The 40 rules of love

Posted December 23, 2023 by Gowri Shankar  ‐  41 min read

At the age of forty, Ella Rubenstein, stuck in an unhappy marriage, decides to work as a reader for a literary agent. Her first task is to read and review `Sweet Blasphemy,` a novel penned by Aziz Zahara. Ella is captivated by the story of Shams's quest for Rumi and the transformative impact the dervish has on the cleric, turning him into a devoted mystic, passionate poet, and love advocate. She is intrigued by Shams's teachings, which reveal an ancient philosophy centered on the unity of people and religions, as well as the presence of love within each individual. As Ella delves into the narrative, she discovers parallels between Rumi's journey and her own life, realizing that Zahara, like Shams, has arrived to liberate her.

I have compiled a comprehensive list encompassing all the rules delineated in the The 40 rules of love by Elif Shafak. These rules, totaling forty in number, exhibit a discernible sequential pattern, with certain entries explicitly numbered. Notably, the numerical sequence in Shams’s rules correlates consistently with the sequential order of presentation within the book.



In Elif Shafak’s book “The 40 Rules of Love,” the rules are conveyed by Shams of Tabriz, a mystic and spiritual instructor, to the character Rumi, who is a renowned 13th-century Persian poet and Islamic scholar. Shams imparts these rules to Rumi as part of their transformative and enlightening interactions, shaping Rumi’s spiritual journey and worldview. The novel explores the deep connection and spiritual mentorship between Shams and Rumi, with the rules serving as a guiding philosophy for Rumi’s personal and creative development.

Heart 1

Rule 1 - God & You

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.

– Shams to the innkeeper

This saying is like a divine personality test: if God has you sweating and pointing fingers, it’s a sign you’ve got a personal fear and blame factory working overtime in your soul. On the flip side, if you see God as the ultimate cosmic hug-giver, congratulations – you’ve probably got a heart full of love and compassion, and your spiritual selfie is all rainbows and warm fuzzies. So, in heavenly terms, it’s less about finding God and more about discovering if you’ve accidentally created a divine mirror reflecting your emotional closet.

Rule 2

The path to the Truth is a labour 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.

– Shams, to himself

Embarking on the Truth train is less of a brainy expedition and more of a cardio workout for your heart muscles. Forget about your noggin; let your heart take the driver’s seat. Wrestle with your nafs (inner desires and ego) using heartfelt moves – it’s like a soulful wrestling match. Once you’ve pinned down your ego, voila! You’ve just unlocked the divine cheat code to God-level knowledge. It’s basically heart over head, folks – your ticker is the real MVP on this quest for wisdom!

Rule 3

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.

– Shams, to the judge

Think of God like a hide-and-seek champion – you won’t find Him just chilling in a fancy building. Nope, He’s everywhere, playing peekaboo in the entire universe. But, if you’re on a divine scavenger hunt and want the GPS coordinates to His secret lair, spoiler alert: it’s in the heart of someone who’s head over heels in love. Forget about Google Maps; true love is the ultimate divine hotspot. So, if you’re searching for God, ditch the map and follow the trail of heart-shaped breadcrumbs. Just be careful not to trip over the butterflies along the way.

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Rule 4

Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

– Shams, to Baba Zaman

Picture intellect as a meticulous architect, meticulously planning and cautioning, “Watch out for too much excitement!” Meanwhile, love is the carefree artist, throwing caution to the wind, yelling, “Dive in, who cares!” Intellect is like a fortress – sturdy and unyielding – always on guard. Love, on the other hand, is a bit of a demolition expert, happily turning itself into a romantic wreck. Sure, love might leave you in ruins, but guess what? That’s where the treasures, aka hidden heart bling, are stashed. So, while intellect is busy giving safety tips, love is out there doing cannonballs into the pool of life, creating a beautiful mess along the way.

Couple 1

Rule 5

Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. 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.

