Doris Lessing and Idries Shah – The Nobel Prize Winner and the Sufi

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Doris Lessing won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, it was announced on Friday, October 12th. Congratulations to the lovely and beautiful 88-year-old Ms. Lessing. May God bless her with many more years of good works.

The press reports have included her flirtation with Communism, which she disavowed in 1956, and her most famous novel, The Golden Notebook, considered one of the first feminist works, though she also disavowed being a feminist. What is missing, or scarcely mentioned, in the press coverage is her Sufi affiliation.

For thirty years, she was a student of Idries Shah, and speaks only praise of him, his books and his teachings. There is a lesson here in what the press and the world finds newsworthy and important. I am personally a great admirer of Idries Shah and his books, all of which I have read at one time or another. His Tales of the Dervishes began my interest and ultimately my journey on the Sufi path. Alhamdulillah!

Idries Shah claimed no mastership, no lineage to any particular Order, and no disciples as such. Yet his influence through his books was profound to those who became his students and to generations of young idealists, even unto the present day. May Allah bless his soul.

To read a tribute by Doris Lessing on Idries Shah, click HERE.

To read her 1996 obituary of Idries Shah, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!


6 Responses to Doris Lessing and Idries Shah – The Nobel Prize Winner and the Sufi

  1. Barbara says:

    Congratualtions to her…and her tribute to Idries Shah was a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Julaybib Ayoub says:

    I was besotted by Shah as an undergraduate and I have read a great many of his books, some more than once! Been a while since I read any, although at the moment, I am exploring intent, and his works are extraordinary insightful with regards to individual volition, so some re-reading might be in order. Indeed, while at Uni, I discovered one of Shah’s books was on the recommended reading list for one of the modules in the BA in Management Studies!

    I did my BA dissertation on Shah, but my supervisor was among the “antis” and we ended up having a blazing row, after wish I received zero supervision and a 2:2.

    Shah has his critics. Anyone who has read Robert Graves’ diaries will be aware of the controversy surrounding an alleged manuscript of Omar Khayam’s poetry that Graves and Shah’s brother translated. Not so much the fact that the mss was never authenticated, but when Graves became the focus for public accusations of fraud in the British press, Shah refused to come to his aid or even answer Graves’ letters!

    Can anyone challenge Graves’ version of events?

  3. jahandost says:

    Wow, I was not aware of the connection between Lessing and Idris Shah. Interesting.

  4. Stranger says:

    Allah Hu Akbar –

    ”… and time brings me back to those moments when I was once washed with the waterfall of bliss”

    Idries was my mentor when i had none. May Allah bless his soul

  5. Frieda says:

    thanks for telling us about Idris Shah. I don’t know about him and I going to read his book. and you are so right about media and what they want to portray, it’s up to us to find the truth between the lines.

  6. Sharjeel Zeb says:

    Idries Shah was no doubt a true and one of the greatest of the modern masters. It is said that he was the greatest teacher, the axis during his time here.

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