|Born||16 June 1924|
|Died||23 November 1996|
The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin
The Book of the Book
Learning how to Learn
Idries Shah (16 June 1924–23 November 1996) (Persian: ادریس شاه), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayyid Idris al-Hashimi (Arabic: سيد إدريس الهاشمي), was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote several dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies. Events 1487 - Battle of Stoke Field, the last dying breath of the Wars of the Roses. Year 1924 ( MCMXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 800 - Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) Sufism ( تصوّف - taṣawwuf, Persian: صوفیگری sufigari, Turkish: tasavvuf, Urdu: تصوف Events 1487 - Battle of Stoke Field, the last dying breath of the Wars of the Roses. Year 1924 ( MCMXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 800 - Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) For the Lost character please see Sayid Jarrah Sayyid ( ar سيد) (plural Saadah is an Honorific title Hashemite is the Latinate version of the Arabic: هاشمي ( Transliteration: Hāšimī and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim An author is defined both as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created Sufism ( تصوّف - taṣawwuf, Persian: صوفیگری sufigari, Turkish: tasavvuf, Urdu: تصوف He founded a publishing company, Octagon Press, which has published classics from the Sufi tradition as well as many of his own works. He is perhaps best known for his collections of Mulla Nasrudin stories. Nasreddin ( Turkish "Nasreddin Hoca", Persian ملا نصرالدین, Arabic: جحا transl
Idries Shah was born in Simla, India, to an Afghan-Indian father and Scottish mother into a revered family of Saadat (= Arabic plural of Sayyid) who had their ancestral home near the Paghman Gardens of Kabul. Shimla [ʃɪmla] ( Hindi: शिमला originally called Simla, is a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Pashtuns ( Pashto: پښتون Paṣtūn, Paxtūn, also rendered as Pushtuns, Pakhtuns, Pukhtuns) also called India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. For the Lost character please see Sayid Jarrah Sayyid ( ar سيد) (plural Saadah is an Honorific title Paghman Gardens is a popular place near Afghanistan 's capital city Kabul. } Kābul ( Persian and Pashto: کابل, IPA:) is the Capital and largest city of Afghanistan, with His paternal grandfather, Sayyid Amjad Ali Shah, was Nawab of the Jagir of Sardhana, near Meerut, north of Delhi (Uttar Pradesh). A Nawab or Nawaab ( Urdu: نواب Hindi: नवाब was originally the Subedar (provincial governor or viceroy of a In Pakistan and India, a Jagir was a small territory granted by the ruler to an army chieftain in fairly short terms usually of three years but not extending beyond WikipediaWikiProject Indian cities for details --> Sardhana is a city and a Municipal board in Meerut district in the Indian state Meerut ( Hindi: मेरठ Urdu: میرٹھ is a city and a Municipal corporation in Meerut district in the Indian Delhi (दिल्ली ਦਿੱਲੀ دلی d̪ɪlːiː sometimes referred to as Dilli) is the second largest metropolis of India, with a population Uttar Pradesh (उत्तर प्रदेश اتر پردیش pronounced, Translation: Northern Province) referred to as '''U  Shah's early years were mainly spent in Afghanistan, India and England, and his upbringing bridged East and West. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland He was educated, as his father before him, by private tutors in Europe and the Middle East, and through wide-ranging travel—the series of journeys, in fact, that characterise Sufi education and development. The Middle East is a Subcontinent with no clear boundaries often used as a synonym to Near East, in opposition to Far East. Sufism ( تصوّف - taṣawwuf, Persian: صوفیگری sufigari, Turkish: tasavvuf, Urdu: تصوف
Shah married Cynthia (Kashfi) Kabraji in 1958, and fathered one son, Tahir Shah, and two daughters, Saira and Safia. Year 1958 ( MCMLVIII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Tahir Shah (born 16 November 1966 in London) is an Anglo - Afghan author journalist and documentary maker Saira Shah (born 5 October 1964) is an author reporter and documentary filmmaker  One of the daughters, Saira Shah, reported on women's rights in Afghanistan in her documentary Beneath the Veil. Afghanistan /æfˈgænɪstæn/ officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ( Pashto: د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت,  Shah's brother, Omar Ali-Shah, was also a writer and teacher of Sufism. Omar Ali-Shah (1922–2005 was a prominent exponent of modern Naqshbandi Sufism.
