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Mehfil (also spelled mahfil) is an evening of courtly entertainment 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] Mehfils are also an integral part of the Hyderabadi Muslim community, and used as a way of unity among them, all around the world.[2]

Today they are generally held in the homes of especially avid music lovers or the lovers of poetry-recitation gatherings. Ghazals are a common genre performed at mehfils. Ghazal recitation gatherings are called 'Mehfil-e-Mushaira' in the Urdu language.


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[edit]

Several mehfil performances may be seen in the Satyajit Ray film Jalsaghar (1958). In recent times, live onstage concert performances are also called 'Mehfil'.[3] "The word 'Mehfil' generally means a place where a music or dance-performance is in progress."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'One last bright spark of Lucknow's glorious tradition', website, Published 11 Sep 2016, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017
  2. ^, 'Ghulam Ali to launch 'Ghar Wapsi' music in Delhi, police cover sought', Published 17 March 2016, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017
  3. ^, Mehfil (a 'tabla' and 'sarangi' live onstage concert), videoclip on YouTube, Uploaded 27 Sep 2016, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017
  4. ^, Meaning of 'Mehfil' on GoogleBooks, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017

External links[edit]