The Forty Rules Of Love By Elif Shafak | Book Summary and Few Lessons about Life in English

“The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak that was published in 2009. It is a story that intertwines the contemporary world with the 13th-century Sufi mystic, Rumi, and his companion, Shams of Tabriz. The novel is a fascinating blend of mysticism, romance, and self-discovery, as it follows the journey of two parallel characters whose lives are connected through the teachings of Rumi.

The novel begins with Ella, a middle-aged Jewish-American housewife living in Massachusetts, who is unhappy with her mundane life. She begins working as a reader for a literary agency and is assigned a novel about the life of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. As she reads the novel, she becomes fascinated by the teachings of Rumi and his mystical relationship with Shams.

Through Ella’s eyes, the readers are introduced to the Forty Rules of Love, a set of principles that were created by Shams and are inspired by the teachings of Rumi. The rules are meant to guide individuals towards a more meaningful and spiritual life. They include concepts such as “the past is an interpretation,” “transform yourself,” and “the universe is a tree of miracles.”

The novel also tells the story of Rumi and Shams and their unconventional relationship, which was based on spiritual love and not on physical attraction. Their bond was so strong that it transformed Rumi from a scholar and teacher to a poet, and their friendship inspired some of Rumi’s most profound and mystical poems.

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As Ella continues to read the novel, she begins to draw parallels between her own life and the teachings of Rumi and Shams. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, guided by the forty rules of love.

The novel is a beautifully crafted story that seamlessly blends the contemporary world with the teachings of Rumi and Shams. The characters are well-developed, and their stories are compelling and relatable. The forty rules of love provide readers with a set of principles that can guide them towards a more fulfilling and meaningful life, regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds.

Overall, “The Forty Rules of Love” is a must-read for anyone interested in mysticism, self-discovery, and spiritual enlightenment. It is a thought-provoking and inspirational novel that will leave readers feeling uplifted and motivated to live a more fulfilling life.

In addition to the powerful messages of spiritual love and self-discovery, “The Forty Rules of Love” also explores themes of religious tolerance and cultural understanding. The novel encourages readers to embrace diversity and to recognize the common threads that connect all human beings.

The character of Ella, in particular, embodies this message. She is a Jewish-American woman who begins to explore the teachings of Islam and Sufism through her reading of the novel. As she learns more about Rumi and Shams, she gains a deeper understanding and appreciation for their religion and culture. She becomes more open-minded and accepting of others, and this newfound perspective enriches her life in profound ways.

Furthermore, the novel also explores the power of literature and storytelling. Ella’s job as a reader for a literary agency allows her to experience the transformative power of words and stories firsthand. Through the novel about Rumi and Shams, she is able to connect with the characters and the ideas presented in the book. This connection inspires her to make positive changes in her own life and to embrace new perspectives.

Overall, “The Forty Rules of Love” is a rich and complex novel that explores a wide range of themes and ideas. It is a beautifully written and thought-provoking work that has the power to inspire readers to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.


The Forty Rules Of Love By Elif Shafak Review


Thanks for reading Elif Shafak’s SuperSummary study guide, The Forty Rules of Love. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary provides high-quality study guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of key themes, characters, quotes and essay topics. examine The 40 Rules of Love is a 2009 novel by Elif Shafak. This book tells the story of Ella Rubinstein, a woman in her late thirties who is accustomed to the complacency of her own life. It exists without drive or passion. The narrative follows her unlikely escape from what at first appears to be inevitable unhappiness. The novel also concerns itself with the deep, fraternal love between Sufi dervish Shams of Tabriz and the mystical scholar-poet Rumi. The story of Shams and Rumi comes to Ella through a book she is reviewing for her new job as an assistant to a literary agent; that book, Sweet Blasphemy, is a novel about the lives of the two mystics and the friends, families, and enemies they touched. As Ella reads Sweet Blasphemy, she becomes increasingly aware of the lack of love in her life compared to the love experienced by the characters in the book. Ella tends to relate to the world around her through her relationships, and her dual roles of mother and wife. As she turns the pages of Sweet Blasphemy, Ella grows dissatisfied with her cold marriage to David and is encouraged by the love Aziz describes. This tutorial references the 2011 Penguin Books Edition.



summary of forty rules of love by elif shafak


Plot Summary The text of Sweet Blasphemy begins with Sufi dervish Shams of Tabriz`s vision of his own death and the discovery of his body by the master he knows he must come to find. After decades of wandering, Shams knows that he is meant to be joined with this master in order to learn from him and for them to explore new ideas about Islam and love together. After months of waiting, Shams goes to Konya and meets Rumi, a famous Islamic scholar whose sermons are attended widely by the masses.


