The Sufi Mystery by Idries Shah


The Sufi Mystery by Idries ShahSufism has always intrigued me. Though the only association I have had with them is the fact that I like Sufi music which somewhere touches your soul. The concept of ‘Ishq’ which probably is a different plane of existence. So, I picked up this book The Sufi Mystery, which to my inquisitive mind is a mystery. But incidentally, it remains that way even after reading the book.

This book is a collection of various essays written by various people on Sufism. Some chapters cover the Sufi movement in various regions in which they existed or exist. Different sects within them (I never thought even they would have sects). The rituals that they follow, the dances that they perform, and their philosophy. They have been also compared to other established religions. While I do not think Sufism, like Sanatan Dharma, is a religion in itself.

There is a lot of effort to explain the Urdu and Pharsi words or terms that are used in the Sufi world. All these words have an air of mysticism around them and that adds to the aura of Sufi mysticism. I am not sure if I can recommend this book The Sufi Mystery to anyone, as I could not gather and gain much after going through it.

Buy this book – The Sufi Mystery by Idries Shah at Amazon India.

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  1. namasthe Anuradha: What you wrote is very true. I am also intrigued by Sufism and as such I mentioned about Sufism few times in my book AM I A HINDU? []

    When a Sufi mystic visited Mecca, Moslem fakirs told him to face east to pray to Allah and the mystic replied:

    “Where ever I look, I see the face of Allah”

    To me that statement is exact repetation what Prahlad said to his demon father Hiranyakasipu

    “Where ever you look there is Lord Vishnu.”

    I hope you have read Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

    “Unborn tomarrow;
    Dead Yesterday;
    Why fret about them;
    If today be sweet”

    By the way, I hope you have read my book AM I A HINDU?

    Thanks for reading


  2. Hi ed,

    I have not read your book, will try to get it on my next visit to bookshop. I have read these small Sufi stories and they are very similiar to Zen stories, which are also full of wisdom. Thanks for sharing snippets from your book.


  3. If you liked the book – here is an attempt at defining Sufism by Idries Shah himself.

    What is Sufism?

    The most obvious question of all is for us the most difficult question. But I’ll try to answer. Sufism is experience of life through a method of dealing with life and human relations. This method is based on an understanding of man, which places at one’s disposal the means to organize one’s relationships and one’s learning systems. So instead of saying that Sufism is a body of thought in which you believe certain things and don’t believe other things, we say that the Sufi experience has to be provoked in a person. Once provoked, it becomes his own property, rather as a person masters an art

  4. Here is one perhaps a bit more involved:

    To be a Sufi is to become what you can become, and not to try tp pursue what is, at the wrong stage, illusion.

    It is to become aware of what is possible to you, and not to think that you are aware of that of which you are heedless.

    Sufism is the science of stilling what has to be stilled, and alerting what can be alerted; not thinking that you can still or alert where you cannot, or that you need to do so when you do not need it.

    Syed Imam Ali Shah


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