The works of Kahlil Gibran are as popular as those of Shakespeare and Laozi. A glimpse into his work is enough for anyone to understand why this man is considered as the third best-selling poet of the world.
“You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?”
– Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931)―also spelled Khalil Gibran―was a prolific Lebanese poet and writer who immigrated to the United States. He was also well-known as an artist and made over seven hundred portraits and sketches during his lifetime, many of which were included in his book, The Prophet to visually encapsulate and depict the essence of his words.
Although Kahlil was born a Maronite Christian, he was also influenced by the teachings of Islam, Sufism, and Bahá’í Faith. He believed in the oneness of all religions and considered the whole world his homeland, a point that is exemplified in this quote, You are my brother and I love you. I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel in your church and pray in your synagogue. You and I are sons of one faith-the Spirit. This Penlighten article comprises some famous quotes by Kahlil Gibran.
Kahlil Gibran on Friendship
A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Kahlil Gibran on Love
If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.
And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?
Inspirational Quotes by Kahlil Gibran
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Of life’s two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a laborer’s hand.
Famous Kahlil Gibran Quotes
Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.
Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in the desert.
March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.
Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.
I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.
I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance, and affection to be art.
Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.
Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thousands and pillaging the very hills?
The person you consider ignorant and insignificant is the one who came from God, that he might learn bliss from grief and knowledge from gloom.
Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.
To be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction, is to live twice.
The aforementioned quotes are merely a glimpse into the mind of this wonderful author, artist, and being, and only many hours of immersed reading can unveil the depth, that the words of Kahlil Gibran hold.