Idries Shah

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Idries Shah

Born 16 June 1924 (1924-06-16)
Simla, India
Died 23 November 1996 (1996-11-24)
London, UK
Occupation Writer, publisher
Ethnicity Anglo-Afghan
Subjects Sufism, psychology
Notable work(s) The Sufis

The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin

Thinkers of the East

Learning How to Learn

The Way of the Sufi


Kara Kush

Notable award(s) Outstanding Book of the Year (BBC "The Critics")
Children Saira Shah, Tahir Shah, Safia Shah
Official website

Idries Abutahir Shah (16 June, 1924–23 November, 1996) (Persian: ادریس شاه), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayyid Idris Hashimi (Arabic: سيد إدريس هاشمي), was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.

Born in India, the descendant of a family of Afghan nobles, Shah grew up mainly in England. His early writings from the mid 1950s centred on travel and the history and anthropology of magic and witchcraft. In 1960 he founded a publishing house, Octagon Press, publishing translations of Sufi classics and those of his own titles that by then were out-of-print. His most seminal work was The Sufis, first published by W H Allen in 1964 and well-received internationally. In 1965, Shah founded the Institute for Cultural Research, a London-based educational charity devoted to the study of human behaviour and culture. A similar organization, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK), exists in the United States, under the directorship of Stanford University psychology professor Robert Ornstein, whom Shah appointed as his deputy in the U.S.

In his writings, Shah presented Sufism as a universal form of wisdom that predated Islam. Emphasizing that Sufism was not static, but always adapted itself to the current time, place and people, he framed his teaching in Western psychological terms. Shah made extensive use of traditional teaching stories and parables, texts containing multiple layers of meaning designed to trigger insight and self-reflection in the reader. He is perhaps best known for his collections of humorous Mulla Nasrudin stories.

Shah was at times criticized by orientalists who questioned his credentials and background. His role in the controversy surrounding a new translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, published by his friend Robert Graves and his older brother Omar Ali-Shah, came in for particular scrutiny. But he also had many notable defenders, chief among them the novelist Doris Lessing. Shah came to be recognized as a spokesman for Sufism in the West and lectured as a visiting professor at a number of Western universities. His works have played a significant part in presenting the essence of Sufism as a non-confessional and individualistic distillation of spiritual wisdom.


[edit] Life

[edit] Family origins and youth

Idries Shah was born in Simla, India, to an Afghan-Indian father, Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, a writer and diplomat, and a Scottish mother, Saira Elizabeth Luiza Shah. His family on the paternal side were Sayyids, whose ancestral home was near the Paghman Gardens of Kabul.[1] His paternal grandfather, Sayyid Amjad Ali Shah, was the nawab of Sardhana in the North-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.[2] Shah was mainly brought up in the vicinity of London.[3] After his family moved from London to Oxford in 1940, to escape German bombing, he spent two or three years at the City of Oxford High School.[4] In 1945, he accompanied his father to Uruguay, as secretary to his father's halal meat mission; he returned to England in October 1946, following allegations of improper business dealings.[3][4]

[edit] Early writings

Shah published his first book, Oriental Magic, in 1956, after having been employed for some time at Gerald Gardner's magic and witchcraft museum on the Isle of Man.[3][4] This was followed in 1957 by The Secret Lore of Magic: Book of the Sorcerers and the travelogue Destination Mecca. Shah married Cynthia (Kashfi) Kabraji in 1958; they had a daughter, Saira, in 1964, followed by twins – a son, Tahir, and another daughter, Safia – in 1966.[5]

In 1960, Shah founded a publishing house, Octagon Press Limited, whose first title was the biographical work, Gerald Gardner: Witch.[6] Attributed to Jack L. Bracelin, it was in fact ghost-written by Shah, who was Gardner's secretary at the time of writing.[7][8] While starting up his publishing work, Shah received support from John G. Bennett, a noted Gurdjieff student, who was impressed enough with Shah to give his Coombe Springs house – and the care of his body of pupils – to him.[9][10] Shah sold the plot to a developer and used the proceeds to establish himself at Langton House in Langton Green, near Tunbridge Wells.[4] Some twenty years later, the author James Moore would suggest that Bennett had been duped by Shah.[4] Bennett dealt with the issue in some detail in his autobiography, stating that he had "gained freedom" through his contact with Shah.[11]

Whose Beard?
Nasrudin dreamt that he had Satan's beard in his hand. Tugging the hair he cried: "The pain you feel is nothing compared to that which you inflict on the mortals you lead astray." And he gave the beard such a tug that he woke up yelling in agony. Only then did he realize that the beard he held in his hand was his own.

Idries Shah[12]

In 1964, Shah published his most popular work, The Sufis,[3] with an introduction by Robert Graves.[13] Like Shah's other books on the topic, The Sufis was conspicuous for avoiding terminology that might have identified his interpretation of Sufism with traditional Islam.[14] The book chronicled the impact Sufism had made on the development of Western civilization and traditions from the seventh century onward through the work of such figures as Roger Bacon, John of the Cross, Raymond Lully, Chaucer and others, and was well received, being referred to as a "seminal book of the century" in The Washington Post.[15]

In 1965, Shah founded the Institute for Cultural Research (ICR) in London,[16] an educational charity aimed at stimulating "study, debate, education and research into all aspects of human thought, behaviour and culture".[13][17][18] He also established the Society for Sufi Studies (SSS).[19] Over the following years, Shah developed Octagon Press as a means of publishing and distributing reprints of translations of numerous Sufi classics.[20] In addition, he collected, translated and wrote thousands of Sufi tales, making these available to a Western audience through his books and lectures.[19] Several of Shah's books feature the Mulla Nasrudin character, sometimes with illustrations provided by Richard Williams. In Shah's interpretation, the Mulla Nasrudin stories, previously considered a folkloric part of Muslim cultures, were presented as Sufi parables.[21]

[edit] Graves controversy

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Shah came under attack over a controversy surrounding the 1967 publication of a new translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, by Robert Graves and Shah's older brother, Omar Ali-Shah.[13][22] The translation, which presented the Rubaiyat as a Sufic poem, was based on an annotated "crib", supposedly derived from a manuscript that had been in the Shah family's possession for 800 years.[23] L. P. Elwell-Sutton, an orientalist at Edinburgh University, and others who reviewed the book expressed their conviction that the story of the ancient manuscript was false.[22][23]

Shah's father, the Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, was expected by Graves to present the original manuscript to clear the matter up, but he died in a car accident in Tangier in November 1969.[24] A year later, Graves asked Idries Shah to produce the manuscript, but Shah replied in a letter that doing so would prove nothing – the manuscript's authenticity could still be contested.[24] It was time, Shah wrote, "that we realized that the hyenas who are making so much noise are intent only on opposition, destructiveness and carrying on a campaign when, let's face it, nobody is really listening."[24] He added that his father had been so infuriated by those casting these aspersions that he refused to engage with them, and he felt his father's response had been correct.[24] Graves, noting that he was now widely perceived as having fallen prey to the Shah brothers' gross deception, and that this affected income from sales of his other historical writings, insisted that producing the manuscript had become "a matter of family honour".[24] He pressed Shah again, reminding him of previous promises to produce the manuscript if it were necessary.[24]

Shah never did produce the manuscript, leading Graves' nephew and biographer to muse that it was hard to believe – bearing in mind the Shah brothers' many obligations to Graves – that they would have withheld the manuscript if it had ever existed in the first place.[24] According to his widow writing many years later, Graves, even though he never had a chance to view the text in person, continued to have faith in the authenticity of the manuscript, because of his friendship with Shah.[25] The scholarly consensus today is that the "Jan Fishan Khan" manuscript was a hoax, and that the Graves/Shah translation was in fact based on a Victorian amateur scholar's analysis of the sources used by previous Rubaiyat translator Edward FitzGerald.[4][22][26][27] As a response to the attacks on Shah, twenty-four scholars and writers, drawn from both East and West, compiled a Festschrift in honour of his services to Sufi studies (Sufi Studies, East and West, 1973).[13][28]

[edit] Latter years

Shah wrote around two dozen more books over the following decades, many of them drawing on classical Sufi sources.[4] Achieving a huge worldwide circulation,[16] his writings appealed primarily to an intellectually oriented Western audience.[14] By translating Sufi teachings into contemporary psychological language, he presented them in vernacular and hence accessible terms.[29] His folktales, illustrating Sufi wisdom through anecdote and example, proved particularly popular.[14][16] Shah also received and accepted invitations to lecture as a visiting professor at various academic institutions, including the University of California, the University of Geneva, the National University of La Plata and several English universities.[30][31]

