His family on the paternal side were Musavi Sayyids. Their ancestral home was near the Paghman Gardens of Kabul. Rushbrook Williams , Shah began accompanying his father in his travels from a very young age, and although they both travelled widely and often, they always returned to England where the family made their home for many years. Williams writes, Such an upbringing presented to a young man of marked intelligence, such as Idries Shah soon proved himself to possess, many opportunities to acquire a truly international outlook, a broad vision, and an acquaintance with people and places that any professional diplomat of more advanced age and longer experience might well envy. But a career of diplomacy did not attract Idries Shah He described how his father and his extended family and friends always tried to expose the children to a "multiplicity of impacts" and a wide range of contacts and experiences with the intention of producing a well-rounded person.

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Shelves: philosophy , arabic-literature , religious-literature , culture , intellectuals I loved this. I tend to love books that give me insight into words and the origins of phrases and organisations. At times I must admit that this did sound conspiratorial in places as Idries tried to link the origin of organisations like the Carboneri in Italy and the Freemasons and Knights Templar to Sufiism which I found a little dubious but the way he puts his arguments across it did sound reasonable in certain places.

The book is one of the best I have read on the subject. It covers some of I loved this. His allegorical stories are beautifully and intellectually tinged with humour and comedy.

After a year of solitude and deprivation this man returned to the door of the Beloved. He knocked. In other words, he keeps awake the spiritual attention dormant in others. That mankind sleeps in a nightmare of unfulfillment is a commonplaces of Sufi literature.

The function of a nutrient is to become transmuted not to leave unaltered traces. A lion bursts his cage asunder. When he can read words he retains the knowledge of the letters but reads whole words.

If he were to concentrate upon letters he would be severely handicapped by what was useful only at an earlier stage. Both words and letters should now have a more settled perspective. Thus the Sufic method. They were travelling companions making for some distance place but at this moment they were arguing over the spending of a single pieces of money which was all that they had among them.

Another traveller passing, a linguist, said give the coin to me. I undertake to satisfy the desires of all of you. At first they would not trust him. Ultimately they let him have the coin. He went to the shop of a fruit seller and bought four small bunches of grapes. The grapes were shared out among them and each realised that the disharmony had been due to his faulty understanding of the language of the others.

The travellers said the Aga are ordinary people of the world. The Sufi is the linguist. They never pause to compare the possible value of a thinking parrot. Teaching his last action was deliberately calculated to make a man think for himself. When the barbarians under Jhengiz Khan invaded Persia in , Attar was seized, by now a man of one hundred and 10 years of age. One Mongol said do not kills this man, I will give a thousand pieces of silver as a ransom for him. Attar told his captor to hold out for he would get a better price from someone else.

A little later another man offered only a quantity of straw for him. Sell me for the straw said Attar for hat is all that I am worth. And he was slain by the infuriated Mongol. Man is not as free as he thinks he is. The first step if for the individual to get away from thinking that he understand and really understand.

But man has been taught that he can understand everything by the same processes — the processes of logic.


The Idries Shah Foundation

Born in India, the descendant of a family of Afghan nobles, Shah grew up mainly in England. His early writings centred on magic and witchcraft. In he established a publishing house, Octagon Press, producing translations of Sufi classics as well as titles of his own. His most seminal work was The Sufis, which appeared in and was well received internationally.


Idries Shah




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