The Forty Rules of Love Review
“There is a language of love I seek, a language which makes a name a synonym of love. A love that has defined your soul and your presence in this world. Knowledge of God through the eyes of love.” ~ Nalini Dutta (ND)
The story of “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak – my take:
It is just not just a book for some old insipid style of a love story but a story that will enthrall you to the core. The story is as much about love as about spirituality through the eyes of love. As “The Forty Rules of Love” are being revealed slowly, they will take you deeper in thoughts about love, life, and humanity.
You will feel the gush of emotions as Ella, the housewife on her journey to reclaim her life, amid her chaos of being a mother and an observant passive wife, falls in love with Aziz the writer. Aziz has written a novel which Ella is writing a report for a publishing house, on the book Aziz has written.
The story progresses with Ella starting with her life again on a professional front at the age of forty with no proper experience and no credentials to her support. Mystic is the book that she gets to read, hesitantly she takes up the task, not wanting to give up anymore. But the book grows on her as the writer describes the life of Shams, the dervish, who is different from all dervishes one has seen from the period. Shams is the madman who doesn’t speak as it ought to be according to society, but as is right according to him. His mission is to find a companion in life with whom he can share the love he has learned, the knowledge of God through the eyes of love. His sharpness and gifts enable him to read omens and see through the doors, walls and even people. He lands in Baghdad to find his soul.
There is Rumi, in Konya, a scholar and, preacher of God. He is respected and has all the things a man desires. He rides on his white horse and around him is his entourage, marching forward in the name of Allah and praising Rumi’s name. Yet he feels incomplete as if there is something amiss that is yet to be complete. The seeking of a companion on the journey of soul search.
If worldly fame was enough, saints and renowned would have found heaven. But it isn’t true, rather the people who find heaven are the ones who find God in themselves. True also is the hell people live who find themselves lost in jealousy, anger, despair and grieve; for them, hell is there within their hearts. – ND
Shams keeps on sharing wisdom nuggets and his rules as he meets people from different backgrounds in the city of Rumi, his love. People who are downtrodden physically, monetarily and have seen hardships, which Rumi had only heard off.
God – He is as much yours as he is mine, Only our eyes make the difference and see him as different. – ND
And God is what Rumi and Shams find in each other’s company, a companionship that completes oneself, something that does eternalise their knowledge and depths together to make one massive unit of love, overflowing with emotions. Their union is what people despise, as it makes Rumi do everything that is not right, according to rudimentary people with rudimentary knowledge of religion that prohibits them from seeing the good in anyone who digresses even a bit from the conduct written and understood.
Even after running away Shams has to come back to get married to Rumi’s adopted daughter, to get killed by the conspiracy of Alladin Rumi’s younger son and others of his like. Rumi in deep whirlwinds of sorrow becomes a poet, we know as one of the greatest poets till date.
Ella reading Aziz’s letters and getting solutions for her mired life somehow finds love in Aziz. He comes and meets her and they fall in love and goes with him with any hope for future, as Aziz is suffering from a disease that has left him with only a few months in hand. But she chose love over safety, maybe for the first time ever really feels alive. As Aziz, Shams of Ella’s life dies in Konya, he rests in peace forever.
The end makes your mind wander to experience a-Shams in your life, who can completely your existence and fill it will love and purpose as much as was missing all this while and you never realised it. Worth a read for anyone interested in love beyond the material aspects of today’s world.
#TheFortyRulesofLove #Books #ElifShafak
~ Nalini Dutta