Mohammed Abdel Wahab

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Egyptian footballer, see Mohamed Abdelwahab. For the Arab theologian, see Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. For the contemporary Egyptian composer, see Mohamed Abdelwahab Abdelfattah.
Mohammed Abdel Wahab
Abdel wahab.jpg
Mohammed Abdel Wahab with a cümbüş mandolin
Background information
Native name محمد عبد الوهاب
Born (1902-03-13)March 13, 1902
Cairo, Khedivate of Egypt (now Egypt)
Origin  Egypt
Died May 4, 1991(1991-05-04) (aged 89)
Cairo, Egypt
Years active 1917–1991
Labels EMI Arabia

Mohammed Abdel Wahab (Arabic: محمد عبد الوهاب‎), also transliterated Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab (March 13, 1902 – May 4, 1991)[1] was a prominent 20th-century Arab Egyptian singer and composer. He composed "Ya Beladi" (also known as "Libya, Libya, Libya") the National anthem of Libya used by the Kingdom of Libya from 1951 to 1969 and again by the post-Gaddafi transitional government in 2011.[2] He also composed the national anthem of Tunisia, "Humat al-Hima" as well as the United Arab Emirates national anthem "Ishy Bilady" and many Egyptian nationalist songs.


Born in Bab El-Shaariyah area of Cairo, Egypt (where his statue stands), Abdel Wahab played oud before the Prince of Poets, Ahmed Shawqi. Abdel Wahab acted in several movies. Mohammed Abdel Wahab was a very close friend to singer Abdel Halim Hafez.

Contribution to Arab music[edit]

Egyptian singer & composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab Statue at Bab El-Sharyia square, Cairo

Abdel Wahab composed more than 1820 songs. 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-Arabic rhythms and refined oud playing.

Despite the fact that Abdel Wahab composed many songs and musical pieces of classical Arab music, he was always criticized for his orientation to Western music. In fact, he introduced Western rhythms to Arab songs in a way appropriate to the known forms of Arab songs. For example, in 1941, he introduced a waltz rhythm in his song "Al Gondol," 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 Najat Al Saghira including four poems by Nizar Qabbani.

Abdel Wahab played oud before the prominent Arab poet, Ahmed Shawqi, and acted in several movies. He composed ten songs for Umm Kulthum (أم كلثوم). He was the first Egyptian singer to move from silent-era acting to singing.[3]

Early life[edit]

Mohammed Abdel Wahab was born in 1902 in Cairo, Egypt, in a neighborhood called Bab El-Sheriyah. 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.

Film career[edit]

In 1933 Wahab began composing his own style of Arabic film musical after visiting Paris and familiarizing himself with French musical film. He introduced a lighthearted genre of musical film to Arabic culture eventually composing eight musical comedies between 1933-1949. His films portrayed Western social elite and included music that veered off from the traditional Arabic 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.


Mohammed Abdel Wahab died in Cairo, Egypt of heart failure on May 4, 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 was scared of flying
  • He was awarded Egypt’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, in 1964 by Gamal Abdel-Nasser
  • In 1971 he composed the United Arab Emirates’ national anthem
  • He was obsessed with cleanliness.
  • He began singing as a young boy at a circus.
  • He composed Egypt’s national anthem

[4] [5]


  1. ^ Egyptian State Information Service. (1991-05-04). Retrieved on 2012-03-13.
  2. ^ About Libya: Libyan National Anthem, National Transitional Council of Libya, retrieved August 23, 2011 
  3. ^ Best Arabic Music. Best Arabic Music. Retrieved on 2012-03-13.
  4. ^ "Abdel Wahab Biography". 
  5. ^ "Mohamed Abdel Wahab". Nogomi. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Selected Mohammed Abdel Wahab compositions from YouTube Web site: