1999.
Thomas Hardy, "The Mother Mourns"
Jim Harrison, Outlyer and Ghazals (Touchstone), 1971
John Hollander, "Ghazal On Ghazals"
Galway Kinnell, "Sheffield Ghazal 4: Driving West", "Sheffield Ghazal 5: Passing the Cemetery" (Mariner Books), 2001
Maxine Kumin, "On the Table"
Marilyn Krysl, "Ghazals for the Turn of the Century"
Edward Lowbury, "A Ghazel (for Pauline)" (1968); "Prometheus: a ghazel" (1976); "Remembering Nine (a ghazel for Peter Russell)" (1981)
W. S. Merwin, "The Causeway"
William Matthews, "Guzzle", "Drizzle"
Elise Paschen, "Sam's Ghazal"
Robert Pinsky, "The Hall"
Spencer Reece, Florida Ghazals
Adrienne Rich, Ghazals: Homage to Ghalib
John Thompson, "Stilt Jack" (Anansi), 1978.
Andrew D. Chumbley, "Qutub" (Xoanon), 1995.
Natasha Trethewey, "Miscegenation", 2006.
Phyllis Webb, Water and Light: Ghazals and Anti Ghazals (Coach House), 1984.
John Edgar Wideman, "Lost Letter"
Rob Winger, "The Chimney Stone" (Nightwood Editions), 2010
Sukhdarshan Dhaliwal, "Ghazals at Twilight" (SD Publications), 2009
Ghazal singers
Some notable ghazal singers are:
Many Indian and Pakistani film singers are famous for singing ghazals. These include:
Some Malay singers are famous for ghazals. These include:

FardA composition consisting of only one sher.; Far (Arabicor farīah is an Islamic term which denotes a religious duty commanded by Allah (God). The word is also used in Persian, Turkish, and Urdu (spelled farz) in the same meaning.
Fard or its synonym wājib is one of the five types of Ahkam into which Fiqh categorizes acts of every Muslim. The Hanafi Fiqh however makes a distinction between Wajib and Fard, the latter being obligatory and the former merely necessary. In Indonesian, wajib also meansobligatory, since the word is derived from Arabic.
The Fiqh distinguishes two sorts of duties:
individual duty or fard al-'ayn relates to tasks every Muslim is required to perform, such as daily prayer (salah), or the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime (hajj).
Sufficiency duty or fard al-kifāya is a duty which is imposed on the whole community of believers (ummah). The classic example for it is janaza: the individual is not required to perform it as long as a sufficient number of community members fulfill it.
Ahkam: Ahkam, commandments, of which fard are a type
Mustahabb, recommended but not required
Other religions
Mitzvah (somewhat similar Jewish concept)
Dharma (Hindu/Buddhist/Sikh term that can be used to mean "duty" or "obligation", although there are also other meanings)
Dao (Chinese, meaning the "way" or "path")
Hamd; Poem written in praise of God.A Hamd (Arabicis a poem or song in praise of Allah. A hamd is usually written in Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, or Urdu. The word "hamd" comes from the Qur'an, which Muslims believe to be Allah's Word; its English translation is "Praise".
Hamds are sung and recited all over the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Morocco. A Qawwali performance usually includes at least one hamd, which is traditionally the first song in the performance.
Some well-known hamd singers are Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, and Qari Waheed Zafar.
Modern English language singers of hamd include Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), Sami Yusuf and Nusrullah Khan Noori.
Hazal; Humourous poetry, also known as 'mazaahiyaa' or 'mazaakiyaa' shaayari. Some examples of humourous Urdu poetry can be viewed here.
Hijv; A satirical poem written to condemn or abuse a person. This type of poetry is considered inferior and generally avoided by reputed poets. The opposite of a hijv is a madah which is written in praise of patrons.
