A Tribute To Sofi Abdul Ahad: A Kashmiri Sufi Poet
Sofi Abdul Ahad – a well known Kashmiri sufi poet-was born at Sikh Kanihama, a village in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, in January 1939 in a noble family and passed away on 9th of February 2020 at the age of 81. He completed his earlier education from Government High School Sikh Kanihama. However could not continue his further studies because of the family problems. He was associated with music, poetry from his early age, which later turned him into a prominent artist at young age. He inspite of being the father of 8 daughters and 2 sons still managed time for art and poetry thus got prominence. He formally joined Chisti Sufi Silsila at the hands of Alhaj Ama Saeb’e Waaza the illustrious son of Alhaj Waza Fareed and remained on that till his death. It was the company of Ama Saeb’e Waaza that turned him into a sufi poet.
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, he 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 especially being one of the founding members of Bahar e Adab Tilgam as well as member of Kruhun Cultural Forum etc. In 1975 he participated in a Radio Mushaiara for the first time and then there was no looking back.
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 ba adam na chus ba insan
Na chus ba keh ny me keh ne saman
Lekhin paren chem me chen afsan
Me chaw lubi-lubab saaqi
Reading some of his poems again and again makes the beauty and the resonance of his poems to seep into one’s consciousness. His poetry makes us see the world afresh or some new part of it. It 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 refers 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
Sofi Abdul Ahad always laid stress on acquisition of knowledge. He termed a Sufi without knowledge as a tool in the hands of the devil. For him knowledge and practice are the most important thing 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.
“These are the verses of the Book which contain the wisdom and the sure truth. A guide and a mercy for those who do good deeds. Those who establish salat and pay zakah, and believe in the Hereafter. Those are guided by their Lord, and they are the successful” (surah Luqman: 2-5)
His writing often reflect ISHQ-Rasool i.e, love for Prophet Mohammad SAW based on the assumption that faith reaches to those who are strong and perfect in their love for Prophet Mohammad SAW. Allah keeps their faith strong, clear and transparent, and increases their spiritual energy and strength.
Me Nath che pans be rozi mehshr
Me sath che asem me saeth rehbr
Me sayi Kre tate 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. Sofi Abdul Ahad is certainly one of them. Although it is not possible to mention his scholarly and literary services in a short article, 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 endorsing the words of Ranjoor Tilgami-a famous poet of Kashmir – “People like Sofi Abdul Ahad , are born once in centuries.”
- The writer is student of IASE Srinagar and can be reached at Khursheedmalla47@gmail.com