Born in Cairo, Aqila Ratib graduated from Al-Tawfiq Coptic School. At the beginning of her career, she was renowned for her beautiful singing voice, and she performed with both Ali Al-Kassar and Aziz Eid troupes in Cairo.
She started her acting career in the 1930s and worked as a theatre actress with the Ali Al-Kassar troupe and chose the nickname Aqila Ratib after her father refused her work in the cinema. Zaki Okasha chose her to be the leader of his theatrical troupe in many works, including The Singer of Emotions, Your Dream, The Wife is the Last to Know, Association of Eat and Be Grateful. She has won many awards for roles including her work in Salah Abu Seif’s “Don't Extinguish the Sun” (1961).
She lost sight late in her life, and she succeeded in the roles of the working-class woman more than the aristocratic girl. She never was a box-office star, but her roles were very remarkable, notably in Midaq Alley, Love and Tears, and especially her role in Cairo 30. She acted in more than 60 films in the Egyptian cinema, including The Doorman, Love Returns Tomorrow, The Three Musketeers, as well as her last film The Charmer and the Tramps in 1976 which was directed by Hussein Emara. She also worked on numerous plays, including The Living Will Always Meet, The Wife is the Last to Know, the most famous were Hoda, and Queen of the Forest.