This is the fourth 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, second, and third post summarized the rules 1 through 30.
More often than not, we seek or long for Love, with a room (or even a mansion) full of expectations from others and ourselves. To protect our perceived-to-be-important mansion, we build strong walls of our rigidity all around it, stopping the easy flow of Love in and out of our lives (and perhaps even others’). As the spiritual masters teach us and as we all know that the very source of Love is within us. The only step we need to take is to bring down the walls, be flexible, and keep the doors of our heart wide open to everyone, showering them with Divine Love while experiencing it ourselves. Doesn’t it feel amazing to Love someone unconditionally, accepting them for who they are or help a complete stranger without any expectations? That is Divine Love.
Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
The Forty Rules of Love: Rules 31 through 40
- 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 all are faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental, and more compassionate and generous. Yet only some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before. The only way to get closer to Truth is to expand your heart so that it will encompass all humanity and still have room for more Love. (Love is the reason. Love is the goal. And when you Love God so much, when you Love each and every one of His creations because of Him and thanks to Him, superfluous divisions melt into thin air. From that point on, there can be no “I” anymore. All you amount to is a zero so big it covers your whole being.)
- Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, 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.
- 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.
- 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 from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquility and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.
- 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 non-believer should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-i Kâmil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.
- This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. Fear 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 beautifully.
- God is a meticulous clockmaker. 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.
- 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.
- While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent 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.
- 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.
With this, I end the beautiful journey and thank the Divine for spreading His knowledge to all of us through this instrument. I thank you all for continuing to spread Loving kindness in times when the world needs it the most. Let us promise ourselves to choose Love, and only Love! Without the sweet life of Love, living is a burden.
Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in Love, it is the bridge between you and everything.
For those who want to contemplate deeply on the Forty Rules and have them in one place, here is a compiled PDF. I welcome you to meditate with me on one rule every day for the next forty days.
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. Image credits.