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Tales of the Dervishes
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Tales of the Dervishes

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  417 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The inspiring, timeless truths of the great Sufi masters. Dervishes tales are more than fable, legend, or folklore. For centuries dervish masters have instructed their disciples by means of these teaching stories, which are said to increase perception and knowledge and provide a better understanding of man and the world. In wit, construction, and piquancy, they compare ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Penguin Books (first published 1967)
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Steve Cran
Feb 25, 2016 Steve Cran rated it it was amazing
Sufism is the mystical side of Islam. Often times great truths are funneled into u through simple sounding fairy tales collected all over the Islamic world. Some of these tales are populated with strange animals and Jinn. These tales re not meant to be taken literally, but rather taken as symbolically. Hearing the tales, if one is trained properly enables one to evolve. There are many Sufi orders in the Middle East, thy each have levels and various initiations which is appropriate for mystical ...more
Jun 27, 2016 Keefe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Bagus sekali, awalnya buku ini adalah ragam manuskrip timur tengah yg di terjemahkan ke Bahasa Indonesia menjadi kumpulan cerpen klasik para sufi yg sangat menginspirasi kehidupan manusia dan menghibur, walau pengetahuan saya terbatas dan kurang memahami beberapa cerpen didalamnya. ^^
Dan Sperling
Nov 03, 2016 Dan Sperling rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, on multiple levels. For the tales it contains – some of which have been in use for hundreds of years – are more than just entertaining stories. According to the Sufis who devised them (dervish = Sufi in this context), they’re intricately designed instruments that, when properly used, can prod the mind in new directions, increasing the reader’s (or hearer’s) perceptions and ability to understand. Such tales are known as teaching-stories – ...more
Nov 12, 2016 WJ rated it it was amazing
This really is worth reading. Imaginative, puzzling, entertaining. The stories you always wanted to find and read, - but never did. All in one place.
Manish Katyal
Oct 02, 2016 Manish Katyal rated it it was amazing
I'm hooked and plan to read more of this series.
James Klagge
I love tales. About 25 years ago I agreed to lead the "First 15 Minutes" time of children's (3-10 year-olds) Sunday School at my church, and decided to tell stories and sing songs. I did this, nearly weekly, for about 10 years. In addition to Bible stories I also used other stories. I made a point of reading stories from non-Western traditions, and occasionally I could use them. But very commonly I found them weird or just not useful for what I wanted to accomplish. Perhaps that just shows the ...more
Grady McCallie
Jul 05, 2012 Grady McCallie rated it it was amazing
This short collection gathers parables from a variety of Sufi teachers and traditions. Idries Shah retells them in modern English, and humor and pragmatic wisdom shines through. His notes frequently claim that a tale has multiple layers of meaning. Some were entirely lost on me; in other cases, I could see one or two layers, but missed any others.

Collectively, many of the tales build towards a certain ethical fatalism: we ought to do what we can to help other human beings and make their lives b
Kevan Bowkett
Apr 07, 2015 Kevan Bowkett rated it it was amazing
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A beautiful collection of "Teaching-Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years." This book is a gift, for its wonderfully-told tales, for its wit and wisdom. It seems almost superfluous to try to comment on the book; the best thing is to get a copy and immerse yourself in this splendid and startling world. Great stories include "The Tale of the Sands," "The Candlestick of Iron," "Fatima the Spinner and the Tent" (which is also available in an illustrated edition from Hoopoe Books: ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience of Sufi dervish wisdom tales. I dig the originality and orientalist flavor as well as it seeming kind of secular or non-religious, but this might just be Idries Shah's spin on it to make it more appealing to Westerners or non-muslims? The literary quality of the writing is high and diversity of tales is excellent. You feel anticipation with each story as you realize it's going to be a brand new 'story-experience' with a previously undiscovered theme. I have dipped ...more
John Handforth
May 30, 2016 John Handforth rated it it was amazing
An amazing collection of Sufi teaching stories (including folktales, fables, and true accounts) spanning over a thousand years. Immensely entertaining, they also have the effect of activating the mind to think in new directions and hold a broader, potentially liberating range of concepts. Sufism is an action philosophy designed to outwit the 'commanding self' which prevents most of us from having a breakthrough into higher consciousness. This is a fascinating read for anyone.
Irving Karchmar
Mar 24, 2013 Irving Karchmar rated it it was amazing
These Sufi teaching tales set me on the path of Love, for which I will be forever grateful to Idries Shah. They are beautiful, subtle, and provocative, teaching the mind to think beyond its limited reason, and to unlearn what has been taught by rote so as to prepare the blank slate for a new understanding.
Jan 30, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I tried reading one of these short stories before bed every night and finally finished it. Most of them have stuck with me and popped up occasionally in my mind-ooh! kind of like the way you hear a koan and then don't really get it till much later.
May 02, 2015 Lysergius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tales of wit, wisdom and whimsy - parables possible and impossible - the Tales of the Dervishes. This anthology presented in the Dervish manner, contains veritable pearls, drawn from the repertoires of Dervish masters over a period of more than a thousand years.
Delphina Clark
Jan 10, 2016 Delphina Clark rated it liked it
Interesting stories that made me feel as if I was really in the past. I'd have liked a bit more elaboration on them when applicable though.
Justin Howe
Jun 07, 2009 Justin Howe rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable collection of parables from the Muslim world that straddles the line between Aesop's Fables and 1001 Nights.
Judson Tucker
Nice collection of stories and tales. I'd love a "Suggested Further Reading" section in it, though.
Dec 22, 2013 Simon rated it liked it
This is a fine collection of wise and not-so-wise fable and parables. Some are quite prescient while others have dated. But the collection as a whole is well worth the read.
Feb 16, 2009 Catalin rated it it was amazing
amazing... I remember reading them while traveling for the first time to Asia. Will need to buy it one day and re-read it.
Apr 15, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty dense with a lot to take in. I enjoyed the stories a lot. This book won't tell you what to think, which is much appreciated in this day.
Apr 09, 2008 Qa'id rated it really liked it
Not the easiest to dig into, but I've culled some great stories from this collection. They say the more you read and recite them, the closer you come to the spiritual understanding behind them.
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  • Mystical Dimensions of Islam
  • Sufism: A Short Introduction
  • Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi
  • Understanding Islam
  • Sufi Essays
  • The Religions of Man
  • The Meccan Revelations, Volume II
  • Beyond The Devil's Teeth
  • گلشن راز
  • Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart
  • The Conference of the Birds
  • Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel
  • الصوفية في الإسلام
  • The Coming of the Cosmic Christ
  • Quest for the Red Sulphur: The Life of Ibn ʻArabī
  • Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream
  • Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i Tabrizi
  • The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism
Idries Shah (Persian: ادریس شاه), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-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 ea
More about Idries Shah...

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“In the distorting mirror of your mind, an angel can seem to have a devil's face.” 1 likes
“En el distorsionador espejo de tu mente, puede que un ángel parezca tener la cara de un diablo.” 0 likes
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