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Together, Shams and Rumi bring their teachings to a sometimes receptive but often hostile flock who do not understand Shams or the Sufi teachings—the scholars think the Sufi are nonsense and the work of Satan. Shams is frequently threatened by members of Rumi`s family, particularly Rumi`s younger son, Aladdin, whose jealousy eventually turns to hatred. As Ella reads Sweet Blasphemy, she begins to research the author and eventually sends him an email, introducing herself and sharing a little about her life. Before long, Aziz and Ella are emailing each other multiple times a day, and sparks alight as their flirtations begin to resemble romantic feelings.

forty rules of love by elif shafak quotes

Ella is taken with Aziz`s openness about love and living in the present and begins to imagine what it would be like to meet him. In Sweet Blasphemy, despite the positive message Shams is spreading, his divisive personality and possessiveness of Rumi continue to rub Aladdin the wrong way, and Aladdin and his friends hatch a plan to have Shams murdered. In the end, Shams`s warnings that his death will destroy Rumi are not heeded by Aladdin, and Shams is killed; shortly after, Rumi finds Shams`s body in a well. These events inspire Rumi’s poems and words that flow from him after the loss of a comrade.



the forty rules of love by elif shafak review


Through interacting with various people, Shams found the following 40 rules of love in his life in this book.


rule 1

How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God mainly causes fear and guilt in our hearts, then we have too much fear and guilt. If we see God as full of love and compassion, we should.

rule 2

The road to truthis the work of the heart, not the head. Let your heart be your main guide! not your heart Meet, challenge, and ultimately conquer nerfs with your heart. If you know the ego, you can know God.

rule 3


Because God is not confined to a mosque, synagogue, or church, you can study God through everything and everyone in the universe. But still, if you need to know exactly where His home is, you can find Him only in one place—the heart of a true lover.

rule 4


Intelligence and love are made of different materials. Reason binds people in knots and does not risk it, but love untangles all entanglements and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises “beware of too much ecstasy,” while Love “Oh never mind! Jump in!” Intelligence is not easily broken, but love is easily broken. However, a treasure is hidden in the ruins. A broken heart hides treasure.

rule 5


Most of the world’s problems stem from language errors and simple misunderstandings. Do not take words at face value. When we enter the realm of love, the language we know becomes outdated. What cannot be expressed in words can only be understood through silence.


rule 6 Loneliness and loneliness are two different things. It’s easy to fool yourself into believing you’re on the right track when you’re alone. Solitude is better for us because it means being alone without feeling lonely. But in the end, it’s best to find someone who will be your mirror. Remember that only in the hearts of others can you truly see yourself and God’s presence within you.

rule 7

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Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.


Rule 8

Patience does not mean to passively endure. This means seeing the end of the process. What does patience mean? It means to see the thorn bush, see the rose, see the night, and see the dawn. Impatience means being short-sighted to avoid seeing results. Those who love God know that it takes time for a new moon to become a full moon, so their patience runs out.

Rule 9

East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you`ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.


Rule 10

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

Rule 11 The quest for love changes user. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured along the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.

Rule 12


There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Do not confuse true mentors with power-hungry, self-centered people. A true spiritual master will not direct your attention to yourself and expect absolute obedience or complete admiration from you, but will instead help you appreciate and admire your inner self. A true mentor is transparent like glass. They let the light of God pass through them.

Rule 13

Don’t resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And don’t worry about your life turning upside down. How do you know that the familiar side is better than the one you’re about to encounter?

Rule 14

God is busy finishing your work inside and out. He’s completely absorbed in you. Each person is a work in progress, slowly but steadily moving towards perfection. Each of us is an unfinished work of art that awaits and strives for completion. God deals with each of us individually. Because humanity is a delicate art that skillfully writes.

Rule 15

It is easy to love a perfect God who is flawless and infallible. It is much more difficult to love a neighbor who has imperfections and faults. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God`s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

Rule 16

Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

Rule 17

The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.

Rule 18

If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. This is a sign that the rose will soon bloom.

Rule 19

Don’t worry about where the road takes you. Instead, focus on the first step. This is the hardest part and is your responsibility. Once you’ve taken this step, just let everything run its course and the rest will follow. Don`t go with the flow. Be the flow.

Rule 20

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No heartbeat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God`s holy scheme.

Rule 21

When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.


Rule 22

Life is a temporary loan, and this world is but a superficial imitation of reality. Only children can mistake toys for real. However, people rave about toys or break them rudely and throw them away. Stay away from all kinds of extremes in this life. Because they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. Sufis are always gentle and moderate.

Rule 23

Humans have a special place among God’s creations. “I breathed my Spirit on him,” says God. Each of us, without exception, is destined to be a messenger of God on earth. How often do you act like an agent? Remember that each of us wants to discover and live the divine spirit within us.

