Mehfil-e-Sama initiated by Hazrat Babuji (R.A) at Golra Shrine
Hazrat Babuji (R.A) used to say that Hazrat’s Sama followed no regular or predictable pattern. Sometimes, the recital of even a stray verse would generate a mystical response within him. He would then ask his qawwal to sing the verse in his presence from time to time. Instead, Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) used to give “Dars” (spiritual and religious guidance) daily to the students.
After the passing away of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A), Hazrat Babuji (R.A) started Mehfil-e-Sama on a daily basis and set some rules of this Mehfil (sitting) in which the listeners were to be educated through the Mystic poems by the renowned and famous Sufi poets. In other words the “Dars” was still being given but in a new way. The Qawwali was sort of “Dars” (spiritual instruction) rendered to each member present which enabled both a common man as well as a scholar to derive solutions and answers to their problems and religious questionings.
At a higher plane, it held the status of a spiritual training of a soul like Babuji (R.A) who would freshen up the lessons imbibed from his father, the Sufi saints and Shariah itself, and which were listened to with continuity and in earnest.
Babuji's (R.A) Mahboob Qawwal
The daily Sama sittings of Hazrat Babuji (R.A) were led with distinction by the late Mahboob Qawwal. Babuji (R.A) personally guided Late Mahboob Qawwal about the subject matter on which he should recite. The contents selected were to be verses from the Holy Quran and other subject matter in accordance with the teachings of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A).
Mahboob Qawwal came to Golra Sharif at an early age. Babuji (R.A) took him under his personal care, and devoted considerable time and attention to his grooming as a qawwal.
For some time, he was also placed under the tutelage of Ali Bukhsh Qawwal (Deccan), a celebrated musician who was nicknamed “Wa’iz” (preacher), because of the unusually learned content of his Sama presentations.
Babuji (R.A) also took Mahboob Qawwal to Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) before Hazrat's passing away and introduced him and requested prayer for Mahboob Qawwal as he remarked to Hazrat (R.A): “This coin is of no worth without your approval and prayers”. To this Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) tapped Mahboob Qawwal on his back and prayed for him. It was due to the prayers of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) in his last days and the constant personal attention given to him by Hazrat Babuji (R.A), Mahboob Ali built up a wide repertoire of Urdu and Persian verses of renowned Sufi poets such as Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami (R.A), Shaikh Saadi (R.A) and Maulana Hafiz (R.A) both of Shiraz, Amir Khusro (R.A) of Delhi, Allama Muhammad Iqbal (renowned poet – philosopher of the east), and many others.
In course of time, Mahboob became a celebrity in his own right, even though his presentations remained confined to the Sama sittings of Babuji (R.A) and he never hankered after public recognition in the manner of other commercial-minded qawwals.
Mahboob Qawwal under the patronage of Babuji (R.A) had learnt up by heart the poetic renderings of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) Sahib’s works, the Mathnavi of Rumi verses from the Holy Quran as well as the sayings of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). The guiding philosophy and the meaning inherent was explained to Mahboob by Babuji (R.A) himself, and his personal guidance had made Mahboob Qawwal an authority on religious philosophy.
Division of Mehfil-e-Sama in Golra Sharif Shrine
The Mehfil-e-Sama was categorically divided into three portions as follows:
i) The first half would open with the mystical streak referring to the philosophy of Wahdat-ul-Wajood (the Ultimate Oneness of Being) along with an evident praise in honour of God-the Divine Being, the omnipresence of God Almighty being its hallmark.
(ii) The second half related to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) highlighting his merciful nature and the resulting blessings, thus earmarking Babuji’s (R.A) regard and reverence for the Prophet (P.B.U.H). Babuji (R.A) believed that “Saint’s love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) was an initial requirement to further spiritual fulfillment. The qualities of love and affection get revealed in his forgiveness, hence by asking for his (P.B.U.H) forgiveness, Babuji (R.A) was asking for his (P.B.U.H) love.
iii) The third half related to Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A), with reference to his saintly status as one who was far ahead of all the Sufi saints. Secondly with reference to the Holy lineage being traced, i.e., Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) up help as the predecessor of Babuji (R.A) as well as the entire Sufi tradition; and above all drawing sustenance from and upholding the tradition that each new arrival was Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam’s guest who remains the force behind. The remaining Sama would then outflow from this conception.
(iv) Then prolonged verses from the poetry of other Sufi Saints would be recited: Maulana Rumi (R.A), Hafiz Sherazi (R.A), Baba Bulhey Shah of Kasur (R.A), Ali Haider (R.A) and Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) whose verses were frequently recited. From these, scholars would derive solutions to otherwise confusing issues relating Shariah.
Qawwali always remained limited and restricted to religious teachings, and thus even those against the use of any musical instrument whatsoever on account of the religious meaning conveyed remained silent at the use of Sitar. None could find a chance to lift a finger; rather the members of Chishtia, Qadriyah, Suharwardia tradition and Maslak found answers to their spiritual ambiguities.