– Shams, to Baba Zaman

Imagine the world as a giant game of telephone, but instead of giggles, we’ve got global issues. The root cause? Linguistic mix-ups and people misinterpreting each other like charades gone wrong. The advice here? Don’t trust words – they’re the ultimate tricksters. Now, when you waltz into the love arena, brace yourself because language decides to take a coffee break. It’s like, “Sorry, folks, I’m outta here!” Love becomes a silent movie, and anything too epic for words can only be understood through the language of hush-hush. So, next time someone hands you a dictionary, just toss it into the love zone and watch it vanish like a magician’s rabbit. Silly words, love speaks in silence!


Rule 6

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

– Shams, to Baba Zaman(his inner voice)

Alright, imagine loneliness as that clingy friend who won’t leave you alone, whispering, “You’re doing great, buddy!” even when you’re lost in the wilderness of life. Now, solitude, on the other hand, is the solo vacation you didn’t know you needed – being alone but feeling like a total boss. But wait for it, the real jackpot is finding a partner who’s your mirror – not just for those epic selfie moments, but because in her heart, you discover the divine GPS that points straight to the real you and a cosmic “You Are Here” sign pointing to the presence of God. Turns out, the best company is the one that helps you locate yourself on the celestial map while also laughing at your terrible jokes. Who knew self-discovery could be this amusing?

Rule 7

Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

– Shams, to himself

Think of life as a sitcom. Even when the plot twists seem like the writers ran out of ideas and slammed all the doors shut, fear not! God is the ultimate showrunner, and just when you think you’re stuck in reruns, bam! A brand-new path opens up, like a surprise season drop. Now, gratitude – that’s the real twist in the plot. It’s easy when life’s a rom-com, but here’s the Sufi twist: being thankful not just for the fancy gifts but also for the times when life hands you a plot twist and says, “Sorry, that’s a hard pass.” It’s like being grateful for the “plot holes” because, let’s face it, they make life one heck of an unpredictable sitcom. So, next time life feels like a confusing episode, remember, it’s just building up to the grand finale – you know, the one with the big reveal and unexpected laughter.

Rule 8

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

– Shams, to himself

Alright, patience is not just sitting there twiddling your thumbs – it’s like having X-ray vision for the grand finale. Picture this: patience is not staring at a thorn and going, “Ouch!” Instead, it’s like having a superhero ability to see the rose that’s about to bloom right next to it. Impatience, well, that’s just being nearsighted, missing the big picture like a superhero without their glasses.

Now, lovers of God are basically time wizards. They’re the Gandalfs of the spiritual realm, understanding that it takes a bit for the crescent moon of life to go full disco ball. So, next time you’re feeling impatient, just imagine yourself with a Gandalf beard, telling time to chill because the real magic is just around the corner. Time might be a slowpoke, but hey, even the turtle won the race against the hare, right? Patience, my friend, it’s the superpower you never knew you needed!

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Rule 9

East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

– Shams, to himself

Imagine you’re on a quest for the ultimate snack – whether it’s in the east, west, south, or north, it doesn’t matter. The real magic is not in the destination but in the journey. Now, this isn’t your typical road trip; it’s more like a snack hunt within yourself. Picture it: you’re not just munching on chips; you’re nibbling on the mysteries of your soul.

So, the next time you’re stuck in traffic or delayed at an airport, don’t stress. You’re not late; you’re just taking a detour through the depths of your own awesomeness. It’s like a journey within is the ultimate travel hack – forget the passport; pack some introspection! You might not get a stamp in your physical passport, but your soul’s collection will be out of this world. Bon appétit, fellow snack hunter!

Rule 10

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

– Shams, to himself

Think of life as a cosmic maternity ward. The midwife, who’s basically the universe’s delivery expert, knows the drill. No pain, no baby – it’s like the universe’s way of saying, “Sorry, gotta feel the squeeze to make an entrance!”

