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Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Arabic: محمد عبد الوهاب‎), also transliterated Mohammed Abd El-Wahhab (March 13, 1901 – May 3, 1991),[2] was a prominent 20th-century Egyptian singer, actor, and composer.

Mohammed Abdel Wahhab
Abdel wahab.jpg
Mohammed Abd el-Wahhab with a cümbüş (mandolin)
Background information
Born(1901-03-13)March 13, 1901[1]
Cairo, Egypt[1]
DiedMay 3, 1991(1991-05-03) (aged 90)
Cairo, Egypt
GenresEgyptian music
  • Singer
  • composer
  • actor
  • Vocals
  • oud
Years active1917–1991
LabelsEMI Classics

He's best known for his Romantic and Egyptian patriotic songs. He also composed "Ya Beladi" (also known as "Libya, Libya, Libya") the national anthem of Libya from 1951 to 1969 and again since 2011.[3] He also composed the national anthem of Tunisia, "Humat al-Hima", and many Egyptian nationalist songs like "Ya Masr tam El-Hanna", "Hay Ala El-Falah", "Masr Nadetna falbena El-nedaa", "Oulo le Masr", "Hob El-watan Fard Alyi", "Sout El-Gamaheer", "Ya Nessmet El-Horria", "Sawae'd men Beladi".


Egyptian singer and composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab Statue at Bab El-Shariya square, Cairo

Mohamed Abdel Wahab was born in 1901 in Cairo, Egypt, in a neighborhood called Bab El-Sheriyah, where there is now a statue of him. He began his singing career at an early age and made his first public performances at age seven at local productions. He was 13 when he made his first recording. Mohamed Abdel Wahab was a very close friend to compatriot singer Abdel Halim Hafez.

Film careerEdit

Movie poster of the Egyptian film Mamnou'a el hub (1942).

In 1933 Abdel Wahab began composing his own style of Egyptian film musical after visiting Paris and familiarizing himself with French musical film.[1] He introduced a lighthearted genre of musical film to Egyptian culture eventually composing eight musical comedies between 1933 and 1949. His films portrayed Western social elite and included music that veered off from the traditional Egyptian tune. He starred in his 1934 film The White Flower which broke records in attendance and still plays frequently in Egyptian theaters. In 1950 Abdel Wahab left film to focus on being a more profound singer.

Contribution to Egyptian and Arabic musicEdit

Abdel Wahab composed more than 1820 songs.[1] Abdel Wahab is considered to be one of the most innovative Egyptian musicians of all time, laying the foundation for a new era of Egyptian music with his use of non-local rhythms and refined oud playing.

Despite the fact that Abdel Wahab composed many songs and musical pieces of classical Arabic music, he was always criticized for his orientation to Western music. In fact, he introduced Western rhythms to Egyptian songs in a way appropriate to the known then very classical forms of Egypt songs. For example, in 1941, he introduced a waltz rhythm in his song "El Gandol," and, in 1957, he introduced a rock and roll rhythm in Abdel Halim Hafez's song "Ya Albi Ya Khali".

He composed some of the best hits of Nagat El Saghira including four poems by Nizar Qabbani.

Abdel Wahab played oud before the prominent Egyptian poet, Ahmed Shawqi, and acted in several movies. He composed ten songs for Umm Kulthum. He was the first Egyptian singer to move from silent-era acting to singing.[4]


Mohamed Abdel Wahab died in his hometown Cairo, Egypt of heart failure on May 3, 1991.


Abdel Wahab was fundamental in establishing a new Era of Egyptian music in his homeland and across the Arab world. He also left a mark on the Western world by exposing Egyptian music to Western classical and popular traditions.

He composed the Tunisian and Libyan national anthems.


As actor
  • The White Rose (1933)
  • Doumou' el Hub (Love's Tears) (1936)
  • Yahya el Hub (Long Live Love) (1938)
  • Yawm Sa'id (Happy Day) (1939)
  • Mamnou'a el Hub (Love Is Forbidden) (1942)
  • Rossassa Fel Qalb (A Bullet in the Heart) (1944)
  • Lastu mallakan (I'm No Angel) (1947)
  • Ghazal Al Banat (The Flirtation of Girls) (1949)


Egyptian national honoursEdit

Ribbon bar Honour
  Knight of the Order of the Nile
  Commander of the Order of the Arab Republic of Egypt
  Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Egypt)

Foreign honorsEdit

Ribbon bar Country Honour
    Jordan Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance
    Lebanon Commander of the National Order of the Cedar
    Libya Collar of the National Order of Libya
    Morocco Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite
    Oman First Class of the Order of Oman
    Syria Grand Cordon of Order of Civil Merit of the Syrian Arab Republic
    Tunisia Grand Cordon of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia


  1. ^ a b c d "Mohammad Abdel Wahab". Al Mashriq. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  2. ^ Egyptian State Information Service. (1991-05-04). Retrieved on 2012-03-13.
  3. ^ About Libya: Libyan National Anthem, National Transitional Council of Libya, archived from the original on July 21, 2011, retrieved August 23, 2011
  4. ^ Best Arabic Music. Best Arabic Music. Retrieved on 2012-03-13.

External linksEdit

Selected Mohammed 'Abd al-Wahhab compositions from YouTube Web site: