Naguib Mahfouz quotes:

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.

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

  • At my age it is unseemly to be pessimistic."

  • The real malady is fear of life, not of death

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

  • I found myself in a sea in which the waves of joy and sorrow were clashing against each other.

  • If life has no meaning, why don't we create a meaning for it?

  • I was afraid of marriage. I had the impression married life would take up all my time. I saw myself drowning in visits and parties. No freedom.

  • 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.

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

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

  • paraphrasing.."Science is the language of the intellect of society. Art is language of the entire human personality.

  • At my age it is unseemly to be pessimistic.

  • A priest's 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.

  • Writing is for men who can think and feel, not mindless sensation seekers out of nightclubs and bars. But these are bad times. We are condemned to work with upstarts, clowns who no doubt got their training in a circus and then turned to journalism as the appropriate place to display their tricks.

  • Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body.

  • It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.

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

  • If we reject science, we reject the common man.

  • 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.

  • The criminal is trying to solve his immediate problems.

  • "Death by love is fairer by far than death by illness", said Amenhotep III.

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

  • 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.

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

  • Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life.

  • For the first time in my life, I felt that a wave, a justice was sweeping away a deep-seated decay without any indulgence. I dearly wished that it would keep going without hesitation or deviation, in a spirit of purity forever.

  • Freedom of expression must be considered sacred and thought can only be corrected by counter thought.

  • Happy is he who can give himself up.

  • He seemed to be waiting for a miracle to save him from the depths his life had reached and take him to a land of dreams.

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

  • I am the son of two civilizations that at a certain age in history have formed a happy marriage. The first of these, seven thousand years old, is the Pharaonic civilization; the second, one thousand four hundred years old, is the Islamic civilization.

  • 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

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

  • 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.

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

  • In the calculus of good deeds you have the most to gain.

  • Insults are the business of the court.

  • It's not surprising that truly humanitarian manifestos originate frequently in minority circles or with people whose consciences are troubled by the problems of minorities.

  • Literature should be more revolutionary than revolutions themselves; writers must find the means to continue to be critical of the negative elements in the sociopolitical reality.

  • Madness is the acme of intelligence.

  • Only the poor are handicapped by honor.

  • The calendar has a magic that makes us imagine a memory can be resurrected and revived, but nothing returns.

  • The heart is a place of secrets...

  • 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.

  • Visit me once each year, for it's wrong to abandon people forever.

  • 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.

  • We wont develop until we accept that reading is a vital necessity.

  • When will the state of the country be sound?... When its people believe that the end result of cowardice is more disastrous than that of behaving with integrity.

  • When you spend time with your friends, what do you talk about? Those things which made an impression on you that day, that week ... I write stories the same way. Events at home, in school, at work, in the street, these are the bases for a story. Some experiences leave such a deep impression that instead of talking about them at the club I work them into a novel.

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

  • Without literature my life would be miserable.

  • You know what I'm afraid of? That God is sick of us.

  • Home is not where you were born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.