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Sufis, The

Product no.: 0-385-07966-4
The pivotal work which heralded the revelation of the astonishing richness and variety of Sufi thought and its contribution to human culture contained in Idries Shah's many books on the subject.

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Publisher's Synopsis

First published in 1964, Idries Shah's definitive work, The Sufis, completely overturned Western misconceptions of Sufism, revealing a great spiritual and psychological tradition encompassing many of the world's greatest thinkers: Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn al-'Arabi, Al-Ghazzali, Sadi, Attar, Francis of Assisi and many others.

A unique and little-known religion, Sufism follows a mystical teaching and a way of life that has had an enormous though largely unrecognized impact on both the East and West for four thousand years. This authoritative book fills a colossal gap in Western documentation of Eastern subjects.


"The natural Sufi may come dressed as a general, a merchant, a lawyer, a schoolmaster, a housewife, anything. To be in the world, but not of it, free from ambition, greed, intellectual pride - that is the Sufi ideal."      ~Robert Graves

"The best introduction to the body of Shah's work... one is forced to use one's mind in a new way."    ~New York Times Book Review


"Sufis believe that, expressed in one way, humanity is evolving to a certain destiny. We are all taking part in that evolution. Organs come into being as a result of the need for specific organs (Rumi). The human being's organism is producing a new complex of organs in response to such a need. In this age of the transcending of time and space, the complex of organs is concerned with the transcending of time and space.

What ordinary people regard as sporadic and occasional bursts of telepathic or prophetic power are seen by the Sufi as nothing less than the first stirrings of these same organs. The difference between all evolution up to date and the present need for evolution is that for the past ten thousand years or so we have been given the possibility of a conscious evolution. So essential is this more rarefied evolution that our future depends upon it."


Idries Shah was born in Simla, India, in 1924, of an aristocratic Afghan family, the Saadat of Paghman. He devoted much of his life to explaining the East to the West, and made a wide body of scholarship of Eastern traditional teachings available in the Western world.

A foremost authority on Sufism, Shah presented key Sufi concepts, stripped of cultural and religious accretions, to a Western audience. He maintained that much of the work of Western psychology was pioneered, centuries ago, by Sufis. 

His books have sold more than fifteen million copies in twenty languages worldwide, and covered numerous genres, including psychology, Islamic thought, belles-lettres, humour and problem-solving. Idries Shah died in London in November 1996.

Author Shah, Idries
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 480 pp.
Publisher Doubleday 1971
Browse these categories as well: Sufism and Dervishes, Mazdaism and Sacred Sufi Poetry

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