Now, your personal rebirth, your “new self” – that’s like upgrading to the deluxe version of you. But guess what? Hardship is the rite of passage. It’s the universe’s way of giving you a makeover – a bit like putting clay in a spa, but instead of cucumber slices, it’s intense heat. Love, in this scenario, is the ultimate beauty treatment, and it apparently comes with a bit of pain. So, the next time life feels like it’s turning up the heat, just think of it as the universe giving you a spa day for your soul – and hey, who said makeovers were painless, right?

Rule 11 - Seeker

The quest for love changes user. 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.

– Shams, to himself

Imagine the quest for love as a cosmic app – it’s like Tinder for the soul. So, when you hit that search button for love, it’s not just about finding a cosmic match; it’s about a whole system upgrade. No one escapes this love-seeking journey without a bit of soul maturation. It’s like the universe is saying, “Oh, you want love? Buckle up, buttercup, because we’re taking you on a ride – both inside and outside.”

So, next time you’re on the lookout for love, don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel wiser and maybe even start using words like “maturation.” It’s the glow-up that comes with the territory. The quest for love is not just about finding someone to share memes with; it’s about evolving into the upgraded version of yourself. Happy love hunting, fellow explorers! May your soul find its perfect match!

Talent Show

Rule 12

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.

Shams, to Baba Zaman

Imagine the world is a giant talent show, and everywhere you look, there are more fake gurus and self-proclaimed life coaches than there are stars in the night sky. It’s like everyone’s got a life advice booth, and some are just in it for the glittery cape and spotlight.

Now, here’s the pro tip: don’t mistake the drama queens for the real deal. True mentors aren’t the ones with power-hungry vibes; they’re more like the spiritual sidekicks, the Gandalfs without the pointy hats. They’re not there to hog the stage or demand applause; they’re basically as transparent as glass – no smoke, no mirrors, just good vibes.

So, the next time someone claims to have the secret to the universe, just remember: real mentors don’t block your view; they’re more like the Windex, helping you see your inner awesomeness clearly. Because let’s face it, in this talent show, it’s the real, transparent mentors who let the light of God pass through – no need for flashy fireworks or magic tricks!

Rule 13

Try not to resist the changes, which 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?

– Shams, to a novice

Think of life as a acrobat doing somersaults – sometimes it feels like it’s turning your world upside down. Now, the universe says, “Chill, my friend, and let life do its thing through you.” It’s like being the passenger in the wildest rollercoaster, and you’re not even sure if you’re on the right side up.

So, the next time life throws you a curveball, just imagine it’s the universe’s way of testing your acrobatic skills. Who knows, maybe upside down is the new right side up, and the universe is just trying out a funky dance move. Remember, resisting change is like telling the DJ to stick to the same old song – where’s the fun in that? So, embrace the chaos, and who knows, you might just discover your inner acrobat is a secret breakdancer! Life’s a wild ride; might as well dance through the twists and turns!

Rule 14

God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

– Shams, to himself

Imagine God as the ultimate multitasker, juggling to-do lists for every person on Earth. It’s like He’s your personal project manager, working on your masterpiece both on the surface and deep within. You’re basically God’s ongoing art project, and He’s the ultimate artist, totally absorbed in crafting your epic saga.

Now, here’s the twist: we’re all masterpieces in the making, like God’s own collection of evolving doodles. He’s so into it that He’s dealing with each of us individually, like a meticulous artist obsessed with every tiny detail. It’s like we’re part of this grand masterpiece, and every dot in the divine doodle is crucial.

So, the next time you feel like life is a bit chaotic, just remember, God’s in His studio, paintbrush in one hand, divine coffee in the other, working on your epic portrait. You’re not a rough draft; you’re a work of art in progress – a masterpiece with a touch of humor. Keep being your unique dot in the grand canvas of humanity!

Rule 15

It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human being with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

– Shams, to a peasant

Think of it like having a crush on a superhero – loving a perfect God is a breeze because, well, He’s flawless, like a divine Marvel character. Now, switch gears to your fellow humans; it’s like trying to love a bunch of quirky side characters with their own unique set of imperfections. It’s a bit like choosing between a superhero with a sleek costume and one with a cape made of mismatched socks.