Madah; Poem written in praise of royalty, patrons, etc. Madah Sindhi is the Sindhi transformation of the Arabic word Madh literally means praise.In Islamic traditions Madh is praise or laud which is uttered for the Prophet and his noble companions or any saint or dervish, not out of egotistic wishes or worldly desire but out of pure heartfelt love and piety. The use of the word is restricted to above mentioned group of persons.
From old times,Madah and Manajat along with Maulud are recited during the two Muslim festivals,the saints' days,the festive days in Rajab, on fridays' or Yarhin(the eleventh i.e. 11th Day of Rabi-ath-Thani,Abdul Qadir Ghilani's memorial day) and at other occasions. The first poet whose Madah is preserved is Jaman Charan(d.1738),whose short prayer has become proverbial in the country.The Madah by this poet is addressed to Pir Piran Badshah(Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani) who is venerated in Sindh, Pakistan perhaps even more than any other Muslim areas.
Manqabat; A poem written in praise of members of the family of the holy Prophet:A Manqabat is a Sufi devotional poem, in praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Muhammad, or of any Sufi saint.In Qawwali, manqabats are sung to music. The most well known of the qawwali manqabats is "Man Kunto Maula", written by Amir Khusrau in praise of Ali. This manqabat has been performed by many famous singers and qawwals including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, Aziz Mian, Abida Parveen, Fareed Ayaz and Qawwal Bahauddin.

Marsiya; An elegy written to mourn the death of a great man or a dearly loved person. In its stricter sense, traditionally accepted in Urdu, a marsiya is an elegy written specifically in honour of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain and his comrades at Karbala. It describes the battle fought on the plains of Karbala by Hazrat Imam Husain against the army of Yazid. The most well known writers of Marsiya in Urdu are Mir baber Ali Anees and Salamat Ali Dabir. Sub-parts of the marsiya are called Nauha and Soz.
The word ‘Marsiya’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘Risa’, meaning a great tragedy or lamentation for a departed soul.
Marsiya (or elegy), is nearly always on the death of Hasan and Hussein and their families, but occasionally on the death of relatives and friends. It is usually in six-lined stanzas with the rhymeaaaabb. The recitation of these elegies in the first ten days of Muharram is one of the greatest event in Muslim life. A fully developed marsiya is always an epic. This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow, chiefly because it was one of the centres of Shia Muslim communities in Indian sub-continent, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babar Ali Anis. Marsia is a poem written to commemorate the martyrdom of Ahl al-Bayt, Imam Hussain and Battle of Karbala. It is usually a poem of mourning. and Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsia. Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can rightly be called marsia. The sub-parts of marsia are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively.
The famous marsia writers in Urdu are Mir Babar Ali Anis, Mir Moonis, Salamat Ali Dabeer, Mir Zameer Ali Haider Tabatabai.
Mir Babar Ali Anis a renowned Urdu poet composed salāms, elegies, nauhas, quatrains. While the length of elegy initially had no more than forty or fifty stanzas, it now was beyond one hundred fifty or even longer than two hundred stanzas or bunds, as each unit of marsia in musaddas format is known. Mir Anis has drawn upon the vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, and Urdu/Hindi/Awadhi in such a good measure that he symbolizes the full spectrum of the cultural mosaic that Urdu has come to be.
Muharram and Mir Anis have become synonymous among Urdu lovers of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.
The first major and still current critical articulation about Mir Anis was Muazna-e-Anis-o-Dabir (1907) written by Shibli Nomani in which he said "the poetic qualities and merits of Anis are not matched by any other poet".
Masnavi (pronounced "mus-na-vee"); A long narrative poem - much longer than the ghazal - embodying religious, romantic or didatic stories. It is written in rhyming couplets, with each couplet having a different rhyme and radeef. The most famous masnavis are Masnavi-e-Rumi in Persian, Shah Namah of Firdausi, and Zehar-e-Ishq in Urdu.
