‘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.
– Robert Ornstein, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
Nasrudin is an international folk hero of medieval origin but timeless appeal. His role changes: sometimes he is the fool, sometimes the sage. He is courtier, beggar, physician, judge or teacher. Nasrudin is indefinable and therefore indestructible. Whether his anecdotes are studied for their hidden wisdom or enjoyed for their exhilarating humour, they will remain an incomparable delight. But as Idries Shah writes in The Sufis, the Nasrudin figure was devised as the pivot for a series of jokes used to illustrate the teaching of the Sufis.
Diversion from The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin
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.’
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
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.
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’
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.