The Forty Rules of Love…

The reading habit has the potential to leave imprints in our lives like few things have the power of doing…it teaches us…nourishes us…nurtures us and takes us on journeys of unimaginable dimensions…above all, it impacts…colors…and shapes our sense of being in vibrant and radiant colors…allowing all the bits to help shape and remake ourselves…nudging and allowing us to be in harmony with the heart and the universal truths of the universe…

Some reads touch you in ways that is almost complete in its entirety…a recent read, The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, was one such! A fictionalised account based on Mevlana Rumi’s life, Rumi, poet extraordinaire of the Sufi canon, and his spiritual mentor the whirling dervish known as Shamz of Tabriz…the fact that this story is set in a country and city I have fond memories of, is a bonus! I will set down these forty rules of love of God from the book in four parts…hoping they will comfort…instruct…be food for thought and introspection…and inspire you as they did me…

1. 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.

2. The Path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs  (ego) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

 3. Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level in tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batıni—the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it can not be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

 4. You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him…in the heart of a true lover.

 5. Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people with knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everthing. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

6. Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence..

7. Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

8. Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

9. Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

10. East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mal
    May 26, 2012 @ 07:14:25

    Shama, a lovely, enlightening post…nos 8 and 9..ah, I need to seriously dwell on them.. God bless..


  2. shamasheikh
    May 26, 2012 @ 17:19:56

    So happy you enjoyed it Maleeha…what is so beautiful about these is that one can relate to them and feel them applicable to oneself on so many levels…

    Thank you and God bless…


  3. bronxboy55
    May 28, 2012 @ 12:39:28

    What a wonderful post, Shama. I especially like number 5, but the entire piece reminded me how important our relationships are. Number 6 made me think of all the people walking around all day sending and receiving text messages — so many avoidable problems!


    • shamasheikh
      Jun 01, 2012 @ 04:51:29

      Thank you Charles…cannot take the credit for these…but the book is a delightful read and has incorporated these timeless guidelines for life and living quite beautifully…so glad you enjoyed them too…

      God bless….


  4. Arindam
    May 31, 2012 @ 21:41:27

    Great post Shamaji. So many good points. For me number six and seven are the best. I also believe all the major problems in the word are due to misunderstanding only. May be God will make us all realize that one day.


  5. shamasheikh
    Jun 01, 2012 @ 04:55:27

    So glad you enjoyed this Arindam…isn’t it wonderful how these guidelines for life seem to mean and have something special to say to each one of us…

    The prayer is to be the best that each one of us can be….inshallah!
    God bless…


  6. jhasmoments
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 15:30:21

    May I tweet this? I would love to share it. 🙂


  7. shamasheikh
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 16:11:14

    Thank you so very much for coming by J and for all the likes and comments….I am so happy to see you here .
    I am flattered that you would like to tweet and share these timeless guidelines for life…please do so…I do believe that it is the need of the hour too…

    I look forward to exploring your blog…
    God bless…


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