Sunday, December 4, 2016

MANSUR HALLAJ: a moth burned by the flame of divine love.

One spring morning in  tenth century Baghdad, a raggedly dressed man named Husyn Ibn Mansur al Hallj -a renowned Sufi- exclaimed  at the top of his voice, Ana al-Haqq " I am the truth".The religious authorities were
scandalized and he was imprisoned as a heretic.Given many chances to recant his proclamation of  union with divine...he refused, and finally under pressure from religous authorities, Abbasid Caliph  AlMuqatadir sentenced him to a demonstration of severity of his heresy;Al Hallaj was tortured, flogged,mutilated and crucified...his corpse decapitated and his remains burned and ashed scattered in Tigris river.
and the most famous though by no means the only SUFI MARTYR was born.

He is called a martyre and an apostate. A mystic and a sorcerer.Even the greatest admirers of Hallaj, the Sufis, are not agreed regarding him.Among other Sufis, Al-Hallaj was an anomaly.They feel, he spoke something in which lies greatest secret of the cosmos.Many Sufi masters felt that it was inappropriate to share mysticism with the masses, yet Al-Hallaj openly did so in his writings and through his teachings.

crucifixtion of Hallaj
Mansur Hallaj ("the cotton-comber"), a Persian, of pristly Zoroastrian lineage, was a pupil of Junaid of Bagdad, a more sober-minded Sufi than his contemporary Bayazid Bastami.
When he had grown up, he was two years in the service of Abd Allah Teshtari and became a disciple of Junaid Baghdadi. Afterwards He made the pilgrimage to Mecca,  where he stayed for one year, facing the mosque, in fasting and total silence. After his stay at the city, he traveled extensively and wrote and taught along the way. He traveled as far as India and Central Asia gaining many followers, many of whom accompanied him on his second and third trips to Mecca. He wore yellow robes of indian gurus. After this period of travel, he settled down in the Abbasid capital of Baghdad.

After his return to Bagdad, the number of his followers largely increased, and he gave utterance to many strange sayings which excited the suspicions of the orthodox.He was called  Nourisher by his disciples.The orthodox ulema  regarded him chiefly as a sorcerer in league with supernatural powers, whether celestial or infernal, for he caused, it is said, summer fruits to appear in winter and vice versa. He could reveal in open day what had been done in secret, knew everyone's most private thoughts, and when he extended his empty hand in the air he drew it back full of coins bearing the inscription, "Say: God is One."
The common people of Bagdad were circulating reports that Hallaj could raise the dead, and that the Jinn were his slaves, and brought him whatever he desired.He furthre alienated the Ulema by basing his teaching on Christ, whom he considered to be a sufi and revered him.He was condemned a fanatic and a secret Christian.

POLITICAL REASONS: Hallaj was a sufi,and love of humanity is the essence of Sufism along with the concepts of a ‘holistic religion’ (Deen-e-Kull) and pantheism (Wahdat ul Wujood). Secondly, Hallaj was also known for his radical political beliefs. Most of his approximately thirty books listed in Nadeem’s Al Fehris are about politics rather than anything else. Contrary to popular belief, I think he was executed for the political threat that he had become for the Abbassid rulers.By some  The charge on him that he declared himself to be the Lord by saying ‘Ana al haq’ was merely a cover.  Hallaj would never have been taken to the gallows if he had not desired certain political changes contrary to the interests of the rulers of his time. My interest in this great mystic was mainly due to his political activities and beliefs


Fariduddin Attar  gives the account of his death in his book ; ; That As he walked  toward his death,  lightly and alertly, though loaded with many chains, they asked him the reason of his confident bearing. "It is," he said, "because I am going to the presence of the King."
And while on the cross, a dervish asked him, "What is love?" "Thou shalt see," Mansur replied, "to-day and to-morrow and the day after." And, as it happened, that day he was put to death, the next day his body was burnt, and on the third his ashes were scattered to the winds.
When he reached the scaffold, he turned his face towards the western gate of Bagdad, and set his foot on the first rung of the ladder, "the first step heaven-*ward," as he said. Then he girded himself with a girdle, and, lifting up his hands towards heaven, turned towards Mecca, and said exultantly, "Let it be as He has willed."
And when his hands were cut off he paints his face with his own blood, when asked why, he says: "I have lost a lot of blood, and I know my face has turned yellow, I don't want to look pale-faced (as of fear)...

FANNA: Sacred Ego Annihilation:

When Mansoor attained Fanna he declared, “Ana’l Haq! am God!”  Arabic: أنا الحق‎ Anā l-Ḥaqq "I am The Truth," which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, since al-Ḥaqq "the Truth" is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah. In another controversial statement, al-Hallaj claimed "There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God," and similarly he would point to his cloak and say, ما في جبتي إلا الله Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh "There is nothing in my cloak but God."
what did hallaj mean? was he actually claiming to be God? If so how can he say that within the confines of a radically monotheistic and  fervently iconoclastic religion as Islam.To understand what Hallaj meant..we need to understand FANAA or Ego Death.
Sufi's seek to eliminate the dichotomy between subject and object.They believe in loving God to theextent that self annihilation or Fanna occurs......once the ego has been obliterated ..the Roh is allwoed to absorb the Qulb and the disciple achieves Fanna as the nafs and identity is gone and only the divine remains.Hedoesnt BECOME fana is so commonly misunderstood..he is DROWNED in GOD so that the creator and creation become one.The goals is to create an inseparable union between individual and divine.

