I had promised myself I would never give in to reading books of this sort as they served more as pictures on Facebook and Instagram for likes rather than actually being read. But I couldn’t have chosen a better book to reignite old habits of finishing 3 books a week!
I must admit, when I picked up this book from the store, I had no idea what it would be about except that it would be based on Sufism. But a quarter way in, I realized it was totally different than what I had imagined.
I have heard many people claim this book has enlightened them in one way or the other, and part of the reason I chose this book was to see what the hype was about. But this book, although beautifully written, failed to “enlighten” me. Not because I failed to understand the meaning behind the book, but because most of the lessons this book is supposed to teach you, were already there in me. I’m not claiming to be an enlightened person because I am not very religious. People who know me know my stance on religion. Yet it was surprising to see that most of the lessons the book is supposed to teach the reader, I already knew. And without being ostentatiously religious, or knowing what the book was about, I already followed most of the rules in the book.
I’ve never crossed paths with anything ‘Sufi’ related and I always thought it was just another way for millennials to appear ‘woke’. A friend of mine pointed out to me that enlightenment had nothing to do with religion and yes, enlightenment sure has nothing to do with being religious, which I only understood after reading this book. As although it is based on religion, it is totally based on another meaning of it.
The only reason I never touched the book was because of what I knew about it from other sources. But like I said, it didn’t help me attain enlightenment as I already followed most of what it teaches.
So although The Forty Rules of Love is a beautiful book and may be an incredible source of enlightenment for others, to me, it served more as multiple stories of multiple people, beautifully intertwined through love; past present and future.
Elif Shafak has beautifully connected the past and the present in a series of POV style stories which sure are interesting. But the way it ended, so abrupt, caught me by surprise. The book starts off with actions and their reactions explained, with the reasons evident. However, towards the end, actions and reactions of people, as well as connected stories, go unexplained.
But all in all, The Forty Rules of Love is a wonderful book and is a must read for anyone. If you are enlightened by it, that’s great, otherwise, you can read it just for the interesting life, that is of Ella Rubenstein and Shams of Tabriz.
NOTE: One thing I have taken from the book though, I need to find the Shams to my Rumi.