19th century ink watercolour of Jalaluddin Rumi on paper.
In 1978 Idries Shah published The Hundred Tales of Wisdom, subtitled, “Tales, anecdotes and narratives used in Sufi schools for the development of insights beyond ordinary perceptions.” The work is a pastiche of snippets and vignettes from the life of Jalaluddin Rumi, and a handful of certain important stories from Rumi’s own canon of written works.
Shah translated most of the stories for The Hundred Tales of Wisdom from Ahmad Aflaki’s Manaiqib al-Arifin, which translates into English as “virtues” or “qualities” of the “wise ones.” Aflaki, Rumi’s grandson, based his stories on the oral traditions of the early days of the founding of the Mevlevi Order. It is considered one of five source-books of authoritative material about Rumi’s life and work.
The Hundred Tales of Wisdom is thus, in part, a hagiography of Rumi; a subtle and haunting slideshow of impressions about the Persian mystic’s origins, teachings, and associates, which Shah distilled and rendered for a modern audience.