In late spring 1987, about a year after his final visit to Afghanistan, Shah suffered two successive and massive heart attacks.[18][32] He was told that he had only eight per cent of his heart function left, and could not expect to survive.[18] Despite intermittent bouts of illness, he continued working and produced further books over the next nine years.[18][32] Idries Shah died in London on November 23, 1996, at the age of 72. According to his obituary in The Daily Telegraph, Idries Shah was a collaborator with Mujahideen in the Afghan-Soviet war, a Director of Studies for the Institute for Cultural Research and a Governor of the Royal Humane Society and the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables.[18] He was also a member of the Athenaeum Club.[4] His novel Kara Kush was informed by his active involvement in setting up relief efforts in Afghanistan.[13] At the time of his death, Shah's books had sold over 15 million copies in a dozen languages worldwide,[3] and had been reviewed in numerous international journals and newspapers.[33][34]

[edit] Teachings

[edit] Sufism as a form of universal wisdom

Shah claimed that Sufism was a form of universal wisdom and that it was not Islamic, but predated Islam.[35] According to Shah, the nature of Sufism was alive, not static, and could not be grasped by studying its past manifestations, or the methods of its old masters.[35] Instead, Sufism needed to be constantly redefined and adapted, to fit new circumstances and environments.[19][35] "Sufi schools are like waves which break upon rocks: [they are] from the same sea, in different forms, for the same purpose," he wrote, quoting Ahmad al-Badawi.[19] As a result, Shah displayed a general disregard for academic descriptions of Sufism, believing that an obsession with its traditional forms might actually prevent people from recognizing the real thing.[35] This thought is expressed succinctly in one of his books: "Show a man too many camels' bones, or show them to him too often, and he will not be able to recognize a camel when he comes across a live one."[35][36]

Shah, like Inayat Khan, presented Sufism as a path that transcended individual religions, and adapted it to a Western audience.[20] Unlike Khan, however, he deemphasized religious or spiritual trappings and portrayed Sufism as a psychological technology, a method or science that could be used to achieve self-realization.[20][37] In doing so, his approach seemed to be especially addressed to followers of Gurdjieff, students of the Human Potential Movement, and intellectuals acquainted with modern psychology.[20] For example, he wrote, "Sufism ... states that man may become objective, and that objectivity enables the individual to grasp 'higher' facts. Man is therefore invited to push his evolution ahead towards what is sometimes called in Sufism 'real intellect'."[20] Shah taught that the human being could acquire new subtle sense organs in response to need:[19]

Sufis believe that, expressed in one way, humanity is evolving towards a certain destiny. We are all taking part in that evolution. Organs come into being as a result of the need for specific organs (Rumi). The human being's organism is producing a new complex of organs in response to such a need. In this age of transcending of time and space, the complex of organs is concerned with the transcending of time and space. What ordinary people regard as sporadic and occasional outbursts of telepathic or prophetic power are seen by the Sufi as nothing less than the first stirrings of these same organs. The difference between all evolution up to date and the present need for evolution is that for the past ten thousand years or so we have been given the possibility of a conscious evolution. So essential is this more rarefied evolution that our future depends upon it.

Idries Shah, The Sufis[38]

Shah dismissed other Eastern and Western projections of Sufism as "watered down, generalized or partial"; he included in this not only Khan's version, but also the overtly Muslim forms of Sufism found in most Islamic countries.[20] He portrayed himself as representing the "People of the Tradition", a remote top echelon of Sufis supposedly located in the inaccessible Hindukush of Afghanistan, and his associates produced a number of books implying that Shah was the "Grand Sheikh of the Sufis", a position of authority undercut by the failure of any other Sufis to acknowledge its existence.[20]

