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El Mostabida

(The Tyrant)



This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Iraqi song "El Mostabida", which was composed and performed by Kazer al-Saher. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

  • El Mostabida (The Tyrant), 2000
  • Song Title in Arabic: المستبدة
  • Album:Album: El Hob El Mostaheel
  • Lyricist: Karim Al Iraqi
  • Composer: Kazem al-Saher
  • Original Artist: Kazem al-Saher

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

About Kazem el-Saher

Kazem el-Saher is an Iraqi singer, composer, and songwriter, sometimes known by the nickname "The Caesar of Arabic music". Over the course of his career, he has achieved spectacular success throughout the Arabic-speaking world and beyond. His biggest hit has been Ana Wa Laila.

When el-Saher was growing up, he was influenced by hearing music on the radio by composers such as Mohamed Abdel Wahab. He started learning to play guitar as a child, then later switched to oud. At age 21, he enrolled in the prestigious Baghdad Institute of Music and studied there approximately 6 years.

El-Saher found it difficult to break into the music business because he wanted to perform his own compositions, whereas music producers were more interested in artists who would perform their material. He collaborated with a friend who happened to be a television director to create a music video featuring one of his own songs, "Ladghat El Hayya". It was broadcast on Iraqi television in 1987, immediately generating controversy due to the content of its lyrics. A year later he released another hit, "Obart Al Shat".

After moving to Lebanon in 1996, el-Saher teamed up with Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, who served as his lyricist on more than 30 songs. By 1998, el-Saher had released 10 albums and elevated his reputation from "pop star" to "artist". He won a UNICEF award for his song "Tathakkar", which he was invited to perform for the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.

El-Saher began his career as a songwriter creating music for other Iraqi singers, but eventually moved on to become a recording artist in his own right. He relocated to Cairo, Egypt, and built a following as the voice of Iraqi exiles.

Kazem el Saher has often been compared to legendary Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez because of his emotive singing style. Like Hafez, he has also been a heartthrob in the eyes of many young Arab women. Al-Saher has been at the forefront of a return to romantic classicism in Arabic music, steering clear of the pop sound that is so prevalent today. El-Saher is known for his perfectionism and attention to detail, and praised for his non-traditional use of long-forgotten maqamat (musical building blocks) in his compositions.

El-Saher has released over 20 albums, toured the world, and achieved international popularity.

Other ways to spell his name include "Kathem el-Saher", "Kadhum El Sahir", and "Kadim Al Sahir".




Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Arabic Lyrics


English Translation


Part 1

Part 1

Part 1

قالت لكل الأصدقاء... Kalat le kol el azdikaa She told all of her friends,
هذا الذي ما حركته أميرة بين النساء Haza al lazi ma harakatoho amiraton bainal nisaa. "He is the one that couldn't be swayed by even the greatest of women.
سيستدير كخاتم في إصبعي Sa yastadiro ka khatamin fe esbai. "Watch him while I wrap him, like a ring, around my finger.
ويشب ناراً لو رأى شخصاً معي Wa yashobo naroon law raa shakhsan mai. "And watch his face turn red, if he sees me with someone else.
سترونه بيدي أضعف من ضعيف Sa tarawnahoo be idai adaaf min el daaif. "You'll see him in my hands, weaker than the weakest.
وترونه ما بين أقدامي كأوراق الخريف Wa tarawna ho ma baina akdami ka awraq el kharif! "And you'll see him strewn under my feet, like the autumn leaves!"
يا مستبدة Ya mostabida! Oh! You tyrant!
أنتِ التي أسميتها تاج النساء Anti al lati asmaytoha tag al nisaa. You are the one whose name I held higher than all women.
اقسي على قلبي ومزقيه لو أساء Iqsi ala qalbi wa maziki law asa. If my heart ever did you wrong, wound it and tear it apart.
يا مستبدة Ya mostabida! Oh! You tyrant!

Part 2

Part 2

Part 2

الويل لي يا مستبدة Al wailo li ya mostabida. Woe unto me, oh you tyrant!
الويل لي من خنجر طعن المودة Al wailo li min khingarin taan al mowada. Woe unto me from the sword that impaled love.
الويل لي كم نمت مخدوعاً على تلك المخدة Al wailo li kam nimt makhdoan ala tilk el mikhada. Woe unto me. How long did I was I deceived on my pillow?
الويل لي من فجر يوم ليتني ما عشت بعده Al wailo li min fagr yom laytani ma eishto baada. Woe unto me from the dawn which begins my life without you.
الويل لي يا مستبدة Al wailo li ya mostabida! Woe unto me, oh you tyrant!

Part 3

Part 3

Part 3

اني أعاني اني أموت اني حطام Enni oani enni amoto enni hotam Although I am suffering, ruined and dead,
حاشاك يا عمري أن أفكر بانتقام Hashaki omri ani mofakera benteqam. don't think that I would ever want revenge.
إن لك قلب وحب واحترام Enni laki kalbon wa hobon wahtiram. I can only offer my heart, my love, and my respect.
صبراً يا عمري لن تري دمعاً يسيل Sabran ya omri lan tarai damaan ya seel. I am patient so you will never see a tear drop.
سترين معنى الصبر في جسدي النحيل Satarain maan al sabr fe gasad el naheel. You'll see the meaning of patience within my weak body.
فتفرجي هذا المساء رقصي الجميل Wa tafaragi hazal masaa raksil gameel. And tonight you will see me dance beautifully.



Translations of
Kazem el-Saher's Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Kazem el-Saher include:



About the Translation Source

This translation and transliteration of the song's lyrics are courtesy of



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