Najat Al Saghira: Egyptian singer and actress (1932-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Najat Al Saghira
Egyptian singer and actress

Najat Al Saghira

Najat Al Saghira
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Egyptian singer and actress
Is Singer Actor
From Egypt
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 20 September 1932, Cairo
Age 90 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Nagat El Saghira (11 August 1938) is an Egyptian singer and actress. She retired from filming in 1976 and from singing in 2002. Najat began her career at the age of five and retired 59 years later.
Nagat El Saghira is part of music from the Egyptian “golden age” of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. She still inspires others. For example, Paris based Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan (born 1976) mixes different dialects and forms of Arabic in her singing, inspired by performers who include Nagat l Saghira.

Early life

Nagat El Saghira was singing in family gatherings at the age of 5 years. She made her first film Hadiya (released in 1947) at the age of eight.

In a recorded interview, in the mid-1960s for Egyptian TV with the presenter Ms Salwa Hegzi, Nagat stated that she had, at that time, eight brothers and sisters. Lately, some media outlets are indicating double that number; the most frequently mentioned is seventeen brothers and sisters.

The discrepancy between eight and seventeen siblings might be explainable as follows: Nagat is one of 8 brothers and sisters (four boys: Ezz Eddin, Nabil, Farooq and Sami; and four girls: Khadiga, Samira, Nagat herself and Afaf) as well as 3 half-sisters from her father and his 2nd wife Gawhara (Kawther, Soad, Sabah). Then, the 2nd wife Gawhara was divorced from her father and remarried Abdel Monem Hafez, with whom she had another 6 children (three boys: Jaheer, Jaser and Jalaa; and three girls: Jehan, Janjah and Jeely). The grand total of 17 would then include 3 half-sisters and 6 step- brothers and step-sisters.

In the same interview, Nagat confirmed that she was brought up in a home where most of her brothers and sisters were artists. Since then she seems to have avoided further TV interviews and minimized her contact with the press. It was reported that she said only her performances should speak on her behalf.

Home of Artists

1946 Famous Iraqi Calligrapher Hashem Mohammad Al-Baghdadi is standing in middle (beside Najat’s brother Ezzidin). Hashem came to Cairo to see Najat’s father (sitting on the left). Najat is sitting in the middle at front.

Her father was Mohammad Hosni, an Egyptian citizen with Kurdish roots who settled, lived and died in Cairo, Egypt. He was a respected calligrapher. He was married more than once.. Her mum was Egyptian and a Cairo resident.

The household of her father was known as “the home of the Artists”. His son, Ezz Eddin Hosni (1927 – 2013), a music composer, taught his sister Nagat music and singing. His other son Sami Hosni is a Cello player, jewellery designer and also calligrapher.

The famous Egyptian actress Soad Hosni (1943-2001) is the half-sister of Nagat. Soad died in London under controversial circumstances. Her funeral was attended by some 10,000 people. Soad Hosni performed in more than 80 films the last of which was released in 1991 and had five marriages and no children.


Nagat had two marriages. Her first marriage was at young age, in 1955, when she was 16 (or 17) years old to Kamal Mansi who was a friend of her brother. She was divorced around 1960 and remarried in 1967. Nagat also divorced from her second husband, film director Houssam El-Din Mustafa (1926-2000), shortly afterwards and has remained single to date. Media reports suggest that she made a decision to devote her life to raising her only child, Waleed, from her first marriage, and to her work.

Voice Development

In the first 10 years of her singing career Nagat imitated other singers. Renowned Egyptian journalist Fikry Abatha (1896-1979) demanded the State should support the young gifted Nagat . According to her family that period “trained” her voice. However, in 1949, music composer Mohammed Abdul Wahab (1902–1991) actually filed an official complaint at the Police station against Nagat’s father. He claimed that such training hindered the natural process of her voice development and that she should be left alone to develop freely without it.

Best Performer

Nagat’s stage performances are at the core of her legacy. Kamal Al Taweel (1922–2003), one of her distinguished collaborators, indicated in a TV interview that as far as music composers were concerned Najat Al Saghira was the best performer in the Arab world. This indication tallies with the position of her core fans who place her as No.1 in the Arab world. That is ahead of Umm Kulthum (1898–1975) who is still widely regarded by many as the greatest Arabic singer in history.

Mohammed Abdul Wahab, the most prominent 20th-century Arab composer, felt his works were safest with Najat. He described her as “the owner of the loud silence”!

Nizar Qabbani (1923–1998) a Syrian diplomat and one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world said in a TV interview that he hoped to attract some 15 thousand readers when he published a book of poetry, but when Najat sang one of his poems it attracted millions in the Arab-speaking world. He also said “… I believe she (Najat) is the best among those who sang and expressed my poems”.

Najat’s 1960s-1970s songs, including those in films and stage performances are the core of her legacy. Her stage performances popularity remained undiminished right up to her retirement in 2002.


Najat broke away from imitating other singers when she released her own first song in 1955 at the age of 16 years. In the above-mentioned 1960s interview, Najat herself indicated her first song was “Why did you allow me to love you?” Thereafter she released several other songs for Radio stations. Each song had duration of 7 to 8 minutes.

She then delivered “long-duration” songs. Each of these songs tells a story and each typically lasts for some 20–40 minutes in studio recordings. To hold onto her audience for the longer durations on stage Najat turned her attention to people like Nizar Qabbani. His classic poetic styles combine simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love and feminism. She has sung at least four of his poems, all of which were composed by Abdul Wahab.

