The Elephant in the Dark by Idries Shah

‘This book aims at redressing balances; and to say what we have in common, on what we can build.’


Available worldwide in all formats – including ebook and audio – on Amazon. In the USA go to, in the UK, in India You can also order The Elephant in the Dark in paperback and hardback from your local bookstore — and in the UK and USA we also recommend; and in Australia and New Zealand Booktopia. ISF also publishes an edition in Spanish.

Based on Idries Shah’s celebrated Geneva University lectures, this important cross-cultural book dazzles with the breadth of its scholarship, and the profound depth of its message.

Elephant in the Dark: Christianity, Islam and the Sufis explores the episodes of cooperation and understanding between Christians and Moslems over nearly 1,500 years.

The title, The Elephant in the Dark, is from the traditional Eastern fable of the blind men and an elephant, in which various people experience an elephant differently based on the part of the animal they touch, and according to their subjective interpretations.

With this ancient fable, first described by the Sufi Master Jalaluddin Rumi, Idries Shah presents the Sufi perspective that Christianity and Islam stem from one, inner origin. Both faiths, he tells us, share common ground in more ways than we know.

In a world riven by cultural and religious differences, The Elephant in the Dark offers fresh thinking, hope, and a deeper understanding that goes beyond superficial appearances.

‘This book is an excellent introduction to the million or so words which Shah has in print.’

The Guardian

‘Shah seems to suggest that the time is ripe for a true ecumenism... Christianity and Islam, each preserving its essential nature, might recognise the validity of a union, if not of doctrine, at least of spirit.’

The Evening News