The Hundred Tales of Wisdom

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Hundred Tales of Wisdom [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Idries Shah

Shah the Hundred Tales of Wisdom

The Hundred Tales of Wisdom mostly consists of extracts from the principal medieval hagiography of the 13th-century Sufi master Jalaludin Rumi, supplemented by some teaching stories attributed to Rumi, or consistent with his milieu. The general run of the teaching stories is content typical of the many volumes on Sufism by Idries Shah. 

The old stories about Rumi (who is here called by his name Moulana) most often involve miraculous feats (or tricks?) and penetrating insights by which the Sufi wins disciples to his following. In these, and other didactic scenarios, the virtues emphasized are humility, courtesy, forgiveness, and rejection of material care. 

My favorite tales from the collection include the simple thaumaturgy of “The Miracle of the Candles” and the enigmatic allegory of “The King’s Slave.”