assignment 2 Essay





FTA422 / Philosophy of the Arts


Madam Sharifah Hanura Ezwa Syed Akbar


Assessment 2



1 Nor Hidayah Binti Mohd Shamrizalman2018641658 FF238

2 Nurul Farhana Binti Abdullah 2018424834 FF238

3 Nur Elumairah Binti Abu Hassan 2018263194 FF238

4 Nurul Qaisara Binti Abdul Rahman 2018653298 FF238


25 April 2019


Gibran Kahlil Gibran was known as an author, artist and poet. He was the bearer of faith in the unity of all religion.

He was a key figure in the histories of modern English and Arabic literature in the early 20th century. He was born on 6th January 1883 in Bsharri, Lebanon and he was a quiet sensitive young boy. He showed an early artistic aptitude and a love for nature that became evident.

His father’s name was Kahlil Gibran and his mother’s name was Kamila. When Gibran was born, his parents gave him the name of his grandfather’s, Gibran.

It was a Lebanon tradition on that time. Gibran moved to Boston, Massachusetts when he was 10 with his mother and sisters, and they adapted to the American lifestyle when he started schooling in Boston. After 3 years, he went back to Lebanon. When he was 15, he returned to his home to attend a Maronite school, where he showed his interest in poetry.

Since his early school years, Gibran outstood with his mind, along with his reactive character against discipline in terms of both courses and etiquette. In early autumn, Gibran started a public school that consisted of poor Jews, Irish, Chinese and American kids. After school, he began to visit a centre of art and culture where several poetry, theatre and fine arts activities were held. Gibran spent most of his time in the library which somewhat became his own office where he conducted his studies. At the same place, he imitated the paintings of other authorities such as William Blake and stopped by weekly exhibitions by occasion served and was trying to establish a comprehensive repertoire for his future career.

Gibran received successive letters from Boston, indicating that his family members underwent various diseases. He returned to Boston (1901) shortly after the death of one of his sisters from tuberculosis and the following year, his brother and mother passed away as well. When he was 18, he moved to Paris and started his first book titled, “Spirit Rebellious”, inspired from where he was born. This gave him freedom to combine the cultures he had been living in. Bsharri had a huge influence on personality of Gibran.

Furthermore, his early works particularly bore the traces of the place where he spent his early life. Gibran found the meaning of misery, grief, worry and pain and also opened his heart for love with beauty and freedom in the arms of nature in Bsharri. Bsharri and its surroundings contributed to a cultural development of Gibran. In his first book, he wrote about four contemporary stories that mocking the corruptors. Gibran was ostracized from the Manorite church. But, some of them felt that Gibran’s satire was the voice of liberation and hope for the oppressed in West Asia. Gibran had primarily been a thinker, a student addressing himself to a study of philosophy would probably have been able to establish the Gibranian system of thought and well-defined theory of love. Gibran was a primarily a poet, and a mystic in whom thought, as in every good poet and good mystic, it is a state of being rather than a state of mind.

Gibran’s work was influenced by the Bible, Friedrich Nietzsche, and William Blake. He wrote in both English and Arabic languages. The tragedy that had ruined his family left him with his sister, Marianna to survive alone. Marianna financed all of Gibran’s artwork by working as a seamstress at Miss Teehan’s Gown. From her hardwork, Gibran was able to continue his art career.

Gibran went to Paris (1908) to study in Academie Julian, his enrolment funded by Mary Haskell. Gibran had a relationship with Mary Haskell who was the headmistress in the progressive school. She was 10 years older than him. He moved to New York City (1911) and worked in his studio at 15 West Tenth Street, the building where he did his paintings and writing.

Gibran was not married. Mary Haskell chose to marry a businessman instead of him. He has been in relationship with two people; Mary Haskell and May Ziadah. As a human, Gibran also knew about love. He saw love as pure and godlike. He felt the disappointment of love but can only praise the sense of love. He fell in love with May Ziadah because of her perspectives and beauties. May Ziadah was a well-known woman of letter or writer in Arab. Their relationship was only by letter and they have never met. The letter started from the year 1912 to 1931 with them exchanging opinions that further strengthened their relationship even more.

Gibran died in Boston on 10th April 1931. He passed away due to tuberculosis. He was an alcoholic. His body was taken to Boston though his family’s fears that he would be denied Catholic rites. His friend Monsignor Stephen El-Douaihy conducted a funeral. There were hundreds that attended but there were far too many for all of them to get into the church.

