The Forty Rules of Love is a book written by the Turkish female author Elif Shafak. Her book is inspired by Rumi’s message of love and his companionship with his spiritual master Shams of Tabriz. It’s a book that encourages you to transform your life and fill it with love.
The Forty Rules of Love is one of her best sellers. The novel consists of two parallel narratives. The contemporary one is about an unhappily married Jewish housewife named Ella living in Northampton, Massachusetts. Ella works for a literary agency and currently she is given a book named “Sweet Blasphemy” by Aziz Zahara. The sweet blasphemy is the second narrative of this novel. Sweet blasphemy is actually about a wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz, who is a mystic Sufi and he sees the vision of his death and he know that he should find a companion to whom he can deliver his knowledge to. For that Shams travels from Samarkand to Baghdad where he gets to know about Jalaluddin Rumi, a famous scholar of that time by a Sufi. Shams travels to Konya where Rumi lives and the story unwraps itself as to how they become friends, how drastically Rumi starts to change and how people start to hate Shams including Rumi’s family . On the other hand Ella becomes acquainted with the writer of sweet blasphemy Aziz Zahara over the email after she becomes highly affected by the sweet blasphemy. Over the course of emails with Aziz Zahara she finds out she is ready to give up her life, her children, her husband for the guy on the other end of the email.
The style of the novel is a narrative one and although the sweet blasphemy Is really captivating the narrative of Ella somehow adds some weakness to the novel. The writer nailed it in narrating the sweet blasphemy the way it was shown from many perspectives sometimes from the perspective of shams, sometimes a beggar, sometimes zealot or Rumi or prostitute or even the family of Rumi. That really shows the picture of what was actually happening, the love of Rumi for Shams and the hatred of the townspeople and Rumi’s family towards Shams. But the narrative of Ella lacks the multiple perspectives. It is just from the perspective of Ella, if it was from the point of view of Aziz or her children then the reader would have understood Ella’s story more clearly.
I really liked the novel and most of it is because of Shams of Tabriz, from his rules of love to his strong personality to his love and belief on god everything was mesmerizing. As an agnostic, reading about Shams really awakened the urge to find the GOD in the most unlikely places. The forty rules of love which is narrated by shams from time to time really maybe just for a while changed my perspective on life and on relations and obviously on GOD. On the other hand it intensified my hatred towards the hypocrite religious people who don’t have anything to do with God or the love we bear in our hearts. And as for being a fan of Rumi’s poetry it was really good to know how he became just a good poet and knowing the person who was behind it ‘SHAMS OF TABRIZ’ .
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