He grew up in Wasit and in Tustar where the cultivation of cotton was the main occupation of most of the people. His father was a cotton-carder from which he gained his name of al-Hallaj .
Even when he was a young child Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj felt drawn towards a spiritual life, and at the age of sixteen he attached himself to the Shaykh Sahlat-Tustari whom he accompanied when he moved from Tustar to Basra in `Iraq. He served this Shaykh for two years and then, when he was eighteen years old, he left him and went to Baghdad.
However, the young Hallaj did not stay long in Baghdad, and soon returned to Basra where he became a student of `Amr al-Makki. This Shaykh, a companion of Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi, was a scholar to whom the great Master wrote some of his well-known Rasa’il.
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj remained with `Amr al-Makki for a period of about eighteen months, until an estrangement came between them when his Master offered Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj his daughter in marriage. He preferred to marry a lady who remained his only wife, the daughter of another holy person, Ya`qub ibn Aqta. They had three sons, one of whom was Hamid who recorded much of the existing information about Hallaj’s later life.
As a result of this estrangement with his Shaykh `Amr al-Makki, Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj again left Basra and once more travelled to Baghdad, where this time he went to see Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi and asked his permission to become his student. Junayd accepted him and became his Guide and Master and the guardian of his spirit. As his Guide, Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi came to know everything about Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s heart, which was very sensitive and exactly like that of a child. He knew his soul and what Allah, Most High, had created in his spirit. He saw that this new student was a specially ecstatic and passionate (`ashiq) lover with a very pure Eye, who was completely in love with everything about his Beloved from Whom he feared to be separated for a moment.
Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi’s Way, as we know, was that of perfect sobriety, in which the Secret of God’s Love had to be deeply contained, and only revealed to whoever could be trusted to guard It. In accepting Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj as his student, he knew that he was committing himself to a difficult responsibility. But he also knew that Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise, had created Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s spirit just as He had created his own spirit, and that whatever He Ordered and Willed must come to pass.
In Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s case the Secret of the Love seized and intoxicated his entire being. His longing and yearning for Allah was such that only in his total destruction by Him could he find the Union which was the sole purpose and goal of his life. This was the Beauty (al-jamal) and the Majesty (al-jalal) of his bondsmanship to Allah, and like a great river flowing from its source to the ocean, nothing could hinder or stop its course.
Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi, his Master and teacher, counselled Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj to seek solitude and silence for himself, but at the same time he knew that his student’s heart was full of yearning to help all the people whom he met, and to whom his spirit was moved to speak to about the One Beloved and His Love. Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi also knew that it was for this reason that Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj could not remain in any one place for long. But he was always urged to go here and there, so that he travelled further and further from his native land, his outward journeys inspired by his inward searching and walking with his Beloved.
In all his travels Junayd’s spirit never left his holy student, and he was surrendered to what Allah wanted of him. For he knew that every soul which He has created is in His Hands, and he whom He has chosen for Himself does not choose for himself, but it is Allah, through the heart of His slave, Who chooses for him.
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, may Allah be pleased with him, while he was still a youth said, “And already love had engraved Him in my heart with its red-hot iron of desire-what a branding!”
Then he said, speaking with the Tongue of the Truth:
“I am He Whom I love, and He Whom I love is I.
We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
If you see me, you see Him;
And if you see Him, you see us both.”
These words can be compared with what `Abdu’l-Karim al-Jili, several centuries later, was to say: “We are the spirit of One though we dwell by turns in two bodies.”
In his heart Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj knew that he could see Allah, the Beloved everywhere in His Creation. Although he saw that the people were blind, dumb, animal-like and they could not recognize Him, yet as he said, “The beloved does not drink a single drop of water without seeing His Face in the cup. Allah is He Who flows between the pericardium and the heart, just as the tears flow from the eyelids.”
He said about this in a poem:
“I saw my Lord with the Eye of my heart,
And I said: Truly there is no doubt that it is You.
It is You that I see in everything;
And I do not see You through anything (but You).
You are the One Who owns all places.
And yet no place is You.
And if there were a place given by You for the place,
That place would know where You are.
And if there were an imagination for the imagining of You.
That imagination would know where You are.
I understand everything, and everything that I see
In my annihilation is You.
My Lord, bless me and forgive me,
For I seek no one but You.”
For a while Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj remained with Junayd in Baghdad and then he travelled to the Hijaz for the Pilgrimage after which he stayed in Mecca for a year, living a very hard life and all the time giving himself difficult spiritual practices to fulfill.
After that year in Mecca he returned to Baghdad and immediately went to see Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi. It was said that when he knocked on the Master’s door, Junayd asked, “Who is there?” and the reply came, “I am the Truth.” (ana al-haqq).
