Famous Quotes & Sayings

Idries Shah Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Idries Shah.

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Idries Shah Quotes 1373744

When the human being says:
'It is not true ... '
He may mean:
'I don't know about it, so I think it is untrue.'
Or:
'I don't like it. — Idries Shah

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Those who say 'I am ready to learn', or 'I am not ready to learn' are as often mistaken as they are correct in their surmise. — Idries Shah

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People think that they think things, and they also think that they know things. They could usefully give some attention to the question of whether they know what they think and know what they think they know. — Idries Shah

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One of the tragedies of modern times is that people have come to believe that something said by someone in the past, perhaps for illustrative or provocation purposes, actually represents that person's beliefs at the time. — Idries Shah

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FIVE KINDS OF FOLLY The Sages have said that five things are signs of foolishness: First, seeking one's own good while harming others; Second, looking for the yield of the last days without discipline and service; Third, loving women harshly and brashly; Fourth, seeking to learn the refinements of science in comfort and ease; Fifth, expecting friendship without oneself being reliable and trustworthy. (Anwar-i-Suhaili) — Idries Shah

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Teaching:
One hour's teaching is better than a whole night of prayer.
Saying of the Prophet — Idries Shah

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The important place held by Jesus among the world's six hundred million Moslems ... and the agreement of both religions about the necessity for surrender to God as the means of salvation, thus makes it comparatively easy for a Moslem to address himself to Christians: the sympathy and the history are already there. — Idries Shah

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You can perceive a person's aspiration if it is genuine, because this creates a change in the emanations from such a person. — Idries Shah

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... when we are talking about 'Christians' and 'Moslems' we must first make sure that we are talking about people who have an idea, which should be more or less correct, as to what the other is supposed to believe and what he is expected to do as a consequence of that belief. — Idries Shah

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Saying of the Prophet
Distribution
God it is who gives: I am only a distributor. — Idries Shah

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EPITAPH OF JALALUDIN RUMI
When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men. — Idries Shah

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Generosity is also marked by doing what one says one will do. — Idries Shah

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If you cannot sit on a throne like a king, seize, like a tent-pitcher, the rope of the Royal tent. — Idries Shah

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The process of learning is the process of discovering what really exists. — Idries Shah

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Whoever has not first dug a well, should not steal a minaret. — Idries Shah

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The skilled artisan uses the same iron to make a horseshoe
As he does for a polished mirror for the King. — Idries Shah

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The more wakeful a man is to the things which surround him, the more asleep is he, and his waking is worse than his sleep. — Idries Shah

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Self-mortification, far from producing liberation from material things, is far more likely to cause either an unhinged mind, delusions or a masochistic taste for more suffering, experienced, of course, as joy. — Idries Shah

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Saying of the Prophet
Objects
It is your attachment to objects which make you blind and deaf. — Idries Shah

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Nothing cheap without reason. — Idries Shah

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Remember the proverb: 'A sign is enough for the alert, but a thousand counsels are not enough for the negligent. — Idries Shah

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Definitions from Mulla Do-Piaza
Penitent: Someone who has been made incapable of enjoying himself. — Idries Shah

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Definitions from Mulla Do-Piaza
Wisdom: Something you can learn without knowing it. — Idries Shah

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Definitions from Mulla Do-Piaza
Drugs: Source of the mystical experience of the ignorant. — Idries Shah

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The aspirant has to be guided by a mentor. The stage at which this guidance can take effect is seldom, if ever, perceptible to the learner. — Idries Shah

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None meets harm who knows his capacity. — Idries Shah

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People used to play with toys.
Now the toys play with them. — Idries Shah

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The union of the mind and intuition which brings about illumination, and the development which the Sufis seek, is based upon love. — Idries Shah

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Show a man too many camels' bones,or show them to him too often,and he will not be able to recognize a camel when he comes across a live one. — Idries Shah

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The impatient man is his own enemy; he slams the door on his own progress. — Idries Shah

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Definitions from Mulla Do-Piaza
Emotionalist:
A man or woman who thinks he has experienced the divine. — Idries Shah

