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Title: Mehfil  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kesarbai Kerkar, Islam in India, Prostitution, Sufi poetry, Arabic music
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A mehfil (Urdu: محفل; sometimes spelled mahfil) is a gathering or evening of courtly entertainment of poetry or concert of Indian classical music and Pakistani classical music (particularly Hindustani classical music) and dance, performed for a small audience in an intimate setting.

Historically, mehfils were presented in the homes or palaces of Muslim royalty or noblemen, who acted as these artists' patrons.[1]

Today they are generally given in the homes of especially avid music lovers. Ghazals are a common genre performed at mehfils. Such performances are rarer today than in the past.


The word mehfil derives from the Arabic word mehfil (Arabic: محفل‎), which means a (festive) "gathering to entertain (or praise someone)."

Mehfil-e-Naat is an Islamic mehfil (forum) in which people sit and recite poetry in the praise of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mehfil-e-Sama is a gathering held for Sufi devotional music such as Qawwali or prayer and chanting, Hadhra, part of Dhikr (remembrance of God).

Popular culture

Several mehfil performances may be seen in the Satyajit Ray film Jalsaghar (1958).



  1. ^ Rhythm n Raga: History of Hindustani Music - Developments During the 13th and 14th century hindustani music

External links

  • mehfilPage describing
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