Now, here’s the plot twist: you can only truly love what you understand. It’s like trying to appreciate the complexities of superhero backstories – you won’t get it unless you’re a fan. So, if you want the ultimate superhero wisdom, start by embracing the quirks and imperfections of your fellow humans. It’s the prerequisite for joining the ultimate fan club – loving and understanding God. Because, let’s face it, even superheroes have their off days, and love is the ultimate fan club pass. Suit up, embrace the quirks, and get ready for the premiere!

Real Faith

Rule 16

Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

– Shams, to himself

Think of faith like a superhero costume – the real deal is the one you’re wearing on the inside, not the flashy cape and tights. It’s like being in a superhero shower; everything else just washes off.

Now, here’s the laundry tip: there’s a specific kind of dirt that’s like a stubborn spaghetti stain on your superhero suit – it’s called hatred and bigotry. Regular water won’t cut it; you need the superhero detergent of love to get rid of that soul spaghetti sauce.

So, if you’re thinking of detoxing, skip the superhero juice cleanse and go for the love infusion. It’s like upgrading your heart’s operating system from Windows Hatred to LoveOS – guaranteed to make your superhero heart sparkle. Because let’s face it, no amount of abstinence or fasting can match the purifying power of a love-soaked heart. Time to unleash the superhero bubble bath of love!

Rule 17

The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.

– Shams, to the pimp

Picture yourself as the ultimate storage unit – the whole universe, from cool gadgets to those things you’d rather not deal with, is packed inside you like a suitcase. It’s like the universe looked at you and said, “You know what, let’s put everything in there, even the stuff you’re not a fan of, just for kicks.”

Now, the twist: don’t go blaming external forces like a scapegoat. The devil, or as I like to call it, the internal mischief manager, isn’t this extraordinary villain from a Marvel movie. Nope, it’s just that pesky voice inside your head, probably munching on mental popcorn and stirring up trouble.

So, the next time you’re tempted to blame Sheitan for your mishaps, just remember, it’s more like a mischievous roommate living inside your head. The key to mastering this chaos? Face yourself with honesty and a vacuum cleaner – because, let’s be real, even the universe could use a good spring cleaning! Time to tidy up the apartment of your mind!

Rule 18

If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.

– Shams, to the pimp

Think of it like a beauty pageant – if you want the universe to treat you like the star you are, start with some self-love glam. It’s like giving yourself a makeover, and once you’ve nailed it, even those thorns others throw your way become confetti in the grand parade of roses. So, don’t just be a contestant; be the crowned queen or king of the catwalk, strutting with gratitude for every thorn – they’re just the universe’s way of practicing its aim before showering you in floral glory!

Rule 19

Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.

– Shams, to Desert Rose

It’s like giving life the GPS slip – don’t stress about where the road trip is headed. Focus on the first step, which is basically the warm-up dance. Once you’ve nailed that, let the universe do its thing. And here’s the pro tip: don’t just go with the flow; be the flow, like a river doing the cha-cha. Who knew life’s journey could be this much of a dance-off? Step one, dance move initiated!

Rule 20 - Diversity

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

– Shams, to Desert Rose

Imagine God as the ultimate artist with a paint palette, and He decided to create a bunch of masterpieces – that’s us! Now, here’s the punchline: we’re all unique doodles in God’s sketchbook, no copy-paste allowed. If He wanted a bunch of clones, He would’ve hit the copy button.

So, next time someone tries to turn the sketchbook into a coloring book, just remind them that even God didn’t use the copy-paste shortcut. Disrespecting differences is like telling God, “Hey, nice art, but let’s stick to one color, shall we?” Let the doodles be, folks; they’re all part of God’s holy art class.


Rule 21

When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye — the eye that sees the inner realm.

– Shams, to Suleiman the Drunk

Imagine you’re in a party – a lover of God turns a regular tavern into a prayer room, praying while others party. But, if a wine enthusiast walks in, suddenly it’s a pub crawl in there. Now, here’s the twist: it’s not about the outer party vibe; it’s all about the inner disco in your heart.

