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356 Inspiring Quotes by Kahlil Gibran

  • Last updated Jun 28 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Khalil Gibran.

Wikipedia Summary for Kahlil Gibran

Gibran Khalil Gibran (Arabic: جبران خليل جبران‎, ALA-LC: Jubrān Khalīl Jubrān, pronounced [ʒʊˈbraːn xaˈliːl ʒʊˈbraːn], or Jibrān Khalīl Jibrān, pronounced [ʒɪˈbraːn xaˈliːl ʒɪˈbraːn]; January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931), usually referred to in English as Kahlil Gibran (pronounced kah-LEEL ji-BRAHN), was a Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist, also considered a philosopher although he himself rejected the title. He is best known as the author of The Prophet, which was first published in the United States in 1923 and has since become one of the best-selling books of all time, having been translated into more than 100 languages.

Born in a village of the Ottoman-ruled Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate to a Maronite family, the young Gibran immigrated with his mother and siblings to the United States in 1895. As his mother worked as a seamstress, he was enrolled at a school in Boston, where his creative abilities were quickly noticed by a teacher who presented him to photographer and publisher F. Holland Day. Gibran was sent back to his native land by his family at the age of fifteen to enroll at the Collège de la Sagesse in Beirut. Returning to Boston upon his youngest sister's death in 1902, he lost his older half-brother and his mother the following year, seemingly relying afterwards on his remaining sister's income from her work at a dressmaker's shop for some time.

In 1904, Gibran's drawings were displayed for the first time at Day's studio in Boston, and his first book in Arabic was published in 1905 in New York City. With the financial help of a newly met benefactress, Mary Haskell, Gibran studied art in Paris from 1908 to 1910. While there, he came in contact with Syrian political thinkers promoting rebellion in the Ottoman Empire after the Young Turk Revolution; some of Gibran's writings, voicing the same ideas as well as anti-clericalism, would eventually be banned by the Ottoman authorities. In 1911, Gibran settled in New York, where his first book in English, The Madman, would be published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1918, with writing of The Prophet or The Earth Gods also underway. His visual artwork was shown at Montross Gallery in 1914, and at the galleries of M. Knoedler & Co. in 1917. He had also been corresponding remarkably with May Ziadeh since 1912. In 1920, Gibran re-founded the Pen League with fellow Mahjari poets. By the time of his death at the age of 48 from cirrhosis and incipient tuberculosis in one lung, he had achieved literary fame on "both sides of the Atlantic Ocean," and The Prophet had already been translated into German and French. His body was transferred to his birth village of Bsharri (in present-day Lebanon), to which he had bequeathed all future royalties on his books, and where a museum dedicated to his works now stands.

As worded by Suheil Bushrui and Joe Jenkins, Gibran's life has been described as one "often caught between Nietzschean rebellion, Blakean pantheism and Sufi mysticism." Gibran discussed different themes in his writings, and explored diverse literary forms. Salma Khadra Jayyusi has called him "the single most important influence on Arabic poetry and literature during the first half of [the twentieth] century," and he is still celebrated as a literary hero in Lebanon. At the same time, "most of Gibran's paintings expressed his personal vision, incorporating spiritual and mythological symbolism," with art critic Alice Raphael recognizing in the painter a classicist, whose work owed "more to the findings of Da Vinci than it [did] to any modern insurgent." His "prodigious body of work" has been described as "an artistic legacy to people of all nations."

--Kahlil Gibran
--Kahlil Gibran

Longer Version:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.



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Longer Version:

Your body is the harp of your soul and it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.


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Longer Version:

And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles. Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children. And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain. You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.



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Longer Version:

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself, Love possesses not nor would it be possessed: For love is sufficient unto love.


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Longer Version:

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.


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Longer Version:

I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears, invited by my agonized self, into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter. Tears that purify my heart and reveal to me the secret of life and its mystery, Laughter that brings me closer to my fellow men; Tears with which I join the broken-hearted, Laugher that symbolizes joy over my very existence.


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Longer Version:

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. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater." But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.



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Longer Version:

Thus with my lips have I denounced you, while my heart, bleeding within me, called you tender names. It was love lashed by its own self that spoke. It was pride half slain that fluttered in the dust. It was my hunger for your love that raged from the housetop, while my own love, kneeling in silence, prayed your forgiveness.



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Longer Version:

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.


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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.


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Longer Version:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?



--Kahlil Gibran
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Longer Version:

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.


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Longer Version:

Your house is your larger body. It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream, and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?


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Longer Version:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.


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Longer Version:

One day you will ask me which is more important -- my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.".




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Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' Say not, ' I have found the path of the soul.' Say rather, 'I have met the soul walking upon my path.' For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.


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Longer Version:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.


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Longer Version:

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.


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Longer Version:

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.


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You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth./nThe archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.


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Longer Version:

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.



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Longer Version:

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another, and no sunrise finds us where left by sunset. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of that tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind to be scattered.


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Longer Version:

And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless? But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.


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