The Sufis is the best introduction ever written to the philosophical and mystical school traditionally associated with the Islamic world.
Powerful, concise, and intensely thought-provoking, it sums up over a thousand years of Eastern thought - the product of some of the greatest minds humanity has ever produced - into a single work, presenting timeless ideas in a fresh and contemporary style.
When the book was originally published in 1964, it launched its author, Idries Shah, on to the international stage, attracting the attention of thinkers and writers such as J. D. Salinger, Doris Lessing, Ted Hughes and Robert Graves.
It introduced to the Western world concepts which have subsequently become commonly accepted, varying from the psychological importance of attention and humour, to the use of traditional tales as teaching instruments (what Shah termed ‘teaching-stories’), and the historical debt owed by the West to the Middle East in matters scientific, literary and philosophical.
As a primer for the many dozens of Sufi books that Shah later produced, it is unsurpassed, offering a clear window onto a community whose system of thought and action has long concerned itself with the advancement of the whole of humankind, and whose ideas about individuals and society, their purpose and direction, need to be understood now more than ever before.