Naguib Mahfouz Quotes

Laugh till you're exhausted.
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace of Desire, 1957)
Happy is he who can give himself up.
Naguib Mahfouz
Madness is the acme of intelligence.
Naguib Mahfouz (Arabian Nights and Days, 1979)
You know what I'm afraid of? That God is sick of us.
Naguib Mahfouz (Adrift on the Nile, 1966)
An anxious heart is like a string thats out of tune
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace Walk, 1956)
Don't go back over the past. Let it depart, never to return.
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace Walk, 1956)
If life has no meaning, why don't we create a meaning for it?
Naguib Mahfouz
Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life.
Naguib Mahfouz
I want a world where men live free from fear and coercion.
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace of Desire, 1957)
God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.
Naguib Mahfouz
Visit me once each year, for it's wrong to abandon people forever.
Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz Quote: I was reading a lot of books I admired, and thought that I would like to write...
I was reading a lot of books I admired, and thought that I would like to write something like that someday.
Naguib Mahfouz (Interview in Aramco World)
Events at home, at work, in the street - these are the bases for a story.
Naguib Mahfouz
Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body.
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace of Desire, 1957)
Home is not where you were born. Home is where all your attempts to escape cease.
Naguib Mahfouz
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
Naguib Mahfouz
It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.
Naguib Mahfouz
The writer interweaves a story with his own doubts, questions, and values. That is art.
Naguib Mahfouz
The calendar has a magic that makes us imagine a memory can be resurrected and revived, but nothing returns.
Naguib Mahfouz (Palace of Desire, 1957)
There are no heroes in most of my stories. I look at our society with a critical eye and find nothing extraordinary in the people I see.
Naguib Mahfouz
He shook his head sadly. What a fool you are. You've wasted your ability searching for something that doesn't exist.
When will you realize you don't exist?
Naguib Mahfouz (The Beggar, The Thief and the Dogs)
Art is a criticism of society and life, and I believe that if life became perfect, art would be meaningless and cease to exist.
Naguib Mahfouz (Petras)
I defend both the freedom of expression and society's right to counter it. I must pay the price for differing. It is the natural way of things.
Naguib Mahfouz
There is no alternative to action, and that requires faith. The issue is how we are to mould for ourselves a belief system that is worthy of life.
Naguib Mahfouz (Sugar Street, 1957)
The Nobel Prize has given me, for the first time in my life, the feeling that my literature could be appreciated on an international level.
Naguib Mahfouz (Interview in Aramco World)
A priests life is spent between question and answer-- or between a question and the attempt to answer it. The question is the summary of the spiritual life.
Naguib Mahfouz (Three novels of ancient Egypt)
I believe in life and in people. I feel obliged to advocate their highest ideals as long as I believe them to be true. I also see myself compelled to revolt against ideals I believe to be false, since recoiling from rebellion would be a form of treason
Naguib Mahfouz (Sugar Street, 1957)
I love Sufism as I love beautiful poetry, but it is not the answer. Sufism is like a mirage in the desert. It says to you, come and sit, relax and enjoy yourself for a while.
Naguib Mahfouz
It's clearly more important to treat one's fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one's head to a prayer mat.
Naguib Mahfouz
They are liars. And they know that they are liars.
And they know that we know that they are liars.
Even so, they keep lying very loudly so
Naguib Mahfouz
The Arab world also won the Nobel with me. I believe that international doors have opened, and that from now on, literate people will consider Arab literature also. We deserve that recognition.
Naguib Mahfouz (Interview in Aramco World)
As for life's tragedies, our love will defeat them. Love is the most effective cure. In the crevices of disasters, happiness lies like a diamond in a mind, so let us instill in ourselves the wisdom of love.
Naguib Mahfouz (Midaq Alley, 1947)
Radwan Hussainy was engaged in one of his long conversations filled with exhortation and advice. He turned to the man talking with him and said, "Never say you are bored. Boredom is disbelief in God. Boredom is an illness that destroys faith. Does it mean anything other than dissatisfaction with life? Life is a blessed gift from God Almighty, so how can a believer become bored or dissatisfied with it? You say you are dissatisfied with this or that, and I ask you from where did this or that originate? Doesn't everything originate with the Glorious God who in His kindness rights all wrongs? Never rebel against the work of the Creator! All of life has beauty and taste, although the bitterness of an evil soul will pollute the most appetizing tastes. Believe me, pain brings joy, despair has its pleasure, and death teaches a lesson. How can we be bored when the sky is blue, the earth green, and the flowers fragrant? How can we be depressed when hearts have a capacity for love and our souls have the power of faith? Seek refuge from the devil in God and never say you are bored…"
Naguib Mahfouz (Midaq Alley, 1947)


Naguib Mahfouz Biography

Naguib Mahfouz portrait

Born: 1911
Died: 2006

Naguib Mahfouz was a influential Egyptian writer and novelist who is best known for his literary works in Arabic alongside his existential contemplations. He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1988.

Notable Works

Rhadopis of Nubia (1943)
The Mirage (1948)
Children of Gebelawi (1959)
The Search (1964)
Adrift on the Nile (1966)