I brought The Forty Rules of Love home to read but it took me a long time to do it. It was on my bookshelf for months until I saw a post on Instagram about this book reminding me of its presence at my place.
The story in this book revolves around love, Sufism, spirituality and religion. Hence some of us may not understand its in-depth illustration. I took some time to complete the book, but it was worth it. The Forty Rules of Love is not only beautiful, but it is illuminating. The content seems very well researched and smoothly written.
The interesting thing about the book is that it has a novel inside itself. The details are so good that enables us to understand the perspective of the both sides of the coin. The different views from different groups of society, narrate the mindset of people close to the reality.
Author of the Book
Elif Shafak is famous and an award winning British-Turkish writer who was born in Strasbourg, France. She is the most widely read novelist in Turkey who writes both in English and Turkish. She has published 17 books so far. Her bestselling books include The Forty Rules of Love, The Bastard of Istanbul and Black Milk. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages so far.
The Forty Rules of Love Summary
This is a story of Ella Rubenstein who is a mother of 3 kids. She is 40 years old housewife, unhappy with her unfaithful husband. She takes on a job as a reader for a literary agency and is assigned to a book called Sweet Blasphemy written by Aziz Zahara. As she reads the novel, her life begins to change. The book she is reading is about Rumi and his Sufi teacher Shams of Tabriz and their relationship. As she reads, she starts thinking of Aziz Zahara as Shams for her.
Shams Tabriz is recognized as a very knowledgeable and pious dervish but as we move forward with the story, he appears to be as human as any other being. He feels it’s the purpose of his soul to find a spiritual companion to whom he can transfer his knowledge and ideology. He is always ready to challenge traditional wisdom and social discrimination whenever he encounters it.
Family of Rumi is not very fond of Shams because he spiritually pushes beyond the boundaries drawn by the society. Rumi is respected in his community, but Shams has to lead him beyond the comforts of his social desires. It is never easy to say “NO” to the things you have been saying “YES”, all your life. It creates a stir of consequences which you must face in order to transform yourself into a better version of yourself. If Shams had not challenged Rumi’s cherished ideologies, we would not have his fabulous poetry.
The two parallel stories of Rumi and Ella learning from their teachers Shams and Aziz respectively depict similarities between their social norms even with a gap of 7 centuries and different culture. Aziz changed Ella’s life as Shams changed Rumi’s. Both are forced to question their social belief systems and then abandon their comfort zones to become the better versions of themselves.
The book shows a radical transformation of a scholar to a poet and encourages us to go on a spiritual journey that can enlighten us. There is always a Shams in every era, it is up to us if we can cross the boundaries that are only holding us back.
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Name: The Forty Rules of Love
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
Book Type: Paperback 368 Pages