Idries Shah's writings greatly extended the western knowledge of Sufi teachings. He profoundly influenced several intellectuals, notably the novelist Doris Lessing and the Stanford University psychology professor Robert Ornstein. Doris May Lessing, CH, OBE (née Tayler; born 22 October 1919) is a British Writer, author of works such Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is a private Research university located in Dr Robert Evans Ornstein is a psychologist writer professor at Stanford University, and chairman of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK 
Shah's definition of Sufism was liberal in that he was of the opinion that it predated Islam and did not depend on the Qur'an, but was universal in source, scope and relevance (see Sufi studies). Sufism ( تصوّف - taṣawwuf, Persian: صوفیگری sufigari, Turkish: tasavvuf, Urdu: تصوف For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. The Qur’an ( القرآن, literally "the recitation" also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran Sufi studies: a particular branch of comparative studies that uses a
Shah maintained that spiritual teachings should be presented in forms and terms that are familiar in the community where they are to take root. He believed that students should be given work based on their individual capacities, and rejected systems that apply the same exercises to all. In his own work he used teaching stories and humour to great effect. Teaching stories is a term introduced by Idries Shah to describe stories and anecdotes that have been deliberately created as vehicles for the transmission of wisdom
Shah's earliest published works reflected his interest in magic, witchcraft and occultism: Oriental Magic (London 1956), and The Secret Lore of Magic: Book of the Sorcerers (London 1957). London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Year 1956 ( MCMLVI) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Year 1957 ( MCMLVII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar) In 1960, Octagon Press published its first title Gerald Gardner: Witch, the biography of a leading figure in the British witchcraft revival of the 1950s. Gerald Brousseau Gardner ( June 13 1884 - February 12 1964) was an English civil servant amateur anthropologist Witchcraft, in various historical anthropological religious and mythological contexts is the use of certain kinds of Supernatural or magical powers The 1950s Decade refers to the years of 1950 to 1959 inclusive Attributed to "Jack L. Bracelin", it is believed to have been ghost-written by Shah, who was Gardner's secretary at the time of writing (see F. Lamond, Fifty Years of Wicca, 2004). "MMIV" redirects here For the Modest Mouse album see " Baron von Bullshit Rides Again "  Shah developed Octagon Press as a means of publishing and distributing Sufi books that might otherwise have gone out of print. His desire was to have these always available to each generation. The books range from traditional Sufi manuals to contemporary works. Several books feature the Mulla Nasrudin character, sometimes with illustrations provided by Richard Williams. Nasreddin ( Turkish "Nasreddin Hoca", Persian ملا نصرالدین, Arabic: جحا transl Richard Williams (born on March 19, 1933 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian Animator, Animation director These humorous teaching stories are said to have the ability to act as a mirror to human foibles, aiding philosophical self-examination.
Shah started the "Society for Understanding the Foundations of Ideas" (or "SUFI") in London in the mid-1960s. This was renamed the "Institute for Cultural Research", alongside a more esoteric "Society for Sufi Studies", also founded by Shah. The ICR, currently based in London, hosts lectures and seminars on topics related to aspects of human nature, while the SSS has ceased its activities.
Shah's books have sold over 15 million copies in 12 languages worldwide and have been reviewed in numerous international journals and newspapers.  His best-selling novel Kara Kush was based on fact, incorporating Shah's first-hand knowledge of the courage of the Afghan people, and the atrocities inflicted upon them. Afghanistan /æfˈgænɪstæn/ officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ( Pashto: د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت,
About a year after his last visit to Afghanistan in late spring of 1987, Shah suffered two successive and massive heart attacks. Year 1987 ( MCMLXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar) He died in London on November 23, 1996, at the age of 72. Events 800 - Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) According to the 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. A Mujahid (Arabic ar مجاهد, literally "struggler" is a Muslim involved in a Jihad, id est fighting in a war or Afghanistan /æfˈgænɪstæn/ officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ( Pashto: د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 The Royal Humane Society was founded in England in 1774 as the Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned, for the purpose of rendering "first aid" The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, in Putney in southwest London, is an independent Medical charity which undertakes research and provides specialist
Idries Shah considered his books his legacy. In themselves, they would fulfil the function he had fulfilled when he could no longer be there. 
