The Prophet

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

Hardcover(Reprinted Edition)

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Overview

"The Prophet", Gibran's best known work, is beloved by millions throughout the English speaking world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394404288
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1923
Series: Wadsworth Classics of World Literature Series
Edition description: Reprinted Edition
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 63,853
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Kahlil Gibran was born in 1883 in Lebanon and died in New York in 1931. His family emigrated to the United States in 1895. In his early teens, the artistry of Gibran's drawings caught the eye of his teachers and he was introduced to the avant-garde Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day, who encouraged and supported Gibran in his creative endeavors. A publisher used some of Gibran's drawings for book covers in 1898, and Gibran held his first art exhibition in 1904 in Boston. In 1908, Gibran went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Paris for two years, and he later studied art in Boston. While most of Gibran's early writing was in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. Gibran's best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of 28 poetic essays.

Read an Excerpt

ON LOVE
 
Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
 
And he raised his head and looked upon the peo­ple, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
 
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
 
 
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
 
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
 
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
 
 
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
 
 
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
 
 
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
 
Then it is better for you that you cover your na­kedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
 
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
 
 
• • •
 
 
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
 
For love is sufficient unto love.
 
 
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
 
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
 
 
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these 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;
And 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 your lips.

Table of Contents

The Coming of the Ship 6

On Love 10

On Marriage 12

On Children 13

On Giving 14

On Eating and Drinking 16

On Work 18

On Joy and Sorrow 20

On Houses 21

On Clothes 23

On Buying and Selling 24

On Crime and Punishment 25

On Laws 28

On Freedom 30

On Reason and Passion 32

On Pain 34

On Self-Knowledge 35

On Teaching 36

On Friendship 37

On Talking 38

On Time 39

On Good and Evil 40

On Prayer 42

On Pleasure 44

On Beauty 46

On Religion 48

On Death 50

The Farewell 51

Customer Reviews

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The Prophet 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 139 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember I had to read this book in high school. I was 16, and quite frankly, hanging out with my friends and partying were much more fun than some silly homework assignment. Fast forward 19 years. I was in B&N a few weeks ago, and I happened to have stumbled on the book. I wanted something to read, so I thought, 'Eh, why not? It looks like a quick read.' So, I bought it. Well, all I can say is, 'Wow! What a disservice I did to myself back then by not reading this book!' Then again, maybe I wasn't prepared for such an awesome piece of work. I think you need to experience life to really appreciate this book. My first time reading it, I was BLOWN AWAY. I actually started crying in a few areas of the book because I could relate so much of it to my own life and experiences. The first time, I read it as a novel. Now, I use it as a reference tool for life. When my son rebels, I turn to the 'Parenting' section. When my heart was broken earlier this year, I went to the 'Love' section. Sometimes, my intensity is too much for daily life, so that's when I flip to the 'Reason vs Passion' section. I have read a lot of books in my time, but I must say that this is probably the most SPECIAL book I have ever had or read. Now, I'm not some super-intellectual who dwells in the World of the Intelligencia. I'm just a regular person who really needed a book like this in her life. Honestly, I think Mr. Gibran wrote this book for people like me. Heck, I was thinking that he wrote it JUST for me :-) Enjoy.
E-Bennet More than 1 year ago
When I picked this up, I had no idea what to expect. My mouth stands open. I feel like I've read a map to the entryway of my soul. I keep going back and reading my favorite parts over and over. I am in love with these words. They come off the page in my own voice, like they speak from somewhere I have been already, remember acutely. Gibran himself is a prophet, only a prophet could speak such true words. I want to quote him here to give you a taste, here the prophet is speaking of love: "For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast. ... But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears." -Kahlil Gibran
Piratesavvy More than 1 year ago
The Prophet proved to be one of the most inspiring books I have read so far. Being only 19, I found the book to be interesting and highly important. I believe everyone should read this book and learn it. I hope you'll get a chance to read this great book because it will be well worth it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was recommended this book by a very dear friend of mine. I'm very happy that she did. The Prophet is the closest thing to a bible I've ever embraced. The range of subjects, from Love, to Pain, Children, Work, and Laws and Prayer are written about and sung so beautifully.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this in the 60's at Bethany College and have collected copies from yard sales to give to friends. I have found no one who did not appreciate it. When you have finished this book, find the 'Complete Works of Kahlil Gibran,' awesome!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book serves you best when you read it slowly, revisiting the topics when needed. Gibran's work is ideal for those who enjoy the wisdom genre and welcome introspection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
