قواعد ألعشق الأربعون

The Forty Rules of Love E+A

I decided to read this book simply because LB found it interesting, and when first picked up my two copies, I read a couple of chapters in English then Arabic and decided on the Arabic version.

I have seen the author on a BBC podcast last year although I did not recall her name when I bought the books. She is Elif Şafak, a Turkish modern author with more than one literary tradition.

Because of the title, I expected the book to be a modern novel of some type – but this was not the case! The book is sort of two novels that somehow mirror each other but at different times and cultures. One story from the twenty first century of an unhappily married woman who leaves a marriage that became stifling for her; and reading the story of Ella I would wonder off sometimes and give Ella another name!

The main story however is set in the thirteenth century. It’s about a mystic Sufi – Shams-i-Tabrīzī – who ends up teaching and motivating Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, a respected Qoranic scholar, and inspires him to become one of the most famous 13th-century Persian poets. For the last years of his life, Rūmī dictated to his scribe a single poem consisting of many volumes – a total of sixty-four thousand lines – called Spiritual Verses or Masnavi-ye Ma’navi

Both stories in this book tell of the ecstasy and heartbreak of love – divine love!

The book is a very good and interesting read. I want to share some of the Forty Rules of Love which the Sufi Shams-i-Tabrīzī taught:

  1. “Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”
  1. “Where there is love, there is bound to be heartache.”
  1. “You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.”
  1. “I hunt everywhere for a life worth living and a knowledge worth knowing. Having roots nowhere, I have everywhere to go.”
  1. “Try not to resist the changes that come your way; instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come”.
  1. “Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for.”
  1. “No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within.”
  1. “Let us choose one another as companions!
    Let us sit at each other’s feet!
    Inwardly we have many harmonies – think not
    that we are only what we see.”
  1. “Be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses”
  1. “Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.”

“توجد مرحلة تخذلنا اللغة بعدها”

  1. “The quest for Love changes us. There is no seeker among those who search for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you start to change within and without.”
  1. “I slept peacefully that night, feeling exultant and determined. Little did I know that I was making the most common and the most painful mistake women have made all throughout the ages: to naively think that with their love they can change the man they love.”
  1. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.”
  1. “Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.”
  1. “The way to a man’s heart can sometimes take a woman far away from herself.”
  1. “You can purify your body through fasting and abstinence, but only love will purify your heart.”
  1. “A life without love is of no account… Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western… Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire. The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”


النفاق هو الذي يجعل الناس سعداء. أما الحقيقة فتجعلهم يشعرون بالحزن”

“تعلمت أن أتقبل الشوكة والوردة معاً، مساوئ الحياة ومحاسنها”

“في البداية تلتقي بشخص؛ شخص يختلف اختلافًا تامًا عن جميع من حولك من الأشخاص. شخص يرى كل شيء بمنظار مختلف، ويجعلك تُغيّر منظورك، وتلاحظ كل شيء من جديد، من الداخل ومن الخارج؛ ويُخيّل إليك أن بإمكانك الإبقاء على مسافة آمنة بينك وبينه؛ ويُخيّل إليك أنك تستطيع أن تُبحر وتشق طريقك في خضم هذه العاصفة الجميلة، حتى تدرك بغتةً أنه ألقى بك إلى العراء ولا يمكنك أن تتحكم بذلك

مع الزمن، يتحول الألم الى حزن، والحزن الى صمت، وبعد الحزن يأتي فصل آخر، واد آخر، أنت آخر. وتبدأ برؤية الحبيب الذي لا يمكن أن تجده في أي مكان، تراه في كل مكان


Love cannot be explained. It can only be experienced…

and to LB – Always choose love, for without it, life is a burden!


The Forty Rules of Love

Masnavi i Ma’navi

Spiritual Verses – Audio

always choose love

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