COVID-19 and Forty Rules of Love

The COVID and  Forty Rules of Love is a novel written by Elif Shafak, a Turkish author. The book is about Maulana Jalal-ud-din Rumi and Shams Tabrizi. The book explains how Shams transformed Rumi from a scholar into a Sufi.

Reading this book during the COVID lockdown made me understand love and believe in God. The writer explained in the book two parallel stories happening in different cultures and in different eras.

The forty rules narrative and preached by Shams from time to time changed my perspective about life.

A few of my favourite rules are:

  • How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves; we don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blames welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
  • 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.
  • Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 priceless messages about love, God, life, and optimism helps us to be strong in a difficult situation. His rules guide us not to give up on God in challenging circumstances and keep believing in his grace, love, and blessing because this is the only way to get out of despair.

This book helps to understand the importance of empathy, gratitude and kindness.

I think in the current situation of the pandemic when we all are facing lots of uncertainties and difficulties in life, reading this book can help us to get reassurance that a good time will come, and we will be able to enjoy life again. We need to be empathetic to each other and trust God.