[edit] Teaching stories

In his work, Shah used teaching stories and humour to great effect.[35][39] Shah emphasized the therapeutic function of surprising anecdotes, and the fresh perspectives these tales revealed.[40] The reading and discussion of such tales in a group setting became a significant part of the activities in which the members of Shah's study circles engaged.[21] The transformative way in which these puzzling or surprising tales could destabilize the student's normal (and unaware) mode of consciousness was studied by Stanford University psychology professor Robert Ornstein, who, with the Nobel-prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing,[19][41] was one of several notable thinkers profoundly influenced by Shah.[40][42]

Shah and Ornstein met in the 1960s.[42] Realizing that Ornstein could be an ideal partner in propagating his teachings, translating them into the idiom of psychotherapy, Shah made him his deputy (khalifa) in the United States.[40][42] Ornstein's The Psychology of Consciousness (1972) was enthusiastically received by the academic psychology community, as it coincided with new interests in the field, such as the study of biofeedback and other techniques designed to achieve shifts in mood and awareness.[42] Ornstein has published more books in the field over the years.[42]

In their original historical and cultural setting, Sufi teaching stories of the kind popularized by Shah – first told orally, and later written down for the purpose of transmitting Sufi faith and practice to successive generations – were considered suitable for people of all ages, including children, as they contained multiple layers of meaning.[19] Shah likened the Sufi story to a peach: "A person may be emotionally stirred by the exterior as if the peach were lent to you. You can eat the peach and taste a further delight ... You can throw away the stone – or crack it and find a delicious kernel within. This is the hidden depth."[19] It was in this manner that Shah invited his audience to receive the Sufi story.[19] By failing to uncover the kernel, and regarding the story as merely amusing or superficial, a person would accomplish nothing more than looking at the peach, while others internalized the tale and allowed themselves to be touched by it.[19]

[edit] Views on culture and practical life

Shah's concern was to reveal essentials underlying all cultures, and the hidden factors determining individual behaviour.[16] He discounted the Western focus on appearances and superficialities, which often reflected mere fashion and habit, and drew attention to the origins of culture and the unconscious and mixed motivations of people and the groups formed by them.[16] He also pointed out how both on the individual and group levels, short-term disasters often turn into blessings – and vice versa – and yet the knowledge of this has done little to affect the way people respond to events as they occur.[16]

Shah did not advocate the abandonment of worldly duties; instead, he argued that the treasure sought by the would-be disciple should derive from one's struggles in everyday living.[19] He considered practical work the means through which a seeker could do self-work, in line with the traditional adoption by Sufis of ordinary professions, through which they earned their livelihoods and "worked" on themselves.[19] Shah's status as a teacher remained indefinable; disclaiming both the guru identity and any desire to found a cult or sect, he also rejected the academic hat.[16] Michael Rubinstein, writing in Makers of Modern Culture, concluded that "he is perhaps best seen as an embodiment of the tradition in which the contemplative and intuitive aspects of the mind are regarded as being most productive when working together."[16]

[edit] Reception

Idries Shah's books on Sufism achieved considerable critical acclaim, two of his works (The Way of the Sufi and Reflections) being chosen as "Outstanding Book of the Year" by the BBC's "The Critics" programme.[22] The Islamic scholar James Kritzeck, commenting on Shah's Tales of the Dervishes, said that it was "beautifully translated".[22]

[edit] Critics

The reception of Shah's movement was also marked by much controversy.[19] Some orientalists were hostile, in part because Shah presented classical Sufi writings as tools for self-development to be used by contemporary people, rather than as objects of historical study.[13] L. P. Elwell-Sutton from Edinburgh University, Shah's fiercest critic, described his books as "trivial", replete with errors of fact, slovenly and inaccurate translations and even misspellings of Oriental names and words – "a muddle of platitudes, irrelevancies and plain mumbo-jumbo", adding for good measure that Shah had "a remarkable opinion of his own importance".[43] Expressing amusement and amazement at the "sycophantic manner" of Shah's interlocutors in a BBC radio interview, Elwell-Sutton concluded that some Western intellectuals were "so desperate to find answers to the questions that baffle them, that, confronted with wisdom from 'the mysterious East,' they abandon their critical faculties and submit to brainwashing of the crudest kind".[22] To Elwell-Sutton, Shah's Sufism belonged to the realm of "Pseudo-Sufism, centred not on God but on man."[19]

Nobel-prize winner Doris Lessing was profoundly influenced by Shah.

