Inner Space

The Way of the Sufi


The Zen of Islam

Sufism is the mystical third eye of Islam. The late Idries Shah, master sage, collected esoteric stories circulating among ancient Sufi communities, translated them into very fine English, and offered them to the world in this now legendary book. Half fairy tale, half parable, half koan, these sacred wisps of wisdom can still make one shout in the desert.

— KK

The Way of the Sufi
An Anthology of Sufi Writings
By Idries Shah

Sample excerpts:

The Dance
A disciple had asked permission to take part in the “dance” of the Sufis. The Sheikh said: “Fast completely for three days. Then have luscious dishes cooked. If you then prefer the “dance”, you may take part in it.”

The Five Hundred Gold Pieces.
One of the Junaid’s followers came to him with a purse containing five hundred gold pieces.
“Have you any more money than this?” asked the Sufi.
“Yes, I have.”
“Do you desire more?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Then you must keep it, for you are more in need than I; for I have nothing and desire nothing. You have a great deal and still want more.”

A Tree Freshly Rooted
A tree, freshly rooted, may be pulled up by one man on his own. Give it time, and it will not be moved, even with a crane.

The Test
It is related of Shaqiq of Balkh that he once said to his disciples: “I put my confidence in God and went through the wilderness with only a small coin in my pocket. I went on the Pilgrimage and came back, and the coin is still with me.” One of the youths stood up and said to Shaqiq: “If you had a coin in your pocket, how could you say that you relied upon anything higher?” Shaqiq answered: “There is nothing for me to say, for this young man is right. When you rely upon the invisible world there is no place for anything, however small, as a provision!”

Tie two birds together.
They will not be able to fly, even though they now have four wings.