Na'ima completed his secondary education in the Baskinta school, studied at the Russian Teachers' Institute in Nazareth and the Theological Seminary in Poltava, Ukraine. He moved to the United States where he received degrees in Law and Liberal Arts at the University of Washington and began his writing career in Walla Walla, Washington in 1919.
After graduation he moved to New York, where along with Khalil Gibran and eight other writers he formed a movement for the rebirth of Arabic literature, the New York Pen League. He was the Vice President and Khalil Gibran was President. In 1932, having lived in the States for 21 years, he returned to Baskinta, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died of pneumonia at the age of 98 on March 1, 1988 in East Beirut.
He wrote 99 books, including drama, essays, poetry, criticism, short stories and biography.
Among his best known books is the Book of Mirdad, a mystical text first published in Lebanon in 1948, which was translated into English and published in London in 1962.[incorrect - first written in English then translated into Arabic]
The mystic Osho had this to say about The Book of Mirdad: "There are millions of books in the world, but The Book of Mirdad stands out far above any book in existence." The book is a parable about a monastery that stood where Noah's ark came to rest after the flood subsided. It describes the very nature of human existence and Man's relation to the God within. It is told through the eyes of the monks as their lives change when a mystical stranger, Mirdad, enters the monastery. Osho says, "It is a small book, but the man who gave birth to this book - and mind my words, I am not saying 'the man who wrote this book', nobody wrote this book - was an unknown, a nobody. And because he was not a novelist, he never wrote again; just that single book contains his whole experience. The name of the man was Mikhail Naimy."