FaceOf: Renowned Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji

Ibrahim Khafaji is famous for writing the lyrics of the Saudi national anthem.
Updated 24 September 2018
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FaceOf: Renowned Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji

  • Khafaji composed several national and lyrical poems that were sung by prominent artists throughout the Arab world
  • Aside from being a poet, he also worked in government in various capacities

JEDDAH:  Born in Makkah in 1926, Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji is famous for writing the lyrics of the Saudi national anthem in 1984. Before that date, it was music without lyrics. 

He wrote and composed several national and lyrical poems that were sung by prominent artists throughout Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, such as Sabah, Talal Maddah, and Mohammad Abdu.

Khafaji served in several jobs in the public sector. He worked in the news section of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, then moved to the radio section. He also worked at the accounting department in the Ministry of Health. He later became head of the department and then the financial administration secretary.

Eventually he became the central inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture in the western region.

Khafaji said in an interview on Rotana channel that the story behind the Saudi national anthem goes back to when King Khalid was on a visit to Egypt and was received by President Anwar Sadat. King Khalid was impressed with the Egyptian national anthem and asked the officials to work on lyrics for the national anthem of Saudi Arabia which was composed by the Egyptian composer Abdul-Rahman Al-Khateeb, and gifted to Saudi Arabia upon the orders of King Farouq of Egypt. 

Kafaji was chosen as the Saudi poet to work on the national anthem lyrics. He worked on it for six months. 

The Saudi public was first introduced to the national anthem lyrics on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr in 1984. It was broadcast by the Kingdom’s radio and television during King Fahd’s time. 

Khafaji died at 91 in November 2017 and he was buried in Makkah.


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves Riyadh after meeting Saudi king, crown prince

Updated 26 min 58 sec ago
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves Riyadh after meeting Saudi king, crown prince

  • Pompeo had a brief meeting with the king before a lengthy, 40-minute discussion with the crown prince
  • The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation

DUBAI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Riyadh for Turkey on Wednesday after talks with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the case of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo had a brief meeting with the king before a lengthy, 40-minute discussion with the crown prince. “We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together,” the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo to the Saudi capital. Later Prince Mohammed also discussed the investigation in a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also had talks with Pompeo. “The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said later.

Pompeo will meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Turkey.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance.

Officers from the team searched the consulate in Istanbul for eight hours overnight on Monday, and left at 5 am on Tuesday.