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definition - abdel halim hafez

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Abdel Halim Hafez

Abdel Halim Hafez

Abdel Halim Hafez
Background information
Birth name Abdel Halim Ali Shabana
Born (1929-06-21)June 21, 1929
Ash Sharqiyah Governorate Egypt
Origin Ash Sharqiyah Governorate
Died March 30, 1977(1977-03-30)
King's College Hospital, London United Kingdom (aged 47)
Genres Egyptian
Years active 1952–1977
Labels EMI Arabia
Associated acts Umm Kulthum
Mohamed Abdel Wahab
Website 7alim.com

Abdel Halim Ali Shabana (Arabic: عبدالحليم علي شبانة) commonly known as Abdel Halim Hafez (Arabic: عبد الحليم حافظ‎) (June 21, 1929 – March 30, 1977), is among the most popular Egyptian and Arab singers and performers.[1][2][3] In addition to singing, Halim was also an actor, conductor, business man, music teacher and movie producer.[1][4][5][6][7] He is considered to be one of the Great Four of Arabic music (along with Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and Farid Al Attrach).[1][6][8] His name is sometimes written as 'Abd el-Halim Hafez. He is known as el-Andaleeb el-Asmar (The Great Dark-Skinned Nightingale, Arabic: العندليب الأسمر‎).[3][9] He is also known as an icon in modern Arabic music.[1][10] His music is still played daily throughout the Arab world.[4][11][12][13]

However, some critics maintain that he is still alive. Much like the Arab Elvis.


  Early life

Born in El-Halawat, in Ash Sharqiyah Governorate, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Cairo, Egypt as Abdel Halim Ali Shabana, he was the fourth child of Sheikh Ali Ismail Shabana. He had two brothers, Ismail and Mohammed, and one sister, Aliah. His mother died from labour complications three days after giving birth to him - something that made people around him believe that he is a "bad luck". His father died five months later leaving him and his siblings orphaned at a young age. He lived in a poor orphanage for a period of time.[4] Later, He was raised by his aunt and uncle in Cairo. In these years Abdel Halim was extremely poor.[14]

Abdel Halim's 'one-of-a-kind' musical abilities first became apparent while he was in primary school and his older brother Ismail Shabana was his first music teacher. At the age of 11 he joined the Arabic Music Institute in Cairo and became known for singing the songs of Mohammed Abdel Wahab. He graduated from the Higher Theatrical Music Institute as an oboe player [15][16]

  Musical career

While singing in clubs in Cairo, Abdel Halim was drafted as a last-minute substitute when the singer Karem Mahmoud was unable to sing a scheduled live radio performance in 1953.[17] Abdel Halim's performance was heard by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, the supervisor of musical programming for Egyptian national radio. Abdel Halim took 'Hafez', Abdel Wahab's first name, as his stage-surname in recognition of his patronage.[2]

In his early career's life, Abdel Halim was rejected by people for his new style of singing. However he persisted and was able to gain accolades later on.[9] Then, he became a favorite singer among all generations.[18][19] He also became Egypt's first romantic singer.[19]

Abdel Halim's collaborated with composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab to produce many popular love songs such as Ahwak ("I love you"), Nebtedi Minen el Hekaya ("If we were to tell the story"), and Fatet Ganbina( "She came between us"). Hafez also worked with Egyptian poet Mohammed Hamza on songs including Zay el Hawa ("It feels like love"), Sawah ("The Wanderer"), Hawel Teftekerni ("Try to remember me"), Aye Damiet Hozn ("Any tear of sadness"), and Mawood ("Promised/ You're used to").

