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Ed. Penguin, 1974. Size 18 x 11 cm. State: Used, excellent. 316 pages

The sufi is one who does what others do – when it is necessary. He is also one who does what others cannot do – when it is indicated, Nuri Mojudi

Idries Shah was born in 1924 into a family that traces itself through the Prophet Mohammed and the Sassanian Emperors of Persia and, beyond that, back to the year 122 B. C. – perhaps the oldest recorded lineage on earth. Shah is the author of sixteen books published in five languages and forty-five editions throughout the world. Their subject matter ranges over travel, bibliography, literature, humour, philosophy and history, but heir author is most prominent for his writings on Sufi thought as it applies to the cultures of both East and West. Despite the extraordinary success of these books, Shah refuses newspaper interviews and declines to play the role of a ‘guru’, preferring hard and silent work in his chosen milieu of thinkers and artists.

By Idries Shah
London, 1968

So many people profess themselves bewildered by Sufi lore that one is forced to the conclusion that they want to be bewildered. Others, for more obvious reasons, simplify things to such an extent that their «Sufism» is just a cult of love, or of meditations, or of something equally selective.

But a person with a portion of uncommited interests who looks at the variety of Sufi action can see the common characteristic staring him in the face.

The Sufi sages, schools, writers, teachings, humour, mysticism, formulations are all concerned with the social and psychological relevance of certain human ideas.

Being a man of ‘timelessness’ and ‘placelessness’, the Sufi brings his experience into operation within the culture, the country, the climate in which he is living.

The study of Sufic activity in distant cultures alone is of value only to those working in the narrow field of scholasticism. Considering Sufi activities as merely religious, literary or philosophical phenomena will produce only grabled renditions of the Sufi way. To try to extract theory or system and to attempt the study of it in isolation is just as comparatively profitless.

This book is designed to present Sufi ideas, actions and report: not for the microscope or as museum-pieces, but in their relevance to a current community – what we call the contemporary world.

Notes and Bibliography
1- El-Ghazali
2- Omar Khayyam
3- Attar of Nishapur
4- Ibn El-Arabi
5- Saadi of Shiraz
6- Hakim Jami
7- Hakim Sanai
8- Jalaludin Rumi
1- The Chishti Order
2- The Qadiri Order
3- The Suhrawardi Order
4- The Naqshbandi Order