Sufis are basically the party planners who don’t judge a book by its cover; they judge it by its dance moves. When a Sufi looks at you, they’re not just using regular eyes; they’ve got this third eye that sees the soul’s dance moves. So, next time you’re at a party, just remember, it’s not about the bling; it’s all about the dance floor in your heart. Dance on, party people!

Rule 22

Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.

– Shams, to Suleiman the Drunk

Think of life as a rental and this world as a not-so-fancy knockoff. It’s like getting excited about a toy, but hey, only kids think it’s the real deal. Now, here’s the punchline: humans either get obsessed with the toy or treat it like a stress ball.

So, tip: avoid the extreme rollercoaster rides of life; they’re like trying to balance spaghetti on a fork. Sufis are basically the chill surfers; they don’t ride the extreme waves – it’s all about moderation. Life’s a playground, not a demolition derby; play nice, folks!

Rule 23

The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

– Shams, to himself

Imagine you’re part of a divine delegation – basically, God gave you a special role and even threw in some divine spirit vibes. Now, the task is to ask yourself, “How often am I playing the role of God’s awesome delegate on Earth?” It’s like having a backstage pass to the divine concert, and God’s expecting you to rock it. So, dust off that delegate badge, find your inner divine spirit, and start living the VIP life. After all, being God’s delegate comes with some pretty sweet perks!

Rule 24

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. 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.

– Shams, to himself

Think of life as a rollercoaster – heaven and hell are not some far-off theme parks; they’re the loops and drops of your everyday moments. So, instead of stressing about a future fiery barbecue or daydreaming about cloud parties, focus on the rollercoaster of now.

Falling in love? That’s like riding the exhilarating loop to heavenly heights. But, if you’re busy hating, envying, or starting wrestling matches, well, buckle up for the fiery descent into the pits of hell. It’s like a amusement park ride, but with more emotional twists and turns. So, the next time you’re on the love-hate rollercoaster, just remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s all about the loop-de-loops of the present moment. Happy coaster riding!

Rule 25

Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of 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 Batin — 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.

– Shams, to himself

Think of reading the Holy Qur’an like solving a puzzle – everyone’s got their own decoder ring. Now, there are four levels to this mind-bending puzzle:

  • The “Outer Space” Level: This is where most folks hang out. It’s like reading the Qur’an on the surface, where the words mean what they seem to mean.

  • The “Inner Ninja” Level (Batin): Now we’re talking stealth mode. It’s like finding secret compartments in the puzzle – deeper meanings hiding in plain sight.

  • The “Inception” Level (Inner of the Inner): Imagine a puzzle within a puzzle. This level is like the dream within a dream – the layers of understanding get even trippier.

  • The “Speechless Deep Dive” Level: This is the ocean of understanding, so deep you can’t even find words for it. It’s like trying to describe the taste of water to a fish – indescribable and mind-boggling.

So, next time you’re diving into the puzzle of the Holy Qur’an, just know you’ve got layers to peel off, like a onion but with more wisdom and fewer tears. Happy puzzling!

Heart 2

Rule 26

The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back — not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.

– Shams, to Rumi

  • The universe is like a giant superhero team; everything and everyone is connected through storylines.
  • We’re all in a silent group chat, whether we know it or not.
  • rule #1: Don’t be a galactic troublemaker. Do no harm.
  • rule #2: Channel your inner superhero – practice compassion.
  • rule #3: Gossip is a no-go, even seemingly innocent remarks. Think of it as a galactic non-disclosure agreement.
  • Your words are like boomerangs; they don’t vanish but hang around in infinite space.
  • karma alert: What goes around comes around, so choose your words wisely.
  • empathy: One person’s pain is like a galactic domino effect, and one person’s joy is the ultimate smiley chain reaction.

Rule 27

Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.

