Vol.13, No.1 | [Article] Confrontation of Love and Reason in Sufism - with Respect to Elif Shafak’s “The Forty Rules of Love”



The Forty Rules of Love, a widely read novel, which is translated to over 40 languages, is written by the Turkish writer Elif Shafak. The story draws a parallel relation between the world of the 13th century and that of the 21st century in two narratives of friendship development of the renowned scholar Rumi, who later turns to a poet and a mystic Sufi, Shams, and that of a mystic writer, Aziz and a housewife, Ella. Since the novel centers on Sufi phenomena, the paper studies the concept of reason and love in the narration, which is the main feature of Sufism to reach the elevation to and unity with God. The study derives the teaching and thoughts of Rumi from his well-known masterpieces Masnawi and Diwan-e Shams. The paper later discusses about the binary opposition of love and reason in the novel which is also another controversial issue in Sufism, where love is privileged over reason as the main source of spirituality. In her narration Elif Shafak believes that the rules of life as The Forty Rules of Love open a new angle in life as a guide towards becoming a noble being.