The Forty Rules of Love, a novel by Elif Shafak, refers to a list of lessons or principles by the wandering. Sufi mystic, Shams of Tabriz, the spiritual companion of Rumi, compiled while roaming the Earth. In Shafak’s novel, her character, Shams, says in his own words:.
“As I went through these experiences, I began to compile a list that wasn’t written down in any book, only inscribed in my soul. This personal list I called The Basic Principles of the Itinerant Mystics of Islam. To me these were as universal, dependable, and invariable as the laws of nature. Together they constituted The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love, which could be attained through love and love only.”
The Forty Rules, although in real life not the actual words of Shams, but partly the imagination of the author and her understanding of the mystical path of Sufism, offer much insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us.
Each of these beautiful principles is illustrated here by the stunning photography of Gregory Colbert, from his traveling exhibition, Ashes and Snow.