The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love – Shams of Tabriz (I)


1. How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
2. The Path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challange, and ultimately prevail over your nafs (false ego) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.
3.You can study God through everything and evryone in the Universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.
4. Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is outermeaning and it is one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the inner level. Third is the inner of the ineer. And the forth is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.
5. Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas love says, ‘Oh take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.
6. Most of the problems of the world stems from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the aone of love, language as we know it becaomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.
7. Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, for it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
8. Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remained closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.
9.Patience does notmean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never runs out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
10. East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole world and beyond.
11. The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby canot 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 be strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.
12. The quest of 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.
13. 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 centred people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not divert you 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.
14. Try not to resist the changes that comes your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do yo know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
15. 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.
16. 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 imperfactions and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable is 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.
17. 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 our heart.
18.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 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 as a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.
19. 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 acheive that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It’s a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
20. 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.
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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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9 Responses to The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love – Shams of Tabriz (I)

  1. Clara Wells says:

    Vicky, I’m interested in finding out if The 40 Rules of the Religion of Love were actually written by Shams or came from another source. I can’t find any other references to them on the internet. Where did you find them or come up with them? I’d really appreciate any feedback you can give me. Thanks, Clara

  2. GUIDO CASALE says:

    Vicky, perhaps I’m being obtuse – but there seem to be only 20 rules. What happened to the other 40? Thanks.

    best wishes

    Guido

  3. Poppy Sandoval says:

    Thank you for this – I was about to go through the book and do exactly this. Wonderful to have it so nicely available.

  4. I loved the book and the 40 rules of love – gave me a whole new idea on how to look at religion, any religion. For me, I realize that it is very difficult for us human beings to believe in what God really is. (100% pure love). We want to worship a ‘person’ something we can touch or see, with a head, arms and legs and preferably a beard too! When it is written that we need to destroy the infidels, it is easy to think other people are meant by that, however (I think) it is the infidelity within yourself you need to work on.

  5. M. Zaheer says:

    May Allah bless you.May Allah embrace you and show you the straight path. Pray for me. I am thankful to Allah in getting The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love – Shams of Tabriz (I)

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