Habib Wali Muhammad Passes away in Los Angeles


Well-known ghazal singer and industrialist, Habib Wali Muhammad, passed away in Los Angeles on September 3. He was 93. He was laid to rest in the La Verne Muslim Cemetery.

Making his appearance at a time when ghazal singing was getting popular, Habib Wali Mohammad’s "singing style held a certain kind of appeal that was simpler and more accessible to the listeners. He was best known for his film ghazal ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ that catapulted him to widespread recognition," said Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui in her tribute to the distinguished Pakistani.

Born in Rangoon, Burma in 1924, Habib Wali Mohammad embarked on a singing career during the 1950s when he was in his early 20s in Bombay. He participated in several local music competitions — winning the first prize in one such competition in 1941 — slowly establishing his reputation as a singer. He sang his first ghazal during the 1950s for Radio Ceylon, now Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. He recorded two ghazals ‘Lagta Nahin Hai Jee Mera Ujrray Dayaar Mein’ by Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mirza Ghalib’s ‘Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat’.

His first film recording was for the film Bindiya in 1955 for which he crooned two songs: ‘Teray Zulm Ki Tujh Se Faryaad Hai’, a solo number, and ‘Aaja Tujhe Ek Baar Mein Seene Se Laga Loun’, a duet with Asha Bhosle. These were the only two film numbers that he rendered in Bombay.

Hailing from an industrialist background — his family surname was Tabani, a Memon business family — he moved to Pakistan along with his family during the late 1950s and utilized his business education (he had studied in the United States) to set up Shalimar Silk Mills. Music was never his profession but a leisurely pursuit.

In 1970, he sang two ghazals for the film Baazi, ‘Aashiyaan Jal Gaya’ and ‘Raatein Theen Chaandni’ establishing his reputation in his new homeland.

He leaves behind three sons Anwar, Rizwan and Nadeem and a daughter, Ruskhsana.

May his soul rest in peace and God grant the bereaved family courage and fortitude to bear the loss. (Ameen)



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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