Some of Gibran’s artworks were Music of 1908 and The Prophet (1923). Gibran’s writing as well as his thoughts seems to have passed through two stages; Nymph of the Valley, Spirit Rebellious, Broken Wings and A Tear and a Smile were published between 1907 and 1914. And in a more mature stage of Processions, The Tempest and The Madman were his first work in English and The Forerunner, his second, all leading up to The Prophet.

It is only natural that in his youthful stage, Gibran’s longing in Chinatown, Boston, where he first settled for Lebanon the country of the first impressionable years of his life should dominate the other strings in his harp. Nymph of the Valley is a collection of three short stories. Spirit Rebellious consists of another four, while Broken Wings can easily pass for a long short story. The three books can be considered as one volume of eight collected short stories that are same in both style and conception although to the point of redundancy in all of them Lebanon.

Jesus the Son of Man

Kahlil Gibran is a symbol of the success of eastern immigrants in the western world. The name Kahlil Gibran was one almost all people recognize. It is the name of the artist inherited in the hearts of both young and old people, the beauty of his work acknowledged by literary critics.

I have chosen and studied a work of Kahlil Gibran titled ‘Jesus The Son of Man’. It has 79 small headings in the book. Amongst those 79 titles, I chose to specifically study ‘One of the Marys’, a story of his sadness and smile. In the work of Kahlil Gibran it will bring about the ambiguous impression of Kahlil Gibran’s conviction. In his writings Kahlil Gibran once said that he placed Jesus next to his heart and Prophet Mohammad on the other side. He also studied biblical, holy books of al-quran and hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad.

In the book I’m studying, a man named Mary (about his grief and his smile) there is also the divine wholeness of which “His head is soaked, and the rays of His eyes radiate His love”. The habit of the word “Nya” is the nickname of the great god s.w.t for the Muslims and the upright and radiant words are like the sun that tell about the freedom of the power of the gods. In my second opinion as the phrase “Execute a gold bullet over the jungle during the fall, or as the moonlight falls on the edge of the lake”. It means like in the morning sunlight will rise east and fall west on dusk. The connection given above is a cross-religious religiousity pattern in the work of Kahlil Gibran quite clear. The effect of this cross-religious religiousity is evident in the works of Kahlil Gibran.

In his work he also teaches people to see the beauty in the teachings of God. In his work Kahlil Gibran admits the truth that beauty is the work or creation of god. “The beauty of the expression and into the mysteries contained in the poem or parable of Kahlil Gibran has fulfilled the standard of scripture writing”. (John Heynes Holmes, the minister of the New York church, in the book of Jesus The Son of Man, 1928)


After Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, the Chinese poet. Gibran’s work, The Prophet has made him the third most-sold poet of all time. Gibran, a poet, artist, and mystic, He was born to a poor Christian family in Lebanon and emigrated to the United States as an adolescent, where he began studying art. The book contained 107 pages. Ever since it was published in 1923, The prophet has never been out of print. The perennial classic has been translated into over 50 languages. The United State edition itself has sold over 9 million copies. The first printing has sold out in a month and later, during the 1960s, it was selling up to 5000 copies a week. The Prophet been able to speak to various kind of generations, from those experiencing the depression to the 1960s counter culture, into the 21st century. It continues to sell well today. What extremely interesting about this book is the bite of critics in the West in relation to the work. Outside the English-speaking countries, Gibran attracts far less disdain. Thus, Professor Juan Cole, from university of Michigan itself has noted that Gibran’s writings in Arabic are in a very sophisticated style. In The Prophet, Gibran is focusing on life and human condition as the subject. The genre of this book is Prose Poetry. It is a poetry in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis and emotional effects.

The poetic essays collected in The Prophet are illustrated with twelve of his full-page drawings. Perhaps no other writer has touched the hearts and minds of so remarkably varied and widespread a readership. The Prophet contains powerful words of wisdom on such subjects as marriage, children, friendship, work, and pleasure words that readers from around the world have found inspirational and life-changing. As a prophet named Al-Mustapha is about to board a ship to travel back to his homeland after twelve years in exile, he is stopped by a group of people who seek him to share his wisdom words before he leaves. He offering profound and timeless insights on many aspects of life, including love, pain, friendship, family, beauty, religion, joy, sorrow, and death. Even though practically being ignored by the literary establishment in the West, lines from the book have inspired song lyrics, political speeches and have been read out at weddings and funerals all around the world. Those who have been influenced by its words was The Beatles, John F Kennedy and Indira Gandhi.