In the doctrine of Hallaj, which he had also practised himself, meant that by using abstinence, by refusing pleasure and by chastising the flesh, man can lift himself gradually to the height of the elect and even of angels. If he perseveres in this path he is gradually purged from everything human, he receives the spirit of God as Jesus did, and all that he does is done by God

Al Hallaj wrote of his experience of unity with divine

RUMI explained the fanna of Hallaj like this;
Pharaoh said 'I am the Truth,'30 and was laid low. Mansur Hallaj said 'I am the Truth,' and escaped free. Pharaoh's 'I' was followed by the curse of God. Mansur's 'I' was followed by the mercies of God. Because Pharaoh was a stone, Mansur a ruby, Pharaoh an enemy of light, Mansur a friend. Mansur's 'I am He,' was a deep mystic saying, Expressing union with the light, not mere incarnation.according to Rumi, his statement as meaning, "God has emptied me of everything but Himself." According to him, Mansur never denied God's Oneness and was a strict monotheist.

Hallaj himself beautifully explains.
Separation is for the realization.
Realization to the true way of love.
The love that wants nothing,
The love that needs none,
Not even the beloved.
Because in such a state of reality
lover and beloved is not two,
Separate? Never!
but two becomes one.
Together, ever!
Behold! that is the secret of sufi
Mansur al Hallaj's saying,
'Anal Haqq',
Lo! A true lover in total submission and annihilation.
Merged in Divine Love of the ultimate Beloved

The mysteries of Sufism are not for the uninitiated;
Those theologian who sentenced him to death (initially they all refused to even judge on him) on the charge of heresy even accepted that Mansur was right from the knowledge of Hidden (ilmul Ghayeb) perspective. But he spoke something which was not meant to be spoken in public, the collective consciousness of human race was not yet ready for it.

HALLAJ's offence was to reveal this secret to the uninitiated, His Master, Junaid, used to caution him , “Keep quiet. I know, you know, that’s enough. No need to tell it to anybody — otherwise you will be in danger and you will create danger for me and for other disciples also. Yes, I accept,” said Junaid, “I can see you have attained. But let it be a secret between me and you.”

But Mansoor could not keep it a secret; it is very difficult to keep it a secret. Nobody has ever been able to keep it a secret. There would be moments when he was in deep ecstasy and he would start shouting again “I am God!” These words were repeated to the Caliph, and many persons renounced Mansur as a religious leader and appeared as witnesses against him. Among these was Junaid, to whom the Caliph said, "O Junaid, what is the meaning of this saying of Mansur?" "O Caliph," answered Junaid, "this man should be put to death, for such a saying cannot be reasonably explained.In sufi literaure ..its a matter of utmost irony that Junaid  Baghdadi had to  sign the death sentence of his won disciple to  keep appearances.

One day, when Mansur was plying him with questions on certain obscure and difficult points, Junaid said, "O Mansur, before very long you will redden the head of the stake." "The day when I redden the head of the stake," rejoined Mansur, "you will cast away the garment of the dervish and assume that of ordinary men." It is related that on the day when Mansur was taken to execution all the Ulama signed the sentence of death. "Junaid also must sign," said the Caliph. Junaid accordingly repaired to the college of the Ulama, where, after putting on a mullah's robe and turban, he recorded in writing his opinion that "though apparently Mansur deserved death, inwardly he possessed the knowledge of the Most High."
Hallaj was crucified because he embodied the secret.. a secret gnostic mystics knew .The secret that was once open to mankind through Upanishd, Gita but made apparently hidden in the middle, but again will made manifest in final days..Hints was always there hidden in Prophet Muhammad's mystical saying that,

"He who know himself, knows Allah."

Also, "God says, man is my secret and I am his secret."

Jesus said, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you"

Perhaps the secret can also be found if we see why God often speaks in terms of 'We' in Quran, not 'I'.

Also we find in Quran, And be ye not like those who forgot God; and He made them forget their own souls! (The Quran, 59:19)



  1. Happy to see your Blog.

    Sufi path is apart from religions, caste,creed etc.,

    I wish you to read my sufi book on Gouz el Azam in my blog

    May the Almighty's peace fill your heart,

    with praying hands,


  2. Did Junayd really sign the death sentence? How could it be?

  3. By far the most detailed piece I've read about Mansur Al-Hallaj on the internet! Keep writing.

  4. By far the most detailed piece I`ve read about Mansur Al-Hallaj on the internet! Great blog, keep writing.

  5. No I am not roaming aimlessly
    around the streets and bazaar
    I am a lover searching for his beloved

    God have mercy on me
    I am walking around troubled

    "Trouble is What awaits for the lover"... Sometimes, Somethings are meant to stay hidden!

  6. Dul Nhun, the egyptian, has sent a disciple from Cairo after Bayazid, to know how his friend was going . The guy didn´t know Bayazid and, arrived in Bustami, Bayazid was in his hovel. He looked at Bayazid and asked if that old man was Bayazid. "What Bayazid do you wish to see? Now I am Bayazid, however I´ve been search for him over 70 years withou any effect...". José Ricardo (Brazil)