Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Most influential Qawwal of his time

From natural science to becoming the most famous qawwal, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has given us a legacy that cannot be replaced.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was born on 13th October 1948 in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad). His real name was Pervez Fateh Ali Khan. His family had a legacy of Qawwali for around 600 years. Nusrat’s father did not want him to be a qawwal or a singer.

According to him this profession made them belittle and low in society. He wanted his son to be an engineer or doctor. But fate had decided something else. Nusrat had the natural talent of singing genetically transferred from family. He started really young and looking at his talent, his father allowed him to pursue his dream.

He was the bright star of Patiala Gharana(Family name). His first performance was on his own father’s chehlam. He was 15 at that time. He could transcend high notes as well as low notes very easily. Nusrat had the ability to sing for hours without missing one single beat. After the demise of his father he became the head of Patiala Gharana in 1971.

one of his beautiful composition

Career and Nusrat’s Magic

Out of all the genres of music, Nusrat loved the qawwali the most. In 1980 he was signed by Oriental Star Agencies, Bermingham England. Later he went to India, USA, Europe, Japan and various other countries to release his music scores.

His voice was so soulful that people used to get mesmerized by it in no time. He is known as “Shehenshah e Qawwal” or King of Qawwali all over the world. He was considered as Sufi of that time. One of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s unique feature was he applauded ”Allah” in such manner that people used to cry in joy and ecstacy. According to audience he connected them with Allah through music.

His fields of expertise were Qawwali, pop culture, Indi pop and Bollywood. He traveled a lot in order to spread his music. He visited almost 40 countries in his life. Some of his music even nominated for Grammy as well. India and USA has his biggest fan following till today. Even today a lot of Indian musicians tries to copy his tunes and compositions.


In August of 1997, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan traveled to London to treat liver and kidney problems, he rushed from the airport to Cromwell Hospital in London. He was 113 kgs at the time of his death. Doctors said that obesity could be another reason of his illness.

Also See: Comedian Umer Sharif leaves for treatment to US

He died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital on August 16, aged 48. His body was repatriated to Faisalabad, and his funeral was a public affair. Khan’s musical legacy is now carried forward by his nephews, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Rizwan-Muazzam. Rahat is taking his legacy with all heads up and successfully.

Famous songs and Qawwalis of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Dama Dam Mast Qalandar a spiritual Sufi song written in the honor of the most revered Sufi Saint of Sindh, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177–1274). Mere Rashq e Qamar is still one of the famous and most remixed song of the generation. The composition of Tumhe dillagi bhool jani paregi, purely a piece of art by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Ye jo halka halka saroor hai still sounds like a singing bird in the ears. There are many more and list will go on. On the occasion of his 72nd birthday we can pay tribute to the legendary star who needs no introduction by any means.


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