Friday, January 23, 2015

"The Forty Rules of Love"

I was recommended "The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak few months ago as a mystical novel. Novel has made good waves, positive reviews and has been on best seller lists. Personally, I was not very impressed with novel's content as it may be a novelty for western audience but most of the mystic/sufi stories/lessons/hikayaat are well known to any student raised in eastern, specially Islamic society. For me it was more of a romantic novel (lonely housewife falling in love over internet - yawn - )!

Said that, I have to acknowledge that novel was crafted very skillfully and blended beautifully with famous story of Shams and Rumi. It was a delight despite all its fault and speaks of maturity of author as a novel writer. Characters of Ella and Aziz are very human - and the way Rumi and Shams were erected in novel, was commendable. I felt like roaming on the streets of Konya in 13th century!

Central core and theme of novel is human love and as an extension, divine love. It reminded me a lesson of sufism, I heard years ago: "Ishqe Haqiqi main kaamyabi ki kaleed Ishqe Majazi main na-kaami ka bunyadi tajarba hai". Or in simple words: "Road to divine love goes through agony of human love".


Beyond said...

I think you are very right. I am very selfish now and when there is a book that does not touch my heart, I just leave it in the middle and this is the book that is one of them. It may come across interesting or new to western readers, but for us desi log, it is pretty old news. It flows well though.

You have to write about a post about Shams and Rumi. That would be interesting.

mystic-soul said...

Someday, I want to write about allegation of homesexualism on sufis. Someday,,,