Ahmed Shawki

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Affectionately known as "the poet of Arabism and Islam," Ahmed Shawki wrote the lyrics of numerous songs performed by Mohammed Abdel Wahhoub, Abdo El Hamouli, Youssef El Manilawi, Malak, and Umm Kalthoum.…
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Affectionately known as "the poet of Arabism and Islam," Ahmed Shawki wrote the lyrics of numerous songs performed by Mohammed Abdel Wahhoub, Abdo El Hamouli, Youssef El Manilawi, Malak, and Umm Kalthoum. His collection of poetry, Al Shawkiyat, published initially in 1890, remains a classic of Islamic literature. His home in Giza, which he bought in 1914, provided a meeting space for musicians, singers, statesmen, and literary writers. The site became the Ahmad Shawki Museum on June 17, 1977. Born to a family of Arabian, Turkish, Greek, and Janissary origin, Shawki was named after an Abbasite poet who lived from 756 to 814 A.D. His family's connection to Khedive's palace led him to spend his early life in luxurious conditions. After completing his education in law in Paris in 1893 and spending an additional six months in France, he returned to Egypt and was admitted into Khedive's entourage. Shawki's downfall began in 1920 when he was asked to deliver a supplication, expressing the hopes of his people, at a meeting of Egyptian delegates in London. His impassioned delivery resulted in his being exiled from Egypt for five years. Temporarily residing in Barcelona, Spain, he wrote many poems that reflected his longing for his homeland. Celebrating the publishing of the second edition of Al Shawkiyat, in April 1927, Shawki was named Poet Laureate of Egypt, a position he filled for the rest of his life. Part three of the collection was published in 1936, with a fourth part published seven years later. A play about his experiences in Paris, Ali Bey Al Kabeer, was published in 1932.