The title Masnavi-I Ma'navi means "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning." The Masnavi is a poetic collection of rambling anecdotes and stories derived from theQuranhadith sources, and everyday tales. Stories are told to illustrate a point and each moral is discussed in detail. It incorporates a variety of Islamic wisdom but primarily focuses on emphasizing inward personal Sufi interpretation. This work by Rumi is referred to as a “sober” Sufi text. It reasonably presents the various dimensions of Sufi spiritual life and advises disciples on their spiritual paths. “More generally, it is aimed at anyone who has time to sit down and ponder the meaning of life and existence.”[4]
Creation of the Masnavi
The Masnavi was a Sufi masterpiece started during the final years of Rumi’s life. He began dictating the first book around the age of 54 around the year 1258 and continued composing verses until his death in 1273. The sixth and final book would remain incomplete.[5]
It is documented that Rumi began dictating the verses of the Masnavi at the request of his treasured disciple, Husam al-Din Chalabi, who observed that many of Rumi’s followers dutifully read the works of Sana’i and ‘Attar. Thus, Rumi began creating a work in the didactic style of Sana’i and ‘Attar to complement his other poetry. These men met regularly in meetings where Rumi would deliver the verses and Chalabi would record it and recite back to him. During the final years of Rumi’s life, the Masnavi was being created.[6]
Each book consists of about 4,000 verses and contains its own prose introduction and prologue. Considering there are no epilogues, one must read the proceeding volumes to fully benefit from the wisdom presented by Rumi. Some scholars suggest that in addition to the incomplete work of Book 6, there might be a seventh volume.[7]
Themes in the Masnavi
The six books of the Masnavi can be divided into three groups of two because each pair is linked by a common theme:
 Books 1 and 2: They “are principally concerned with the nafs, the lower carnal self, and its self-deception and evil tendencies.”
Books 3 and 4: These books share the principal themes of Reason and Knowledge. These two themes are personified by Rumi in the Biblical and Quranic figure of the Prophet Moses.
Books 5 and 6: These last two books are joined by the universal ideal that man must deny his physical earthly existence to understand God’s existence.
In addition to the reoccurring themes presented in each book, Rumi includes multiple points of view or voices that continually invite his readers to fall into “imaginative enchantment.” There are seven principal voices that Rumi uses in his writing:
The Authorial Voice – Each passage reflects the authority of the majestic Sufi teacher narrating the story. This voice generally appears when it addresses You, God, and you, of all humankind.
The Story-telling Voice – The primary story is occasionally interrupted by side stories that help clarify a point being made in the original statement. Rumi sometimes takes hundreds of lines to make a point because he is constantly interrupting himself.
The Analogical Voice – This voice interrupts the flow of the narration because it entertains an analogy which is used to explain a statement made in the previous verse. Rumi’s Masnavi is filled with analogies.
The Voice of Speech and Dialogue of Characters – Rumi conveys many of his stories through dialogue and speeches presented by his characters.
The Moral Reflection – Rumi supports his voice of morality by including quotations from the Quran and various hadith stories of events in the life of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Spiritual Discourse – The Spiritual Discourse resembles the Analogical Voice where Rumi always includes a moral reflection on the wisdom revealed.
Hiatus – Rumi occasionally questions the wisdom conveyed though the verses. “Sometimes Rumi says that he cannot say more because of the reader’s incapacity to understand.”
Style of Rumi's Masnavi
Book one of the Masnavi must be read in order to understand the other five volumes. It is a poetic art where Rumi layers his writing. For example, he begins a story, then moves on to a story within that story, and again moves to another within that one. Through this composition style, the poet’s personal voice comes through to his audience. The Masnavi has no framed plot. Its tone includes a variety of scenes. It includes popular stories from the local bazaar to fables and tales from Rumi’s time. It also includes quotations from the Quran and from hadith accounts from the time of Mohammed.
Although there is no constant frame, style, or plot, Rumi generally follows a certain writing pattern that flows in the following order.