Another hostile critic was James Moore, a Gurdjieffian who disagreed with Shah's assertion that Gurdjieff's teaching was essentially sufic in nature and took exception to the publication of a chronologically impossible, pseudonymous book on the matter (The Teachers of Gurdjieff by Rafael Lefort) that was linked to Shah.[4] In a 1986 article in Religion Today (now the Journal of Contemporary Religion), Moore covered the Bennett and Graves controversies and noted that Shah was surrounded by a "nimbus of exorbitant adulation: an adulation he himself has fanned".[4] He described Shah as supported by a "coterie of serviceable journalists, editors, critics, animators, broadcasters, and travel writers, which gamely choruses Shah's praise".[4]

Moore questioned Shah's purported Sufi heritage and upbringing and deplored the body of pseudonymous Shah-school writings from such authors as "Omar Michael Burke Ph. D." and "Hadrat B. M. Dervish", who from 1960 heaped intemperate praise – ostensibly from disinterested parties – on Shah, referring to him as the "Tariqa Grand Sheikh Idries Shah Saheb", "Prince Idries Shah", "King Enoch", "The Presence", "The Studious King", the "Incarnation of Ah", and even the Qutb or "Axis" – all in support of Shah's incipient efforts to market Sufism to a Western audience.[4] He acknowledged that Shah had made a contribution of sorts in popularizing a humanistic Sufism, and had "brought energy and resource to his self-aggrandizement", but ended with the damning conclusion that Shah's was "a 'Sufism' without self-sacrifice, without self-transcendence, without the aspiration of gnosis, without tradition, without the Prophet, without the Qur'an, without Islam, and without God. Merely that".[4][35]

[edit] Recognition

Doris Lessing, one of Shah's greatest defenders,[4] stated in a 1981 interview: "I found Sufism as taught by Idries Shah, which claims to be the reintroduction of an ancient teaching, suitable for this time and this place. It is not some regurgitated stuff from the East or watered-down Islam or anything like that."[19] In 1996, commenting on Shah's death in The Daily Telegraph, she stated that she met Shah because of The Sufis, which was to her the most surprising book she had read, and a book that changed her life.[44] Describing Shah's œuvre as a "phenomenon like nothing else in our time", she characterized him as a many-sided man, the wittiest person she ever expected to meet, kind, generous, modest ("Don't look so much at my face, but take what is in my hand", she quotes him as saying), and her good friend and teacher for 30-odd years.[44]

Arthur J. Deikman, a professor of psychiatry and long-time researcher in the area of meditation and change of consciousness who began his study of Sufi teaching stories in the early seventies, expressed the view that Western psychotherapists could benefit from the perspective provided by Sufism and its universal essence, provided suitable materials were studied in the correct manner and sequence.[37] Given that Shah's writings and translations of Sufi teaching stories were designed with that purpose in mind, he recommended them to those interested in assessing the matter for themselves, and noted that many authorities had accepted Shah's position as a spokesman for contemporary Sufism.[37]

The Indian philosopher and mystic Osho, commenting on Shah's work, described The Sufis as "just a diamond. The value of what he has done in The Sufis is immeasurable". He added that Shah was "the man who introduced Mulla Nasrudin to the West, and he has done an incredible service. He cannot be repaid. [...] Idries Shah has made just the small anecdotes of Nasrudin even more beautiful ... [he] not only has the capacity to exactly translate the parables, but even to beautify them, to make them more poignant, sharper."[45]

Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney, writing in Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (2006), pronounced Shah's The Sufis an "extremely readable and wide-ranging introduction to Sufism", adding that "Shah's own slant is evident throughout, and some historical assertions are debatable (none are footnoted), but no other book is as successful as this one in provoking interest in Sufism for the general reader."[46] They described Learning How to Learn, a collection of interviews, talks and short writings, as one of his best works, providing a solid orientation to Shah's "psychological" approach to Sufi work, noting that at his best, "Shah provides insights that inoculate students against much of the nonsense in the spiritual marketplace."[46]

