A Book Review
“But you do not see, nor do you hear, and it is well.
The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands that wove it,
And the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced by those fingers that kneaded it.
And you shall see
And you shall hear.
Yet you shall not deplore having known blindness, nor regret having been deaf.
For in that day you shall know the hidden purpose in all things,
And you shall bless darkness as you would bless light.”
-Al Mustafa the Prophet (The Farewell, p. 93)
There is so much to love about this book, and I don’t even know where to start. It’s simply beautifully. I may not agree with all things that Kahlil Gibran conveyed through his grand character, Al Mustafa the Prophet of Orphalese, nonetheless, forever I know that I shall return to this book over, and over again throughout my life. Gazing upon the vast gems of wisdom, and the clear water that my soul may reflect upon through these beautifully woven pages.
When I first started reading The Prophet, I quickly realized that Al Mustafa of Orphalese, with his teachings on various topics of life such as love, marriage, children, freedom, self-knowledge, teaching, religion, work, etc. has a sharp parallel with Jesus of Nazareth, specifically with his teachings on the beatitudes. So with that being established upon my mind, I quickly fell in love the book. To provide some background on the author, Kahlil Gibran; He was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, and painter who was born in the town of Bsharri of the Ottoman-Empire (modern-day Lebanon) to a family of the Maronite Church (Syriac Christianity). Gibran around the age of 12, left his hometown along with his mother, two sisters, and half-brother to New York in the year of 1895. He worked hard in his education, traveled the world, and returned to New York where he helped reformed a Mahjar literary society, known as the Pen League, in 1920. Composed of ethnic Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian writers who immigrated from the Ottoman Empire to the United States. Soon he completed The Prophet in 1923, and that’s not to mention all other literary works he had done in life. Gibran took inspiration from Christianity, Islam, and particularly Sufi mysticism for The Prophet.
What I enjoy the most about this book, is how relaxing of a read it is. Though it caused much exercise in my mind, there is a serene presence about the text itself; the prose that Gibran had woven together made The Prophet stands out like a Japanese maple tree in the middle of literary garden for generations to witness. With that being said, I will end this brief review with an exert that really stood out to me. Down the road I will post more pieces from The Prophet. Being the first book that I’ve completed by Kahlil Gibran, I am very much looking forward to read his other literary works.
And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And you could keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
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:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
-Al Mustafa the Prophet (On Pain, p. 52-53)
One thought on “The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran”
“Pain” is my absolute favorite passage from The Prophet. I’m glad that you chose it. The simile of the tree is very good; this book is like the shade of an old tree on a very hot day.
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