 Munaajaat; A lyrical poem written as a prayer to God: The word Munajat in Arabic is sometimes confused with the Urdu word munajat meaning a recital or aQasida. This Munajat is often recited in praise of the Ahlul bayt (a). However the word Munajat in Arabic means secret conversation or confidential talk. It comes from the word Najwa Allah says in the Holy Quran:
There is no secret conversation between three people except that he is the fourth of them nor (between) five but He is the sixth of them, nor less than that nor more but He is with them wheresoever they are: then He will inform them of what they did on the Day of resurrection: surely Allah is aware of all things.(58.7)
for the belivers who love Allah, the Munajat is a form of communication with their Lord which gives peace and solace to the hearts. Many Imams have Munajat which have been compiled in different books. An example is As-Saheefa as- Sajjadiyyah which has 15 whispered prayers from Imam Zaynul' Abidin.

Musaddas; A poem in which each unit consists of 6 lines. The most well known poet of this style of writing was Maulana Altaf Husain Hali; Musaddas is a genre of Urdu poetry in which each unit consists of 6 lines-sestain- (misra). Famous early writers employing this form are Mir Anis and Dabeer. Maulana Altaf Husain Hali and Waheed Akhtar are other well-known poets to find expression in this form of poetry. Particularly iconic is Hali's Madd-o-Jazr-e-Islam as an exemplary of this form.
Naat; A poem written in praise of the holy Prophet; A Na`at  is a poetry – sung without musical instruments – that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The practice is popular in South Asia (Pakistan andIndia), commonly in Urdu or Punjabi language. People who recite Naat are known as Naat Khawan or Sana'a-Khua'an.
t is difficult to trace the history of Na'at Khawani since no authenticated record of when it was initiated can be found. On a more regularized basis, Muhammad's companion Hassan ibn Thabit started this work He was also known as Shair-e-Darbaar-e-Risalat. Even before accepting Islam he was a poet, but after embracing Islam he gave a new turn to his poetry and started writing Na'ats in honor of Muhammad. He was famous for his poetry that defended Muhammad in response to rival poets that attacked him and his religion. Therefore Hassan is known as the first Sana-Khawaan (Naat reciter) of that time. After that many a poet followed this trend and totally dedicated themselves to writing Naats.
Islamic poetry is rich in the praise of Muhammad. Rarely has there been any Muslim poet who has not written about him. This is mainly inspired from the Islamic Hadith that each act of veneration will result in ten blessings of God on the person who venerates
Commonly the term Naat-Shareef (Exalted Poetry) is reserved and used for poetry in the praise of Muhammad written in Bengali, Urdu,English, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Punjabi and Sindhi Language.
In the Arabic language, Naat is usually referred as Madih (praise), or simply as Nasheed (poetry) or Anasheed (plural). The latter two terms can describe any type of religious poetry.
Anasheed or Naat usually is not accompanied by musical instruments. However some scholars have allowed the use of the daf (small drum). Usually poetry that is accompanied by musical instruments is called Ghinaa (music).

Nazm; In a broad sense, nazm is a term used to define all kinds of Urdu poetry which do not fall into any other category. However, in a literary sense, a nazm is a well organized, logically evolving poem where each individual verse serves the need of the central concept or theme of the poem. Though a nazm is traditionally written in rhymed verse, there are many examples of nazms written in unrhymed verse, or even in free verse.
Nazm is a major part of the Urdu poetry, that is normally written in rhymed verse and also in modern prose style poems. Nazm is a significant genre of Urdu poetry; the other one is known as Ghazal (Urdu
Following are the various different forms of Nazm:
·         Doha (دوہا)
·         Geet (گیت)
·         Hamd (حمد)
·         Hazal (ہزل)
·         Hijv (ہجو)
·         Kafi (کافی)
·         Madah (مدح)
·         Manqabat (منقبت)
·         Marsia (مرثیہ)
·         Masnavi (مثنوی)
·         Munajat (مناجات)
·         Musaddas (مسدس)
·         Mukhammas (مخمس)
·         Naat (نعت)
·         Noha (نوحہ)
·         Qasida (قصیدہ)
·         Qat'ã (قطعہ)
·         Qawwali (قوالی)
·         Rubai (رباعی) (a.k.a. Rubayyat or Rubaiyat) (رباعیات)
·         Salam (سلام)
·         Sehra (سہرا)
·         Shehr a'ashob (شہر آشوب)
·         Soz (سوز)
·         Wasokht (وسوخت)
Prominent Urdu Nazm Poets
Qasida (pronounced "quh-see-daa");A panygeric, or poem written in praise of a king or a nobleman, or a benefactor. As in a ghazal, the opening couplet of a qasida, is a rhyming couplet, and its rhyme is repeated in the second line of each succeeding verse. The opening part of the qasida, where the poet may talk in general about love and beauty, man or nature, life or death, is called the 'tashbib' or 'tamheed'.
