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Tag: sufism


Q&A on storytelling and tradition...and The Tale of the Sands

30maro_slide05You are creating wonderful stories about what our heart is telling us, but today more than ever we fail to reconcile our heart and our mind. Why are they tugging us in different directions? What do you do when your mind shouts louder than your heart?

As you say, I am telling and creating stories, and that’s what’s so central here. Storytelling appeals to the default setting of mankind, the core programming that’s in-built within us. We don’t really know why, but culture is arranged around storytelling – revealing information, ideas, and entertainment through stories. We can’t help but retell experiences in this way because we are programmed to do it. And, bizarrely, most people have forgotten that humanity operates with stories as their language. I sometimes find myself wondering whether other animals, or even insects, do the same and tell stories as a matrix like we do.

At the same time as live to tell stories, we reside in a world that’s so incredibly at odds with the realm our ancestors knew. Yet, in this mad frenetic, frenzied stew of life, it’s the stories and the storytelling that present themselves as a recognizable thread – a kind of communal backbone to humanity. We grasp hold of stories whether they be in the form of a book, a Tweet, a blog entry, a TV commercial selling soap, a movie, or even in the guise of a video game.

You mention your father very often in your works. Would you say that your story is a sequel to his? To what extent are our hearts beating together with those of our ancestors’? Does our storytelling begin where theirs has stopped? Read more

May 30, 2013 Posted by tahir in Books

New Release: Three Essays


I’m very pleased to share with you the release of these three essays. Those who have read Eye Spy will be especially interested in the essay on cannibalism. They are all currently available online as individual purchases, and the three essay bundle will be available very soon.

The Legacy of Arab Science 

The Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth 

Cannibalism: It’s Just Meat 

May 24, 2013 Posted by tahir in Books

Last Chance on Scorpion Soup

Scorpion_Soup-01If you haven’t yet purchased your copy of the limited edition Scorpion Soup hardcover, now is the time to do so. I have uploaded it to Amazon, and the price will increase as of June 8th. This is your last chance to get it at its reduced price directly from my website.

I think I mentioned to you before the hardcover was released that I wanted to make it available to my readers at a discounted price before uploading it to Amazon. It’s been out for a few months now, and it’s time to shift the sales to Amazon.

Get your copy now.

Scorpion Soup is also available as an ebook:

También está disponible en español: Sopa de escorpión


Q&A on The Caliph's House

2012-07-26 10.48.43I am occasionally interviewed via email or invited to participate in a Q&A for a course that is reading one of my books. I thought I’d share this one with you, which discuses The Caliph’s House:

1. Why did you choose to express your feelings through imagery, rather than express them directly? 

That’s a good question and one I have never been asked before. I wrote The Caliph’s House not long after 9/11, and I had that atrocity in my mind all the way through. It was really important to me to try and show Morocco from the inside out, and in a way that American people especially could receive. I wanted to show the kingdom in ways that were not merely descriptive, but touched the senses, as well as reaching an audience through anecdotes. It was difficult to do, but I am always so happy when people write to me saying that the book changed the way they regarded Morocco — ie as not “just another” Arab country.

2. Did you realise that the Arabic meaning of the characters’ names in the book correlate to their personalities, or is this coincidental?

Read more

April 3, 2013 Posted by tahir in Books

New Releases from My Backlist

TS ebook series backlist

I’m very pleased to share with you the release of my travel backlist as ebooks. Each book has been updated with a new introduction, with the exception of Travels With Myself, my 2011 release. Trail of Feathers will also be available very soon.

Get your copy now: Read more

March 21, 2013 Posted by tahir in Books

Get Your Limited Edition Copy of Scorpion Soup

Scorpion Soup by Tahir ShahAs announced on my Facebook page yesterday, Scorpion Soup has now reached the UK warehouse, which means that all orders to the UK and to continental Europe will be available for shipping starting this afternoon.

There were some questions about shipping costs to continental Europe, and we’ve found a less expensive way to take care of this, so all book orders to continental Europe will pay the same as the UK orders. They will be sent via Royal Mail.

Order one copy of Scorpion Soup to the UK or to continental Europe using this link. Generally speaking, books will be shipped within 24 hours after an order is placed, for Monday-Friday orders.

Pre-orders for the US can be placed using this link. All orders will be uploaded to our fulfilment system as soon as they’re received by us. The books should reach the US warehouse this week or next, and books will ship out automatically as soon as they’re checked into the warehouse.

As I mentioned before, we’ve tried to keep the purchase price on this book as low as possible, which is why I’m only making them available for sale through my website for a limited time. Once they go online to other retailers, we’ll have to raise the price to cover commissions and fees.

At this point, there are links to purchase one copy or five copies. If you would like a different amount, please email secretum.mundi at gmail dot com, and someone can check on the cost of shipping for you.

Many, many thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this book.



Scorpion Soup: ebook available now!

scorpion_soup_EBOOKcover SMALLIf you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know that the ebook edition of Scorpion Soup was released earlier this week. It’s already received several reviews on Goodreads, as well as Amazon US and Amazon UK, and it’s been featured on at least one blog that I’ve seen so far.

Scorpion Soup has its own website, with a full list of the eighteen stories, a discussion of the  frame story, my take on storytelling, and some background information on the Blaeu maps, ten of which are included in the limited edition hardcover of Scorpion Soup.

The ebook is currently available for purchase on Amazon US and Amazon UK, and it will be available shortly on other major ebook retailers, such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Gardners, Ingram, Kobo and Waterstones.

If you’re looking forward to the limited edition hardcover, with its 10 fold-out maps, it will be released on March 25th. It’s been prepared along the lines of Timbuctoo, with the same attention to detail. It’s available for pre-purchase now on the Scorpion Soup website.

I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for reading!


Wisdom of Wigtown

The people at Wigtown are generating a book of the wisdom of Wigtown during this year’s Wigtown Book Festival, and they asked the following questions:

1. Is there something that someone told you early in life that proved to be useful?

Yes: My father told me never ever ever listen to anyone who tried to hold me back, and to think for myself.

2. What do you wish you knew when you were 18?

I wish I had known how important it is to be original and not try to ape others.

3. What word do you repeat to yourself when the going gets tough? Or what word sums you up?

The word I repeat to myself over is over is: FORWARD!

4. How would you finish the sentence “It’s never too late to…”‘

“…write a book that will change the world.”

April 9, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

The Book of the Book IX

Yasavi of  the Masters Transmits it

Ahmed Yasavi had a history of the content of the Book of the Book bound in a volume of over two hundred pages, on whose cover was written: “If the thickness of books determines the value of their content, this one should issue really be even thicker.”
Since Ahmed Yasavi, of the masters of Central Asia, this story has been transmitted for more than seven hundred years.
April 8, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

The Book of the Book VIII

Yasavi Buys it for Twelve Gold Pieces

When Ahmed Yasavi was a student, he bought a copy of the Book from Mali, paying two gold pieces.
 The following day he returned, and gave only another ten pieces of gold, saying: “What I have learned from the Book is worth more than this. But since I have no more money I will give it all to you, in token of my valuing this lesson is equal to my entire possessions.”…