Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah

‘For every decade we live, we will find another meaning in each story.’

Desmond Morris, World of Books, BBC

Available worldwide in all formats – including ebook and audio – on Amazon. In the USA go to Amazon.com, in the UK Amazon.co.uk, in India Amazon.in. You can also order Tales of the Dervishes in paperback and hardback from your local bookstore — and in the UK and USA we also recommend bookshop.org; and in Australia and New Zealand Booktopia. ISF also publishes an edition in Limited Edition, Dari, Farsi.

This anthology contains stories drawn from the repertories of dervish masters going back more than a thousand years in Europe and the Islamic world.

Tales of the Dervishes is one of Idries Shah’s cornerstone collections of Sufi tales, fables and legends. For centuries dervish masters have instructed their disciples with these teaching-stories which are said to increase perception and knowledge and provide a better understanding of the human condition.

Shah spent years traveling in three continents to collect and compare the oral and manuscript versions of these remarkable parables — partly culled from Turkish, Persian and Arabic sources. Their true function, beyond sheer entertainment, as a metaphorical teaching instrument is so little-known in the modern world, that no popular terms exist to describe them.

Tales of the Dervishes offers a valuable postscript to each story, providing a brief account of its origin, use, and place in the tradition of Sufism.

‘An astonishingly generous and liberating book ... strikingly appropriate for our time and situation ... a jewel flung in the market-place.’


‘Challenges our intellectual assumptions at almost every point.’


‘A collection of diamonds…likely to endure in the manner of the Koran and the Bible.’


‘…equal, and sometimes surpass, in relevance, piquancy and humour the best of the spiritual and ethical teachers of the West.’


‘These teaching-tales could become a permanent part of the reader's experience.’


‘Beautifully translated…equips men and women to make good use of their lives.’