SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Ecstatic Surrender: an evening of Qawwali poetry and music

Mahmood Jamal
Mahmood Jamal (Poet and Qawwali scholar)

Date: 22 May 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 22 May 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film Screening


A multimedia presentation of some sublime Qawwali music, supplemented and explained by poet and Qawwali scholar Mahmood Jamal. 

The music of Qawwali is inextricably linked to the lyrics or poems that are sung in Persian, Hindi, Urdu, and Panjabi. This lecture and screening introduces the Sufi poetry, poets and the history of Qawwali music and its message in an entertaining and fruitful encounter through live talk, videos and poetry recital. 

Mahmood Jamal will discuss unique and exclusive video recordings of some of the great Qawwals of modern times, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Aziz Mian, Munshi Raziuddin and sons, and Murli.


Mahmood Jamal was born in Lucknow, India. He came to Britain in 1967 from Pakistan. He works as an independent producer and writer and has produced several documentary series, notably a series on Islam entitled Islamic Conversations. He was also a lead writer on Britain’s first Asian soap, Family Pride, and wrote and produced the groundbreaking drama TURNING WORLD for Channel4 television. He has produced many programmes on Qawwali and Sufi music for television. He has a degree in South Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

In 2016 he wrote and Produced the feature film, RAHM (Mercy), an adaptation into Urdu of William Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’ set in Lahore, Pakistan. A unique and engaging Sufi interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, this film will be released in Britain in 2017. He received Best Adapted Screenplay Award at the London Asian Film Festival 2017 for RAHM.

His poems have been published in the London Magazine and broadcast on BBC Radio and he has performed at leading poetry venues in London and around the UK. He has also featured in several anthologies including New British Poetry and Grandchildren Of Albion . In 1984 Mahmood Jamal was the recipient of the Minority Rights Group Award for his poetry, translations and critical writings. In the same year he published his first volume of poetry, Silence Inside a Gun’s Mouth

Published Works:

  • Faiz- Fifty Poems( OUP Kar 2013)
  • Islamic Mystical Poetry (Penguin Classics UK 2009)
  • Sugar Coated Pill (Word Power 2006)
  • Modern Urdu Poetry (Farida Jamal/Translit Kuala Lumpur 1995)
  • Song Of The Flute (Culture House, London 2000)
  • Penguin Book Of Modern Urdu Poetry (Penguin Books, London 1986)
  • Silence Inside A Gun’s Mouth (Kala Press London 1984
  • Coins For Charon (Courtfield Press 1976)

The event is free to attend but registration essential. Click here to register. 

Please note that the venue has now changed from B103 to Wolfson Lecture Theatre at Paul Webley Building. 

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute and Department of Music, School of Arts

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4390