The Prophet declares no clear religious affiliation, while at the same time operating in a inspirational register. Many class it in that category of writing known as “wisdom texts”. Due to the role The Prophet played in opening a space for spiritual or personal counsel outside organized religion and its official texts, Gibran has been considered to as the midwife of the New Age. The Prophet embrace all or any spiritual tradition and this vagueness or openness depending on one’s reading may account for part of its widespread appeal.

The book presents advice on a number of core aspects of being human such as love, parenting, friendship, Good and Evil, and so on. It employs a simple narrative device. An exiled man, Al-Mustapha, who has been living abroad for 12 years, sees the ship that will carry him back “to the isle of his birth” approaching. Filled with grief at his departure, the people from the village gather and beseech him to give them words of wisdom to ease their sorrow. Gibran had lived in the US for 12 years at the time of writing, it could be argued, was in a kind of exile from Lebanon, the country that he was born at. I have read all of the 26 poems which is really deep and make me rethink since Gibran are focusing more on the reality of life and human condition. One of my favourite poems from The Prophet,

“You pray in your distress and in your need, would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and your days of abundance”

It means, people will only find their god when they are lost and in need, but would they do the same during their happiness?


Gibran was influenced on making this book not only by his religion but also by Islam and especially by the ascetic and mystic of Muslim. Gibran was born in Lebanon, he lived in a village called Bsharri, in 1883. At that time, Lebanon was part of Syria, which in turn was part of the Ottoman Empire. Gibran, was a brooding, soulful child. From his earliest years, he drew constantly. Painting was his first art and as important to him as writing and he communed with nature. With his knowledge of Lebanon’s bloody history in the past, with a destructive factional struggle. Gibran strengthened his belief in the fundamental unity of religions, which his parents exemplified by welcoming people of various religions in their home.


Gibran died young at the age of 48 from a cirrhosis of the liver due to a propensity for large quantities of alcohol, supplied to him by his own sister, Marianna. This poem is called “On Death”.

“Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity …

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.”

Gibran has been criticized for his style of playing confounding but reassuringly on opposites which some argue it can be anything. Perhaps life had presented to him its own stark dualities such as poverty and wealth, indifference and desire. The line have been bold means do not be afraid of this melting because this is certainly an end of life but it is also a beginning of a better life. Life is continuously evolving, and this is the only way to evolve. Gibran points towards eternal life saying that you truly live once you die. I wonders whether if Gibran was able to find any solace from his own words in his final days of frailty?


The Three Ants is one of many poems written by Kahlil Gibran. While it is unclear from which specific source of book or any other physical literature it originated from, it happens to have been adapted into a short film, directed by Gabriel Sumon. The poem tells of three ants whom, after saluting each other in greeting, share their early impressions of the location they stand upon, unbeknownst to them that they are on a man’s nose. Two of the ants are tentative on their quest to find food, while the third ant speaks of a sacred being, the Supreme Ant; the man’s nose. When the two ants laugh over such, the man stirs in his sleep then scratches his nose, and the ants end up getting crushed.

Personification of the ants as humans is highly implied, as do most stories with animals do revolve around a respective moral for humans. In ‘The Three Ants’, it can be signified how the three ants are from different tribes. All three seem to have different upbringings, one who is realistic and logical, one who is raised with stories of the ‘majestic place’ they stand on, and the other who seems to be overly religious. The ignorance of the two ants drives them to ridicule the third ant without need for prior investigation. This is a definite symbolism of those who berate other people’s religions and beliefs will garner consequences for mocking something that is unknown yet could be true.

The poem is written concisely and makes use of formal language, which was a relapsing style of writing by Gibran. Another recurring element is the usage of spiritual terms comprised by the poem, which reflects Gibran’s strong beliefs and overall connection to the multitude of religions he consistently took influence from to pour into his artworks. Gibran owned a flair in his works for being satire towards those who were considered to be narrow-minded to his person. This further corroborates how his works were, majority of the times, a medium to the public to convey his message of the people’s lack of openness, especially if one takes into consideration how he was a man who didn’t differentiate religions and instead, embraced and admired all of them. For this, Kahlil Gibran’s works breathe these various beliefs, projecting the unique diversity of both his mind and life.


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