Message Sutra: Best love quotes from Khalil Gibran

The love quotes in this feature are passages from the book ‘The Prophet’ by Khalil Gibran. Since it was first published in 1923, it has inspired song lyrics, speeches and has been read out at weddings and funerals all around the world.

Those who love the book have said that it is often gifted to a lover, or for a birth or death. That is why it has spread so widely and by word of mouth. Even the Beatles, John F. Kennedy and Indira Gandhi were among those who have been influenced by its words.

The Prophet is made up of 26 prose poems that were delivered as sermons by a wise man called Almustafa. In the book, he was set to sail for his home after 12 years in exile on an island. The people of the island asked him twenty-six questions on the subject of love, marriage, children, beauty, friendship, good, evil, birth and death.

Here are passages that talk about the different types of love according to Khalil Gibran.

Passages about love that didn’t happen

‘If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.’

‘And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.’

‘One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.’

‘Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.’

‘Our pain carves out a larger space for love to fill.’

‘Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.’

Passages about how love happens

Make your partner feel how much you are happy to have him or her in your life. You can show his or her value in your life by sending these love quotes to your partner.

‘Love is trembling happiness.’

‘Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.’

‘Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.’

‘I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.’

‘Love… it surrounds every being and extends slowly to embrace all that shall be.’

‘It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.’

‘When you love you should not think you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.’

‘Love is the only freedom in the world because it so elevates the spirit that the laws of humanity and the phenomena of nature do not alter its course.’

‘Marriage is like a golden ring in a chain, whose beginning is a glance and whose ending is eternity.’

Passages about love troubles

The best and the worst thing about love is you cannot express it in simple words. Use these messages to show your partner how much you care for him or her.

‘I do not want you to hear that I love you, but I want you to feel it without me having to say.’

‘Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms.’

‘If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?’

‘But 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.’

‘Everyone has experienced that truth: that love, like a running brook, is disregarded, taken for granted; but when the brook freezes over, then people begin to remember how it was when it ran, and they want it to run again.’

Passages about love for 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 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.’

Passages about self-love

‘Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.’

‘We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.’

‘And God said, love your enemy and I obeyed Him and loved myself.’

‘Keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life.’

‘Tortoises can tell you more about the road than hares.’

‘A traveller I am, and a navigator, and every day I discover a new region within my soul.’

‘When I planted my pain in the field of patience it bore the fruit of happiness.’

‘To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.’

‘The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.’

‘You are far, far greater than you know – and all is well.’

‘If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.’

‘I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.’

The Prophet speaks about love

The book has come to be accepted as a source of timeless insights about human fears, devotion and faith. The Prophet also preaches about the qualities of love in most of the passages. 

If you are looking for a poem to read to your partner for a special occasion, here is one of the most stirring passages and finest advice on the subject of love and often quoted as a whole:

‘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 heart 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 nought but itself and takes nought 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 need to 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.’