But Junayd said to him, “Beloved Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, be careful about the Secret of Allah. Do not give It to those who cannot understand It.” Then he added, “The time will soon come when you will set fire to a piece of wood.”
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj replied, “The day when I set light to that piece of wood, you will be wearing the clothes of the orthodox.” And so in fact it happened as will be seen later, if Allah wills.
Hallaj was now widely acclaimed and loved by the people. But the religious scholars could not accept him, and they doubted the reports of his miracles and took exception to his utterances, such as when he said: “I wonder at You and me. You annihilated me out of myself into You. You made me near to Yourself, so that I thought that I was You, and You were me.” They also grew angry when they heard him say: “My spirit mixes with Your Spirit, in nearness and separation, so that I am You, just as You are I.” They could not understand how anyone could utter such sayings. Then, one by one, they began to turn against him and to shun his company.
At other times the religious authorities and scholars accused him of being a heretic (zindiq) when he said such things as: “Your Spirit mixed in my spirit just like wine and clear water, and if something touches You it touches me, for You are I in every state.”
Attacks now mounted against him in Baghdad and grew in frequency so that he left the city, and for five years travelled far from his homeland. He also left his Sufi clothes, and put on those of the people amongst whom he went. But this did not mean that he had left the Path of Allah because no matter where he went, or what he did, he remained a beloved of the Path. Nothing could make any difference to his heart, nor quench the flame of his spirit, for he saw that his Beloved God was in every face around him, and he found Him in every place where he happened to be.
For part of the five years that he spent away from Baghdad, he was in Khurasan, Transoxania and Sistan. He then returned to Ahwaz in south west Persia where he was accepted and loved, both by the elite and by the people who drank from his words. He used to speak of the secrets in men’s hearts, and for that reason they called him Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj of the secrets. It is related that once, while he, may Allah be pleased with him, was on his travels, he met up with Ibrahim al-Khawass whom he asked what he was doing. Al-Khawass told him that he was travelling to increase his trust in Allah, and for his general well-being. Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj then said to him, “You spend your whole life in cultivating your own inner self. Where then is the well-known forgetting of self in the Unity?”
The Love of Allah meant for Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj that: “You remain standing in front of your Beloved when your qualities are destroyed, and when your existence has disappeared in His Existence.” Remembering the hadith of the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him: Nothing loves Allah by any action which is more pleasing to Him than loving Him, Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj said, “Suffering is He Himself, whereas happiness comes from Him.”
However Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, who accustomed himself to suffering, did not mean by the necessity of suffering that this was the returning of the human being, through Allah’s Majesty (jalal) to be as he was before he was, which was how Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi had spoken about the Love. Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj saw the meaning of suffering through the Love as the way by which the human being could come through the deep Secret Love (al-`ishq) to taste the essence of the Essence of Allah, and the meaning of the Secret of the Creation. Passionate overflowing love (`ishq) meant for Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj the ever-moving, creating and recreating Love by which all is destroyed in order to be brought back again to further tasting of the Essence, and a higher state of ecstasy and annihilation.
When he spoke in this way and used these terms, many people, especially the orthodox Muslims of Bagdad, and even some of the moderate Sufis themselves, considered him dangerous and turned away from him. Because in this he was walking with and tasting of a knowing that was reserved for very few, and only acceptable when contained, as was the case of Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi, in the perfect baqa’ and subsistence amongst created beings. Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
“Is it You or I? That would be two gods in me;
But far be it from You to manifest as two-
The He-ness that is Yours is in my One-ness forever;
My all added to Your All would be a double existence.
But where is Your Essence, from my place of looking,
when I see You?
Since my essence has become plain, in the place where I am not.
And where is Your Face, which is the Object of my gaze,
Whether in my inmost heart, or in the glance of my eye?
Between You and me there is an I am that battles with me,
So take away, by Your Grace, this I am from in between.”
He said, “Love is in the pleasure of possession, but in the Love of Allah there is no pleasure of possession, because the stations of the Reality arewonderment, the cancelling of the debt which is owed, and the blinding of vision. The Love of the human being for God is a reverence which penetrates the very depths of his being, and which is not permitted to be given except to Allah alone. The Love of Allah for the human being is that He Himself gives proof of Himself, not revealing Himself to anything that is not He.” This was the meaning for Hallaj of the Words of Allah, the All-Mighty: “I have chosen thee for Myself.” (20:41).
Then he, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Love (mahabba) is from the seed (habba) of the heart. The seed of the heart is its pith (lubb), and the pith is the place of the subtlety (latifa). The subtlety is the place of Allah, and the place of Allah is the complete freedom (tamalluq) with Him.” Now again for the second time Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj left for the Pilgrimage dressed in the ragged clothes of the darwish and with a large number of followers accompanying him, all dressed like him.