– Shams, to Sultan Walad

Picture this comedy: It’s like the universe is a celestial gossip queen with a hotline to karma. So, if you’re spewing words like confetti, good or bad, get ready for the boomerang. If some frenemy is sending negative vibes your way, resist the urge to retaliate with a verbal fireworks display. Think of it as a reverse roast challenge. Instead, embark on a 40-day cleanse, where you sprinkle kindness like it’s fairy dust. It’s like a self-help makeover, but instead of a glam squad, it’s 40 days of verbally pampering the person you’re convinced is brewing a secret potion to hex your socks. Trust the process; at the end of this linguistic spa retreat, you’ll be so full of rainbows and goodwill that even your pet rock will notice the transformation. After all, why join the Malevolent Energy Olympics when you can be the Gandhi of Good Vibes?

Rule 28

The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not more through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

– Shams, to Desert Rose

Buckle up for this comedy ride! So, the past is like a game of telephone, where everyone’s interpretation is more twisted than a pretzel. The future? Well, that’s just a master illusionist pulling tricks on us, making us believe it’s got a plan when it’s just making it up as it goes. Forget about time being a boring arrow; it’s more like a drunken dance instructor leading us through endless spirals. Eternity isn’t an endless Netflix queue; it’s a swanky VIP lounge where time puts on a tuxedo and takes a break. If you want to join the Illuminati of Eternal Enlightenment, ditch the past and future like bad fashion trends. Embrace the present moment like it’s a surprise party, and you’re the VIP guest. It’s like time’s own version of “Dancing with the Stars,” and you’re stealing the spotlight in your sparkly present-moment shoes.

Rule 29

Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.

– Shams, to Kimya

Imagine destiny as a mixtape, but hold your horses—it’s not set in stone, more like Play-Doh waiting to be shaped. Living life on autopilot and letting fate be your DJ is like bringing a kazoo to a symphony. The universe has this mega playlist on 40 levels, and your destiny is like the solo section where you get to rock out. Sure, you can’t swap your instrument like trading cards, but how you jam out is totally your call. It’s like being in a rock band where destiny hands you a triangle, but it’s up to you to make it sound like a legendary guitar solo. So, embrace the groove, and don’t just be a passive listener—grab that kazoo, or triangle, or whatever life handed you, and turn it into the musical masterpiece only you can compose!

Rule 30

The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a sing bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?

– Shams, to himself

Imagine being a Sufi, the zen master of chill vibes. When the universe throws shade at you like confetti, you’re the VIP guest at the roast, but you keep your cool like a cucumber in a snowstorm. Picture this: you’re unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned, and you’re just there, sipping your spiritual tea, not uttering a single bad word about your critics. Blame? Oh, that’s so last enlightenment. Sufis don’t play the blame game; they’re like the Gandhis of not pointing fingers. In their perspective, opponents, rivals, and “others” are just imaginary friends because, hello, there’s no “self” in the first place. It’s like trying to blame someone for stealing your cookies when there’s only one cookie monster in the room—you! So, in Sufi land, there’s no need for a blame buffet because, my friend, there’s only One chef in the kitchen.

Rule 31 - Faith

If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…

– Shams, to Aladdin

So, boosting your faith is like baking a spiritual soufflé—you gotta soften up inside. It’s not about having a heart of stone; it’s more like aiming for a heart as soft and tender as a feather. Life, being the chef it is, throws illnesses, accidents, losses, and frights into the mix—basically, it’s the universe’s way of saying, “Hey, soften up, buddy!” It’s like a crash course in becoming less selfish and judgmental, transforming you into a compassionate and generous soul. It’s a bit like life’s boot camp for kindness. But here’s the plot twist: Some folks emerge from the culinary school with hearts fluffier than a marshmallow, while others, well, they end up as grumpy as a cat who just had its tail stepped on. So, if life hands you lemons, don’t turn into a sourpuss—make lemonade and sprinkle it with a dash of kindness!

