The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran | Book Summary

September 19, 2017
the prophet

Ok, I have said this before about a few books that I have reviewed here but I am going to say it again with the Prophet. This is one of the shortest books I have read so far and I will tell you it is one of the best in its genre.

When I was reading this book I felt like Kahlil Gibran was speaking to me as a father teaching his daughter how to live life with integrity. I never wanted the conversation to end, I wanted to keep on talking to him, ask questions, and lots of them, and not that he didn’t answer all the questions in the book just because I wanted to hear more about life. And I like to ask too many questions, yap, that’s how I learn.

This is one of those books that you just refer to whenever you have a question about something and you can’t seem to find an answer. Yes, it is that good!

The prophet is a prose poetry written by Kahlil Gibran in 1923 – yeah it is that old but you will be surprised how relatable this book is and it will be 100+ years to come. It has been translated into over 50 languages worldwide. Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese poet and philosopher.

This book speaks everything about life: love, children, giving, marriage, work, death, religion, joy, and sorrow. Okay, it speaks all things life – if that makes sense.

The book starts with the coming of the ship. Almustafa, a wise man, the chosen and the beloved was going back home after having waited for his ship for 12 years in a foreign city of Orphalese.

He was on the hill overlooking the sea and he saw his ship coming, and he was happy. He closed his eyes and prayed in silence.

It was a happy and a sad moment for him, wondering how he can leave the city with peace, without feeling sad. We all have that moment when we are about to leave a place we have stayed for a long time – it can’t be that simple to leave the people you have shared so many memories together.

He asked himself, shall the day of parting be the day of gathering? As he went back to the city – from the hill, all people came to meet him! Crying out begging him not to leave the city, reminding him of the things they have shared together.

They asked him to speak to them and promising to pass it to their children. Okay, let’s dive in the teachings of the prophet: 🙂

the prophet

On love

When love beckons you, follow him. You know that feeling you have when you love someone? Yes, when that calls you and you believe in your heart that it is love then follow it even though love is not always easy.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed. For love is sufficient unto itself. When you love you should not say, God is in my heart but rather, I am in the heart of God.

He goes on telling them that love does not have desires, but when you have desires then these should be your desires;

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
– To know the pain of too much tenderness.
– To be wounded by your own understanding of love
– To bleed willingly and joyfully.
– To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.
– To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy.
– To return home at eventide with gratitude.
– And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon him.

Well, if you know any of these about love, then congrats if not please grab this book. There is so much to learn.

On joy and sorrow

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that gives you joy and does the same thing when you are sorrowful.

He told the gathering, Some of you say, joy is greater than sorrow and others say, nay, sorrow is greater. But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Only when you are empty, you are at standstill and balanced. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember the other is asleep upon your bed.

Okay, I am going to leave it at that. 🙂

On reason and passion

God rests in reasons and moves in passion. Do the same.

the prophet
On marriage

You were born together and together you shall be for evermore, you shall be together even in the silent of God’s memory, but let be space between your togetherness.

Need I say more? We get married, we stay together, and we become one. But in that oneness, there should be individuality to complement each other and help each other grow. Marriage is a beautiful thing and a gift, cherish it.

Read here to find out my thoughts about marriage.

On children

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 strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.

Speaking to moms here, I know this might be hard to swallow but you know it is true, right?

On giving

You know I believe in giving, I believe it is one way to show your loved ones – even to those who don’t deserve it, that you care and you are there for them. You get what you give. Read here more about giving.

Gibran says,

it is well to give when asked, but it is better to give when unasked, through understanding and the open-handed the search for one who receive is joy greater than giving.

Ever wonder why trees give so much? They give that they may live for to withhold is to perish!

the prophet

For in truth it is life that gives unto life-while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

Read that previous quote again so it can sink in. you are simply a vessel that the universe is using to give to other people. You are blessed enough so you can bless other people.

Be worthy of that blessing. It is when you give yourself when you truly give.

On religion

Everybody has their own religion, beliefs or whatever you call it. But simply something you believe in.
Almustafa told the gathering when they asked him to speak of religion

your daily life is your temple and your religion, whenever you enter into it take with you all you cannot rise above your achievements nor you can’t fall lower than your failure.

