Book review: The forty rules of love


Altaf Adam
The Forty Rules of Love is a wonderful work of “Ellif Shafak” which got published in March 2009. The Forty Rules of Love is a tremendous novel with the thoughts Sufism and Islamic views that inspire every Muslim in the universe. It’s a novel of poetic thoughts that narrate two stories and conclude teaching us the forty rules. First story is on the life of Ella Rubinstien and the second one is the story of Rumi, a Sufi, and Shams of Tabriz. The novel gets started with Ella Rubinstiene, a forty years old unhappily married woman who only does domestic chores. She appears to be all right but still feels that the most important thing is missing in her life..LOVE. She finds herself to be changed due to the cheating husband in her life and because of the lack of love, she is not satisfied with her husband. Being a housewife for several years, finally she gets a job as literary agent who reads books and writes their reviews. The first book, assigned to her was “Sweat Blasphemy” written by Aziz Zahara that contains a tale of Shams of Tabriz, searching for a wandering dervish as Rumi, which is the second story of the Forty Rules of Love. She reads the tale in which Shams of Tabriz is known as a Sufi in his area. Shams travels a long way to Baghdad to find Rumi, a cleric with an unsettled soul. On the course of his knowledge, He faces hatred and disappointment from other people and the town especially Rumi’s family. Despite of dangers and troubles he shows the path of light and love to    Rumi. In forty days with Rumi he transforms Rumi into a mystic, a lover and a poet. Finally, Rumi’s encounter changed into a mystical poet by Shams of Tabriz. Meanwhile, Ell gets inspired by the story of Shams of Tabriz. As Rumi’s life got changed by Shams of Tabriz, the life of Ella alters due to Aziz Zahara. Ella was heartfelt by the conversation to Aziz Zahara through emails filled love in her life, as Shams did for Rumi and Aziz for Ella. At the end she finds herself changed because of a book she must read in a part of her new job. The Forty Rules of Love laid down by Shams Tabriz which has significant lessons, poetic thoughts of Sufism which can help everyone in different aspects of life. This book not only focuses on the budding love between Ella and Aziz but also on the spiritual friendship between Shams of Tabriz and Rumi. The Forty Rules of Love is a cross between general fiction and historical fiction since the events occurred between Shams of Tabriz and Rumi in the book are based on true events. Sufism is a huge theme and this is what made this book special. Sufism is teaching derived from the main teachings of Islam where it focuses on spiritual oneness of God with his creations. Finally, the book is a great reminder of what it means to be human beings connecting with others through kindness, understanding, attitude and most importantly love. The book changed my views on Islam and how there are so many things left to discover a beauty of religion. One can get progressive thoughts and much information after reading the Forty Rules of Love. Due to its Islamic nature, our PM Imran Khan also recommended reading this book. So it’s known that we all should take some time to read The Forty Rules of Love.