Interestingly, the ghazal has evolved from the qasida. Over time, the tashbib got detached and developed into what we today know as Gazal. A qasida is usually quite long, sometimes running into mor than a 100 couplets. A Gazal is seldom more than 12 couplets long, averaging about 7 couplets.
Qataa; A poem consisting of four lines, in the form of two shers. However, unlike shers in a ghazal, the subject of the two shers is the same. It is believed that the qataa was invented for occasions when poets felt that they were unable to express their thoughts completely and satisfactorily in a single sher
The qaīda (also spelled qaīda; in Arabic plural qasā'id, in Persian or chakameh, in Turkish: kaside), is a form of lyric poetry that originated in preIslamic Arabia. Well known qasā'id include the Qasida Burda ("Poem of the Mantle") by Imam al-Busiri and Ibn Arabi's classic collection "The Interpreter of Desires".
The classic form of qasida maintains a single elaborate metre throughout the poem, and every line rhymes. It typically runs more than fifty lines, and some times more than a hundred. It was adopted by Persian poets, where it developed to be some times longer than a hundred lines.
Qasida means "intention" and the genre found use as a petition to a patron. A qasida has a single presiding subject, logically developed and concluded. Often it is a panegyric, written in praise of a king or a nobleman, a genre known as madī, meaning "praise".
In his ninth century "Book of Poetry and Poets" (Kitab al-shi'r wa-al-shu'ara') the Arabian writer ibn Qutaybah describes the (Arabic)qasida as formed of three parts.
A nostalgic opening in which the poet reflects on what has passed, known as nasib. A common concept is the pursuit by the poet of the caravan of his beloved: by the time he reaches their camp-site they have already moved on.
A release or disengagement, the takhallus, often achieved by describing his transition from the nostalgia of the nasib to the second section, the travel section or rahil, in which the poet contemplates the harshness of the land and life away from the tribe.
The message of the poem, which can take several forms: praise of the tribe (fakhr), satire about other tribes (hija) or some moral maxim (hikam).
While many poets have intentionally or unintentionally deviated from this plan it is recognisable in many.
After the 10th century Iranians developed the qasida immensely and used it for other purposes. For example, Naser Khosro used it extensively for philosophical, theological, and ethical purposes, while Avicenna also used it to express philosophical ideas. It may be a spring poem (Persian baharieh) or autumn poem (Persian khazanieh). The opening is usually description of a natural event; the seasons, a natural landscape or an imaginary sweetheart. In the takhallos poets usually address themselves by their pen-name. Then the last section is the main purpose of the poet in writing the poem.Persian exponents include;
Farrokhi Sistani, the court poet of Mahmoud Ghaznavi (11th century), especially his 'Hunting Scene' (in Persian.
Masud Sa'd Salman (12th century) who was wrongfully imprisoned on the suspicion of treason Anvari Abiverdi, (12th century) especially his petition for help against the invasion of Mongols
Khaghani hervani (12th century) and in the 20th century, Mohammad Taghi Bahar with his innovations in using the qasida for political purposes.
From the 14th century CE Persian poets became more interested in ghazal and the qasida declined. The ghazal developed from the first part of qasida in which poets praised their sweethearts. Mystic poets and sufis used the ghazal for mystical purposes.
