A Tribute to ‘Sofi Abdul Ahad’- the poet of excellent mannerism
Sofi Abdul Ahad, a well known Kashmiri Sufi poet, was born at Sikh Kanihama, a village in Baramulla in January 1939 and passed away on 9th February 2020 at the age of 81. He completed his early education from Government High School Sikh Kanihama but couldn’t continue his studies due to family problems. He, however, got associated with music and poetry at a tender age and continued to grow into a prominent artist and became an ardent follower of Chisti Sufi Silsila which he formally joined at the hands of Alhaj Amu Saobi Waaz the illustrious son of Alhaj Waz Fareed and continued his association till his last breath. It was the company of his sufi mentor that brought gave flowering colors of Sufism to his poerty.
Ye daag-e-chesti me bas chu kaefi
Me raag eshken wenem ne sofi
He had a thorough understanding of Islamic thought and, as such, experimented in a variety of ways to imbue Kashmiri poetry with variety of expression, wider range of themes and intellectual depth. He was associated with various cultural organizations and was the founding members of ‘Bahar e Adab Tilgam’ as well as member of ‘Kruhun Cultural Forum’. In 1975 he participated in a Radio Mushaiara for the first time and thus started a long journey into the realm of sufi poetry and cultural ethos.
Sofi Abdul Ahad, as I would come to understand later, was less of a poet and more of a dervish – a spiritual seeker. Among spiritual seekers, there is an innate tendency to disparage the mind, because the reality of true self can barely fit into the confines of the mind. But they will teach you to expand that same mind, which then displays its extraordinary capacity to take us to the path of awakening. He was the dervish who went way beyond himself and his mental barriers, speaking of far greater realities beyond what can be seen on surface. He wrote through his breath, sound, rhythm and silence – all at once. And so what looked like a physical collection of words and hidden connotations had a far deeper metaphysical connection.
Na chus be adam na chus b insan
Na chus be keh ny me keh ne saman
Lekhin paran chem me chen afsan
Me chaw lubi-lubab saaqi
Reading some of his poems once and again allows the beauty and the resonance of his poems to seep into my consciousness. His poetry makes one to see the world afresh and makes us a little more aware of the deeper unnamed feelings to which we rarely penetrate. Poetry seems to come to him as naturally as the leaves to a tree. Poetry affects each and every sense of our body and soul in ways beyond cognitive control. His poetry did exactly that. He never ceased to explore through his poems the frontiers of consciousness, addressing subjects that remained eternal to the humanity. His words carried with them a sense of inquisitiveness, and yet were gentle and compassionate. His poetry is a conversation with the World. It is a conversation with the words on the page in which he allows those words to speak back to you. Indeed, his poetry is a timeless conversation with himself and yourself. He often speaks of the reality of this materialistic world in his poetry and referred to it as illusion which is only visible to eyes and has no existence beyond that.
Ne sarme pur naaz na nagme yandraz
Ne toute guftar ne rozi awaz
Ne roz paiman ne roz andaz
Ne rozi malran sharab saaqi
The sufi poet always laid stress on acquisition of knowledge stating that a Sufi without knowledge is a tool in the hands of the devil. For him Knowledge and practice are the most important things in Sufism. Knowledge refers to spiritual stations and levels of the heart, which increases the confidence of the heart from one level to the other, until the position of faith and the dignity of a Muslim becomes inward. Practice is the behavior and deeds that affect the change in the heart of a person. Knowledge plays a nucleus role in the recognition of creator.
His writing often reflect ISHQ-e-Rasool i.e, love for Prophet (SAW) based on the assumption that faith reaches to those who are strong and perfect in their love for Prophet (SAW). Allah keeps their faith strong, clear and transparent, and increases their spiritual energy and strength.
Me Nath chu pans be rozi mehshr
Me sath chu asem me seth rehbr
Me sayi Kre tat jenab Sarwar(SAW)
Be crekh dim ah jenab saaqi
It’s the law of nature that everybody has to taste death. But some people always govern our hearts by the contributions made by them in various fields and Sofi Abdul Ahad is certainly one of them. Although it is not possible to mention his scholarly and literary services in a short article, still it will help the readers to get an outline of the services he provided in the field of literature. I will conclude my article by endorising the words of Ranjoor Tilgami-A famous poet of Kashmir who said that “People like Sofi Abdul Ahad , are born once in centuries.”
Student of IASE Srinagar