Long post, no time.
So copy-paste will have to suffice for this one. Of late, we have been listening to the Mast Nazaron Se Allah Bachaaye qawwali (by Nusrat) and we find it quite delicious.
Mast Nazaron Se Allah Bachaaye
mast nazron se Allah bachaye
maah-jamalon se Allah bachaye
har bala sar peh aa jaye lekin
husn-walon se Allah bachaye
in ki maasomiat per na jaana
in ke dhoke mein hargiz na aana
loot lete hain ye muskara kar
in ki chaalon se Allah bachaye
bholi surat hai baatein hain bholi
moonh mein kuch hai magar dil mein kuch hai
lakh chehra sahi chand jaisa
dil ke kaalon se Allah bachaye
dil mein hai khwahish-e-hoor-o-jannat
aur zaahir mein shauq-e-ibadat
bas hamein shaikh ji aap jaise
Allah walon se Allah bachaye
in ki fitrat mein be-wafaii
jaanti hai ye saari Khudaii
acche acchon ko dete hain dhokha
bhole bhalon se Allah bachaye
Although one can't easily tell by just listening to the song, this is one of those 'competition' qawwali type things (think Teri mahafil mein kismat aazmaakar hum bhi dekhenge). The first 3 shers appear to the words of some prude shaikhji type person, a puritan. The remaining 2 shers are riposites from the husn waale, cautioning that the Allah waale are more dangerous than most, they doth protest too loudly. This might be quite delightful, if done on stage, with costumes and all. Lyrics and translation are available.
Another qawwali that has recently shown up on the radar screen, is by Amir Khusrau. This one is actually very old, circa 13th century. We first heard this in the soundtrack of the film
A much better version is the original combination of Farsi and Hindi (the lyrics are on the same page), as sung by the Warsi brothers. The song shifts delightfully from Farsi to Hindi and back. In this day and age, both the languages (even the Hindi as used in the song) are somewhat inaccessible, but somehow the song speaks to us across the centuries.
Zihaal-e-miskeen mukon taghaful (Persian)
doraaye nainaan banaye batyaan (Brij)
Ke taab-e-hijraah nadarum-e-jaan (Persian)
Na laihyo kaahe lagaye chatyaan (Brij)
Isn't it amazing that something written 700 years ago is still sung and understood today and brings so much pleasure? Will anything of this age endure?
Finally, lest our readers think we've gone all serious and dotty, what did god tell Noah as she sent the Deluge?
"Long time, no sea."