Shah, (Sayed) Idries (1924-1996)

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Shah, (Sayed) Idries (1924-1996)

Author and translator of important works on occultism and Eastern mysticism. He was born on June 16, 1924, in Simla, India. He came from an Afghan family of Arabian origin that claims descent through the prophet Mohammed to the Sasanian emperors of Persia. He was educated privately, and became a British citizen. He became the proprietor of the International Press Agency in 1953, and from 1966 until his death he was the director of studies of the Institute for Cultural Research in London. He was also the literary and film director of Mulla Nasrudin Enterprises.

Shah wrote over 30 books and translated others, and through them he became a major force in the movement of Islamic, especially Sufic, thought into the West. He also had a broad knowledge of the occult and reportedly ghostwrote the early biography of Gerald B. Gardner, the founder of the neopagan revival in the 1940s.

He was awarded the Dictionary of International Biography Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service to Human Thought, and in 1972 he was appointed Visiting Professor in Intercultural Studies at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He was the Professor Honoris Causa, National University of La Plata, Argentina, from 1974 to his death on November 23, 1996, in London.


Shah, Idries. The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin. London: Cape, 1966. Reprint, New York: Simon & Schuster,1967.

. Learning How to Learn; Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way. London: Octagon Press, 1978. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.

. Oriental Magic. London; New York: Rider, 1956. Reprint, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993.

. Reflections. London: Zenith Books; Octagon Press, 1968. Reprint, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1972.

. The Secret Lore of Magic. New York: Citadel Press, 1957.

. Special Problems in the Study of Sufi Ideas. London: London Society for Understanding Fundamental Ideas, 1966. Reprint, London: Octagon Press, 1974.

. The Sufis. New York: Anchor Books, 1940. Reprint, London: Cape, 1969.

. Tales of the Dervishes. London: Cape, 1967. Reprint, New York, Dutton, 1969.

. Way of the Sufi. London: Cape, 1968. Reprint, New York: Dutton, 1969.

. trans. The Subtleties of the inimitable Mulla Nasrudin. New York: Dutton; London: Cape, 1973.