During his career, he was very popular and always performed in sold-out arenas and stadiums.[20] Despite his popularity, he rarely released a studio album in his life as he was purely a live singer.[8] He also played many different instruments very well including the oboe, drums, piano, oud, clarinet and guitar.[4] He was involved in all aspects of the creation of his songs.[1] Halim brought many new instruments to the Arab World.[2] He was known for his deep passion in his songs and his highly unique and rare voice.[1][8] He always sang from true and honest feelings deep inside.[4] Halim did performances in almost every country in the Arabic world and some performances outside the Arabic world including several concerts in Europe.[1] Also, he sung uplifting patriotic songs for not just Egypt, but many other countries in the Arab World such as Lebanon, Syria, Tunisa, Morocco and much more.[19] He used to encourage and help many young artists and actors to become successful.[21][22][23]

  His Fame

In the Arabic world, Halim is known as the "King of Arabic music", "The voice of the people", "The son of the revolution", and "King of emotions and feelings".[1][14][19][24][25] His patriotic songs were the main and most frequent songs sung by the crowds during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.[1][5][18][19] One of the revolutionaries in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 quoted "the nightingale's songs inspired us during the January 25 revolution", he added "Although, he died 35 years ago, his songs will surely continue to inspire his fellow Egyptians for many generations to come".[19] His albums and CDs have sold more copies since his death than any other Arab artist ever.[11] His way of singing, the popularity of his songs and his behavior made him a role model for almost every modern Arab singer.[23][26][27][28] Egyptians and Arabs from all ages are fans of Halim.[25] Halim is still remembered in the hearts of many people, even years after his death.[29] He is widely considered among the most influential performers in the Arab World.[14] The two composers Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Mohammed Al-Mougy both said, "Halim is the smartest person I ever knew".[citation needed] Mohammed Al-Mougy also added, "Halim is very original in all of his work".[citation needed]

  Personal life

At the age of 11, Abdel Halim contacted schistosomiasis[4]—a rare parasitic water-borne disease[9]—and was extremely periodically and painfully afflicted by it for most of his career. Despite this, he remained positive and never stopped creating and performing his songs.[24] Nevertheless, he also was always there for his country despite the illness.[24]

Abdel Halim never married, although rumors persist that he was secretly married to actress Soad Hosny for six years. This has never been proven by anyone. People who were close to both singers declined this rumor.[30][31]

Halim often gave money and food to charity, and to the poor directly, all through his life.[4] Halim frequently went to orphanages and hospitals all over the Middle East to donate money, teach music, and help the people there.[4] In 1969 Halim built a hospital in Egypt to help people. He made the poor, the rich, and presidents all alike in the Arab world.[24]

Abdel Halim established strong friendships with many contemporary presidents and kings of the Eastern world, including Gamel Abdul Nasser of Egypt, and King Hussan from Morocco.[4][11] He also had very close friendships with most Egyptian poets.[1]


Abdel Halim died of liver failure on March 30, 1977 (few months before his 48th birthday) while undergoing treatment for Bilharzia in King's College Hospital, London. His death brought sadness and shock waves to the entire Arab world as a result, His funeral (in Cairo) was attended by millions of people[9] – more than any funeral in Middle East history other than that of President Gamal Abdel Nasser[32] He had many more dreams and goals that he wanted to achieve and surpass and could have, but his early death stopped him.[24] Also some people committed suicide once they heard Halim has died. It is reported that at least four women committed suicide by jumping off the balcony during his huge funeral march.[4][9] He was buried in Al Rifa'i Mosque (مسجد الرفاعي) in Cairo.


Abdel Halim Hafez's song Khosara (خسارة) received notice in the Western world in 1999 when producer Timbaland used elements from it for Jay-Z's recording "Big Pimpin'." Two complete bars from "Khosara" were rerecorded, not sampled, and used without permission from the song's producer and copyright holder, Magdi el-Amroussi. Jay-Z's use of an interpolation, rather than an actual sample, may allow him to avoid paying royalties for the use of the song.[33]

Over 300 of his songs were recorded and he starred in sixteen classic and successful films, including "Dalilah" (دليله), which was the Middle East's first color motion picture[14]>[19]

Along with Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Magdi el-Amroussi, Abdel Halim was one of the main founders of the famous Egyptian recording company Soutelphan,[4][15] which continues to operate to this day as a subsidiary of EMI Arabia.[1] The company was founded in 1961.[4]

