Amjad Sabri

Imtiaz Ali “Famed qawwal Amjad Sabri gunned down in Karachi”
Emma Graham-Harrison “Amjad Sabri: Pakistani Sufi singer shot dead in Karachi”
“Pakistan Sufi singer Amjad Sabri shot dead in Karachi”
Max Bearak “Amjad Sabri, a beloved Sufi musician, is gunned down in Pakistan”

6月22日、パキスタンのカラチにて、スーフィズム*1とも密接な関係を有する「カッワーリー」*2の第一人者Amjad Sabri*3が射殺された。パキスタンタリバン*4が犯行を表明している。

Amjad Sabri, 45, was shot by two men on a motorbike as he drove through a congested area of the port city on Wednesday, Allah Dino Khawaja, the regional police chief, told Reuters. A relative travelling with the musician was injured but survived.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Qari Saifullah Mehsud, claimed responsibility for the killing and said Sabri was targeted because the group considered his music blasphemous, local media reported.

The songs Sabri performed are part of a Sufi tradition dating back to the 13th century. Known as Qawwalis, steeped in mysticism and sometimes based on mystic poetry, they are a key part of the spiritual life of millions of Muslims across south Asia and enjoyed by wider audiences of many faiths.

But both the music, and the shrines at which it is often performed, have long been a target for religious conservatives who shun all forms of music and consider the shrines unorthodox. Dozens of sites have been targeted in attacks, including a 2010 suicide bombing at one of Pakistan’s most popular shrines.

The murder of a popular singer from a famous and well-loved musical dynasty was a clear warning to others trying to celebrate and preserve Pakistan’s indigenous traditions, warned human rights activist Ali Dayan Hasan*5.

“These attacks have a chilling effect on the pluralism and diversity of religious practice and cultural expression in this part of the world. That is very worrying,” he said. “Whenever something like this happens, you are a step closer to being a Wahhabi-Salafist wasteland.”


Qawwalis have long been criticised by the Taliban and other hardline groups that reject all music as un-Islamic, and particularly object to those songs which focus on the life of the prophet Muhammad.

Sabri had been named in a blasphemy case brought by a conservative lawyer over a TV performance of one of his songs two years ago, a potentially serious allegation because the offence can carry the death penalty in Pakistan*6.

Colleagues and fans denounced the Taliban for targeting a man who devoted his life and work to religion. “Our own dear Amjad Sabri ... was a true lover of God, life and all that’s good,” said Arieb Azhar, another popular Sufi musician.

“His mission of love has tragically been cut short by those who spread hate in the world, and is a great loss for all the divided people of our country,” Azhar told AFP.

Sabri’s murder prompted an outpouring of grief across Pakistan and around the world for a man hailed as one of the best performers of Qawwalis, from prime minister Nawaz Sharif to ex-cricketer turned opposition politician Imran Khan, and a host of cultural figures.

The musician came from a dynasty of legendary performers, and was known for reworking classics popularised by his father and uncle. He regularly appeared on national television, and had been performing daily for Ramadan.


David Courtney “Islamic Devotional Music”