Idries Shah (Idries Sayed Shah) Biography
(1924–1996), (Idries Sayed Shah), Oriental Magic, Destination Mecca, The Way of the Sufi, The Sufis
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Seven Against Thebes (Hepta epi Thēbas; Septem contra Thebas) to Sir Walter Scott and Scotland
Afghani Oriental scholar and novelist, born in India. In 1966 Shah became Director of Studies at the Institute for Cultural Research, London. An authority on Sufi thought, his works have helped introduce Islamic philosophy to the West, and had an influence on the speculative fictions of Doris Lessing. They include Oriental Magic (1956), Destination Mecca (1957), The Way of the Sufi (1968), The Sufis (1969), and Neglected Aspects of Sufi Study (1977). Like many of his works, A Perfumed Scorpion (1978) contains a mixture of humour, aphorisms, and verse inspired by Sufi philosophy. He also compiled and translated The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin (1966), Tales of the Dervishes (1967), and The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin (1973). Kara Kush (1986), an epic novel about popular resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, was a bestseller. Darkest England (1987) and The Natives Are Restless (1988) look at Britain; The Commanding Self (1993) is a work on Sufi wisdom in Shah's familiar vein.