These long duration songs were highly successful. Her rigorous training, lengthy rehearsals in the recording studios and tireless performance on the stage are legendary. In total, Najat Al Saghira may have recorded more than 200 songs; top 53 of which are available on Apple’s iTunes web site

She built on this success in subsequent years, despite the difficulty of finding new outstanding poems and corresponding music compositions. To combat this shortage, she was forced to rely on her own abilities in performance. For example, in 1976, at the age of 37, she performed several songs in her last film “Dried Tears”. One of these songs was “Mata?” derived from the poem written by Nizar Qabbani with music by Abdul Wahab. The duration of this song in the film was less than ten minutes. In the years that followed, Najat sang it several times on stage; the last time was in 2002. One of those repeats was in the 1980s when she was in her 40s. In this performance, she extended the delivery of this song from below 10 minutes in the film to about one hour on the stage. Many consider this specific performance on the stage one of her lifetime bests. It was recorded and can be easily found on YouTube.


Najat made 13 films then retired from filming in 1976 at the age of 37 years. Nearly, all of her films contained songs performed by her.

The best of these films are those where she has the starring role (top five of listed films below are available on YouTube);

  • 1958 Stranger
  • 1962 Black Candles
  • 1966 Beach of Fun
  • 1969 Seven Days in Heaven
  • 1971 My Dear Daughter
  • 1976 Dried Tears.

After her retirement from filming Najat Al Saghira retained her beauty on stage over three decades.


Several of the Arabic music composers of the 20th century worked with Najat such as;

  • Mohammed Abdul Wahab (1902–1991) who composed her best hits including “Do not lie”, "In the hour when I see you beside me" and “Mata?”
  • Kamal Al Taweel (1922–2003) who composed “Live with me”
  • Baligh Hamdi (1932–1993) who composed “I am waiting for you”.
  • Syed Mekkawy (1927–1997) who composed “It makes a big difference”.
  • Mohammad El Mougi (1923–1995) who composed “Eyes of the heart”.
  • Mahmood Al Sherif (1912-1990) who in 1955 composed for her the brilliant song "Thirsty" on loving the Nile river which was written by Morsi Jameel Aziz
  • Ezz Eddin Hosni (1927 – 2013) (Najat's brother) who composed for her "On your wing my bird I will tie my message" which was written by Mohammad Al Bahteeti
  • Composers of other songs: Riyad Al Sunbati (1906–1981), Hilmy Bakr (born 1937) as well as Zakariyya Ahmad (1896–1961).
  • [1], Warda Al Jazaeria was married to music composer Baligh Hamdi, January 1994: Homage to Baligh Hamdi Whose Songs Have Been Interpreted by the Greatest Singers, by Hachlef, Translated by M. Stoffel.
  • [2], Mohammad Al Mougi TV interview (75 minutes).
  • [3], Najat Al Saghira 1955 beautiful song "Atshan Ya Asmarani" on YouTube, accessed on 2015/08/11.
  • [4] Najat Al Saghira song "Ala Tarf Jenahak Ya Hamamy", on YouTube, accessed on 2015/08/11.


The list of song-writing collaborators may have been even longer than that for music.

Najat Al Saghira kick-started the sixties decade with her first long-duration song “Does he think I am a toy in his two hands? (or In short Arabic: “Ayadhonu”)”. It was written by Nizar Qabbani with music by Abdul Wahab. There is an interesting photo of an archived 1960 letter circulating in the media, addressed to Najat Al Saghira and hand-written by Nizar when he was in China on a diplomatic mission. In this letter he was pressing her to send him the recording of the song upon its release. It was his first with her and an immediate huge success.

Besides Nizar Qabbani, other famous Arabic poets and song writers of the 20th century also obliged Najat; such as Maamoun Shennawi (1914-1994) who wrote “Your love is my life”, his brother Kamal Shennawi (1908–1965) who wrote “Do not lie” and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi who described her warm soft voice as “diamond-like”.

Najat, as she herself confirms in that 1960s interview, always sought quality in words. She was extremely cautious with and meticulous in her choice of her lyrics. One example is that she replaced several words in and even deleted possibly more than one line from “Mata?” the original poem by Nizar Qabbani before she agreed to perform it.


Najat emerged at a time when the field was already crowded with formidable competitors. These included;

  • Warda Al-Jazairia (1939-2012),
  • Shadia (born 1931),
  • Sabah (singer) (1927-2014),
  • Fayza Ahmed (1934-1983),
  • Fairuz (born 1934), and others.

From the start of the Sixties, Najat quickly became a category on her own; separate from the others.


Najat was honoured and given prizes many times.

  • In 1960s, President Gamal Abdul Nasser (1918–1970) awarded her a high ranking Medal.
  • She had, and still does have, many fans in Tunisia. Both Tunisian Presidents Habib Bourguiba (1903–2000) and later on Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (born 1936) gave her awards.
  • In 1985, King Hussain of Jordan (1935–1999) gave her the First Degree Medal of Independence.
  • In 2006, some four years after her retirement, she won the prize for “Those Who Gave People Happiness” in Dubai. She was handed a Gold Medal and US $100,000.
  • [1] Arabic newspaper “Al Shaqr Al Awsat”, 2006/12/04, Issue No. 10233: Najat Al Saghira wins “Al Owais” prize, by Mohammad Qanawi.


Najat Al Saghira has not been seen on screen or in public since 2006.

In 2010, a reporter confirmed that she still lives in Cairo but travels to London in summer for medical treatment.

In 2014, at the age of 74, she made a phone call to an Arabic TV station. She was talking from Germany where she was receiving medical treatment.

In 2015 (January), Najat Al Saghira refused substantial monetary offers from TV channels for her participation in a proposed TV series on Soad Hosni.

In 2015 (spring), social media chatter indicated Najat was receiving physiotherapy and there were some concerns about her health.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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