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If you seek a teacher, try to become a real student. If you want to be a student, try to find a real teacher. — Idries Shah

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A stolen kiss is not easily returned. — Idries Shah

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There is a Persian proverb: 'To test that which has been tested is ignorance.' To try to test something without the means of testing is even worse. — Idries Shah

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When you get a principle on which everyone is agreed, you get the beginning of complacency and deterioration. — Idries Shah

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The human being, whether he realises it or not, is trusting someone or something every moment of the day. — Idries Shah

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Humility is a teacher of itself. It is learnt by means of its practise. — Idries Shah

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The people of the world have a fixed destiny. But the spiritually developed receive what is "not" in their destiny. — Idries Shah

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The selection and following of a spiritual guide is the most important duty of a Sufi. — Idries Shah

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An old fool is worse than a young one: For the young may always grow wise. (Zohair) — Idries Shah

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The door of illumination is open to those for whom other doors are closed. — Idries Shah

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Almost every day I am reminded of Saadi's reflection that there is no senseless tyranny like that of subordinates. — Idries Shah

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When you are still fragmentated, lacking certainty - what difference does it make what your decisions are? — Idries Shah

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A book, for the Sufis, is an instrument as much as it is something to give information. — Idries Shah

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All forms are limited. Some of the limitations are time, place, culture, language. — Idries Shah

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They have fixed our nutrition and arranged our life-span. More than this, and ahead of this, efforts will not be productive. — Idries Shah

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To Him who has sense, a sign is enough
For the heedless, however, a thousand expositions are not enough. — Idries Shah

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Feeling important is a vice, not a virtue, however concealed as participation in something noble. — Idries Shah

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The means through which people may perceive Truth have forms; Truth has no form. — Idries Shah

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Scholars of the East and West have heroically consecrated their whole working lives to making available, by means of their own disciplines, Sufi literary and philosophical material to the world at large. In many cases they have faithfully recorded the Sufis' own reiteration that the Way of the Sufis cannot be understood by means of the intellect or by ordinary book learning. — Idries Shah

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Sufism is always systematised only for limited or transitory periods: because Sufism is primarly instrumental, not for enjoyment or display. — Idries Shah

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It is not only a matter of not caring who knows - it is also a matter of knowing who cares. — Idries Shah

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The spirit is the mirror; the body is the rust.
(Divan-i-Shamsi Tabriz) — Idries Shah

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It is not always a question of the Emperor having no clothes on. Sometimes it is, 'Is that an Emperor at all? — Idries Shah

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To be a Sufi is to detach from fixed ideas and from preconceptions; and not to try to avoid what is your lot. — Idries Shah

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Nothing can defile the Sufi, and he in fact purifies everything." Abu-Turab al-Nakhsabi. — Idries Shah

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These lecture provide material for the consideration of common factors, in theory and in development, from the viewpoint of the idea of surrender to the Divine Will, reviewing some aspects of the interplay between Christians and Moslems, and introducing material from and about Sufis. — Idries Shah

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There is a succession of experiences which together constitute the educational and developmental ripening of the learner, according to the Sufis. People who think that each gain is the goal itself will freeze at any such stage, and cannot learn through successive and superseding lessons. — Idries Shah

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No effort makes a black crow into a white hawk. — Idries Shah

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Inner Knowledge
You want to become wise in one lesson: First become a real human being. — Idries Shah

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Whatever goes into a salt-mine becomes salt. — Idries Shah

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I have heard all that you have had to say to me on your problems.
You ask me what to do about them.
It is my view that your real problem is that you are a member of the human race.
Face that one first. — Idries Shah

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Death
If he is a good man, death will be a release;
If he is a bad one, it will release others from him. — Idries Shah

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For every Pharoah there is a Moses. — Idries Shah

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Saying of the Prophet
THE PEOPLE
It is the people who are God's family.
(Muhammad the Prophet) — Idries Shah

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Knowledge gives nothing to a man until he gives everything to it. — Idries Shah

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Man (and woman) has an infinite capacity for self-development. Equally, he has an infinite capacity for self-destruction. A human being may be clinically alive and yet, despite all appearances, spiritually dead. — Idries Shah

