The Lamp of Love is an account of the writer’s experiences of travel, first to Pakistan, and then with the famous Pakistani qawwali singers, the Sabri brothers, to various Sufi shrines in India and Pakistan. The work is however neither a travelogue in the conventional sense nor a book about music: it is best described as a personal account of faith and spiritual conversion. The account is unusual, to say the least: the writer was an Australian national, and she describes how she experienced a vision of the late Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri, which drew her to the Sabri family with whom she finds a new home. The cultural and familial transposition is interlarded with the story of a gradual absorption in the spiritual realm of the Chishti silsila or tradition. Visions, dreams and miracles figure largely in the account. The book we have is the fulfilment of a mandate received in a vision; however, the author’s engagement with Islam appears to be of longer standing. That too, we are informed enigmatically, came out of a dream.
Faith and Spiritual Conversion
THE LAMP OF LOVE: JOURNEYING WITH THE SABRI BROTHERS by Amanullah Armstrong Chishti Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2006, 147 pp., 295
May 2006, volume 30, No 5