Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

يا أم العيون السود
Ya Um el-Oyoun el-Soud

(Oh, Mother of Black Eyes)



This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Iraqi song "Um el-Oyoun el-Soud", which was popularized by Nazem al-Ghazali. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

  • Um el-Oyoun el-Soud (Mother of Black Eyes), 1963
  • Song Title in Arabic: يا أم العيون السود
  • In the Motion Picture Ya Salam Ealahib
  • Lyricist: Jabouri Al-Najjar
  • Composer: Nazim Naim
  • Original Artist: Nazem al-Ghazali

Has also been recorded by 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 Nazem al-Ghazali

Nazem al-Ghazali was a superstar Iraqi artist. He was born in 1921 in Baghdad and studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Iraq. He started his performing arts career as an actor. However, a few years later he was inspired by the great singers of his youth, including Oum Kalthoum, Asmahan, Farid al-Atrache, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Leila Murad, and Nagat al-Saghira. This led him to shift his career aspirations to music. In 1948 he joined the Andalusian Muashahat Ensemble. He died in 1963, in his early 40's.

Other ways to spell his name include Nathem al-Ghazaly and Nadim el-Ghazali.




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

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

يا أم العيون السود ما اجوزهن انا Oh black-eyed girl who is forbidden to me,
لونج الخمري سحر لقلوبنا your burgundy [skin] color (1) is magical for our hearts.
طلعت بفستانها الوردي الجميل She showed off in her beautiful pink dress
وانزوت حين اسفرت شمس الأصيل and went indoors when the afternoon sun set. (2)
غصن خدها ومنتهي بنسمه يميل She is like a thin branch that sways with the breeze, (3)
حلوه مشيتها بتأني ورهدها her steady walk is pretty.
واقفه بالباب تصرخ يا لطيف She stands at the door, crying out, "Oh my!
لاني مجنونه ولا عقلي خفيف I am neither crazy nor out of my mind.
من ورا التنور ناوشني رغيف Just hand me a loaf of bread behind the oven. (4)
يا رغيف الحلوه يكفيني سها Oh, the sweet loaf is enough for me!
يا أم العيون السود ما اجوزهن انا Oh black-eyed girl who is forbidden to me,
لونج الخمري سحر لقلوبنا your burgundy [skin] color (1) is magical for our hearts.
  1. The mention of burgundy skin color means she's not light-skinned white like the people of northern Iraq, nor is she darker brown like the people of the south. It's an in-between color, and very admired in Iraq.
  2. The fact that she went indoors at sunset is intended to suggest that she is respectable, because in the mind set of the rural areas of Iraq, a young woman protects her chastity by staying indoors after dark.
  3. The lyrics suggest she is tall, and moves with the breeze.
  4. The reference to bread means that she's not only beautiful, but also has domestic skill of baking bread. In the Iraqi countryside, the man of the house traditionally wanted freshly baked hot bread with every meal. Here, the lyrics suggest the loaf is large (a desirable trait). It is also noteworthy that she protects her respectability by placing the loaf behind the oven (while she remains in front of the oven and therefore keeps the structure between them).



Translations of
Nazem el-Ghazali's Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Nazem al-Ghazali include:



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Middle Eastern Culture >
Index to Middle Eastern Music Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Middle Eastern Culture > Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |