Book review: The Prophet
August 12, 2015 | 11:26 AM
by Mohammed Shafeeqe
Photo supplied

I don’t remember the exact number of times I have re-read The Prophet since I first got my hands on it around twenty-seven years back. And it is rare that a day passes without something from that novel comes to mind as I think of my own writing.

I’ve been waiting for a perfect Middle Eastern winter day to come so that I could read it again outside in the grass or on a lonely beach. But I got tired of waiting for that day (winter won’t be here for a while yet) and well...I kept feeling like I needed to read something familiar, beautiful, calming, and spiritual in my recent moments of solitude.

The sheer beauty of Kahlil Gibran’s writing and thoughts on how to live life blew me away when I first read it as a teenager.

Gibran’s philosophy is presented almost like a poetic ‘Sermon on the Mount’ by the prophet, Almustafa, who returns to Orphalese, the place of his birth, to speak to his people about love, marriage, work, children, buying and selling, death and other everyday subjects.

The passage on Children is one of my favourites.

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”

Each time I open the book I find myself feeling that if the whole world was to read it, it would be a better place to live. It is not a religious book, but it is spiritual, and Gibran’s poetic prose are exquisite delights in and of themselves that can soothe the soul. They leave me wishing that I too could express myself in such a beautiful way.

First published in 1923, the book has been translated into more than 50 languages and has never been out of print, making it one of the bestselling books of all time. This is a little book you can dip into at almost any page to the same soothing effect. In The Prophet life is passionately in love with life.

I feel much better having just reread it today; more peaceful and centred. Weird that a book can do that. But this is why, of all the books I’ve loved over the years, Gibran’s The Prophet is, and will always be, one of my all-time favourites.

Reviewed by Mohammed Shafeeqe

Are you a prolific reader? Which is your favourite book? Pick one and send in your thoughts on it. Contact [email protected]

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