Arabic Language Blog

The Poet of the Nile شاعر النيل Posted by on Jun 29, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

Hafez Ibrahim (1872 – 1932) حافظ إبراهيم

         Hafez Ibrahim was a famous Egyptian poet شاعر who lived at the time of Ahmad Shawqi. He  was born وُلد  on February 24th 1872 on a ship floating in the Nile near Dirout, a city in Asyut District. His father was an Egyptian and his mother was Turkish. After the death of his father, his mother brought him to Cairo where they lived with his  poor uncle. Then they moved to Tanta where he joined school. Hafez left his uncle after a while. He worked as a lawyer with Mohammad Abou Shady محمد أبو شادى ; one of the leaders of the 1919 Revolution. In 1888, Hafez joined the Military School and graduated as a Lieutenant مُلازم  in the Egyptian army.

         Hafez was one of several poets who revived Arabic poetry during the latter half of the 19th century. While still using the classical Arabic system of meter الوزن and rhyme  القافية , these poets wrote to express new ideas and feelings unknown to classical poets. Hafez is noted for writing poems on political and social commentary. He was much concerned with the suffering of his people and that is why he was nicknamed the Poet of the Nile  شاعر الشعب  and the Poet of the Nile شاعر النيل . As a poet he was the miracle of his time. His poetry was marked by a great beauty of verse. He also, had a remarkable memory for 60 years that was all his life time. It is said that he memorized thousands of poems; both classical and modern. He used to read a lot and was able to memorize any thing he read or heard. Although he had a limited imagination, he was a great linguist who chose his words very carefully. His style أسلوب was fascinating. His word and sentence structures were charming. He had a special and very impressive voice. He had a theatrical poetical performance that attracted every attention.

         A lot of great people commented on his talent. Khalil Mutran خليل مطران said about him,” ..he is like a vessel receiving inspiration وحى / إلهام from the nation’s feelings and sensations that mix with his own and hence his impressive poetry flows out full of the same feelings that every citizen feels is an echo صدى to what is inside him.” Abbas Al-Aqqaad عباس العقاد said about him that, ” .. he was born to prefer the beauty and admiration of framing and greatness of the sentence.” Also, the Iraqi poet Falih Al-Hijiyah فالح الحجية mentioned him in his third volume of “The Brief of the Arabic Poetry” and said about him, ” Hafez’s poetry is marked by a national spirit that jumps towards liberation and fighting colonization with easy meanings, clear phrasing, strong style and structure mastering all known poetical purposes.” Hafez was a dearest  friend to Ahmad Shawqi who accompanied him in most of his journeys.

         Hafez wrote a volume of poetry that contains so many poems. Among his famous poems is: Egypt Speaks about Itself مصر تتحدث عن نفسها which I will translate in the next blog. Hafez also wrote prose and translated many works of foreign writers. He died مات in the early morning of a Thursday in 1932.


Adapted and translated from wikipedia


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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. habibur rahman:

    شاعر نيل

  2. habibur rahman:

    شاعر نيلwas afamous egyptian poet who lived at the time of ahmad shawky

  3. Ana Maria Detthow Pinheiro:

    I am a Brazilian student of Arabic. I very much appreciated your article on the poet Hafez Ibrahim. I have been studying his poem Al Lughah Al A´rabiiah and I am enchanted both by his technique and sensitivity.