In reply to Elisabeth Hall who interviewed him for "Psychology Today", Juli 1975:– "For the sake of humanity, what would you like to see happen?" Idries Shah said: "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 (. Psychology (from Greek grc ψῡχή psȳkhē, "breath life soul" and grc -λογία -logia) is an Academic and . . ) they have this great body of psychological information and refuse to use it. "
Idries Shah's books achieved considerable critical acclaim, several of his works being chosen as "Outstanding Book of the Year" by the BBC's "The Critics" programme.  Academics, however, were often hostile. Most notable among his academic critics was L. P. Elwell-Sutton from Edinburgh University, who in a very caustic review described Shah's 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". The University of Edinburgh (Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann founded in 1582 is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. 
Shah published, through Octagon Press, works by Hafiz, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Mahmud Shabistari, Attar, Jami, Khayyam, Al-Ghazali and others. TemplateInfobox Muslim scholars --> Ibn Arabi (ابن عربي ( July 28, 1165 - November 10, 1240) was an Mahmud Shabistari (1288 &ndash 1340 is one of the most celebrated Persian Sufi Poets of the 14th century. Nur ad-Din Abd ar-Rahman Jami (نورالدین عبدالرحمن جامی ( August 18, 1414 &ndash November 19, 1492) was one of the greatest For the Thoroughbred racehorse see Omar Khayyam (horse Ghiyās od-Dīn Abol-Fath Omār ibn Ebrāhīm Khayyām Neyshābūri (غیاث الدین Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058-1111 ( ابو حامد محمد ابن محمد الغزالی or امام محمد غزالی was born and died He presented these works as tools for self-development that were of practical relevance to people of today, rather than as works fit merely for study by orientalists. Orientalism refers to the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers designers and artists and can also refer to a sympathetic stance  This contributed to the fierce criticism from some academics, an issue adressed by Shah in "The Study of Sufism in the West".
At the start of this publishing work (1962), he received invaluable aid from John G. Bennett, who put some important real estate assets at his disposal. John Godolphin Bennett, ( 8 June 1897 - 13 December 1974) was a British mathematician scientist technologist industrial research director  After Idries Shah sold the assets, destroying the Djamichunatra (a nine-sided study hall designed and built by J. G. Bennett and his pupils, including the architect Robert Whiffen, in 1956) at Coombe Springs in the process, this matter developed into something of a controversy.  Apparently, though, it was not a problem to John Bennett, who dealt with the issue in some detail in his autobiography
Idries Shah was also criticised over his dealing with the matter of the elusive Jan Fishan Khan manuscript of Khayyam, upon which the new translation of the Rubaiyat by Robert Graves and Omar Ali Shah was allegedly based. For the Thoroughbred racehorse see Omar Khayyam (horse Ghiyās od-Dīn Abol-Fath Omār ibn Ebrāhīm Khayyām Neyshābūri (غیاث الدین Robert Graves (24 July 1895 &ndash 7 December 1985 was an English Poet, Translator and Novelist. Omar Ali-Shah (1922–2005 was a prominent exponent of modern Naqshbandi Sufism. When the actual presentation of the manuscript was compromised by the death of Ikbal Ali Shah (the father of Idries and Omar Ali, who was supposed to have known the exact whereabouts of the manuscript) in a car accident in Tangier, Robert Graves asked Idries Shah, with whom he had developed a close friendship, for help. Much to Graves' surprise, Shah concluded his reply: "The manuscript, as you know, is not in my possession. If it were, I would have no hesitation at all in refusing to show it to anyone under any circumstances at any time whatever. " This caused Robert Graves' biographer, Richard Perceval Graves, to muse, "In practice, the manuscript was never produced; and after all these years it is difficult to believe, in view of the Shahs' numerous obligations to Graves, that they would have continued to withhold it had it ever existed in the first place. " Elwell-Sutton likewise expressed his conviction that the manuscript had never existed.  According to his widow, however, Graves himself never doubted the authenticity of the manuscript. 
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).