Couple 4

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbis or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

– Shams, to Rumi

Gather ‘round for this divine comedy show! So, the hotline to God is a direct line, no receptionists, no call waiting, nada. Forget about imams, priests, rabbis, or any moral big shots being your divine concierges—they’re just celestial traffic cones trying to hog the spiritual highway. Even your faith is like a GPS app; it’s helpful, but don’t turn it into a nagging backseat driver. Believe in your values, but don’t go all dictator on others; nobody likes a control freak. And here’s the real zinger: if you’re breaking hearts left and right, your religious duties are as useless as a chocolate teapot. Say no to idolatry; it’s like putting on glasses with a layer of Vaseline. Let God be your guide, not your nosy neighbor or Aunt Mildred’s advice column. Learn the truth, sure, but don’t turn it into a truthy fashion show—God’s not a fan of spiritual runway models. So, in this divine sitcom, let God be the director, and you? Well, you’re the quirky protagonist navigating the chaos with a wink and a prayer.

Rule 33

While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

– Shams, to Desert Rose

Welcome to the comedy club! So, picture this: everyone’s racing around, trying to be someone and get somewhere, but you? Oh no, you’re on a quest for the ultimate achievement—nothingness! While folks are piling up accomplishments like pancakes, you’re aiming for a life as light and empty as the number zero. It’s like trying to win a race by standing perfectly still and declaring, “I’m the champion of nothingness!” We’re all basically fancy pots; forget the bling on the outside—it’s the emptiness inside that keeps us from toppling over like a tipsy vase. So, while the world’s playing a game of Monopoly, collecting properties and titles, you’re casually chilling in the corner, playing the game of Nothingness and winning at doing absolutely nothing. It’s not about what you achieve; it’s about the consciousness of embracing nothingness and still keeping a straight face in this circus!

Rule 34

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

– Shams, to himself

Folks, buckle up for this comedy cruise! So, submission isn’t about being a doormat or a human marshmallow. It’s not like saying, “Sure, universe, walk all over me, I’m a yoga mat.” No, no, no. It’s more like a ninja move, a power play from within. It’s like saying, “I’m so chill, I’m practically an iceberg in a sauna.” True power, my friends, is in surrendering to the divine essence of life—like giving the universe a fist bump. While the world’s having a rollercoaster ride of turbulence after turbulence, you’re sipping your smoothie in a floatie, totally unperturbed. It’s like finding tranquility in the middle of a storm, and you’re the zen master with a front-row seat. So, when life throws lemons, you’re not making lemonade; you’re juggling them like a circus performer, and the crowd’s cheering for your submission superpower!

Rule 35

In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insane-I Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

– Sultan Walad, to Aladdin

Hold on to your hats for this hilarious journey through opposites! So, in this circus, it’s not the look-alikes or the routine-followers who steal the show; it’s the odd couples, the mismatches that take the limelight. And guess what? The universe is like a box of personality chocolates; all the opposites are packed inside each one of us. It’s like finding a cat lover inside a dog person or a morning person hiding in a night owl. So, buckle up, believers! You’ve got to sit down for coffee with your inner skeptic, maybe even attend a therapy session with the resident non-believer inside you. And non-believers, it’s time to invite the undercover believer for a cup of tea. It’s like a playdate with your own contradictions! Until you hit the stage of “Insane-I Kamil,” the perfect human being (because who wouldn’t want that title?), the journey is a gradual sitcom, and guess what’s the sidekick? Disbelief! So, embrace your inner contradictions like a stand-up routine; it’s the perfect warm-up act for the grand finale of becoming the “Insane-I Kamil.”

Couple 5

Rule 36

This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.

– Shams, to Suleiman the Drunk

Hold on to your popcorn for this reciprocity rollercoaster! So, this world, my friends, is like a giant boomerang—you toss kindness, and it boomerangs back; you sprinkle evil, and watch out, it’s coming back like a karma-infused homing missile. It’s not just your neighbor plotting to steal your Wi-Fi password; God’s in on it too, playing the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. When someone’s setting a trap, God’s there with a net, doing the ultimate plot twist. It’s like God’s the James Bond of divine schemes, and we’re all just extras in the blockbuster. No leaf rustles without God’s backstage knowledge, and trust me, God’s got a front-row seat to the theater of life. So, when life feels like a sitcom with too many plot twists, just remember, it’s God’s way of making the ultimate masterpiece. It’s like a drama where God is the director, producer, and lead actor, and we’re all just trying to remember our lines in this divine comedy!

