Shahnila Nadir: THE FORTY RULES OF LOVE

This novel has literally changed my life and I would like to share my thoughts on it.

This novel begins with Ella Rubeinstein’s typical life where she has a perfect house, husband and kids but she is discontented from inside as there is no spark or passion. She out of boredom takes a job as a reader for a literary agent and there she reads her first novel by Aziz Zahara, where Sufi mysticism is presented in a fascinating way.

“Sweet Blasphemy” is an intricate spiritual journey of 2 thirteenth century Sufis, Shams Tabriz and Jalaludin Rumi. The way they become soulmates and how Shams changes life of Rumi to a poetic scholar stirs your imagination to a point where you end up yearning to read more.

It is quite interesting that every chapter starts with letter “b” as first paragraph in the Holy Quran and it symbolizes the universe as per Sufism practices. It is like reading a book within a book. An amazing heartfelt experience which portrays Islam in a positive way and clears few misunderstandings.

It also portrays how Shams is threatened by family of Rumi but he still carries on spreading his message of love and peace fiercely. As Ella reads further, she is enchanted by how Aziz has showed love and goodness of characters which could be sinful to the world but Shams has spread his message of love in an unconventional way. Shams had told Rumi that he would be destroyed after his death and ends up getting murdered and Rumi finds his body in a well. The loss of mystical and unconventional love led Rumi turn into an exceptional poet where words just came out of his mouth in loss of his companion.

At the same time, Ella fights with her own demons and has come to a realization that she likes Aziz by the way he writes and this book mirrors her own life and just like, Shams saved Rumi, Aziz would save Ella. They exchange emails and realize that they have chemistry between them. She informs her husband and goes to see Aziz. Shams actually gave her an insight that love is in each and every one of us and there was oneness in all kinds of religions and people. He confirms his love for her but at the same time breaks the news that he has terminal cancer and has nearly one and a half year to live. They have an amazing time in Boston and explore the city together. They go back to their normal lives but Ella decides that she cannot be with her husband any more and wants to be with Aziz forever. Once united with her love, Aziz, they explore the world together for a year and end up settling in Kenya. He publishes his book there but later dies of complications secondary to his cancer. Ella lives her life like Aziz after his death and enjoys each and every moment. She plans to move to Holland and see what life brings her.

This book is very close to my heart and the inference is that one should always seek for their true love however unconventional it maybe!

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