no words are eneogh in praise of the book. One who is fond of reading and even the one who is not fond of reading must read this book. it provides true insight to the problems which arise while understanding the life, complications of emotions&relations.Reading this arouse the curiosity of reader to read the other books of the Great Writer.Moreover the drawings by Gibran are also amazing
McGuffyAnn More than 1 year ago
I first read this book as a teenager. It has remained on my bookshelf, being read many, many times. I have given it as a gift to several people, over the years. It is one of my favourite books. The Prophet is a classic, and is considered to be Kahlil Gibran's masterpiece. Gibran himself considered it his "greatest achievement". Originally published in 1923, it has been translated into 28 languages, and is still a popular piece of literature today. The book is a beautiful blend of poetry and philosophy. Each chapter takes on a particular topic, or aspect of life. "The Prophet" speaks on love, work, law, freedom, pain, time, and many other important issues we all deal with as we journey through life. Each beautifully written chapter is also illustrated by Gibran. The importance and beauty of this book is immeasurable and timeless. This book should be on every bookshelf of those who truly enjoy the beauty of poetry and classic literature, to be enjoyed and appreciated by every generation. The life lessons offered by Kahlil Gibran are timeless in essence and belief.
DeaJay More than 1 year ago
I have owned a copy of this book for over 40 years. On Nov 22, 2009, a 19 yr old relative of mine was killed in Afghanistan. A speaker, at his funeral, read a chapter from this book.....the chapter on "Children". I had read, that chapter, for years during the challenges of raising my children. It dawned on me...that NOT ONLY THAT CHAPTER....but the entire book would bring comfort to the family. I bought 8 copies ...... and, DAILY, the family refers to different topics. To me, this book is a must for table tops, bedtime reading or for libraries.
Zootmcflute More than 1 year ago
An amazing Oriental (Oriental in the academic sense, meaning Middle Eastern spiritualist) Christian book. The mixture of prose and poetry fits the mood of the spiritual explorer. The artwork is thought provoking adding a visual richness to the intellectual pursuit of truth seekers. This book is not a "self-help" Joel Osteen easy read. Be ready to invest time and effort, if you so do you, will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read. It is very simple and covers most of the issues we face daily. It shows you the beauty in every thing and a realistic view based on Gibran's experience in life. Simply a MASTERPIECE...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found out about this book from a guest editor piece by Hilary Duff in Seventeen magazine. She had included some excerpts from the book in her piece. They were hard-hitting and deep, so I decided to take on the challenge of reading the book for myself. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is probably one of the deepest books that anyone could ever read. It was originally published in 1923. Interspersed among the proverbs in the book are pages of the author¿s own drawings. The drawings do not really add anything to the meaning of the book though, and they feature nudity. The book has twenty-eight sections, two of which are basically an introduction and a closing. The other twenty-six cover a wide range of topics from love, children, clothes, friendship, beauty and death to work, houses, laws, pain and time. I like this book because of its many wonderful insights about some topics to which I can actually relate. I was amazed at how something written in the early 1900s can transcend the ages and still hold some relevance to the early 2000s. Some of Gibran¿s proverbs are toe-stompers: ¿But if in your fear you would seek only love¿s peace and love¿s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love¿s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed For love is sufficient unto love.¿ Still others of Gibran¿s proverbs are full of wisdom: ¿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 thought they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love buy not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.¿ I found the book to be uplifting overall, although I cannot pull any one individual uplifting proverb because the book, through its depth of wisdom and insight, lightens any bad day. I would definitely recommend that everyone read this book at some point in their lives.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Poetically crafted. Worldly beyond measure. Mystifying from start to finish. When I purchased this book, I was eager to explore my spirituality. After finishing Gibran’s notable collection of prose, I came back to Barnes and Noble’s website with not only fulfillment in my original quest but a desire to delve deeper into this world of ethereal knowledge. Once I read the first few pages of The Prophet, I couldn’t put it down for days. Every testimony from the all-knowing Almustafa left me spellbound with the beauty of his words and insightful nature that his lessons exude. I felt as if I was amongst his crowd of endearing, inquisitive followers, listening to his final words of wisdom before the beloved sage left for new horizons. The following sections are especially my favorites from Gibran’s book: “On Children”, “On Work”, “On Joy and Sorrow”, “On Self-Knowledge” and “On Teaching”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total bookworm but it is a rare circumstance when a book hits me as hard as this one had. What’s even better is that its collectible edition is so elegant yet so subtle in its appeal. You can’t help but feel an air of enlightenment when carrying it on your person. Plus, it’s the size for travel! Merely typing about my love and admiration towards this book makes me want to reread it once more. My only concern is that I wish the book was much longer, perhaps picking up where Almustafa left off and having preach to those at the destination where he sailed to. It’s just that wonderful! Otherwise, I highly recommend “The Prophet”, especially for those in need of some mystic guidance or are simply venturing into their spiritual beliefs like I had. For being one of the cheaper B&N Collectibles Editions, don’t let the price tag fool you. This book is worth so much more in its literary value than its monetary value.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply inspired.
