Urs (from Arabic: عرس, literally “wedding”) is the death anniversary of a Sufi saint in South Asia, usually held at the saint’s dargah (shrine or tomb).
The concept of death as a ‘Urs’ or a wedding anniversary been taken from the Hadith: “Sleep just like the bride.” (Mishkhat) The Angels say to the Pious in the grave, “Sleep with restfulness and comfort just like a bride.”
In Sufi philosophy the Beloved is God or the Divine. The person seeking oneness with God is the lover.
This is ishq e haqeeqi which literally means “the real love” but metaphorically it means “the love of God”. It refers to the belief that only God is worth loving and He is the only one who can return His creature’s love for Him.
Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar.
Oh Khusrau, the river of love
Runs in strange directions.
One who jumps into it drowns,
And one who drowns, gets across.
The death of a Sufi saint therefore, is regarded as wisaal (union with the beloved), and the death anniversary is celebrated as a wedding anniversary and not an occasion for mourning.
The material world is the maika and afterlife is sasural
“Yeh duniya mere babul ka ghar
Woh duniya sasural”
The Dargah sharif of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya ( from their Facebook page)
Khusrau raen suhaag ki, jaagi pi ke sung,
Tun mero mun pi-u ko, dovu bhaye ek rung.
Khusrau (the bride) spends the eve of her wedding
Awake with her beloved, (in such a way that)
The body belongs to her, but heart to the beloved,
The two become one.
Amir Khusrau famously said on beholding the body of Pir o Murshid Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya
Gori sovay sej par, mukh par daaray kes,
Chal Khusrau ghar aapnay, saanjh bhayee chahu des.
The fair maiden rests on the wreath (of roses),
Her tresses covering her face,
Let us, Oh Khusrau go back now,
The dark dusk settles in four corners
Urs rituals are generally performed by the custodians of the shrine, and usually include the singing of religious music such as qawwali.
(From the Facebook of Dargah sharif Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya: )
The various functions in the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin will be as follows
On the day of the urs his admirers, disciples, followers and relatives assemble together at the grave of the Saint to obtain spiritual benefit and celebrate the anniversary and rejoice that he has achieved wisaal with the Divine.
It is recommended to recite the Quran Shareef and pass on the Sawaab (reward) to their soul and to recite Fateha. Qawwalis are sung to obtain spiritual succour and go in a state of trance. This can be seen in the program for this year’s Urs at the Dargah as given in the photograph above
Translation of Hazrat Amir Khusrau from here