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GIBRAN Gibran Khalil

GIBRAN Gibran Khalil

Philosopher, poet, painter, writing in both English and Arabic

Lebanese, American
1883 -  1931


Khalil Gibran has inspired, and continues to inspire, tens of millions of readers with his masterpiece, The Prophet (1923), in which he expressed his ethical philosophy, in poetic language and accompanied by his own paintings. His many writings celebrate the human values of understanding, kindness, brotherhood, love, peace, and a spirituality open to the whole diversity of human thought and faith.

Born in rural Lebanon in 1883, he and his siblings emigrated to the United States with their mother when he was 12 years old. He returned to Lebanon two years later, to finish his education. After his studies, he returned to the US where, apart from a few years in France, he spent the rest of his life. However, he always identified with Eastern lands and culture. He died at the young age of 48, as a result of multiple illness. His ashes were buried at an ancient Lebanese monastery, as he had specified.

Jean-Pierre Dahdah's biography of Gibran (ed. Albin Michel, 2004) includes the following quote from Marc de Smedt in its foreword :

"The need for a simple, tolerant ethos for life, open both to one's inner self and to the outside world, embracing the magic of existence and the joys and sorrows of the passage of time, and reminding us of the great timeless principles of wise and fair conduct; the need for this type of common sense, secular morality continues to this day."

A beautiful animated film, "The Prophet", produced by Salma Hayek in 2014, expresses Gibran's ideas, illustrates their positive impact, and takes inspiration from his drawings.

Being a citizen of the world

The whole earth is my homeland and all men are my fellow countrymen.

Finding truth

Say not, "I have found the truth", but rather, "I have found a truth".

Listen to your inner voice

Should you open your ears and listen, you would hear your own voice in all voices.

No light, no fruit

A tree grown in a cave does not bear fruit.

The shortest cut

A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds.

To sit upon a cloud

Should you sit upon a cloud you would not see the boundary line between one country and another, nor the boundary stone between a farm and a farm.

It is a pity you cannot sit upon a cloud.