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International Coffeehouses: Arab World

This guide will provide links to resources related to the countries featured in the International Coffeehouses.

The Arab World

Map of the Arab World

Learn to Speak Arabic


Complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Qaytbay (madrasa, tomb, mosque); dome of tomb/mosque

Mosque Qarawyin; view into the courtyard

Mosque Qarawyin; view from the main entrance into the courtyard with ablution basin

Mosque al-Ahzar; aisle of the sanctuary hall

Ribat of Sousse; view of towers and gate

Ouadaia Gate of the Ouadaia Casbah, built by Jacub el-Mansur

The Great Sphynx

Temple of Seti I at Abydos; detail of the porch

Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, background, with Shrines in the Jubilee Court, foreground

Battle of Algeirs

The Battle of Algiers


    The Music Of Islam Sampler

    Hossam Ramzy: Samya - The Best of Farid Al Atrash

    Iran: Music of the Qajar Era

Music Databases

Arabic Speaking Countries

List of Countries By Arabic Speakers

Rank Country Number of Arabic Speakers
1 Egypt 82,449,200
2 Algeria 40,100,000
3 Sudan 28,164,500
4 Saudi Arabia 27,178,770
5 Morocco 25,003,930
6 Iraq 22,908,120
7 Syria 17,951,639
8 Yemen 14,671,000
9 Tunisia 10,800,500
10 Jordan 5,083,300
11 Libya 4,526,000
12 Lebanon 4,180,000
13 Somalia 3,788,000
14 United Arab Emirates 3,607,600
15 Mauritania 3,140,000
16 Oman 2,518,816
17 Israel 2,039,000
18 Kuwait 1,735,000
19 Palestine 1,610,000
20 Chad 1,320,000
21 Qatar 1,215,446
22 Bahrain 690,302
23 Eritrea 249,700
24 Djibouti 97,900

Sawe, Benjamin Elisha. "Arabic Speaking Countries." WorldAtlas.

Books on Literature

Umm Kulthum 1904-1975

Headshot of Umm Kalthum

She was born to a poor family. Her father, al-Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Baltājī, was an official of the local mosque; he sang religious songs (al-inshād al-dīnī) and recited the story of the Prophet Muhammad’s life (al-qiṣṣa al-nabawiyya) for weddings and other festive occasions in nearby villages. Umm Kulthum learned to sing as a child by listening to him teaching her older brother Khālid. When he discovered the unusual strength of his daughter’s voice, her father asked her to join the family ensemble. She sang religious songs normally performed by males and appeared dressed as a boy to avoid the disapprobation that her father might face as a result of putting his daughter on stage.

Umm Kulthum had a powerful voice and wide range with uniform strength throughout. She developed control that allowed her to extend phrases and to alter resonance and placement in delicate and artistic ways, and she applied these skills to the affective delivery of lines of poetry, inventing multiple renditions of important lines. In so doing, she advanced the historic Arab art of sung poetry.

During the 1950s and 60s she became a major cultural figure. She supported the initiatives of President Jamāl ‘Abd al-Nāṣir and, following Egypt’s defeat in the 1967war, launched a series of concerts to replenish the Egyptian treasury, beginning in Paris and continuing throughout the Arab world. When she died, she was called ‘the voice and face of Egypt’.

Citation: Danielson, V.  (2001). Umm Kulthum. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 30 Mar. 2020, from