Idries Shah Foundation - Charity Aims

More about what we do

Until only a few years ago, as literary people, psychologists and the increasing number of those engaged in studying human consciousness now so often remind us, Sufism was a closed book for the ordinary person. Its language, in the form found in its classical and technical writings, seemed almost impenetrable. Orientalists (now more correctly renamed Specialists in the Human Sciences in Asia and Africa) maintained a near-monopoly of information on the subject and yet could be found extensively disagreeing as to what Sufism was, how and where it started, and what its teachings meant. Some Islamic workers were against it; others claimed it as the true essence of Islam. Some non-Muslim observers were powerfully attracted to it, others found it too culturebound for their liking.

The publication of Sufi stories stripped of didactic overlay and much verbiage, together with studies of Sufi psychological work and perhaps, above all, the observed analogies with current social and cultural concerns, has changed this picture quite dramatically. It is now generally accepted that Sufi research and experience during the past thousand years has been one of the most promising areas of development in the direction of understanding man and indicating his perceptions of extradimensional reality. But it was not until people, mainly in the West, began to note the congruence of religious and psychological, esoteric and cultural thinking that a more holistic approach to the subject could develop.


Some of the organisations with which we collaborate and whose work is important in the fields of Literacy, Imagination, and the Humanities