Today would have been the 106th birthday of  Egyptian author and Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. Mahfouz is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, publishing 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays.

Mahfouz was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature. The committee recognised him because he, “through works rich in nuance – now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous – has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”

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Here are some of his quotes:

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.


God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.


Today’s interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization.


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.


Events at home, at work, in  the street – these are the bases for a story.

An artist’s rendition of Naguib Mahfouz [Photo: Wiki CC]
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An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.


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.”


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.


Art is a criticism of society and life, and I believe that if life became perfect, art would be meaningless and cease to exist.”


Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life.”