According to Olav Hammer, writing in Sufism in Europe and North America (2004), Shah's books introduced Sufism as a type of religious insight that had only a peripheral connection to the social formations and ritualized activities generally studied by scholars of Sufism.[3] Instead, his books – such as Thinkers of the East and The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin – presented the core of Sufism as a form of spiritual wisdom subtly encoded in humorous anecdotes.[3] As an example, Hammer cites a story telling of a man who has lost his key, and is desperately looking for it on the ground. Asked by a sympathetic neighbour if this is where he lost the key, the man says, "No, I lost it at home, but there is more light here than in my own house."[3] Rightly read, this story can be understood as a parable for a spiritual quest.[3]

Questioning who Shah was, and what credentials he had for presenting such lore to the West, Hammer notes that during Shah's last years, when the generosity of admirers had made him truly wealthy, and he had become a respected figure among the higher echelons of British society, controversies arose due to discrepancies between autobiographical data – mentioning kinship with the prophet Muhammad, affiliations with a secret Sufi order in Central Asia, or the tradition in which Gurdjieff was taught – and recoverable historical facts.[3] Quite possibly there may have been a link of kinship with the prophet Muhammad, but after 1300 years, the number of people sharing such a link would be at least one million.[3] Other elements of Shah's autobiography, however, appeared to have been pure fiction.[3] Even so, Hammer noted that Shah's books have remained in public demand, and that he has played "a significant role in representing the essence of Sufism as a non-confessional, individualistic and life-affirming distillation of spiritual wisdom."[3]

[edit] Legacy

Idries Shah considered his books his legacy; in themselves, they would fulfil the function he had fulfilled when he could no longer be there.[47] Promoting and distributing their teacher's publications has been an important activity or "work" for Shah's students, both for fund-raising purposes and for transforming public awareness.[21] The ICR continues to host lectures and seminars on topics related to aspects of human nature, while the SSS has ceased its activities. The ISHK (Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge), headed by Ornstein,[48] is active in the United States; after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, for example, it sent out a brochure advertising Afghanistan-related books authored by Shah and his circle to members of the Middle East Studies Association, thus linking these publications to the need for improved cross-cultural understanding.[21]

When Elizabeth Hall interviewed Shah for Psychology Today in July 1975, she asked him: "For the sake of humanity, what would you like to see happen?" Shah replied: "What I would really want, in case anybody is listening, is for the products of the last 50 years of psychological research to be studied by the public, by everybody, so that the findings become part of their way of thinking (...) they have this great body of psychological information and refuse to use it."[49]

Shah's brother, Omar Ali-Shah (1922–2005), was also a writer and teacher of Sufism; the brothers taught students together for a while in the 1960s, but later "agreed to disagree" and went their separate ways.[50] Following Idries Shah's death in 1996, a fair number of his students became affiliated with Omar Ali-Shah's movement.[51] One of Idries Shah's daughters, Saira Shah, became notable in 2001 for reporting on women's rights in Afghanistan in her documentary Beneath the Veil.[5] His son Tahir Shah is a noted travel writer, journalist and adventurer.