Qasida in Urdu poetry is often panegyric, sometimes a satire, sometimes dealing with an important event. As a rule it is longer than theghazal but follows the same system of rhyme.

Qawaalli; Traditionally a devotional song expressing love and oneness with God sung by a group of people to the accompaniment of musical instruments. Nowadays, qawaallis cover popular topics like love and wine.
Qawwali Nastalīq Gurmukhī Devanāgarī Eastern Nagari is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, Hyderabad, Delhi and other parts of India. It is a musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years.
Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines or dargahs throughout South Asia, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, largely due to several releases on the Real World label, followed by live appearances at Womad festivals. Other famous Qawwali singers include Pakistan's Sabri Brothers, Bahauddin Qutbuddin and Aziz Mian.
The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia (today's Iran and Afghanistan). During the first major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Semamigrated to South Asia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Amir Khusro Dehelvi of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and Indian musical traditions to create Qawwali as we know it today in the late 13th century in India. [1]The word Sama is often still used in Central Asia and Turkey to refer to forms very similar to Qawwali, and in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the formal name used for a session of Qawwali is Mehfil-e-Sama.
Qaul is an "utterance (of the prophet)", Qawwāl is someone who often repeats (sings) a Qaul, Qawwāli is what a Qawwāl sings.
The songs which constitute the qawwali repertoire are mostly in Urdu and Punjabi (almost equally divided between the two), although there are several songs in PersianBrajbhashaand Saraiki There is also qawwali in some regional languages but the regional language tradition is relatively obscure. Also, the sound of the regional language qawwali can be totally different from that of mainstream qawwali. This is certainly true of Chhote Babu Qawwal, whose sound is much closer to Baul music than to the qawwali of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, for example.
The poetry is implicitly understood to be spiritual in its meaning, even though the lyrics can sometimes sound wildly secular, or outright hedonistic. The central themes of qawwali are love, devotion and longing (of man for the Divine).
Qawwalis are classified by their content into several categories:
hamd  for praise, is a song in praise of Allah. Traditionally, a qawwali performance starts with a hamd.
naat  for description, is a song in praise of the Prophet Muhammad. The opening hamd is traditionally followed by a naat.
manqabat plural manaqib, which means characteristics) is a song in praise of either Imam Ali or one of the Sufi saints. Manaqib in praise of Ali are sung at both Sunni and Shi'a gatherings. If one is sung, it will follow right after the naat. There is usually at least one manqabat in a traditional programme.
marsiya Arabic for lamentation for a dead person, is a lamentation over the death of much of Imam Husayn's family in the Battle of Karbala. This would typically be sung only at a Shi'a concert.
ghazal  for love song, is a song that sounds secular on the face of it. There are two extended metaphors that run through ghazals the joys of drinking and the agony of separation from the beloved. These songs feature exquisite poetry, and can certainly be taken at face value, and enjoyed at that level. In fact, in Pakistan and India, ghazal is also a separate, distinct musical genre in which many of the same songs are performed in a different musical style, and in a secular context. In the context of that genre, the songs are usually taken at face value, and no deeper meaning is necessarily implied. But in the context of qawwali, these songs of intoxication and yearning use secular metaphors to poignantly express the soul's longing for union with the Divine, and its joy in loving the Divine. In the songs of intoxication, "wine" represents "knowledge of the Divine", the "cupbearer" (saaqi) is God or a spiritual guide, the "tavern" is the metaphorical place where the soul may (or may not) be fortunate enough to attain spiritual enlightenment. (The "tavern" is emphatically not a conventional house of worship. Rather, it is taken to be the spiritual context within which the soul exists.) Intoxication is attaining spiritual knowledge, or being filled with the joy of loving the Divine. In the songs of yearning, the soul, having been abandoned in this world by that cruel and cavalier lover, God, sings of the agony of separation, and the depth of its yearning for reunion.
kafi is a poem in PunjabiSeraiki or Sindhi, which is in the unique style of poets such as Shah HussainBulleh Shah and Sachal Sarmast. Two of the more well-known Kafis include Ni Main Jana Jogi De Naal and Mera Piya Ghar Aaya.
munadjaat  for a conversation in the night or a form of prayer is a song where the singer displays his thanks to Allah through a variety of linguistic techniques. It is often sung in Persian, with Mawlana Jalāl-ad-Dīn Rumi credited as its author.