Idries Shah Quotes 1268433

Stages
First I thought that a Teacher must be right in all things.
Then I imagined that my teacher was wrong in many things.
Then I realised what was right and what was wrong.
What was wrong was to remain in either of the first two stages.
What was right was to convey this to everyone.
(Ardabili) — Idries Shah

Idries Shah Quotes 1274084

abandonment of spiritual values which makes us stand aghast.' The Mir answered: 'Neither could you provide entertainment for your people, nor could you bind them to your person. To call them "my people — Idries Shah

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Hariri says, in his Maqamat: 'Safety is on the river's BANK. — Idries Shah

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One day we will all wear a garment which has no pockets ... — Idries Shah

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Inheritance and culture obscure people's higher capacities. — Idries Shah

Idries Shah Quotes 1361535

The would-be students wish to transcend books.
But, ask yourselves: if someone says that books do not contain wisdom, and yet he writes books; books do not contain Sufism, and yet he continues to publish books on Sufism, what is really happening? It really is your duty, and not mine, to ask and to find the answer to that question, if you are interested enough. — Idries Shah

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Practise your knowledge, for knowledge without practice is a body without life — Idries Shah

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Poor greedy one, wherever he runs
He's after food, and death is after him.
(Saadi) — Idries Shah

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Angels are the powers hidden in the faculties and organs of man — Idries Shah

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No surgeon can treat the wounds of the tongue. — Idries Shah

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We are adjured not to burn the candle at both ends.
But how many people have verified that physically possible? — Idries Shah

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Definitions from Mulla Do-Piaza
Truthful man:
He who is, secretly, regarded by everyone as an enemy. — Idries Shah

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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. — Idries Shah

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Sufism, the "secret tradition," is not available on the basis of assumptions which belong to another world, the world of intellect. — Idries Shah

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A Better Beard that Yours. 'All true devotees wear a beard,' said the Imam to his audience. 'Show me a thick and lustrous beard and I'll show you a true believer!' 'My goat has a beard far bushier and longer than yours,' replied Nasrudin. 'Does that mean he is a better Muslim than you? — Idries Shah

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Saying of the Prophet
Accusations
Anyone reviling a brother for a sin will not himself die before committing it. — Idries Shah

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I am an idol worshipper; for I understand what idol worship means, and the idolater does not. — Idries Shah

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Sufis are those who have expunged from their minds the human tendencies of envy and enmity. — Idries Shah

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A certain person may have, as you say, a wonderful presence; I do not know. What I do know is that he has a perfectly delightful absence. — Idries Shah

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People cannot handle prejudice because they try to deal with the symptom. Prejudice is the symptom, wrong assumptions are the cause.
'Prejudice is the daughter of assumption. — Idries Shah

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A great deal of thought is only a substitute for the thoughts that the individual would really find useful at the time. — Idries Shah

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Sufi secrets are perceived, not understood by words. — Idries Shah

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It has truly been said that 'Humility is not so much a virtue as a necessity, in order to learn. — Idries Shah

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What do I sing, and what does my tambourine sing? — Idries Shah

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The proverb says that 'The answer to a fool is silence'. Observation, however, indicates that almost any other answer will have the same effect in the long run. — Idries Shah

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Religion, for instance, cannot be accepted or rejected out of hand, until the student knows exactly what religion means. — Idries Shah

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Deteriorated science is a cult, so is imitative or deteriorated Sufism. — Idries Shah

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Progress comes through capacity to learn, and is irresistible. — Idries Shah

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If you are 'humble', it may help you in ordinary life. If you are not, you will get nowhere in higher things. — Idries Shah

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Sufis (the name for the realised individual, not the learner or follower) are reunited with objective Reality and Unity. — Idries Shah

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If you can turn a murderer into a mere thief, you are making progress. — Idries Shah

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The bird which has no knowledge of pure water, has his beak in salt water all year round. — Idries Shah

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Your medicine is in you, and you do not observe it. Your ailment is from yourself, and you do not register it. — Idries Shah