The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak




What is the first name that pops in your head when you read these three words?


That’s what comes to me, and I’m pretty sure that’s the name which strikes most of you as well.

But Rumi as we know him, was not always the same. He was a scholar, a preacher who led a secure life, admired and loved by all.

He was not a poet.

He was not a Sufi.

“Glory be to God, an ocean is walking behind a lake.”

And then he met Shams of Tabriz. The wandering dervish became not just his companion but a mirror to his soul. Their relationship became a victim of slander, malicious gossip and Rumi’s once unimpeachable reputation was destroyed. Familial strife, enmity and innumerable hardships later, as Rumi unlearned everything he knew, he became the one he was meant to be.

A Poet. A Sufi. A Lover.

Elif Shafak describes this wild beauty of love, the meaning of life, the tests to find true love, the way to peace and a lot, lot more through her magnificent work.

All of this however remains as a part of a manuscript called Sweet Blasphemy by Aziz Zahara which Ella Rubenstein is reviewing. As her personal life runs parallel to Rumi and Shams, the reader enjoys the stark contrast and sweet similarities between Zahara and Ella which brings about texture and twists to the novel.

The Forty Rules of Love shows how the Sufi way established 800 years ago is still relevant, perhaps more so in this age of chaos. Perhaps if we could learn a little from the Religion of Love, the enlightened Shams and Rumi our souls could heal a little.


Zoya Ejaz

P.s. If you want me to write a post on the 40 rules which Shams laid down, let me know in the comment section. write to us at or

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