How you live your day to day life says a lot about your religion and what you believe in. your religion is not the Christianity, Islam, Buddhist, and Judaism or any other religion out there but rather how your action, how you treat people, how you treat yourself and how you live your life.

On work

When you work with love you bind yourself to yourself and to one another and to God!

If that wasn’t clear enough try “love what you do and do what you love”

To love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.

Work is love made visible. And if you can’t work with love but only with distaste, it is better you should leave your work!

the prophet

On freedom

You will only be free when you don’t have a want nor grief in your heart.

On time

Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow today’s dream.

Make the most of today, now! It is all that we have and we will ever have. Be present.

On beauty

Beauty is kind and gentle.

Pay attention to this;

beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. You are life and you are the veil and beauty is eternity gazing at itself in the mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Okay, pause. Let that sink in. Go back and read it again just to be sure. 😉 😉

the prophet

On death

Are you one of those people who have dreams (when you sleep, of course) and they seem so vivid and you can’t differentiate them from being dreams or reality? You feel you have really done what you dreamt about? Yes, that is a thing.

Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Life and death are one as the river and the sea.

So, these are just a few things that really spoke to me but there is so much you can learn from this book than you can imagine. It has more lessons than you can ever imagine. Some of them not mentioned here like on talking, on friendship, on pain, on self-knowledge, on teaching and much more.

Do yourself a favor, go find this book here. And yes, it is not a religious book but a spiritual book. Give it a chance.

Tell me in the comments below, what spoke to you from the summary? And what book would you recommend?

Until next time,
Jane 🙂

pinit fg en rect red 28 - The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran | Book Summary

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  • Reply Emanuel September 28, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Ah today i don’t have a word ,but your blog is wonderful .This book is real amazing, loved it .

  • Reply Leanne Brookes September 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    This book sounds beautiful and meaningful! I have recently been gifted a book of Persian poetry which is very old but still so relatable. I especially loved this one you sampled, “God rests in reasons and moves in passion. Do the same.” Lovely! Thanks for sharing with us xx

  • Reply Chrissy September 22, 2017 at 6:06 am

    This sounds like an incredible book to add to my library! I love it when books show you an interesting perspective- thank you so much for sharing! x

  • Reply Sheree September 22, 2017 at 12:24 am

    This seems like such a beautiful book with so many powerful lessons. Thank you so much for the thorough review. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  • Reply Candy September 22, 2017 at 12:24 am

    I love the part on “work”.
    โ€œlove what you do and do what you loveโ€.
    Sometimes we don’t always get to choose our work, but when we do and we love it, it’s truly amazing.

  • Reply Stephanie September 21, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I was really touched by the piece on giving. I think it is important to remember to give when unasked, it shows true caring and consideration.

  • Reply Ziga September 20, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for the wonderful review am being tempted to go find the book as you’ve done justice to the review.

  • Reply Heather LeGuilloux September 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    This sounds like a very interesting and eye opening read, thank you for sharing your review. I’m sure it will help many people decide to read this book for themselves.

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Thank you, Heather. I hope it helps many to go pick it up.

  • Reply Tracy September 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Oh my goodness-this book is going to the top of the reading list based on your review. I loved how you said it was like a conversation between a father and a daughter.

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Go get it, Tracy. It is a good read, I promise ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Bina September 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I think it’s great that people review books on their blogs! Not particularly religious or spiritual, but this was interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Thank you for reading, Bina ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Patsy September 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I have four vintage copies of this book and two new. you could say it is our favorite around here.

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Wow! Those are many copies of the same book, hope you enjoyed the review, Patsy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Emily September 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    My favorite is definitely the reminder to be present. It’s difficult with how quickly things move but very much needed!

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Totally agree, Emily.

  • Reply courtney September 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    This sounds like an amazing book and you had some great takeaways! I’m a little intimidated that it is from 1923, but I may have to check it out!

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:30 am

      It is very relatable, give it a try, Courtney ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply fatima September 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Okay, this is the best article i have read today! I gotta read this book!!!

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Thank you, Fatma. Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Kaylyn September 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I don’t think I ever would have found this book if it weren’t for your blog post. I am definitely going to check it out!

    • Jane
      Reply Jane September 20, 2017 at 8:31 am

      I am glad I could help, Kaylyn ๐Ÿ™‚

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