Naguib Mahfouz Quotes (50 Quotes)


    If you want to move people, you look for a point of sensitivity, and in Egypt nothing moves people as much as religion.

    I consider Khomeini's position dangerous. He does not have the right to pass judgment-that is not the Islamic way.

    History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.

    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.

    I thought they would never select an Eastern writer for the Nobel. I was surprised.


    My wife thought I deserved it, but I always thought the Nobel a Western prize.

    I accepted the interviews and encounters that had to be held with the media, but I would have preferred to work in peace.

    We are passing through a very sensitive time, and on the whole, this country is facing very big problems.

    I didn't make any money from my writing until much later. I published about 80 stories for nothing. I spent on literature.

    We are like a woman with a difficult pregnancy. We have to rebuild the social classes in Egypt, and we must change the way things were.

    If the urge to write should ever leave me, I want that day to be my last.

    I believe society has a right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees.

    I started writing while I was a little boy. Maybe it's because I was reading a lot of books I admired, and thought that I would like to write something like that someday. Also, my love for good writing pushed me.

    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.

    The writer interweaves a story with his own doubts, questions, and values. That is art.

    We used the Western style to express our own themes and stories. But don't forget that our heritage includes The Thousand and One Nights.

    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.

    It is simply not part of my culture to preserve notes. I have never heard of a writer preserving his early drafts.


    Hosni Mubarak... his constitution is not democratic, but he is democratic. We can voice our opinions now. The press is free.

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

    I reject any path which rejects life, but I can't help loving Sufism because it sounds so beautiful. It gives relief in the midst of battle.

    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.

    Excessive concern with religion seems to me a last resort for people who have been exhausted by life.

    I've never worked in politics, never been a member of an official committee or a political party.

    I was reading a lot of books I admired, and thought that I would like to write something like that someday.

    an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind.


    I was a government employee in the morning and a writer in the evening.

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

    One effect that the Nobel Prize seems to have had is that more Arabic literary works have been translated into other languages.

    An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.


    As the tension eases, we must look in the direction of agriculture, industry and education as our final goals, and toward democracy under Mr Mubarak.

    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.

    Winning Nobel imposed on me a lifestyle to which I am not used and which I would not have preferred.


    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.

    According to Islamic principles, when a man is accused of heresy, he is given the choice between repentance and punishment.

    The criminal is trying to solve his immediate problems.



    I am practically in the employ of Mr. Nobel. I have to meet everyone he sends my way.

    My countrymen have the right to shake my hand and talk to me if they so wish. Don't forget that their support and their reading of my works is what brought me the Nobel prize.

    In Egypt today most people are concerned with getting bread to eat. Only some of the educated understand how democracy works.

    The Koran and the laws of all civilized nations legislate against the vilification of religions.

    God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.

    I wake up early in the morning and walk for an hour. If I have something to write, I prefer to write in the morning until midday, and in the afternoon, I eat.

    I was suffering from a peculiar and persistent sense that I was being pursued, and also the conviction that under the political order of the times, our lives had no meaning.

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


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