Rule 24

Hell is here now. So is the sky. Don’t worry about hell or dream about heaven. Because both exist in this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Whenever we hate, envy, or fight with someone, we fall right into hellfire.

Rule 25

Each reader understands the Quran at a different level with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of understanding. The first level is the outer meaning that most people are satisfied with. Next is the batin-internal level. Thirdly, there is an inside out. And the fourth level is so deep that it cannot be expressed in words and is therefore doomed to remain ineffable.

Rule 26

The universe is one entity. Everything and everyone is connected by an invisible web of stories. Whether we realize it or not, we are all having a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And don’t gossip behind someone’s back. Even words that seem innocent! The words that come out of our mouth do not disappear, but are stored forever in infinite space and come back to us when the time comes. One person’s pain hurts all of us. One person’s joy makes everyone laugh.

Rule 27

Everything you say, good or bad, will come back to you somehow. So if someone has bad thoughts about you, you only make things worse by saying the same bad things about them. You will be caught in a vicious circle of evil energies. Instead, think and say good things about that person for 40 days and nights. In 40 days everything will be different because inside you will be different.

Rule 28

The past is interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world no longer moves through time like a straight line from the past to the future. Instead, time moves in an endless spiral through us and within us. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply eternity. If you want to experience eternal insight, put the past and future out of your mind and stay in the present.

Rule 29

Fate does not mean that your life is strictly predetermined. Therefore, living at the mercy of everyone’s fate and not actively contributing to the music of the universe is a sign of complete ignorance. Cosmic music permeates everything and consists of 40 levels. Your destiny is the level at which you play the song. You can’t change your instrument, but how well you play is entirely up to you.

Rule 30

A true Sufi is one who endures patiently, even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and criticized from all sides, without saying a single bad word to those who criticize him. Sufis never criticize. How can there be enemies, rivals or “others” if there is no “I” in the first place? There’s only one, so how can you blame anyone?

Rule 31

If you want to strengthen your faith, you must soften the inside. In order for our faith to be firm, our hearts must be as soft as a feather. Whether through illness, accident, loss or fear, we all face events in one way or another that teach us how to be less selfish, critical, more compassionate and tolerant. But some of us learn our lessons and become softer, some of us stronger than before…

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. There are no imams, priests, hares or other guardians of moral or religious guidelines. Not your spiritual teacher, not your faith. Believe in your own values ​​and rules, but don’t dominate others. There is no point in fulfilling your religious duties if you continue to hurt others. Avoid all idolatry. It will blur your vision. Let God and God alone be your guide. My friend, know the truth. But beware of worshiping your truth.

Rule 33

While everyone in this world is trying to reach somewhere and become something, only to leave everything after death, you are striving for the highest level of non-existence. Live this life as bright and empty as the number zero. We are no different than pots. What holds us back is not the decoration on the outside, but the emptiness inside. Similarly, it is the consciousness of non-existence that propels us forward, not what we strive to achieve.


Rule 34

Submission does not mean weak or passive. This does not lead to fatalism or surrender. Quite the opposite. True strength lies in submitting to the forces that come within you. Those who submit to the divine nature of life will live in tranquility and peace, even though the entire vast world is subject to cataclysms.

Rule 35

Moving forward in this world is not similarity and regularity, but total opposition. And all opposites in the universe exist in each of us. Therefore, the believer must meet the unbeliever who lives inside. And the unbeliever must recognize the silent believer in him. Faith is a gradual process that requires its clear opposite, unbelief, until the day one reaches the stage of Mad Kamil, the perfect man.

Rule 36

This world is built on the principle of reciprocity. Not one drop of good, not one drop of evil will be left unanswered. It is not someone else’s intrigue, trick or trick. Remember, if someone is setting a trap, God is too. He is the biggest co-conspirator. Not a single leaf moves except in the knowledge of God. Just and completely believe. Whatever God does, he makes it beautiful.

Rule 37

God is an attentive docker. His commands are so precise that everything on earth happens on time. Neither a minute later nor a minute ago. And for everyone, without exception, the watch works accurately. Everyone has a time to love and a time to die.

Rule 38

Say to yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I’m living? Am I ready to change the inside? Even if at least one day in your life is the same as before, it’s definitely a pity. With every new breath in every moment, you must be renewed and renewed. There is only one way to be born into a new life, and that is to die before you die.

Rule 39

The parts change, but the whole remains the same. For every thief who leaves this world, a new thief is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. So nothing stays the same, nor does it ever truly change. When a Sufi dies, another Sufi is born somewhere.

Rule 40

Life without love has no meaning. Do not ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, be it spiritual or material, sacred or secular, eastern or western. Divisions only carry over into new divisions. Love has no labels or definitions. Pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And the lover is the spirit of fire! When fire loves water, the universe changes differently.


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