Written by Taskeen Zahra
The renowned Qawwal Amjad Â Fareed Sabri, son of the great Ghulam Fareed Sabri, with his tall brawny frame, glossy locks and those majestic stones as rings naturally caught ones eye. But the moment he’d start to sing, the crowd would sway to the sound of his soul stirring renditions – in essence, they’d be truly mystified!
He hails from a long ancestry of legendary Qawwals, from whom he inherited their exemplary art and talent. He grew up watching his father say “Allah” with such zeal and passion that in an interview, he recalls watching foreigners and Non-Muslims chant “Allah” with him as he’d go through crowds of people during festivals. Such was the environment that Amjad Sabri grew up in.
Sabris: A household that has given Pakistan so much, including their blood today as the popular Qawwal was gunned down in Karachi – an irreparable loss to Pakistan’s music industry as well as the nation, at large.
Many know him as “Amjad Sabri – the great Qawwal”. But there was more to the man than his powerful voice and performances.
- He was born on 23rd December, 1976.
- Â At a very tender age of 9, he began to learn how to sing with his father, Ghulam Fareed Sabri as his mentor.Â
- He joined his father on stage at the age of 12. And since then, continued to win the hearts of many!
- He first performed at the age of 7 at a school function.
- He was a childhood artist. At the age of 8, he recited “Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua” in the Pakistani movie “Saharay”. It was a movie starring Muhammad Ali.Â
- He was also an actor. And always wanted to perform the role of a villain.
- Amjad Khan was his ideal Villian.
- He loved watching movies.Â
- He also directed a few telefilms.Â
- A man of love and peace. His message was “Mera paigham muhabbat hai, jahan tak pohanchay” -“My message is love, however far it may reach”. His message resonates with us today.
- His most popular qawwalis are: Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Taj Dar e Haram, Allah Allah Allah, Allah Hoo Allah Hoo.
- He used to love eating food as well as feeding people. However, he wasn’t a great fan of eating “Bhindi/ladyfingers”
- He cooked really well. His signature dish was “Aloo Gosht.”
- Having been on tour for a big part of his career, the unavailability of Halal food easily across the world prompted him to learn how to cook.
- A newspaper had invited Amjad Sabri to a “Pop Night” while he was in India Â in 1998. He changed his attire to disguise himself as a nobody so that he wouldnt be recognised by the people there, for he was set to perform the next day for a “Qawwali Night”. The organizer of the event, Savita, requested him to perform the song “Yeh Kya Hua” by Kishore Kumar. The crowd swooned over his vocal range and powerful voice.Â
- He particularly loved performing in the open air. And enjoyed performing and delivering the message of Allah and His Prophet to Non-Muslims and foreigners.Â
- Aziz Mian Qawwal was his favourite Qawwal.Â
- He was scared of snakes.
- His marriage wasn’t an arranged one. He belongs to an Urdu speaking family while his wife is a Pathan. He first saw her in a bank with her father and fell in love with her. He married her after a period of 1.5 years.
- He is survived by his wife and 5 Â children.Â
We also spoke to some of our favourite personalities about their thoughts on Amjad Sabri – no better way to keep him alive than in our thoughts and hearts!
“I met him in April last. He was on the flight with me to New York- In one man we lost a husband, a father, a son, a friend, a mentor, a star, a tradition and Pakistan’s cultural ambassador. And they robbed us in broad daylight. We didnt offer any protection. We allowed them to take it all away. It raises serious questions on our security and intelligence apparatus! #AmjadSabri”
“It’s shocking and hear breaking. Don’t have words to express. Sad. Very sad indeed. I hope his murderers are brought to justice and his legacy lives on.Â I remember meeting him at the PSL match last but my fondest memory of him is him singing Channo many years ago with me on a bus ride to a concert.”
“Love, peace, harmony, that was his message to the world. We’ve lost him today. We are an unfortunate nation. I’ve nothing else to say!”
“He was a national treasure. Shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely demise. May Allah bless his soul. Ameen!”
Amjad Sabri, in his last qawwali sang “Jab Waqt e Naza aye, Aaqa, Deedar Ataa Kerna” – “When the time of my demise arrives, My Master, grant me the honour of your appearance”. It’s as if he knew…
These powerful words resonate with us today as the nation grieves over your loss.
Rest in Peace, Amjad Sabri.
You’ll be remembered.