Muzaffar Warsi (1933-2011): Mera Payambar Azeemtar Hai

Posted on January 29, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Mushaira, People, Poetry, Religion
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Adil Najam

Muzaffar Warsi, a distinguished and distinctive voice in devotional poetry died in Lahore after a protracted illness on Friday, January 29, 2011. Warsi shaib was clearly an giant amongst naat-go and hamd-go Urdu poets. Although many would remember him for the rendition styles, he was first and foremost a poet who had dedicated his poetry to devotional subjects. One is saddened to hear the news of his death.

I grew up hearing and watching him read out his naat and hamd on PTV in his very soothing, distinct, and soulful voice and style. But it was not just his recitation style, it was the simplicity and elegance of his poetic constructs that tugged at your heart strings. As I listen to his voice again today that emotional combination still has the same effect. Probably nowhere more than one of his most famous hamd, Wohi Khuda Hai; this, of course, was made even more famous when Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan rendered it, but I still find it even more powerful in the poet’s own rendition:

Many of his devotional renditions are now etched in the memories of PTV viewers – especially including Ya Rehmatallil Aalameen, Maira Payambar Azeem tar hai, and, of course, Wohi Khuda Hai – one certainly hopes that his words, his voice and his renditions will live after him.

Although we remember Muzaffar Warsi primarily and justly for his hamd and naat, his ghazals – although less numerous – also had a deep and soulful quality to them. One that I particularly remember from an old PTV Mushaira and have been very fond of (especially the second verse below), went like this:

Inn aankhouN kay ander bhi darkaar haiN aankhaiN
Chehray kay peechay bhi chehra hou sakta hai

Kandhay KaRheeal kay houN, aur gaThri burhiya ki
boojh utha kar bhi jee halka hou sakta hai

Iss duniya meiN na-mumkin kuch nahiN Muzaffar
doodh bhi kaala, shehd bhi KaRwa ho sakta hai

On a little digging, I was able to find the video of him reciting this ghazal (at a later Mushaira). It is worth a listen:

In searching for this, I also found this other ghazal from Muzaffar Warsi, which is more political than most of his work:

DaawouN ki tarazoo meiN tou azmat nahiN tulti
feetay say tou kirdaar ko naapa nahiN jaata

Farmaan say paeRouN pay kabhi phall nahiN lagtay
talwar say mausam koee badla nahiN jaata

Chor aapnay gharouN meiN tou nahiN naqb lagatay
aapni hi qamaee ko tou loota nahiN jaata

As we remember the poetry of Muzaffar Warsi today, let me end with two separate more verses from Warsi sahib that people may not have heard before (at least I had not);

(1) Sarr iss leeaye uncha hai, kay qadd uss ka baRRa hai
Qadd iss leeaye uncha hai, kay laashouN pay khaRRa hai

(2) Teray haathouN meiN hai talwar, meray paas qalam
Bol, sarr zulm ka tou kaatey ga, ya meiN kaatouN

14 Comments on “Muzaffar Warsi (1933-2011): Mera Payambar Azeemtar Hai

  1. Jawed says:
    January 29th, 2011 11:43 pm

    Sad to hear that. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeoon.

  2. Adnan says:
    January 29th, 2011 11:57 pm

    Inna Lillahye Waina Alhaye Rajioon.

    No doubt. He was amazing. Probably the only naat Khuwan who was also a poet too. His one of the poem sung by Lata Mangeshkar as well which was composed by Jagjit. Needless to say Brilliant piece .

  3. Faraz says:
    January 30th, 2011 12:16 am

    Thanks Adil for sharing this.

  4. HarOON says:
    January 30th, 2011 12:21 am

    Yes, I also remember him and his poetry well. As you say, it always tugged at the heart. May he rest in peace.

  5. Naan Haleem says:
    January 30th, 2011 12:23 am

    Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaehi Rajioon

  6. January 30th, 2011 12:27 am

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “inna Lillahe wa ilehe rajeoon…may Allah rest his soul in peace…ameen!!”
    - “Innalillah.”
    - “we don’t have his replacement”
    - “Ina lillah haey wa ina elahaey rajioun …”
    - “koi to he jo nizam e hasti chala raha he’…..even Nusrat Fateh Ali rendered Muzaffer Warsi’s poetry in poet’s own unique style….”

  7. Musalman says:
    January 30th, 2011 12:30 am

    His words as well as his style of reading his kalam was very powerful. It would always have a deep effect. For years, I used to have a cassette with his naats which I heard again and again and in many ways it helped me understand the spirit of my religion.

  8. Azra says:
    January 30th, 2011 12:42 am

    Very sad. You used the right word. He was dignified. And his passion and faith always showed through.
    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeoon.

  9. Kamal says:
    January 30th, 2011 1:00 am

    So very sorry to hear this news. He was such a powerful influence on so many of us. There was a humility and humbleness in their expression of faith which is missing from the jang o jadal of so many today.

    I rember him and this younger Qari Waheed Zafar and whenever they were on TV I would just sit and listen to their soulful voice.

    May he rest in peace.

  10. IMTIAZ says:
    January 30th, 2011 1:31 am

    He wrote some very powerful naats and hamds. Sorry to hear of this loss.

  11. Humaira says:
    February 2nd, 2011 10:05 pm

    So sorry to hear this. Allah maghfarat farmaye. I do not often listen to these but he always made me stop and listen and think.

  12. February 2nd, 2011 10:11 pm

    More comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “‘koi to he jo nizam e hasti chala raha he’…..even Nusrat Fateh Ali rendered Muzaffer Warsi’s poetry in poet’s own unique style….”
    - “allah rehmat karey……….insha allah”
    - “wo he khuda hai….!”
    - “May God give him a place in heaven Ameen”

  13. February 7th, 2011 10:56 pm

    Only one person can change my whole life, my nights my Mornings, My way , My Style.

    He is only one and that was Muzaffar wasi, that make me totally changed.

    when ever i call him, in my mind , Belief me or not, my Eyes cy Blood

  14. December 2nd, 2011 3:46 pm

    Itni khamoshi bhi achi nahi ha logo,,,,,
    Sannatoun say bhi hangama ho sakta ha,,,,,
    What a poet he was….

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