[edit] Works

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Shah, Saira (2003). The Storyteller's Daughter. New York, NY: Anchor Books. pp. 19–26. ISBN 1-4000-3147-8. 
  2. ^ Dervish, Bashir M. (1976-10-04). "Idris Shah: a contemporary promoter of Islamic Ideas in the West". Islamic Culture – an English Quarterly (Islamic Culture Board, Hyderabad, India (Osmania University, Hyderabad)) L (4). 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Westerlund, David (ed.) (2004). Sufism in Europe and North America. New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. pp. 136–138. ISBN 0415325919. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Moore, James (1986). "Neo-Sufism: The Case of Idries Shah". Religion Today 3 (3). 
  5. ^ a b Groskop, Viv (2001-06-16). "Living dangerously". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-10-29. 
  6. ^ Bracelin, Jack L. (1960). Gerald Gardner: Witch. London, UK: Octagon Press. 
  7. ^ Lamond, Frederic (2004). Fifty Years of Wicca. Green Magic. pp. 9. ISBN 0954723015. 
  8. ^ Pearson, Joanne (2002). A Popular Dictionary of Paganism. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 28. ISBN 0700715916. 
  9. ^ Bennett, John G. (1975). Witness: The autobiography of John G. Bennett. Turnstone Books. pp. 349–363. ISBN 0855000430. 
  10. ^ Hinnells, John R. (1992). Who's Who of World Religions. Simon & Schuster. pp. 50. ISBN 0139529462. 
  11. ^ Bennett, John G. (1975). Witness: The autobiography of John G. Bennett. Turnstone Books. pp. 362–363. ISBN 0855000430.  Chapter 27, Service and Sacrifice: "The period from 1960 (...) to 1967 when I was once again entirely on my own was of the greatest value to me. I had learned to serve and to sacrifice and I knew that I was free from attachments. It happened about the end of the time that I went on business to America and met with Madame de Salzmann in New York. She was very curious about Idries Shah and asked what I had gained from my contact with him. I replied: "Freedom!" (...) Not only had I gained freedom, but I had come to love people whom I could not understand."
  12. ^ Shah, Idries (2003). The World of Nasrudin. London: Octagon Press. pp. 438. ISBN 0-863040-86-1. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Cecil, Robert (1996-11-26). "Obituary: Idries Shah". The Independent. Retrieved on 2008-11-05. 
  14. ^ a b c Smith, Jane I. (1999). Islam in America (Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series). New York, NY/Chichester, UK: Columbia University Press. pp. 69. ISBN 0231109660. 
  15. ^ Staff. "Editorial Reviews for Idries Shah's The Sufis". Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Wintle, Justin (ed.) (2001). Makers of Modern Culture, Vol. 1. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 474. ISBN 0415265835. 
  17. ^ Staff. "About the Institute". Institute for Cultural Research. Retrieved on 2008-10-29. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Staff. "Idries Shah – Grand Sheikh of the Sufis whose inspirational books enlightened the West about the moderate face of Islam (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-10-16. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Galin, Müge (1997). Between East and West: Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. xix, 5–8, 21, 40–41, 101, 115. ISBN 0791433838. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Smoley, Richard; Kinney, Jay (2006). Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions. Wheaton, IL/Chennai, India: Quest Books. pp. 238. ISBN 0835608441. 
  21. ^ a b c d Malik, Jamal; Hinnells, John R. (eds.) (2006). Sufism in the West. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 32. ISBN 0415274079. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f Lessing, Doris; Elwell-Sutton, L. P. (1970-10-22). "Letter to the Editors by Doris Lessing, with a reply by L. P. Elwell-Sutton". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved on 2008-11-05. 
  23. ^ a b Robert Graves, Omar Ali-Shah. "Stuffed Eagle - Time".,9171,844564,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-05. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Graves, Richard Perceval (1995). Robert Graves And The White Goddess: The White Goddess, 1940-1985. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 446–447, 468–472. ISBN 0231109660. 
  25. ^ Graves, Beryl (1996-12-07). "Letter to the Editor". The Independent. Retrieved on 2008-11-05. 
  26. ^ Aminrazavi, Mehdi (2005). The Wine of Wisdom. Oxford, UK: Oneworld. pp. 155. ISBN 1851683550. 
  27. ^ Irwin, Robert. "Omar Khayyam's Bible for drunkards". The Times Literary Supplement.,,25336-1947980,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-10-05. 
  28. ^ Williams, L. F. Rushbrook (ed.) (1973). Sufi Studies East and West. A Symposium in Honor of Idries Shah's Services to Sufi Studies by Twenty-four Contributors Marking the 700th Anniversary of the Death of Jalaluddin Rumi (A.D. 1207-1273). London, UK: Octagon Press. ISBN 0900860294. 
  29. ^ Westerlund, David (ed.) (2004). Sufism in Europe and North America. New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. pp. 54. ISBN 0415325919. 
  30. ^ Campbell, Edward (1978-08-29), "Reluctant guru", Evening News 
  31. ^ Gaster, Adrian (1978). The International Authors and Writers Who's Who. International Biographical Centre/Melrose Press Ltd.. pp. 929. ISBN 090033245X. 
  32. ^ a b "Idries Shah, Sayed Idries el-Hashimi (Official website)". The Estate of Idries Shah. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  33. ^ Archer, Nathaniel P. (1977). Idries Shah, Printed Word International Collection 8. London, UK: Octagon Press. ISBN 0863040004. 
  34. ^ Ghali, Halima (1979). Shah, International Press Review Collection 9. London, UK: BM Sufi Studies. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Taji-Farouki, Suha; Nafi, Basheer M. (eds.) (2004). Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century. London, UK/New York, NY: I.B.Tauris Publishers. pp. 123. ISBN 1850437513. 
  36. ^ Shah, Idries (1970, 1980). The Dermis Probe. London, UK: Octagon Press. pp. 18. ISBN 0-863040-45-4. 
  37. ^ a b c Boorstein, Seymour (ed.) (1996). Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. 241, 247. ISBN 0791428354. 
  38. ^ Shah, Idries (1964, 1977). The Sufis. London, UK: Octagon Press. pp. 54. ISBN 0863040209. 
  39. ^ Lewin, Leonard; Shah, Idries (1972). The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West. Boulder, CO: Keysign Press. pp. 72. 
  40. ^ a b c Malik, Jamal; Hinnells, John R. (eds.) (2006). Sufism in the West. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 31. ISBN 0415274079. 
  41. ^ Fahim, Shadia S. (1995). Doris Lessing: Sufi Equilibrium and the Form of the Novel. Basingstoke, UK/New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan/St. Martins Press. pp. passim. ISBN 0312102933. 
  42. ^ a b c d e Westerlund, David (ed.) (2004). Sufism in Europe and North America. New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. pp. 53. ISBN 0415325919. 
  43. ^ Elwell-Sutton, L. P. (1970-07-02). "Mystic-Making". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved on 2008-11-05. 
  44. ^ a b Lessing, Doris. "On the Death of Idries Shah (excerpt from the obituary in the London The Daily Telegraph)". Retrieved on 2008-10-03. 
  45. ^ Osho (2005). Books I Have Loved. Pune, India: Tao Publishing Pvt. Ltd.. pp. 127–128. ISBN 8172611021. 
  46. ^ a b Smoley, Richard; Kinney, Jay (2006). Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions. Wheaton, IL/Chennai, India: Quest Books. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0835608441. 
  47. ^ Shah, Tahir. In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams. New York, NY: Bantam. pp. 215–216. ISBN 0553805231. 
  48. ^ Staff. "Directors, Advisors & Staff". Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK). Retrieved on 2008-10-05. 
  49. ^ Hall, Elizabeth (July 1975). "The Sufi Tradition: A Conversation with Idries Shah". Psychology Today 9 (2): 61. 
  50. ^ Hayter, Augy (2002). Fictions and Factions. Reno, NV/Paris, France: Tractus Books. pp. 177, 201. ISBN 2-909347-14-1. 
  51. ^ Malik, Jamal; Hinnells, John R. (eds.) (2006). Sufism in the West. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 30. ISBN 0415274079. 