A feature film about his life, "Haleem", was released in 2006, starring Ahmad Zaki in the title role, produced by the Good News Group.[34] In the same year a soap opera "Al-andaleeb hikayt shaab" [35] was produced in Egypt with Shadi Shamel starring as Abdel Halim. Shamel won the lead role in a televised competition.[36]


Abdel Halim was very successful in creating and leaving behind rich and meaningful Egyptian songs for the world.[9]

Some of Halim's most popular songs are:

Ahwak (I love you), Ala Ad Al Shok (In return for the love), Ala Hesb Wedad (Depending on the Tenderness), Bitlimoni Leih (Why do you blame me?), El Massih (Christ), Fatet Ganbena (She came between us), Gabar (Strong), Sawwah (Wander), Mawood (Promised/you are used to it), and his last song Qariat Al Fingan (The coffee-cup reader).[12]


Title Release Date Role Co-stars Director Notes
Lahn El Wafa (The Song of Truth) March 1, 1955 Galal Shadia Ibrahim Amara Abdel Halim Hafez co-directed
Ayyamna al-Holwa (Our Beautiful Days) March 1, 1955 Ali Faten Hamama, Omar Sharif, Ahmed Ramzy Helmy Halim
Ayam We Layali (Days and Nights) September 8, 1955 Eman Henry Barakat
Mawed Gharam (Promised Love) January 3, 1956 Samir Faten Hamama Henry Barakat
Dalila October 20, 1956 Ahmed Shadia Mohamad Karim This was the Arab world's first movie in Cinemascope
Banat El Yom (The Girls of Today) November 10, 1957 Khaled Magda, Amal Farid Henry Barakat Hafez performed the popular love song "Ahwak" for the first time in this film
Fata Ahlami (The Man Of My Dreams) March 7, 1957 Amal Farid Helmi Rafleh
Alwisada El Khalia (The Empty Pillow) December 20, 1957 Salah Abdel Halim Hafez, Lubna Abed El Aziz Salah Abu Yousef
Share' El Hob (Love Street) March 5, 1958 Sabah Ez El Deen Zol Faqar
Hekayit Hob (A Love Story) January 12, 1959 Ahmed Sami Mariam Fakher El Deen Helmy Halim
El Banat Wel Seif (Girls and Summer) September 5, 1960 Suad Husni, Zizi El Badrawi Salah Abu Yousef, Ez El Deen Zol Faqar, Fateen Abed El Wahhab This movie consisted of 3 stories. Abdel Halim Hafez acted in one of these.
Yom Men Omri (A Day of My Life) February 8, 1961 Salah Zubaida Tharwat Atef Salem
El Khataya (The Sins) November 12, 1962 Hussien Madiha Yousri, Hasan Yousef, Nadia Lutfi Hassan El Imam Featured the songs Wehyat Alby, Maghroor, Last Adry, Olly Haga,and El Helwa
Maabodat El Gamahir (The Beloved Diva) January 13, 1963 Ibrahim Farid Shadia Helmy Halim Featured the songs Haga Ghareeba, Balash Etaab, Last Kalby, Gabbar, and Ahebek
Abi Foq El Shagara (My Father Atop a Tree) February 17, 1969 Adel Nadia Lutfi, Mervat Amin Hussein Kamal Featured the songs Ady El Belag, El Hawa Hawaya, Ahdan El Habayeb, Ya Khali El Alb, and Gana El Hawa. Hafez also produced this movie and was the last film in which he appeared. This movie is still the longest running motion picture in movie theaters in the Arab world to date.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k El-Saket, Ola (June 21, 2011). "Remembering Abdel Halim Hafez, the voice of revolution". Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt. http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/470101. Retrieved July 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Kjeilen, TTore (2011). "Abdel Halim Hafez". lexicorient.com. http://www.lexicorient.com/e.o/hafez_abdel_halim.htm. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Google celebrate Abdel -halim hafez birthday". iDothink. 2011. http://i-dothink.com/index.php/google-celebrate-abdel-halim-hafez-birthday/. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Abdel Halim Hafez". Internet Movie Database. 2011. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0353102/bio. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "The sound of resilience". Al-Ahram. 2011. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1036/cu221.htm. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Google celebrates Abdel halim hafez’s birthday". iDothink. 2011. http://i-dothink.com/index.php/google-celebrate-abdel-halim-hafez-birthday/. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "The business of culture". Al Ahram. 2000. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/502/ec2.htm. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Abdel Halim Hafez". Arabic nights. 2011. http://www.abridgetoegypt.com/entertainment/egyptian_artists/abdelhalim_hafez. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Katti, Madhuri (March 30, 2009). "Abdel Halim Hafez: Golden Voice of Egypt | The Fiendish". thefiendish.com. http://thefiendish.com/2009/05/abdel-halim-hafez-golden-voice-of-egypt/. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Abd El Halim Hafez". anayou. 2011. http://entertainment.anayou.com/celebrities/profile/awards/185338. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
