Tales of the Dervishes

Tales of the Dervishes

R 349



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.


ISBN: 9781784790752
AUTHOR: Idries Shah
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 248 pages
DIMENSIONS: 5.5 x 0.62 x 8.5 inches


Idries Shah was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition and is considered one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century. He devoted his life to collecting, translating and adapting key works of Sufi classical literature for the needs of the contemporary West. These works represent centuries of thought – some call it “practical philosophy” – aimed at developing human potential. Shah’s literary output – more than three dozen books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and cultural studies – includes uniquely instrumental teaching stories, some of which he retold for children. His work is regarded as forming an important bridge between the cultures of East and West. It has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold millions of copies around the world. In his writings for adults, Shah presented Sufism as a universal form of wisdom that predates Islam. Emphasizing that Sufism is not static but always adapts to the current time, place and people, he often framed his teaching in Western psychological terms. For more than 40 years, Shah sifted through oriental literature and oral Sufi tradition to bring his contemporary audience narratives, poetry, aphorisms and an enormous range of teaching stories that are appropriate for our time and culture. He pointed out that this work “connects with a part of the individual which cannot be reached by any other convention, and ... establishes in him or in her a means of communication with a non-verbalized truth beyond the customary limitations of our familiar dimensions.”

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