Kafi (, Hindi: काफ़ी), Sindhi:ڪافي) is a classical form of Sufi poetry, mostly in Punjabi and Sindhi languages and originating from the Punjab and Sindh regions of the South Asia. Some well-known Kafi poets are Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and Khwaja Ghulam Farid. This poetry style has also lent itself to the Kafi genre of singing, popular throughout South Asia, especially Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Over the years, both Kafi poetry and its rendition have experienced rapid growth phases as various poets and vocalists added their own influences to the form, creating a rich and varied poetic form, yet through it all it remained centered on the dialogue between the Soul and the Creator, symbolized by the murid (disciple) and his Murshid (Master), and often by lover and his Beloved.
The word Kafi is derived from the Arabickafa meaning group. The genre is said to be derived from the Arabic poetry genre, qasidah, a monorhyme ode that is always meant to be sung, using one or two lines as a refrain that is repeated to create a mood. Kafi poetry is usually themed around heroic and great romantic tales from the folkfore, often used as a metaphor for mystical truths, and spiritual longing.
Kafi may refer to:
- Kafi (raga), a raga in Hindustani classical music
- Kafi is a classical form of Sufi poetry
- Kafi, a 2002 musical album by Turkish musician Akin Eldes
- Ali Kafi (1928–2013), President of Algeria (1992–1994)
- Kitab al-Kafi, a major Shi'a Islamic hadith collection
- Kāfi is a name for a movement in Kuwait and another independent movement in Iraq
The raga Kafi is an important raga of Hindustani classical music. This raga corresponds to Kharaharapriya in Carnatic music.
Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande’s classification of the Ragas has ten different logical groups, consisting of various closely related ragas; Kafi is one of them. The raga Kafi is the principal one, which essentially describes the nature of the Kafi. It is not quite an ancient raga. According to Pandit Bhatkhande, the name of the raga first appears in the Raga Tarangini of Lochana Pandit, who lived in the Mithila district around the fifteenth century (common era).
Raga Kafi has a direct lineage with the folk music of India. Folk music in Tappa, Hori, Dadra, Kirtan and Bhajans from different parts of India have been composed in this raga form for ages.