Introduction 

In Kahlil Gibran’s finest work, The Prophet, “On Friendship” is the 19th piece. The Prophet is a compilation of 26 English-language prose poetry writings. Alfred A. Knopf initially released it in 1923.

A friend provides the mutual love, delight, comfort, and peace that we all need. Friendship allows you to freely and openly discuss your thoughts. With your own heart, you hear a friend’s thoughts, aspirations, and expectations in his silence. According to the poem, when you say goodbye to a friend, you may see more clearly in his absence what you admire in him.

About The Poet

Kahlil Gibran was born in Bsharri, Lebanon, on January 6, 1883. Gibran’s first painting exhibition took place in Boston in 1904. He studied painting in Paris from 1908 to 1910. He moved to New York in 1912, where he engaged in writing and art. Gibran’s early writings were in Arabic, but after 1918, he usually published in English. In 1920, he formed the Mahar Society for Arab Writers. On April 10th, 1931, Gibran died in New York.

Theme Of The Poem

This poem appears in the book “The Prophet.” The prophet Al-Mustafa has been living in the faraway city of Orphalese for 12 years and is ready to board a ship that will take him home in this book. He is temporarily halted by a group of people with whom he converses about life and the human existence. Friendship is one of these issues.

Stanza 1

“Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.”

AL Mustafa says in this poem that a companion can alleviate all of your worries. Friendship requires love and gratitude to prove that you cherish your friend as much as a farmer values the crop that nourishes his family. Al Mustafa compares a friend to an inn where you may stay after a long day of traveling. Your friend will undoubtedly offer you with a bed and a warming fire. If you’re hungry, you may ask for food, and if you’re tired, you can ask for a nice chat.

Stanza 2

“When your friend speaks his mind, you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent, your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.”

When a friend asks for your advice on anything, Al Mustafa urges being completely honest with him. If you don’t agree, you should say “nay”, and if you do, you should express your support emphatically. There should be a silent connection between your hearts even after your companion stops speaking. Friendship is a language that may also be expressed telepathically. Even if your friends’ wishes and needs, his deepest feelings, and his expectations from you are not plainly stated, you should be aware of them. Only then can friendship be rewarding.

Al Mustafa explains, that it is not necessary to be unhappy while saying goodbye to a friend. Your friend’s absence may reveal what you miss most about him, just as a climber might see the mountaintop more clearly from the plains. Making friends should only strengthen one’s spirit and enhance partnerships. A love that isn’t unconditional is nothing more than a trap set for self-interest. This trap, on the other hand, only succeeds in capturing things which will be of no use to anybody.

Stanza 3

“And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Al Mustafa emphasizes in this verse, that you should save your greatest moments for your dear friend. You should meet him not only when you have some free time, but also when you can specifically devote time for him. Your companion can fit your needs, but not your void. Friendship should make you want to rejoice and share all of your happy memories. After a long day of living in this miserable world, it is the tiny things that friends do for each other that rejuvenate man’s soul.