Quotes by Naguib Mahfouz

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.
– Naguib Mahfouz
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.
– Naguib Mahfouz
I have condemned Khomeini's fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie as a breach of international relations and as an assault on Islam as we know it in the era of apostasy. I believe that the wrong done by Khomeini towards Islam and the Muslims is no less than that done by the author himself. As regards freedom of expression, I have said that it must be considered sacred and that thought can only be corrected by counter-thought. During the debate, I supported the boycott of the book as a means of maintaining social peace, granted that such a decision would not be used as a pretext to constrain thought.
– 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
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.
– Naguib Mahfouz
Today's interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization.
– Naguib Mahfouz
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
If you want to move people, you look for a point of sensitivity, and in Egypt nothing moves people as much as religion.
– Naguib Mahfouz
If we reject science, we reject the common man.
– Naguib Mahfouz
I've never worked in politics, never been a member of an official committee or a political party.
– Naguib Mahfouz
I was a government employee in the morning and a writer in the evening.
– Naguib Mahfouz
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.
– Naguib Mahfouz
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
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
I believe society has a right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees.
– Naguib Mahfouz
I accepted the interviews and encounters that had to be held with the media, but I would have preferred to work in peace.
– Naguib Mahfouz
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
– Naguib Mahfouz
God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.
– Naguib Mahfouz
Events at home, at work, in the street - these are the bases for a story.
– Naguib Mahfouz
At my age it is unseemly to be pessimistic.
– Naguib Mahfouz