Abida Parveen is a Pakistani singer who is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest mystic singers and a leading exponent of Sufi music (Sufiana kalaam). The versatile singer is best known for her ghazals, which she performs in a variety of languages, including Urdu, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Punjabi. Born into a musical family, she was exposed to Sufism and music at a young age. Her father recognized his daughter’s potential and trained her personally in music when she was young. She began singing at the age of three and demonstrated such a strong passion for music that her father defied tradition and chose her over his two sons as his musical heir. She continued her musical education at her father’s music school and was also trained by the great Ustad Salamat Ali Khan of the Sham Chorasia gharana. She began her career performing at Dargahs and Urs before pursuing a career with Radio Pakistan. She elevated Sufi music to a new level and went on to establish herself as one of the most renowned mystic singers not only in her native Pakistan, but throughout the world, earning her the titles of Uncrowned Empress of Sufi Music and Undisputed Sufi Queen.
Childhood & Adolescence
Abida Parveen was born in 1954 in Mohalla Ali Goharabad in Larkana, Sindh, Pakistan, a region renowned for its vibrant Muslim Sufi culture. She came from a long line of Sufi mystics and singers; her father, Ustad Ghulam Haider, was a well-known Sufi singer who established his own devotional music school.
When Abida was a child, her father introduced her to Sufism and music. She was naturally drawn to devotional music and began singing at the age of three. Recognizing his daughter’s potential, her father began training her himself.
She was later mentored by Ustad Salamat Ali Khan of the Sham Chorasia gharana at her father’s music school. As a child, she and her father used to perform regularly at Sufi Saints’ shrines. Her father, an open-minded man, recognized that his daughter possessed far greater musical ability than his sons and chose her over his two sons as his musical heir. He took an unusual step in a conservative Muslim society.
Career of Abida Parveen
In the early 1970s, she began performing at Dargahs and Urs and in 1973 began singing for Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad. Singing on the radio exposed her voice to a wider audience, which quickly elevated her popularity. The Sindhi song ‘Tuhinje zulfan jay band kamand widha’ was her first big hit.
After a few years of singing for the radio station, she was named Radio Pakistan’s official singer in 1977. Already a well-known figure by this point, her popularity skyrocketed from here on. As a singer of ghazals and Sufi music, she contributed to the genres’ revitalization and popularization beyond her native Pakistan.
She performed at Sultana Siddiqui’s Awazo Andaz in 1980, mesmerizing the audience with her renditions of ghazals and devotional songs, elevating Sufi music to a new level. During the 1980s, her international fame skyrocketed.
During this time period, she also began touring and performing internationally. Her tours of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France were a smashing success. She has continued to travel to numerous other countries since then, spreading Sufism, peace, and the divine message through her music.
In 1988, she performed live in Chicago for the Hazrat Amir Khusrau Society of Art and Culture. The following year, her performance at London’s Wembley Conference Hall was recorded and broadcast for an hour by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Parveen licensed her spiritual ghazals to Bollywood in the 1990s. However, she never sang in films, despite the fact that her pre-recorded songs were used. As a result of her phenomenal success as a singer, she continues to receive offers from Bollywood and recently agreed to lend her voice to films at the urging of her fans.
Her successful career spanned the decade of the 2000s. In 2007, she collaborated with Shehzad Roy on a song titled ‘Zindagi’ that addressed social issues affecting children, and in 2008, she performed at the Sufi Festival in New York at the Asia Society to promote Pakistani culture and mutual peace. She also performs at Muzaffar Ali’s Jahan-e-Khusrau on an annual basis.
She served as a judge on the Indo-Pak singing talent show ‘Sur Kshetra’ in 2010. In the same year, she appeared on Pakistan’s internationally acclaimed ‘Coke Studio Season 3’.
She has appeared in numerous television shows in recent years, including ‘Shehr-e-Zaat’ (2012), ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ (2012), ‘Pakistan Idol’ (2014), and ‘Sama-e-Ishq’ (2015). (2014).
Significant Works of Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen is widely regarded as one of the greatest mystic singers in the world and a leading exponent of Sufi music. Throughout her four-decade career, she is credited with revitalizing and popularizing Sufi music on the international stage. Her most well-known songs include ‘Yaar ko Humne’ from the album ‘Raqs-e-Bismil’ and ‘Tere Ishq Nachaya’, a rendition of Bulleh Shah’s poetry.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1984, Abida Parveen received the President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance. The same year, she was also awarded the Gold Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Medal.
In 2005, she was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s third highest civilian honor.
In 2012, she received the Hilal-e-Imtiaz award, which honors those who have made a “exceptionally meritorious contribution to Pakistan’s security or national interests, world peace, culture, or other significant public endeavors.”
Personal History and Legacies
In 1975, Abida Parveen married Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, who worked as a senior producer at Radio Pakistan. Her husband was a strong supporter of her career and retired in the 1980s to manage it. The couple was blessed with three children. In the early 2000s, her husband died of a heart attack.
Abida Parveen suffers from heart disease and had a heart attack in 2010. Her health improved as a result of treatment.
She is well-known for her distinctive fashion sense. She is dressed in a long buttoned-up collar kameez with salwar and is draped in an ajrak, a Sindhi duppatta. She is constantly untying her dark curly hair.
Estimated Net Worth
Abida Parveen is one of the wealthiest singers and is ranked among the most popular. Abida Parveen’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.