‘A beacon of sanity in our age of polarity’*

The Idries Shah Foundation is a charity dedicated to publishing and disseminating the works and ideas of the writer and thinker Idries Shah — and to connecting ideas across disciplines, cultures and history to help bring about a deeper insight into human thought and behaviour. Besides publishing, we are also engaged in a wide range of charitable projects, from supporting education in deprived societies to collaborating with UNESCO to promote stories as the essence of culture.

*John Zada, Los Angeles Review of Books.

Watch ISF’s UNESCO webinar on the Power of Stories hosted by Saira Shah Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate for Peace 2014How do stories affect the mind? A diverse group of educators, scientists, therapists and writers address how stories can help us better understand how we think Our Latest Book: The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin in Turkish Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate for Peace 2014Our Turkish translation programme is going full steam ahead — part of our effort to reseed the material Idries Shah drew from the East in the Islamic world. Watch a new animated version of The Onion read by Safia Shah Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate for Peace 2014We’ve started creating animated versions of our popular children’s books and we’re proud to present the first in the series. Watch The Onion and peel away its layers of wisdom! 'Donate to provide books to Afghan women and girls' - Saira Shah Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate for Peace 2014You can support ISF’s work in giving Idries Shah’s books and stories to Afghans. We will continue to find ways and means to distribute them to Afghans whatever the situation. Meet the Winners of the ISF-UNESCO World Tales Short Story Competition Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate for Peace 2014Children from around the world joined us for a live awards ceremony, read their winning stories and spoke about what inspired them to enter our global competition.

Latest from The Idries Shah Foundation

Find out about our latest projects and exciting publishing initiatives, read our blog – and listen to our popular podcast

Where There’s a Will... from The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin


Where There’s a Will... from The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin

From Idries Shah's The Mulla Nasrudin Corpus

The appeal of Nasrudin is as universal and timeless as the truths he illustrates. His stories are read, enjoyed and shared by children, scientists, scholars and followers of philosophy the world over. Idries Shah assembled perhaps the largest collection of Nasrudin’s trials and tribulations from sources across North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Central Asia. Gradually, these are being absorbed into Western culture. Some are no longer identified as Nasrudin stories at all!

Today’s story is taken from one of Shah’s four collections of infectious Nasrudin stories. ‘The Sufis, who believe that deep intuition is the only real guide to knowledge, use these stories almost like exercises,’ wrote Shah. ‘But [they] concur… that everyone can do with the Nasrudin tales what people have done through the centuries – enjoy them.’

Our Impact

Books for Afghanistan

Books for Afghans

We are distributing copies of our Dari translations to Afghans who have fled Afghanistan. 1,000 copies of our children’s books are being printed in the UK for immediate distribution. And 500 copies of our Nasrudin Dari editions are going to local councils, charities and military bases in the UK and USA.

UNESCO Collaboration

UNESCO Collaboration

Thousands of children between the ages of 12 and 18 participated in the ISF-UNESCO’s short story competition. The theme ‘Once Upon a Time in My Future…’ drew entries from as far afield as Chile, Iran and Mongolia. The winners won bespoke medals, ipads and copies of our children’s books for their school libraries.

Taking Sufi Literature ‘Home’

Taking Sufi Literature ‘Home’

The Idries Shah Foundation is making Idries Shah’s books available to readers in Asia and the Middle East, thereby ‘returning’ them to the societies that birthed much of the material he drew from. They are reaching refugees from Afghanistan and Iran – and now Turkish readers.

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