[edit] References

  • Archer, Nathaniel P. (1977). Idries Shah, Printed Word International Collection 8. London, UK: Octagon Press. ISBN 0863040004. 
  • Bennett, John G. (1975). Witness: The autobiography of John G. Bennett. Turnstone Books. ISBN 0855000430. 
  • Boorstein, Seymour (ed.) (1996). Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0791428354. 
  • Galin, Müge (1997). Between East and West: Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0791433838. 
  • Ghali, Halima (1979). Shah, International Press Review Collection 9. London, UK: BM Sufi Studies. 
  • Graves, Richard Perceval (1995). Robert Graves And The White Goddess: The White Goddess, 1940-1985. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0231109660. 
  • Lewin, Leonard; Shah, Idries (1972). The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West. Boulder, CO: Keysign Press. 
  • Malik, Jamal; Hinnells, John R. (eds.) (2006). Sufism in the West. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 0415274079. 
  • Moore, James (1986). "Neo-Sufism: The Case of Idries Shah". Religion Today 3 (3). 
  • Smith, Jane I. (1999). Islam in America (Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series). New York, NY/Chichester, UK: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231109660. 
  • Smoley, Richard; Kinney, Jay (2006). Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions. Wheaton, IL/Chennai, India: Quest Books. ISBN 0835608441. 
  • Taji-Farouki, Suha; Nafi, Basheer M. (eds.) (2004). Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century. London, UK/New York, NY: I.B.Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1850437513. 
  • Westerlund, David (ed.) (2004). Sufism in Europe and North America. New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0415325919. 
  • Wintle, Justin (ed.) (2001). Makers of Modern Culture, Vol. 1. London, UK/New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0415265835. 

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