« The Forty Rules of Love » by Elif Shafak

My summer read to end this month under the theme of summer and back to school.


My mother and a friend both recommended this book and I thank them for it.

I have read a criticism that Elif Shafak separates, or moves away, Sufi mysticism from Islam in this book, and that the image of it being put forward is not (quite) the truth of this philosophy.
I couldn’t tell, but I prefer to let you know.
This book might not be an introduction to Sufi mysticism.

What it is, though, is an introduction to Love, or a reminder.

The story of Rûmi and Shams, as described in this book, is a story of Love.
It isn’t a romance, nor a physical relationship – as some, in the manuscript, seem to believe – but pure and spiritual Love.
Rûmi and Shams nourish each other, light each other up, cultivate each other’s wisdom and inner light.

Ella’s story seems to be a way of showing the transformation that is possible when we plunge into such a current.
Transformation that we might be able to undergo ourself if we open up to the initiatory aspect of this novel.

I found the way this book is written very interesting. The author separates and mixes both stories by alternating between them, the manuscript itself being an alternation of point of views from various characters.

This book really moved me, and was a beneficial and necessary reminder of the existence and expanse of Love, with a capital L.

« Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella’s life – an emptiness once filled by love.

So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.

It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. . . »

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