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  12. ^ a b "Abdel Halim Hafez". last.fm. 2011. http://www.last.fm/music/Abdel+Halim+Hafez/+wiki. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
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  14. ^ a b c d "Abdel Halim Hafez". Internet Movie Database. 2011. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0353102/bio. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
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  17. ^ "Abdel Halim Hafez". Egyptian Figures. 2011. http://www.sis.gov.eg/vr/figures/english/html/hafez.htm. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Fahim, Kareem; Cambanis, Thanassis (February 10, 2011). "In Tahrir Square, Hopes Mount and Then Are Dashed". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/world/middleeast/11tahrir.html?_r=1. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "A revolutionary for every generation". The Egyptian Gazette. 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Abdel Halim Hafez". 6lyrics. 2011. http://www.6lyrics.com/abdel_halim_hafez-biography.aspx#. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Mervat Amin". anayou. 2011. http://entertainment.anayou.com/celebrities/profile/awards/185739. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Singer Profile: A Moroccan Star Shines in the Arab World". Magharebia. 2011. http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2005/02/09/feature-01. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Hani Shaker". Arabic nights. 2011. http://www.arabicnights.com.au/artists/hani_shaker.php. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b c d e "Halim". bossa. 2006. http://bossa.nerim.net/actualite/2006/halim/ecrans_halim/pb_halim.htm. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "The Soundtrack of the Revolution". Africa is a Country. 2011. http://africasacountry.com/2011/02/07/the-soundtrack/. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Abdel Halim Hafez". The Egyptain Castle. 2008. http://www.egyptiancastle.com/music/Halim/halim01.htm. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Abdel Halim Hafez". casino piscinealey. 2011. http://casinopiscinealey.com/archive/index.php#TB_inline?height=600&width=800&inlineId=once. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Pop culture Arab world!: media, arts, and life style". google books. 2005. http://books.google.ca/books?id=m4eodEw7ZvsC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=Abdel+Halim+Hafez+made+him+a+role+model&source=bl&ots=7g8HpWk4JO&sig=Z5vkTfaj7T77TTIyeLUGGKlHUvs&hl=en&ei=_jNeTo2HDsO2twea0bSlCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CE8Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Abdel%20Halim%20Hafez%20made%20him%20a%20role%20model&f=false. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Abd El Halim Hafez". anayou. 2011. http://entertainment.anayou.com/celebrities/profile/awards/185338. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Abdel Halim Hafez". A Bridge To Egypt. 2011. http://www.abridgetoegypt.com/entertainment/egyptian_artists/abdelhalim_hafez. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ "ABDEL HAFEZ, 46, OF EGYPT, ARAB WORLD'S TOP SINGER". New York Times (New York). April 2, 1977. 
  33. ^ Atia, Tarek (June 2000). "Pimpin' a classic". Al-Ahram Weekly. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/484/cu2.htm. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Halim (2006)". Internet Movie Database. 2011. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0444641/. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Al-andaleeb hikayt shaab (TV mini-series 2006)". Internet Movie Database. 2011. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0892855/. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  36. ^ Mustafa, Hani (October 2006). "A winning formula". Al-Ahram Weekly (815). http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/815/cu1.htm. Retrieved July 19, 2011. "Shamel" 

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