Sufis have been called idiots because their knowledge can appear idiotic to peole who are limited to appearances. To learn from this "idiocy" one must go deeper into matters. Wisdom of the Idiots seems to me a course on how to be a successful student. It is also an introduction to Sufi experience. Shah has crafted his book from teaching stories, essays, explanations and quips of Sufi teachers of the last 1,000 years. He works with and through this material producing a Sufi document usable and useful to people of our times and culture. The material is non-dogmatic and non-moralistic, by turns gentle and gritty. It is thought provoking and funny. I recommend Wisdom of the Idiots if you are a student, formal or otherwise, or if you are considering becoming one. Excerpts: Fidelity Najmaini ('The Man of the Two Stars') dismissed a student with the words: 'Your fidelity has been tested. I find it so unshakeable that you must go.' The student said: 'Go I shall, but I cannot understand how fidelity can be a ground for dimissal.' Najmaini said: 'For three years we have tested your fidelity. Your fidelity to useless knowledge and superficial judgments is complete. That is why you must go.' Fantiasies O man! If you only knew how many of the false fantasies of the imagination were nearer to the Truth than the careful conclusions of the cautious. And how these truths are of no service until the imaginer, having done his work with the imagination, has become less imaginative. Shab-Parak Scraps The scraps from the meal of the Emir are larger than the gifts of halwa from the merchant. Timur Razil
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