This year, we have released five new special editions of Shah’s work, which were made available by extremely generous donations from Friends of the ISF. This collection of five special editions is comprised of beautiful marbled hardcovers with ribbon bookmarks, printed in the UK. We are indebted for the support received, and to everyone who purchases the editions.
All proceeds raised from their sales goes in entirety to the Books for Afghan Children Project.
You can purchase the special editions in our online shop:
The first special edition that was released is The Idries Shah Anthology. This is a special collection of previously published work. 356 pages.
From the introduction:
In his writing about Sufism, Idries Shah did some revolutionary things. Critically, and almost alone, he said that it was possible to divorce the essence of Sufi philosophy from what he insisted were secondary accretions of islamic culture and religion. Moreover, he said, in making this material available to the West, you could not only do this, you must do it. This is because, he believed, you can only absorb materials that are designed for your own time and place. Sufism as an essence may be ‘truth without form’ but, in order to penetrate into the human mind, it must be delivered in a package shaped to fit the receiving culture.
‘When something new enters a culture, there is a period where, like a new object being thrown into the chimpanzee pen at a zoo, all the chimps rush over to touch it, throw it on the floor, fight over it and so on,’ he once told me. ‘We must wait until the dust settles; only then will people be in a position to assess this material.’
My father died in 1996 and the dust is settling fast. He leaves a body of work behind and, on this work alone, he believed, he should and would be judged. This anthology is intended to provide a basic sample of his work, an essential reader, to allow people to do exactly what he would have wished them to do: to think for themselves and to make up their own minds.
— From the Editor’s Note, by Saira Shah
You can purchase the Anthology here:
Chapters from the Anthology:
- The Tale of The Sands
- Editor’s Note
- On Sufism
- The Subtleties of Mulla Nasrudin
- Proverbs and Aphorisms
- Teachings of the Classics
- Methods of the Masters
- Themes for Study and Contemplation
- Table Talk
- Travel Writing
Tales of the Dervishes
Although enormously attractive as sheer entertainment, Dervish tales were never presented merely on the level of a fable, legend or folklore. They stand comparison in wit, construction and piquancy with the finest stories of any culture, yet their true function as Sufi teaching stories is so little-known in the modern world, that no technical or popular terms exist to describe them. The material in Tales of the Dervishes is the result of a thousand years of development, during which Dervish masters used these and other teaching stories to instruct their disciples. The tales are held to convey powers of increasing perception unknown to the ordinary man.
Thinkers of the East
Thinkers of the East is a collection of anecdotes and ‘parables in action’ illustrating the eminently practical and lucid approach of Eastern Dervish teachers. Distilled from the teachings of more than one hundred sages in three continents, this material stresses the experimental rather than the theoretical – and it is that characteristic of Sufi study which provides its impact and vitality. The emphasis of Thinkers of the East contrasts sharply with the Western concept of the East as a place of theory without practice, or thought without action. The book’s author, Idries Shah, says ‘Without direct experience of such teaching, or at least a direct recording of it, I cannot see how Eastern thought can ever be understood’.
Small in size, but with a powerful punch, Idries Shah’s Reflections is a collection of fables, aphorisms, and statements that challenge the conditioned mind. The book confronts the reader with unaccustomed perspectives and ideas, in an attempt to set the mind free, to see how things really are. As the book’s foreword states, ‘Do you imagine that fables exist only to amuse or to instruct, and are based upon fiction? The best ones are delineations of what happens in real life, in the community and in the individual’s mental processes’.
The Way of the Sufi
The Way of the Sufi presents an unparalleled cross-section of material from Sufi schools, teachings and classical writings, as a basic course of Sufi study. The author begins with the outward aspects of the teaching most likely to puzzle the student coming fresh to the subject. He considers various attitudes to Sufi ideas, and evidence of their absorption into medieval Christianity, Hinduism, Jewish mysticism and modern philosophical teachings. The greater part of the book illuminates aspects of Sufi activity and practice relevant to the contemporary world.