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Kahlil Gibran “THE PROPHET”




On his Mother Kahlil would write.


“The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word ‘Mother,’ and the most beautiful call is the call of ‘My mother.’ It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depths of the heart. The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness.”


He was called “filthy” because his skin was dark, unintelligent because he could barely speak English. When he arrived in this country, he was placed in a special class for immigrants. But, a few of his teachers saw something in the way he expressed himself, through his drawings, through his view of the world. He would soon master his new language.


His mother had made a difficult decision to take him, his two younger sisters and a half-brother to America, seeking a better life for their family. They settled in Boston’s South End, at the time the second-largest Syrian-Lebanese-American community. The family would struggle and the young boy would lose one sister and his half-brother to tuberculosis. His mother would die of cancer.

He would write, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”


He was born in poverty on January 6, 1883 in what is now modern day Lebanon. He believed in love, he believed in peace, and he believed in understanding. His name was Kahlil Gibran, and he is primarily known for his book, “The Prophet.” The book, published in 1923, would sell tens of millions of copies, making him the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi.

Published in 108 languages around the world, passages from “The Prophet” are quoted at weddings, in political speeches and at funerals, inspiring influential figures such as John F. Kennedy, Indira Gandhi, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and David Bowie. He was very outspoken, attacking hypocrisy and corruption.


His books were burned in Beirut, and in America, he would receive death threats. Gibran was the only member of his family to pursue scholastic education. His sisters were not allowed to enter school, primarily because of Middle Eastern traditions as well as financial difficulties. Gibran, however, was inspired by the strength of the women in his family, especially his mother.


After one sister, his mother, and his half-brother died, his other sister, Mariana would support Gibran and herself by working at a dressmaker’s shop. Of his mother, he would write:

“The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word ‘Mother,’ and the most beautiful call is the call of ‘My mother.’ It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depths of the heart. The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness.”

Gibran would later champion the cause of women’s emancipation and education. He believed that “Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.”

In a poem to new immigrants, he would write, “I believe you can say to the founders of this great nation. ‘Here I am. A youth. A young tree. Whose roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon. Yet I am deeply rooted here. And I would be fruitful.'”

He would write in “The Prophet”:

“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.”


(Author of commentary unknown)

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Donn Barnes
Donn Barnes
Jan 04

This lovely post was researched, written, and shared by my dear friend Jon S. Randal, originally posted to his page, The Jon S. Randal Peace Page. Please do the right thing and give him proper credit by linking to Jon's original 2019 post. Jon has penned many such lovely works. Please feel free to join the page by liking and following.


https://www.facebook.com/1172578609429017/photos/a.1172723086081236/2121498961203639/

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