This is the third 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 and second post summarized the rules 1 to 10 and 11 to 20, respectively. When we are lost, we are busy for looking for answers everywhere around us. But as we realize later, the answer lied within us and all we had to was open the door of our heart and simply look inside for the answer to reveal itself. Likewise, Divine Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born, and is waiting to be discovered.

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveller, if you are in search of that, don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.
– Rumi

The Forty Rules of Love: Rules 21 through 30

  1. We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No two 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 tantamount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.
  2. 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 appearances. 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 and instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 falls upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside us and live by it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. This world is like a snowy mountain that echoes your voice. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbors 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 forty days, because you will be different inside.
  8. The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move 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. When you grasp this truth, you’ll have nothing to fear anymore. What you need is to live this very moment. That is all that matters.
  9. Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to 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 forty different levels. Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.
  10. The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single 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?

Let us all deeply contemplate on each of the rules, implement them in our lives, and realize the Divine Love present inside each one of us. In addition to the positivity and kindness, let us all spread the Divine Love to as many as we can and as much as we can, and then a little more and to one more person. It is especially needed in these testing times and it falls onto each of us to sail through the rough waters while holding (and caressing) each other’s hands, perhaps with Love.

You have within you more Love than you could ever understand.
– Rumi

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.

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