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The Elephant in the Dark

4.66  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
As our world continues to shrink, we are being brought headlong into often explosive contact with other cultures and religions. Islam continues to be for many a mysterious and misunderstood force, alien to our own cultural values.

Yet, in more ways than expected, Christianity and Islam share common ground. For centuries, Sufi thinkers have been linked to both religions in

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Hardcover, 76 pages
Published June 1st 1982 by Octagon Press, Limited (first published July 1st 1974)
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Kevan Bowkett
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This most interesting book by Afghan author Idries Shah is concerned with Christianity, Islam, and the Sufis and their involvement with the concept of surrender to God. Alternately (or simultaneously) amusing, inspiring, and fascinating, the volume is well worth the effort of reading. Among other things, it is a rich mine of unusual historical information (eg. did you know there were Muslim colonies in Switzerland in the 8th century? Or that the Christian king of Ethiopia granted asylum to perse ...more
ice
Oct 15, 2008 rated it liked it
A very humble way to explain why we should not blame and misunderstand each other. Idries Shah wrote it in this 76 pages book with descriptions, story about Rumy and Lully, etc. Writen in simple way but very clear.
Toni
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Find in these pages what Surrender to God might really mean. Muslim or Christian, what possible difference can there be?
Ita
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Elephant in the Dark’ is as vital now as it was when first published in 1974. In it Shah shows us that deep understanding is possible between Muslims and Christians. It is achieved, not through discussion and preaching, but by living lives that have been touched by God, and changed. He gives us some very moving examples, including one which goes back to AD 615. Ninety-four Muslim families, who had been persecuted by idolatrous Meccans, were given refuge by the Christian king of Ethiopia. Th ...more
Peter
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: starred
A short book, now reissued by ISF, was originally published in the 1970s. It is based on a series of lectures the author gave at Geneva University on Christianity, Islam and the Sufis. And how timely is it now in the 21st century when we are so aware of Islam in a way we weren't then, but almost exclusively of the extreme brand. This book explores a calmer side, what we in the west (with our roots in Christianity whatever our current beliefs) share with the east and Islam. An important book.
Ita
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
‘The Elephant in the Dark’ is as vital now as it was when first published in 1974. In it Shah shows us that deep understanding is possible between Muslims and Christians. It is achieved, not through discussion and preaching, but by living lives that have been touched by God, and changed. He gives us some very moving examples, including one which goes back to AD 615. Ninety-four Muslim families, which had been persecuted by idolatrous Meccans, were given refuge by the Christian king of Ethiopia. ...more
Cj Maddox
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of historical anecdotes showing beneficial interactions between people of Christian and Muslim backgrounds. Shah shows the connections which Muhammad and the early Muslims had with the Christians of Arabia and North Africa, and also includes many examples of how Sufi teachers-- like Rumi and Al-Ghazali-- influenced Christian thinkers and mystics at different periods in history. Using selections from Al-Ghazali, he shows the stages of the spiritual journey as it was framed in th ...more
Ulrika Eriksson
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Egentligen universitetsföreläsningar i Geneve 1972/3 om vad Islam och Kristendom har gemensamt med utgångspunkt från idén om underkastelse inför Gud. Utan kunskap går det inte att närma sig den ekumeniska idén. Kunskaperna om Jesus bland muslimer är inte liten eftersom Jesus förekommer i Koranen som en av profeterna före Muhammed. Shah skriver bl a om vänskapen mellan borgmästaren i Tripoli och en italiensk biskop på den tiden då Libyen var ockuperat av Italien. Historien finns i boken ” A Cure ...more
Dan Sperling
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating book, short in length but powerful in impact, shows that at the deepest levels of spirituality, Islam and Christianity have much in common. Painstakingly researched, it gives touching examples of the surprising level of appreciation, cooperation and mutual understanding between adherents of both faiths, dating back to the time of Mohammed – with special focus on Sufism, which has been a significant force within Islam. Based on lectures the author gave as a visiting professor at ...more
Chris Petrakos
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well-timed reissue of one of Shah's early books on the relationship between Islam and Christianity and the connection of both to Sufism. Along the way, Shah delineates the history of cooperation and understanding between the two groups through the centuries. Further, he closely examines the idea of "surrender to God," a common goal of both religions and how this idea has been understood by some of the great Sufi thinkers.
Robs
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting exposition illustrating, with ample historical examples, the relationship between Christianity & Islam, over many centuries. The focus is on the numerous positive interactions that these two religions have produced and explanation of the core ontological concepts that both hold in common.
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32851
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
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“From a personal experience and the examination of literature, I feel that we cannot take for granted that a dialogue, without information and perhaps without understanding, is possible between any individuals or groups on all levels. So the prerequisite is information.” 3 likes
“Christian scholars often say that Sufi theories are close to those of Christianity. Many Moslems maintain that they are essentially derived from Islam. The resemblance of many Sufi ideas to those of several religious and esoteric systems are sometimes taken as evidence of derivation. The Islamic interpretation is that religion is of one origin, differences being due to local or historical causes.” 2 likes
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