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

Billadhi Askara
(The Intoxicating Beloved)


This page contains the translation to the song lyrics of "Billadhi Askara" a muwashaha (Arab art song) that has been recorded by many artists, including Fairuz around 1960. Her name is often alternately spelled as "Feiruz".

Fairouz is a legendary Lebanese vocalist, one of the most deeply respected living singers in the Arabic-speaking world. She was born in 1934. Her singing career began in the 1950's, and she achieved stardom in the 1960's. Her husband, Assi Rahbani, and his brother Mansour Rahbani, and they achieved legendary status as a composer and lyricist duo. The three worked closely together from the 1950's through 1979, with Fairouz's beautiful voice turning many of their compositions into hits.

Maqam: Bayati
Rhythm: Iqa Darij (3/4) or Iqa Yuruk (6/8)

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

Music & Lyrics by: Lissan al-Din al-Khatib & Nicolas Fayyad




Listen to MP3 Clips of this Song


Instrumental performance by Jordi Savall



Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Billadhi askara min 'arf el-lama The one who intoxicates by the scent of her dark lips
Kulla ka'sin tahtasihi wa habab Each cup she sips, and the pearl-like teeth
Walladhi kahhala jafnayka bima The one who has darkened your eyelids with kohl
Sajada-ssehru ladayhi wa-qtarab Magic bowed down toward him and got close
Walladhi ajra dumu'i andama And the one who made my tears flow like red dye
Indama a'ratta min ghayri sabab When you shunned me for no reason
Di 'ala sadri yayumnaka fama Put your right hand on my breast
Ajdara-l-ma'a bi-itfa el-lahab It is more suitable than water to put out the flames.



Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Instrumental Arabo Andaluz


Listen to Clip

Artist: Jordi Savall
CD Title: Instrumental Arabo-Andaluz



Translations of
Feiruz' Songs On This Site


About the Contributor

This translation was done by Dr. George Sawa for Yasmina Ramzy of Arabesque Academy of Toronto, Canada. I'd like to thank Yasmina for making this translation available to you via my web site.

Yasmina Ramzy has been performing, teaching, and choreographing Middle Eastern dance since 1981. She has toured extensively throughout Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, England, Mexico, the United States, and Canada as a soloist and with her company, sometimes performing for royalty and heads of state in many of these countries. She is the Artistic Director of Arabesque Academy, School of Culture-Specific Dance and the Arabesque Dance Company. Although Yasmina has dedicated her life to Middle Eastern dance, she also produces Gypsy and Dancenet which are culture-specific dance and music events with an educational slant. She is also a member of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists and serves of the board of directors for Dance Ontario.



About the Translator

Dr. George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has over 50 years of experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory, and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide: Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece) and the Middle East (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates). He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music.

After immigrating to Canada, Dr. Sawa studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University.

Dr. Sawa is the author of:

  • Music Performance Practice in the Early Abbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD
  • Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE (Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2004 and 2009)
  • An Arabic Musical and Socio-Cultural Glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 971) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2015).
  • Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers

Dr. Sawa has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in refereed journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history.

George Sawa

George has been the musical director for several productions of the Toronto-based Arabesque Dance Company, and taught hundreds of dancers at the Arabesque Academy and Hannan's Bellydance Studio in Toronto, as well as studios in Canada, USA, Brazil and Mexico. His first CD release, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. A subsequent volume, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, was released in 2009.

His book Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and serves as an invaluable - one of a kind - companion to bellydancers all over the world. (It is available in English, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Portuguese). A companion set of two DVDs produced with Lulu Hartenbach in Brazil includes over 50 tracks of dancing instruction from his CDs and book: Lulu and George Dimitri Sawa. Apreciação de Música Árabe para Bailarinas - Teoria & Prática 2 vols. Sao Paulo: Ventreoteca. Produzido por Kaleidoscopio de Ideias. Shimmie, 2015.

Presently Dr. Sawa is working on a book Erotica, Love, and Humor in Arabia which will be published by McFarland in 2016.

For more information on Dr. Sawa's books, musical recordings, and videos, see his web site at .

Dr. George Sawa




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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.

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