A group of qawwali musicians, called a party (or Humnawa in Urdu), typically consists of eight or nine men including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmoniums (which may be played by the lead singer, side singer or someone else), and percussion. If there is only one percussionist, he plays the tabla and dholak, usually the tabla with the dominant hand and the dholak with the other one (i.e. a left-handed percussionist would play the tabla with his left hand). Often there will be two percussionists, in which case one might play the tabla and the other the dholak. There is also a chorus of four or five men who repeat key verses, and who aid and abet percussion by hand-clapping.
The performers sit cross-legged on the ground in two rows the lead singer, side singers and harmonium players in the front row, and the chorus and percussionists in the back row.
Before the fairly recent introduction of the harmonium, qawwalis were usually accompanied by the sarangi. The sarangi had to be retuned between songs; the harmonium didn't, and was soon preferred.
Women used to be excluded from traditional Muslim music, since they are traditionally prohibited from singing in the presence of men. These traditions have changed, however, as is evident by the popularity (and acceptance) of female singers such as Abida Parveen. However, qawwali has remained an exclusively male business. There are still no mainstream female qawwals. Although Abida Parveen performs many songs that are in the traditional qawwali repertoire, she does not perform them in the traditional qawwali style. Typically missing is the chorus which repeats key verses, as well as the handclapping.
Songs are usually between 15 to 30 minutes long. However, the longest commercially released qawwali runs slightly over 115 minutes (Hashr Ke Roz Yeh Poochhunga by Aziz Mian Qawwal). The qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has at least two songs that are more than 60 minutes long.
Qawwalis tend to begin gently and build steadily to a very high energy level in order to induce hypnotic states both among the musicians and within the audience. Songs are usually arranged as follows:
They start with an instrumental prelude where the main melody is played on the harmonium, accompanied by the tabla, and which may include improvised variations of the melody.
Then comes the alap, a long tonal improvised melody during which the singers intone different long notes, in the raga of the song to be played.
The lead singer begins to sing some preamble verses which are typically not part of the main song, although thematically related to it. These are sung unrhythmically, improvised following the raga, and accompanied only by the harmonium. After the lead singer sings a verse, one of the side singers will repeat the verse, perhaps with his own improvisation. A few or many verses will be sung in this way, leading into the main song.
As the main song begins, the tabla, dholak and clapping begin. All members join in the singing of the verses that constitute the refrain. The lyrics of the main verses are never improvised; in fact, these are often traditional songs sung by many groups, especially within the same lineage. However, the tunes are subtly improvised within the framework of the main melody. As the song proceeds, the lead singer or one of the side singers may break out into an alap. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan also popularized the interjection ofsargam singing at this point. The song usually builds in tempo and passion, with each singer trying to outdo the other in terms of vocal acrobatics. Some singers may do long periods of sargam improvisation, especially alternating improvisations with a student singer. The songs usually end suddenly.
The singing style of qawwali is different from Western singing styles in many ways. For example, in words beginning with an "m", Western singers are apt to stress the vowel following the "m" rather than the "m" itself, whereas in qawwali, the "m" will usually be held, producing a muted tone. Also in qawwali, there is no distinction between what is known as the chest voice and the neck voice (the different areas that sound will resonate in depending on the frequency sung). Rather, qawwals sing very loudly and forcefully, which allows them to extend their chest voice to much higher frequencies than those used in Western singing, even though this usually causes a more noisy or strained sound than would be acceptable in the West.
