Idries Shah

Idries Shah

Idries Shah was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition and is considered one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century. He devoted his life to collecting, translating and adapting key works of Sufi classical literature for the needs of the contemporary West. These works represent centuries of thought – some call it “practical philosophy” – aimed at developing human potential. Shah’s literary output – more than three dozen books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and cultural studies – includes uniquely instrumental teaching stories, some of which he retold for children. His work is regarded as forming an important bridge between the cultures of East and West. It has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold millions of copies around the world. In his writings for adults, Shah presented Sufism as a universal form of wisdom that predates Islam. Emphasizing that Sufism is not static but always adapts to the current time, place and people, he often framed his teaching in Western psychological terms. For more than 40 years, Shah sifted through oriental literature and oral Sufi tradition to bring his contemporary audience narratives, poetry, aphorisms and an enormous range of teaching stories that are appropriate for our time and culture. He pointed out that this work “connects with a part of the individual which cannot be reached by any other convention, and ... establishes in him or in her a means of communication with a non-verbalized truth beyond the customary limitations of our familiar dimensions.”
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