Hazrat ‘Alī in Nusrat’s Qawwals


Many of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s greatest qawwal performances feature lyrics about ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, probably originally deriving from the song, “Man Kuntu Mawla,” attributed to Amir Khusrow (d. 1325). Bulleh Shah (d. 1757) is said to have modified this song to create the popular qawwal “Mast Qalandar” in honor of the Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (d. 1274) whose tomb in Sindh (pictured below) attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

‘Ali plays an important role in virtually all Sufi orders as the first link in the initiatic chain from the Prophet, and whether Sunni or Shi’a, Sufi poets around the world have praised ‘Ali for his sanctity, knowledge, and spiritual perfection. Like the Prophet, ‘Ali remains a living presence in Sufism, especially in Qawwali music.


Dam Mast Qalandar


Partial Translation:

“Intoxicated, intoxicated
Upon My breath and in my intoxication is the great Qalander.
My worship and upon my breath is the name of Ali.
I am intoxicated with the beloved Qalander
I am intoxicated with Jhoole Laal who is intoxicated with Qalander
Keep repeating his name you follower of Ali
You Ali !!! Keep saying his name.”




Ali Maula Ali Dam Dam

Man Kunto Maula


Shah e Mardan / Haqq Ali Ali Ali Maula Ali Ali

Lyrics and Translation of Haq Ali Ali 

Ali imaam-e-manasto manam Ghulaam-e-Ali
hazaar jaan-e-giraamii fidaa-e-naam-e-Ali

Ali is the master of all, I am the slave of Ali
a thousand lives are to be sacrificed for Ali

Haidariam qalandaram mastam
bandaa-e-Murtaza Ali hastam
peshvaa-e-tamaam virdaaram
ke sage kuu-e-sher-e-yazdaanam

I belong to the Lion of God
I am an intoxicated ecstatic wandering dervish
I am a slave of Ali the Chosen One
I am the leader of all the drunkards
As I am a dog in the street of the Lion of God 

kabhii diivaar hiltii hai, kabhii dar kaaNp jaataa hai
Ali kaa naam sun kar ab bhii Khaibar kaaNp jaataa hai

Sometimes the wall shakes, sometimes the door trembles
upon hearing the name of Ali, the fort of Khaibar trembles even now.

(During the battle of Khaybar, Ali rooted out the heavy door of the fort and used it as his shield.)

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

King of the brave men, Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali.

patthar pe alam deen ka gaaRaa jisne
lalkaar kar Marhab ko pichaaRaa jisne

[One] who planted the flag of faith on the rocks
[One] who challenged Marhab and defeated him.

Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali

jap le jap le mere manvaa
yahii naam sacchaa hai pyaare
yahii naam tere sab dukh haare
isii naam kii barkat ne diye raaz-e-haqiiqat khol

my heart! chant this
[as] this is the name that is true.
This is the name that removes suffering
[and] the auspiciousness of this name opened the secrets of being.

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
la fataa illah Ali
sher-e-yazdaaN Ali

King of the brave, Ali.
There is no hero except Ali
[and] the lion of God is Ali.

tan par Ali, Ali ho zubaaN par Al Ali
mar jauuN to kafan par bhii likhna Ali Ali

My body chants Ali, so does my tongue
[and] when I die, then write Ali on my shroud.

baGhair hubb-e-Ali mudd’aa nahiiN miltaa
ibaadatoN kaa bhii hargiz silaa nahiiN miltaa
Khudaa ke bandoN suno Ghaur se Khudaa kii qasam
jise Ali nahiiN milte use Khudaa nahiiN miltaa

Without the love of Ali, desire is not fulfilled
not even the prayers are answered.
O! slaves of God listen carefully, by God!
One who does not realizes Ali does not realize God.

basad talaash na ab kuch vus’at-e-nazar se milaa
nishaan-e-manzil-e-maqsuud raahbar se milaa
Ali mile to mile Khaana-e-Khudaa saa hameN
Khudaa ko dhuuNdha to vo bhi Ali ke ghar se milaa

Don’t search for anything now, match the eternal search
match the footprints of the desired destination with guide
to get Ali is like getting a house of God
searching for God too, we found Him in Ali’s house.

diid Haider kii ibaadat, hai ye farmaan-e-nabii
hai Ali ruuh-e-nabii, jism-e-nabii, jaan-e-nabii
gul-e-tathiir Ali
haq kii shamshiir Ali
piiroN ke piir Ali

The sight of Ali in itself is prayer, so said the Prophet
Ali is the soul, body and life of the Prophet
Ali is the purified flower
Ali is the sword of the truth
Ali is the saint of the saints.

dast-e-ilaa kyuuN na ho sher-e-Khudaa Ali
maqsuud har ataa hai shah-e-laa-fataa Ali
jis tarah ek zaat-e-Muhammad hai be-misaal
paidaa hu’aa na hogaa ko’ii duusraa Ali
“Bedam” yahii to paaNch haiN maqsuud-e-qaaynaat
Khairunnisaa, Hasan, Hussain, Mustafaa, Ali

At the door of God why not be like the Lion of God.
Every intention has a reward, the King of the Victorious is Ali
Like the progeny of Muhammad is unique and unmatchable
There is none born nor ever will be, like Ali
These five are indeed the reason of creation;
the best of women (Fatima, the prophet’s daughter), Hasan, Hussain (Ali’s sons), Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad), Ali

Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali



8 thoughts on “Hazrat ‘Alī in Nusrat’s Qawwals

  1. Greetings,

    I’m very interested in the art on this page.

    I presume, but don’t know for sure, that the art here (the lined drawings) refer to Hazrat Ali. Yes? If so, are they depictions of his name in artistic form, or some other reference to him?

    I appreciate any feedback you may provide me.

    Kindest wishes,


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