Instrumental: This is supposed to be the announcement of the arrival of Moinuddin Chishti, as Sufi believes their saints are free of time-space. Also that NabiSiddiqShaheed, and Saleh category of faithfuls are never dead, just gone into some other state from where they visit whenever they are mentioned, especially if there is a function in their honor.
Manqabat Ali
Manqabats in praise of Sufi saints
Manqabat Shaikh: Praise of the Shaikh/Pir if the performance is at an Urs celebration
Rang or Badhawa: If it is an Urs performance, then it is usually Rang, a poem by Amir Khusro. The audience is often asked to stand when the Rang is sung. If it is the Shaikh's birthday, it is usually the Badhawa.
Badar Ali Khan, aka Badar Miandad
Current qawwals
Rubayi (pronounced "ru-baa-ee"); A self-sufficient quartrain, rhyming (a, a, b, a) and dealing generally with a single idea, which is customarily introduced and developed with the aid of similes in the first three lines, and concluded, with concentrated effort and impact, in the fourth line.The most well known rubaayis in Persian were written by Omar Khayyam. In Urdu, some of the most well known practitioners of this form were Firaq, Josh and Yagna Yaas Changezi.
Ruba'iyat, a collection of Ruba'i (a form of Persian poetry). The best-known example of such a collection is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, to the extent that Rubaiyat is often used as a short name for this particular collection. There are also rubaiyats by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi. Among modern Iranian poets, the rubaiyat of Hossein Ghods-Nakhai have been translated into various languages.
Rubayat, Iran, a village in South Khorasan Province
Rubáiyát: Elektra's 40th Anniversary, a 1990 compilation album released by Elektra Records
Rubaiyat Haque (born 1987), Bangladeshi cricketer
Salaam; A salutory poem written in praise of the holy Prophet. It can also be a poem describing the incidents of Karbala. It is recited standing up.
Salaam has delighted audiences for years with its expansive repertoire of Middle Eastern and North African music. Salaam is true to the traditions, informing the uninitiated, and evoking nostalgia in listeners who are familiar with the art form.  What sets Salaam apart is the versatility of its musicians, whose deep knowledge of Eastern and Western styles gives them the flexibility to move effortlessly between genres. The sound, while rooted in maqam (the modal system used throughout the Middle East), infuses tasteful forays into jazz, rock, blues, classical and avant garde.  Salaam, whose name means "peace" in Arabic, is a musical ambassador for peaceful coexistence. 
Seharaa; A song sung at the time of tying the seharaa during the wedding ceremony. It is usually in praise of the bride/groom and their relatives.
Seharaa Poems. These are examples of Seharaa poems (scroll below) written by PoetrySoup members. Poetry Soup is a great resource for examples of Seharaa poems or Seharaa poetry. These examples illustrate what Seharaa poems looks like and its form. There is also a link (below) to the definition where you can discuss Seharaa poems.
Below are the all-time best Seharaa poems written by Poets on Poetry Soup. These top poems in list format are the best examples of Seharaa poems written by Poetry Soup members
A song sung at the time of tying the Seharaa during the wedding ceremony. It is usually in praise of the bride/groom and their relatives. A comment has not been posted for this poem. Be the first to comment. The forms for these poems have been selected by the poet. Often poems are assigned the wrong form. Please confirm the accuracy of the poetic form before referencing the poem.
Vaasokht; A poem describing the displeasure and carelessness of a lover. Vaasokht Poems. These are examples of Vaasokht poems (scroll below) written by Poetry Soup members. Poetry Soup is a great resource for examples of Vaasokht poems or Vaasokht poetry. These examples illustrate what Vaasokht poems looks like and its form. There is also a link (below) to the definition where you can discuss Vaasokht poems. Below are the all-time best Vaasokht poems written by Poets on Poetry Soup? These top poems in list format are the best examples of Vaasokht poems written by Poetry Soup members, The forms for these poems have been selected by the poet. Often poems are assigned the wrong form. Please confirm the accuracy of the poetic form before referencing the poem.

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