It is said that when they reached Mecca, one of the authorities there denounced him as a heretic and a magician; so he returned to Basra, and from there he went to the town of Ahwaz in south west Persia where he remained for a period of time.
But Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s spirit would not allow him to stay for long in any place, and he felt called again to travel to distant places. He said, “Now I am going to the lands of many gods to call men to Allah.” So he took a boat to India and from there he travelled to China.
His enemies said that he went to India to learn magic, and especially the secret of how to perform the Indian rope trick. But he, may Allah be pleased with him, did not need any of those things. Allah, the All-Mighty, gave him everything, and there was nothing that he needed from any human being. His only desire was for his Beloved in his heart. He told his family that he wanted to go to India and to the Far East to call the unbelievers to God.
So he travelled to Gujarat, and from there he wandered through the Sind and the lower Indus valley, which had been part of the Muslim Empire since 711 C.E. He met many people in all his journeying and spoke to thousands; and many people loved him and followed him in those distant lands. The seeds which he sowed there grew and remained with the people, and it is said that they can still be found in the religion and the poetry of those who claim to descend from them in that province.
From Sindh, he travelled to the northern borders of India, then to Khurasan, and to Turkestan, and eventually to Turfan. It is suggested that he may have gone with the caravans carrying brocade from his home town of Tustar to the East, and returning with Chinese paper to the Islamic countries. Some say that his teachings were written down on precious paper which was decorated in the style of the Manichaen manuscripts from Central Asia. Also, he was said to have entered into relationships with the Carmathian people, who were supposedly Shi’ites, but who were in truth original Arabs of Arabia.
In 900 C.E. they had revolted against the despotism of the Persians and the militarism of the Turks. The Carmathians were described as being puritan and democratic, and came from the same tribes which, in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon him, had formed the spear head of the great Arab conquests. Now their rebellion, which had begun in Arabia, led them out further and further until they captured Damascus, Homs and Hama, all of which they were occupying at that time. Afterwards they were to seize the Yaman and in the year 906 C.E., a year before the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, they captured Kufa, and were threatening Baghdad. At the time when al- Hallaj was journeying across India and Asia Minor, the Carmathians ruled in Bahrain and also in the northern Sind and in Multan.
These last two places Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj had recently visited on his travels. When later he, may Allah be pleased with him, was faced with hostile accusations, one was that he had stirred up feelings in these outlying eastern places hostile to the Caliph of Baghdad.
What is certain is that Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj was loved and sought by many people wherever he travelled, and when he returned to Baghdad many of them wrote him letters; the Indians addressing him as Abu ‘l-Mughith, the Chinese as Abu ‘l-Mu’in, and in all the places which he visited he was given a special name by which he was known.
All this, and particularly the fact that he had vast followings amongst the people of all the places where he had travelled, made the government of Baghdad very suspicious of Hallaj, and not only suspicious, but they began to look upon him as a threat to the security and stability of their power.
In Al-Akhbar Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj there are many stories which give a good idea about his life in Baghdad, both before and after he returned from his long second journey to the East. He is said to have taught the people and called them to Allah with intense love and asceticism.
When someone asked him about the Unity of Allah (at-tawhid), he answered him: “Allah, Most High, is the very One Who Himself affirms His Unity by the tongue of whomsoever of His creatures He wishes. If He affirms His Unity in my tongue it is He Who does so, and it is His Affair. Otherwise, my brother, I myself have nothing to do with affirming Allah’s Unity.” Here Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj was not speaking from any humanity, but with the tongue of the Unity. In his presence he was in fact always affirming Allah’s Unity, but in his heart he knew that no matter to how many different places he travelled to bring the people to Allah, still his witnessing would not be completed. So it was that, moved by this burning desire which he saw could not be fulfilled except in the total destruction of his very existence, he broke his discipline of silence, and tore aside the Veil to reveal the hidden Secret. Thus his need and longing to eliminate the I am between himself and his Beloved God took on a more open form. His fellow ecstatics and companions, ash-Shibli, an-Nuri or Bayazid al-Bistami, although they did not always keep silent, managed, nevertheless, to stay away from the anger and the stones of the people. Ash-Shibli said, “Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj and I are of one love and one belief, but my madness saved me, while his intelligence destroyed him.”
