This is the second post in the series summarizing the Forty Rules of Love, which are considered to be the essence of the Quran and the Sufi way of life. The first post can be found here, which summarizes the first ten rules.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
The Forty Rules of Love: Rules 11 through 20
- 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.
- The quest for Love changes us. 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.
- 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.
- Try not to resist the changes that 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?
- 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 a fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.
- It’s easy to Love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to Love fellow human beings 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.
- Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, 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.
- The whole universe is contained within a single human being — you. Everything that you see around, including the things 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 (i.e., devil) outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.
- If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to Love 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.
- Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.
Let us all contemplate on each of the rules and implement them in our lives, after all why prefer to crawl when each one of us is born with wings to fly and soar high. And don’t forget to keep spreading positivity and loving kindness all around. It is most important that we do it more and more (and slightly more please) in these testing times.
Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.
Note: The rules are presented verbatim from the book and all the rights belong to the author and the publisher of the book.
The featured image represents sema, a dance form that Sufi saints perform in remembrance of God. The hand pointing skyward represents connection to God and the hand pointing towards earth represents passing of the Divine knowledge from God to the people. Melieka Fathi | Robabi: this is a short video of the sema dance, shared by a Sufi friend. Image credits.