The forty rules of Love

This magnum opus by Elif Shafak, is all Love. The author puts Love as the protagonist here and weaves in two parallel narratives; one involving Rumi and Shams of Tabriz taking place in the 1240s, and the other, a contemporary one, taking place in 2008 and featuring an American woman, Ella.

Rumi, a privileged and celebrated scholar in Konya, lives a protected life, revered by everyone but often oblivious to the sufferings and miseries of the poor and the disadvantaged, and nurturing a void in his soul. Shams, a wandering dervish and an enigmatic heretic, lives a life practising sufism and has dedicated his whole being to the unfathomable power and purity of Love and kindness. Upon meeting Shams, Rumi undergoes this spiritual transformation that makes him unlearn all his beliefs; which causes tension and animosity with his followers and even his family. However, their relationship is ill fated. The loss and heartache transforms Rumi into this mystical poet, that the world has now come to know him for.

Ella’s story has her as this uninspired housewife in a loveless marriage who has discarded every notion about the existence of love. Her chance encounter with Aziz, emboldens her to question her life’s choices. It unravels as she continues to seek her agency and authority.

This book is an ode to love. The forty rules are life affirming and triumphant. Love, compassion, honesty and empathy are the lingering subtext in every rule. The book also presents the Sufi interpretation of Islam; which is all encompassing and ethereal. For the troubled times that currently the world is in and for all the islamophobes; this book is a necessity.

Shukran, Elif!


Author: theshinydiaries

Being authentic; one day at a time!

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