Rule 37

God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

– Shams, to himself/his killer

Get ready for the divine stand-up routine, folks! So, God, the ultimate celestial timekeeper, is like a meticulous dock maker. Picture God with a clipboard, checking off schedules and making sure everything runs smoother than a buttered slide. It’s so precise that not even a snail is a minute late or early. Even the slacker pigeons and procrastinating squirrels are right on schedule. It’s like God’s running a celestial Swiss watch factory, and Earth is the showroom model. For everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, the clock ticks with the precision of a ninja cat landing on its feet. Whether you’re a superhero or a couch potato, the clock spares no one. It’s like a Tinder date; there’s a time for love, and spoiler alert, there’s also a time for, well, breakups. So, when life feels like a time-traveling sitcom, just know that God’s the mastermind behind the scenes, orchestrating the grand opera. Cue the celestial applause for the meticulous dock maker in the sky!

Rule 38

It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

– Ella, to herself

Hold on to your laughter hats, it’s time for the comedy hour! So, here’s the deal: it’s never too late to have a intervention with yourself. Picture this: you, in front of a mirror, asking, “Am I ready to trade in this life for a upgrade? Am I ready to give myself a personality makeover?” Even if your life is like a rerun of a sitcom, playing the same old episode on repeat, it’s a pity, my friend. It’s like having a never-ending bowl of cereal for every meal—there’s so much more out there in the buffet! So, here’s the life hack: with every breath, you should be hitting the reset button like a DJ dropping a sick beat. It’s like being born anew with every sneeze, minus the diapers and baby formula. But here’s the kicker: the only way to be born into a new life is to die before death. It’s like rebirth without the whole messy business of actually kicking the bucket. So, if life feels like a Groundhog Day sequel you never asked for, just remember, you’ve got a backstage pass to the makeover show, and you’re the star!


Rule 39

While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

– Rumi, to himself

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the carousel of life! So, picture this: the cast is ever-changing, like a soap opera with an infinite budget. While one character exits stage left, cue the dramatic entrance of a new one, like a game of musical chairs. It’s like the universe has a revolving door for thieves and decent folks, a never-ending job fair. The HR department is working overtime, folks! But here’s the punchline: despite all the musical chairs and revolving doors, the whole shebang remains oddly the same. It’s like trying to rearrange the furniture on a spaceship—it’s still a spaceship! So, while Sufis are doing their ethereal shuffle off this mortal coil, fear not; there’s a Sufi-in-training waiting in the wings to take the stage. It’s like a never-ending spiritual relay race, and the baton of wisdom gets passed along like a hot potato. The takeaway? In the grand theater, the show must go on, and the director is apparently a fan of sequels!

Rule 40 - Love is Love

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. Divisions only lead to more divisions. 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.

– Ella, to her daughter

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for the love comedy hour! So, here’s the scoop: a life without love is like a pizza without toppings—totally bland and not worth the delivery fee. Forget the dating apps asking if you’re into spiritual, material, divine, or mundane love; those labels are just like trying to choose between flavors of ice cream—it’s all delicious! Divisions in love are like speed bumps; they just slow down the love train. Love doesn’t come with instruction manuals or nutritional labels; it’s like the mystery flavor in a lollipop. It is what it is, pure and simple, like tofu but without the existential crisis. Love is the water of life, so hydrate those emotional taste buds, folks! And when a lover enters the scene, they’re not just a person; they’re a soul on fire, like a marshmallow in the flames of passion. Brace yourselves because when fire loves water, the universe does a little salsa, and the dance floor becomes a disco inferno! Love, my friends, turns the universe into a celestial tango, and you’re the star of the ballroom!