What is the Difference between Qawwali and Ghazal?

Back in 2019, I didn’t know anything about the difference between Qawwali and Ghazal. I thought they were all the same until I got to learn about these music genres during out inter-college festival.

Qawwali is a type of Sufi music that was advocated by Amir Khusro, a follower of the celebrated holy person Nizamuddin Aulia. A ghazal can allude to both the verse and how it is sung or delivered, wheares, a Qawwali alludes just to a method of delivering Sufi refrains.


A Qawwali is more nearer to music than verse. Here a principal artist alongside going with harmonium and Dholak (a drum-like instrument) sings a melody that includes rhythmical hand clapping. The most popular qawwali artist was late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Qawwali can be calculated as (Q) kaak+aali= (Q) Kakali, which means – कौवों का झुण्ड: As crows are vociferous, those hordes of individuals were in this manner called Qawwal. Another importance is Kaw+wali (कव +वली; वली represents Mahatma). To arrange it is known as Mehfil-e-Samaa (समा), where the significance of Samoa is to tune in, sing and move.

Ghazal is a form with rhyming couplets and abstain. Ghazals are as a rule about both the agony of misfortune or partition and the magnificence of affection disregarding that torment. A Ghazal contains 4-5 sher (couplet). Each user will have a similar meter and rhyme plot, however can have a distinctive topic. Couples could have the same idea. Ghazal for the most part has an exacting rhyme and beat structure. Ghazals are normally a lot more limited than a Nazm. A user can remain all alone, i.e., it will have total importance regardless of whether it is removed from its setting of a Ghazal.

A table for the Difference between Qawwali and Gazal:

The table representation gives the exact representation between Qawwali and Ghazal which will help you to understand the proper difference such as history, origin, instruments used, etc. 

Qawwali is a type of Sufi Islamic reverential singing, beginning from the Indian subcontinentGhazal is a form of amatory ode or poem, which originates from Arabic poetry.
The term ‘Qawwali’ is Arabic for ‘expression’, and it alludes to the reverential music of the Sufis, the spiritualists of the Islamic religionThe ghazal is a short poem comprising of rhyming couplets, called Sher or Bayt.
Tabla, harmonium, dholak, and sarangi are the instruments used while performing qawwali.Santur, rabab, sitar, tabla, etc are the instruments used while performing ghazal.
It is performed in such a way that it mostly sounds like a song.It is performed in a poetry manner.

In History, the Difference Between Qawwali and Ghazal


Initially performed at Sufi altars or dargahs all through South Asia, it acquired standard prevalence and a global crowd in the late twentieth century. Qawwali music got worldwide openness through crafted by Aziz Mian, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Sabri Brothers generally because of a few deliveries on the Real World mark, trailed by live appearances at WOMAD celebrations. There are some famous and renowned Qawwali vocalists such as Badar Miandad, Fareed Ayyaz, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Abu Muhammad, Rizwan and Moazzam Duo, the late Amjad Sabri, Wadali Brothers, Nizami Bandhu, and Bahauddin Qutbuddin. Most current Qawwali vocalists including Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Fareed Ayyaz and Abu Muhammad have a place with the popular ‘Qawwal Bachon ka Gharana’ school of Qawwali, which was situated in Delhi.


The ghazal structure is antiquated, following its birthplaces to seventh-century Arabic verse. 

A ghazal regularly comprises five to fifteen autonomous couplets, however, are connected – uniquely, in their subject; and all the more carefully in their graceful structure. The primary prerequisites of the ghazal are comparative in toughness to those of the Petrarchan sonnet. In style and substance, because of its profoundly subtle nature, the ghazal has demonstrated equipment for a phenomenal assortment of articulation around its focal subjects of adoration and partition.

Origins: The Difference Between Qawwali and Ghazal


Delhi’s Sufi holy person Amir Khusrow of the Chisti request of Sufis is credited with combining the Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Indian customs in the late thirteenth century in India to make Qawwali as far as we might be concerned today.[1] The word Sama is regularly still utilized in Central Asia and Turkey to allude to structures fundamentally the same as Qawwali, and in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the conventional name utilized for a meeting of Qawwali is Mehfil-e-Sama. 

Initially, instruments used in Qawwali were restricted and the accompanying conditions were at first positioned on Qawwali.


Pre-Islamic Arabia, the ghazal was not perceived as a significant kind of verse. There were different classifications for the qasidah, including the laudatory (madih), the lecturing sonnet (hikam), the parody (hija’), and the brag (fakhr). Nonetheless, the ghazal – the affection sonnet – was not one of these. 

All things being equal, what was later to turn into the ghazal was a basic piece of practically every pre-Islamic great qasidah. These qasîdahs were partitioned into three wide areas: the nasib, the rahil, and afterward whichever of the perceived idyllic kinds the artist expected. It is the nasîb that opened the qasîdah, which would later form into the ghazal.

Structures: The Difference Between Qawwali and Ghazal


Structurally, the qawwali is personally connected to Khusraw, who birthed the style, yet in addition, made the components to make it conceivable. It is typically performed with a lead artist and chorale, playing in a call-and-reaction style. These vocalists are upheld by artists playing percussion instruments, the dholak or tabla, and a sitar, since a long time ago necked stringed instruments. Both the production of the tabla and the sitar are associated with Khusraw. Notwithstanding the proper instrumentation, hand-applauding serves to underline the cadence design and draw in the crowd. In the cutting edge time frame, the harmonium is utilized rather than the sitar. Actually, no one but men can perform qawwali tunes, with female entertainers singing sufiana kalam, Sufi words. The most prominent contrast between the two is that a female will in general sing solo, in spite of the fact that her group is possibly similarly as extensive as a male’s company. Since the distinctions in gendered execution are so unpretentious, the word qawwali is, for the most part, used to portray any exhibition of this sort.


Ghazal is a type of verse where the pieces comprise of couplets where both the initial two stanzas rhyme and the second refrains of each after couplet rhyme with the sections of the primary couplet. At the point when these sonnets are sung, they are called ghazal as well. So ghazal can be both simply a sonnet or a piece of music with the ghazal (sonnet) as its verses. The majority of the ghazal artists have customarily been Sufis and the Beloved they notice are both of the characters of Sufism, God or their Spiritual Guide. Not a lady, in spite of the layman’s understanding. Anyway, this isn’t a condition for the verse to qualify as a ghazal.

Ghazals are similarly more limited 6-7 sets of lines; Yes Ghazal like a Sonnet consistently discovered to be two by two. Presently Each of these sets has distinctness, culmination as individual stanzas. In the event that the main pair writer discusses passing, appreciate demise in the following pair he may wish to revere the excellence of life.

So to conclude, the major difference between the ghazal and qawwali is that ghazal can allude to both the verse and the manner in which it is sung or delivered, however, qawwali refers just to a method of delivering Sufi verse. We hav4e added all the relevant information in the given article also the article contains the History of Qawwalis and Ghazals, the Origin of Qawwalis and Ghazals, and also structures of Qawwalis and ghazals. We genuinely trust that you will discover the data given by us is great and helpful. Furthermore, assuming you actually see any sort of error. Get data according to your desire. 

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