A Turkish as well as an English author, Elif Shafak has published 15 books out which Forty Rules of Love has been the best and the most widely read. Her writing focuses on a mixture of history, culture and Sufism. This book moves on to tell us about Ella who works in a literary agency and is given a project on a book called ‘Sweet Blasphemy’. Sweet Blasphemy is about a Sufi known as Shams of Tabriz and how he travels and seeks out Rumi, a well-known scholar; so that his knowledge can be shared because Shams of Tabriz knows that his time is near.
The relationship of Shams of Tabriz and Rumi becomes strong with friendship, devotion and love. This brings a change in Rumi, a change which is hated by people surrounding him, including his own family. This book tells us how Shams of Tabriz, with his words and actions, captures the hearts of each individual. These people come from different races, classes and segments of the society. Starting from Rumi’s wife to his son’s prostitutes to raging alcoholics.
On the other hand, Ella becomes emotionally attached and connected to the writer of Sweet Blasphemy, Aziz. She starts to think he is Shams of Tabriz and acquaints each of the forty rules with herself and Aziz.
Personally, this book and reading about the Forty Rules of Shams brought me closer to the urge of finding what is hidden inside of me. These Rules are by far the best guide to living life and loving life. The matter of religion plays little role here, for these Forty Rules are applicable to any individual who has a true heart; it is not meant for any specific religion or sect. I will share some of the rules which have touched me to the very core and which I believe will stay with me forever.
As Shams of Tabriz puts it, “How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we”. This could not have been said any better. You will find that this is true and you will find support for it when you look around and study each individual yourself. How each individual acts and relates to other people is how he/she views God.
“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.” Here Shams of Tabriz has given us a very beautiful advice on relationships. And I believe, this is one of the most important advices for our times if not the most important one. Sacrifices and compromises are the beauty of any and every relationship. It should not be viewed as weakness and it should not be limited to only one side of the relationship but to both sides. People have to change, break and make anew for love requires a lot of space and change. And with that I bid you farewell and suggest that every household should give this book a definite read for it has to so much knowledge and wisdom to offer. I rate this book 5/5!
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