Quotes of Gibran Khalil Gibran (L)


What is Law? Who saw it coming with the sun from the depths of heaven? What human saw the heart of God and found its will or purpose? In what century did the angels walk among the people and preach to them, saying, "Forbid the weak from enjoying life, and kill the outlaws with the sharp edge of the sword, and step upon the sinners with iron feet"?

Are you a soldier compelled by the harsh law of man to forsake wife and children, and go forth into the field of battle for the sake of Greed, which your leaders mis-call Duty? Are you a prisoner, pent up in a dark dungeon for some pretty offense and condemned by those who seek to reform man by corrupting him?Are you a young woman on whom God has bestowed beauty, but who has fallen prey to the base lust of the rich, who deceived you and bought your body but not your heart, and abandones you to misery and distress? If you are one of these, you are a martyr to man's law. You are wretched, and your wretchedness is the fruit of the iniquilty of the strong and the injustice of the tyrant, the brutality of the rich, and the selfishness of the lewd and the convetous.

Man is weak by his own hand, for he
Has refashioned God's law into his
Own confining manner of life, chaining
Himself with the coarse irons of the
Rules of society which he desired; and
He is steadfast in refusing to be aware
Of the great tragedy he has cast upon
Himself and his children and their sons.
Man has erected on this earth a prison
Of quarrels from which he cannot now
Escape, and misery is his voluntary lot.


People are saying that I am the enemy of just laws, of family ties and old tradition. Those people are telling the truth. I do not love man-made laws... I love the sacred and spiritual kindness which should be the source of every law upon the earth, for kindness is the shadow of God in man.

Human society has yielded for seventy centuries to corrupted laws until it cannot understand the meaning of superior and eternal laws...Spiritual disease is inherited from one generation to another until it becomes a part of the people, who look upon it, not as a disease, but someone free from the germs of this disease, they would think of him with shame and disgrace.


Learning nourishes the seed but it gives you no seed of its own.

Reason and learning are like body and soul. Without the body, the soul is nothing but empty wind. Without the soul, the body is but a senseless frame.

Reason without learning is like the untilled soil, or like the human body that lacks nourishment.

Learning is the only wealth tyrants cannot despoil. Only death can dim the lamp of knowledge that is within you. The true wealth of a nation lies not in its gold or silver but in its learning, wisdom, and in the uprightness of its sons.


I walked lonely in the Valley of the Shadow of Life, where the past attempts to conceal itself in guild, and the soul of the future folds and rests itself too long. There, at the edge of Blood and Tears River, which crawled like a poisonous viper and twisted like a criminal's dreams, I listened to the frightened whisper of the ghosts of slaves, and gazed at nothingness. When midnight came and the spirits emerged from hidden places, I saw a cadaverous, dying spectre fall to her knees, gazing at the moon. I approached her, asking, "What is your name?" "My name is Liberty," replied this ghastly shadow of a corpse. And I inquired, "Where are your children?" and Liberty, tearful and weak, gasped, "One died crucified, another died mad, and the third one is not yet born". She limped away and spoke further, but the mist in my eyes and cries of my heart prefvented sight or hearing.

Everything on earth lives according to the law of nature, and from that law emerges the glory and joy of liberty; but man is denied this fortune, because he set for the God-given soul a limited and earthly law of his own. He made for himself strict rules. Man build a narrow and painful prison in which he secluded his affections and desires. He dug out a deep grave in which he buried his heart and its purpose. If an individual, through the dictates of his soul, declares his withdrawl froms society and violates the law, his fellowmen will say he is a rebel worth of exile, or an infamous creature worthy only of execution. Will man remain a slave of self-confinement until the end of the world? Or will he be freed by the passing of time and live in the Spirit for the Spirit? Will man insist upon staring downward and backward at the earth? Or will he turn his eyes toward the sun so he will not see the shadow of his body amongst the skulss and thorns?


Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within him.

Life is a woman bathing in the tears of her lovers and anointing herself with the blodd of her victims. Her raiments are white days, lines with the darknesss of night. She takes the human heart to lover, but denies herself in marriage.

Life is an enchantress
Who seduces us with her beauty-
But he who knows her wiles
Will flee her enchantments.

How often I talked with Harvard professors, yet felt as if I were talking to a professor from Al-Azhar! How often I have conversed with some Bostonian ladies and heard them say things I used to hear from simple and ignorant old women in Syria! Life is one, Mikhail; it manifests itself in the viallages of Lebanon as in Boston, New York, and San Francisco.


The true light is that which emanates from within man, and reveals the secretsw of the heart to the soul, making it happy and contented with life.


The person who is limited in heart and thought is inclined to love that which is limited in life, and the weak-sighted cannot see more than one cubit ahead upon the path he treads, nor more than one cubit of the wall upon which he rests his shoulder.


In the will of man there is a power of longing which turns the mist in ourselves into sun.


Beauty reveals itself to us as she sits on the throne of glory; but we approach her in the name of Lust, snatch off her crown of purity, and pollute her garment with our evil-doing.