A Manqabat is a Sufi devotional poem which is written in praise of Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib, the son in law of Prophet Muhammad or a Sufi saint. There were many poets in Islamic History who have written a lot in praise of Imam Ali in their poems.
Manqabat is also a part of poetry. The Manqabat prose is implicitly understood to be spiritual in its meaning, even though the lyrics can sometimes sound wildly secular or outright devotional. The central themes of Manqabat are love, devotion and praise of holy saint.
It is one of the forms of Qawwali. It is performed mainly at Sufi shrines or Dargahs. It was basically sung in South Asia but has gained global popularity now. Manqabat have received an international appeal from many of famous Urdu poets and singers.
In Qawwali, Manqabat is sung to music. The most well known of the Qawwalli manqabat is “man kunto maula” which is written by Amir Khusrau in praise of Imam Ali. This Manqabat has been performed by many famous singers and Qawwals including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, Aziz Mian, Abida Parveen, Fareed Avaz and Qawwal Bahauddin.
Manqabat poetry for characteristics is a song in praise of either Imam Ali or one of the Sufi saints. Manqabats in praise of Ali are sung in both muslim communities. It has become the part of both Shais and Sunnis religious gatherings.
Manqabat is also a Praise of the Peer if the performance is at an Urs ,a religious gathering. Qawwals sing very loudly and forcefully, which allows them to extend their chest voice to much higher frequencies than those used in Western singing, even though this usually causes a more noisy or strained sound than would be acceptable in the West.