Thought Provoking Clippings from Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

Few days ago, my professor gave us brief introduction of “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak. Although, I am not fond of reading novels, somehow the brief discussion on ’emptiness in life’, inspired me to read this novel. The thought provoking novel, fabulously narrates the story of Shams Tabraiz,  Rumi and their relationship in connection with lives of common people. While reading, I found myself lost for sometime. The reading changed my perspective about life, religion and human relationships. I’m sharing the clippings in this post from the sections of the text that touched my heart. You may also find it helpful, but I strongly suggest to read and enjoy this  book on mystics of Sufism. I’m sure once you’re done reading you’ll feel same as Ella.


Sufi mystics say the secret of the Qur’an lies in the verse Al-Fatiha, And the secret of Al-Fatiha lies in Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim And the quintessence of Bismillah is the letter ba, And there is a dot below that letter.… The dot underneath the B embodies the entire universe.…

Even God recognized the need for someone like me in His holy scheme when He appointed Azrael the Archangel of Death to terminate lives. In this way human beings feared, cursed, and hated the angel while His hands remained clean and His name unblemished. It wasn’t fair to the angel. But then again, this world was not known for its justice, was it?

Four years have passed since I stabbed him in that courtyard and dumped his body in a well, waiting to hear the splash that never came. Not a sound. It was as if rather than falling down into the water he fell up toward the sky.

there is a thin line between losing yourself in God and losing your mind.

“How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.”

The Path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

No matter who we are or where we live, deep inside we all feel incomplete. It’s like we have lost something and need to get it back. Just what that something is, most of us never find out. And of those who do, even fewer manage to go out and look for it.

“The Abbasid rule will prevail, and we will prosper. That is, of course, if the status quo is not disrupted by the traitors among us. There are those who call themselves Muslim, but their interpretation of Islam is far more dangerous than threats from infidels.”

“Because although it is a fact that He cannot be found by seeking, only those who seek can find Him.”

Cities are erected on spiritual columns. Like giant mirrors, they reflect the hearts of their residents. If those hearts darken and lose faith, cities will lose their glamour. It happens, and it happens all the time.”

“Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level in tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batm—the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.”

“Scholars who focus on the sharia know the outer meaning. Sufis know the inner meaning. Saints know the inner of the inner. And as for the fourth level, that is known only by prophets and those closest to God.”

God does not take us at our word. He looks deep into our hearts. It is not the ceremonies or rituals that make a difference, but whether our hearts are sufficiently pure or not.”



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