hollybdurso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An absolutely beautiful little book filled with poetic wisdom that I believe people from every faith and background can draw from.
AlaricBond on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book that transcends most faiths; one to reach for in the middle of the night.
barblibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I originally read this book in high school over 30 years ago and found it beautiful. Today I find it enlightening, calming, and a constant source of re-examination. I actually keep a copy with me at all times to read whenever I need to wait somewhere and want a quick reminder. Very thought provoking and very new age.
hollowtaction on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These short sections on various topics are completely insightful. Reading the prophet's wisdom, I felt as though he were telling me things from my own mind that I only had not put down into words, and Gibran wrote his prose with such an artfulness that this novel is nothing short of inspirational. He has written the poetry of my soul.
AnnThatcher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"I have found a truth." -- More then a book... The Prophet, is Absorbing the lessons given by a prophet to the people of Orphalese - written in a profound and poetic rhythm. The Prophet is about lessons to the of people on Orphalese - that one must embrace. The Prophet waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship to come in. His lessons to the people varying from the Self realization, Relationships -- Good and Evil and of marriage . Similar paradox of other inspirational literature, the I-ching, and teachings of Christ and Buddha. Not by any means is this a read once and remember book. It's more of a come back to again and again - to embrace a wisdom. This book is a constant source of re-examination. I should actually keep a copy with me at all times as a quick reminder... of who I am - and life itself.
motjebben on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful book! The poetry is exquisite and often quoted for its beauty and profound insight. A MUST-READ! Gibran's prophet speaks eloquently on the topics of everyone's life: Love, Marriage, Children, Work, Joy and Sorrow, ... Time, ... Religion...This timeless work will have you thinking deeply and THAT is its greatest gift!
keylawk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gibran is the one of the most popular poets gracefully standing in this vale of tears. Only Shakespeare and Lao-Tze are more often quoted and published. The Prophet is not Jesus -- for there is no crucifixion, no salvation in blood. The Prophet is not Mohammed -- for there is no war, no jihad, no vilification, no second-class sex or tribe, and no obsession with "being clean" in an impure world. Possibly, he is Manes, because there are revenant themes of Christic Persian mystery -- but there is no hard line drawn between the infinite possibilities of Good and Evil. It is all about grace, seeing inside, understanding outside.Gibran is one of the diaspora of great men and women who fled and flee from the Middle East (Lebanon). Thousands of great poets are still fleeing the persecutions and the stifling monopoly of Islam. In the West, his talent for grace was appreciated. He flourished, and so will any reader.
sitaraa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a treasure.. i keep going back to it
bfertig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read The Prophet perhaps way way too quickly - its short enough to be read in a few hours, but deep enough to take years to digest. There's lots in there that would be good quotes to remember. It reminded me a little bit of the song 'Best of all possible worlds' in Candide(?) where this one know-it-all explains his unrelenting optimism.
queensheherezade on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My mother, a Bohemian at heart, gave me this is a birthday present and, at first, I didn't quite know what to make of it. But once I relaxed into the fact that The Prophet is merely a creative work of rare and extraordinary beauty, I began to enjoy it and even read a few passages to my husband. I particularly like "Work is love made visible". The Prophet contains some lovely lyrical prose and many enchanting passages which are largely universal in nature. There is a great deal of wisdom in this book, although I would qualify this by saying that, if one were looking for answers to life's greatest questions, there is nothing in The Prophet that you couldn't find in your own Holy scriptures, whatever they may be. Some may take offense to this book, considering its title and the name of the main character, but I think it is possible to transcend this kind of reaction if you can take The Prophet for what it is: a creative work of prose fiction, not intended as a poisonous substitute for sacred scripture.
Anietzerck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this to complete a reading challenge. I'm not usually one for poetry but I did find this book to be pretty captivating for the most part. There were definitely areas that were harder for me to read than others, but over all I enjoyed it. I'd say that I enjoyed it more than I expected to.