[by Jacob Efman]
On Sunday, July 18, at Unity Church of Louisville, the Pakistani American Community of Louisville presented a concert of Sufi music performed by Sufi singer Iqbal Bahu. Bahu was born in Gurdaspur, India, but migrated to Pakistan after Independence and settled in Lahore, where he mastered the Sufi tradition and music. Bahu has sung many Sufi songs for Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television, and was honored by the Government of Pakistan in 2008. Guru Das, a physicist from Dayton, provided percussion accompaniment.
Sufi music is a genre of music inspired by Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, and its philosophy as expressed in the works of Sufi poets. Sufism seeks to find divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. Its adherents follow mystical paths or stages that are designed to ascertain the nature of mankind and God and to facilitate the experience of divine love and wisdom in the world.
Sufism arose as an organized movement after the death of Muhammad 632 AD. The lyrics of the music are taken from Sufi literature and poetry, which represents a golden age in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu languages.
Reflecting the interfaith nature of this event, it took place in Unity Church of Louisville, which now occupies the building that once was home to Adath Jeshurun. The event was made possible by Interfaith Paths to Peace of Louisville, the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Community Relations Council, St. William Catholic Church, Cultivating Connections, The Drepung Gomang Institute (Tibetan Buddhists), Independent Muslims of Louisville, and the Hindu Temple of Kentucky.