Synopses & Reviews
A unique and little-known religion, Sufism follows a mystical teaching and a way of life that has had an enormous though largely unrecognized impact on both the East and West for four thousand years. This authoritative book fills a colossal gap in Western documentation of Eastern subjects.
"Important historically and culturally." Los Angeles Times
"...the best introduction to the body of Shah's work...one is ... forced to use one's mind in a new way." Doris Lessing, New York Times Book Review, May 7, 1971
"... an astonishing book ... The Sufis must be the biggest society of sensible men there has ever been on earth." Ted Hughes, The Listener, October 29, 1964
First published in 1964, Idries Shah's definitive work, The Sufis
, completely overturned Western misconceptions of Sufism, revealing a great spiritual and psychological tradition encompassing many of the world's greatest thinkers: Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn El-Arabi, Al-Ghazzali, Sadi, Attar, Francis of Assisi and many others.
The spiritual and psychological tradition of Sufism was regarded, before this pioneering book was published, as the preserve of ecstatic religionists and a small number of Oriental scholars, who treated it in the main as a minority cult.
The Sufis is the pivotal work which heralded the revelation of the astonishing richness and variety of Sufi thought and its contribution to human culture contained in Idries Shah's many books on the subject.
The astonishing impact of Sufism on the development of Western civilization from the seventh century is traced through the work of Roger Bacon, John of the Cross, Raymond Lully, and Chaucer. Many of the greatest traditions, ideas and discoveries of the West are traced to the teachings and writings of Sufi masters working centuries ago.
But The Sufis is far more than an historical account. In the tradition of the great Sufi classics, the deeper appeal of this remarkable book is in its ability to function as an active instrument of instruction, in a way that is so clearly relevant to our time and culture.
Today, studies in Sufism, notably through Shah's research and publication, are pursued in centers of higher learning throughout the world, in the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and many other areas of current human concern.
Includes bibliographical references.