فلم یكن فی زمانه من یاخذ بیده ولو كنت فی زمانه لاخذت بیده وانا لكل من عثربه مركوبه
من اصحابی و مریدی و محبی الٰی یوم القیمة اخذ بیده۔ والحمد ﷲ رب العلمین۔
There is a story told by one of Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s young followers, Ibrahim ibn Fatik: One day I went to see my Master Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj at a house belonging to him; and I arrived at a moment when he was in a state of absence. I saw him standing on his head saying, “You Who make me near to You by Your Presence, and Who set me at a distance by Your Absence, as far as is Eternity from time, You manifest Yourself to me so that I think of You as the All, and You withdraw Yourself from me until I deny Your Existence. But Your Absence does not continue, and Your Presence does not suffice. War with You does not succeed, and peace with You is not secure.”
Ibrahim al-Fatik then said: When he sensed that I was there he sat upright and said, “Come in, and do not be afraid!” So I came in and sat down before him, and his eyes were like two burning flames. Then he said, “My son, some people testify against me that I am an unbeliever, and some of them testify to my saintliness (wilaya). Those who testify that I am an unbeliever are dearer to me, and to Allah than those who testify to my saintliness.”
Then I asked him, “Master, why is that?” He said, “Those who testify to my saintliness do so from their good opinion of me, while those who testify against me of my unbelief do so from zealous defense of their religion (ta`assuban li-dinihim). He who zealously defends his religion is dearer to Allah than he who has a good opinion of anyone.” Then he said, “Ibrahim, what will you do when you see me crucified and killed and burnt? That will be the happiest day of all the days of my life.”
Ibrahim ibn Fatik also told about a visit which he paid to Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj on which occasion he found him reciting the Qur’an at full length. When he had finished, he turned to Ibn Fatik laughing and said, “Do you not see that I pray to try to please Him? But he who thinks that he has pleased Him has put a price on His Pleasure.”
He said, may Allah be pleased with him, “Praise be to him whose humanity manifested the Secret of the splendor of His radiant Divinity, and who then appeared openly to his people in the form of one who eats and drinks!”
All Sufis have always considered belief as an inner state rather than the more formal one of submission to Allah which is generally understood by Muslims. The Prophet, may prayers and peace be upon him, had said, “Submission is public, and belief is in the heart.” Then he pointed to his breast three times and said, “Fear of Allah (taqwa) is here, fear of Allah is here!”
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj said this because he believed that faith (iman) was the first step leading to the overwhelming Love of Allah (wallah), astonishment and awe. When reverence (taqwa) is combined with knowledge, then the state of total surrender (istinya) or intention to the Qur’an becomes possible.
“This,” he said, “is the reward of the stations of belief.”
He, may Allah protect his secret, spoke about the Holy Qur’an saying: “In it there are signs of Divine Lordship (rubbubiyya), tidings of the Resurrection, and news about the future until the Eternity of Eternities. Whoever knows the Qur’an, for him it is as though he were in the Resurrection.” For he, may Allah be pleased with him, believed that only the Saints are destined to reach the Secret of Lordship (as-sirr ar-rubbubiyya).
He said, “He who looks for Allah by the light of faith is like he who seeks the sun by the light of the stars.” At the same time, he acknowledged faith as the foundation for all calling upon Allah, which should be followed by seeking His Face, as he said, “No one can lay claim to Allah in any way except through faith, but in reality there can be no claim to having attained Him.” For He, Praised and Exalted is He, has said: “Call upon Allah, or call upon the Merciful, which so ever you call upon, to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.” (17:110)
He went on to explain that faith, in so far as it means speech, action and intention, is still concerned with the intermediaries (wasa’it). But these intermediaries, or mediums, are eclipsed (isqat al-wasa’it) as soon as the realities are tasted, so that they remain afterwards only in an outward form (rasm) for those who need the outward form.
He said, “In none but Him can two opposite attributes be merged together. He, Allah, is not thereby in contradiction, for knowledge is concealed by ignorance, but He, Allah, is the meeting-place of both the Unity and the Ignorance.”
In his Akhbar Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj he spoke about what he meant by the meeting-place of opposites in Allah in relation to faith (iman) and unbelief (kufr). He said, “Faith and unbelief are different only in name, because in the Reality there is no belief and no unbelief. The place where they meet is the place where they are dissolved in the Essence Itself, the Reality, al-Haqiqa.”
Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “At-tawhid is the isolation of the reality of Allah in Itself.” In saying this he was explaining about both the state of transcending and the process of transcending in which the thought that any temporal thing or state or condition can have existence in itself is destroyed. The meaning of Junayd’s words is the same as the meaning of Hallaj’s saying: “In none but Him can two opposite attributes be merged together, but He is not thereby in contradiction. Allah is the meeting-place of opposites.”
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj said, “When you become obliterated, you arrive at a place in which nothing is either obliterated or confirmed. It is the Divine erasings and effacements, and it cannot be expressed in words.” Here he was reaching out, in Sufi language and terminology (isharat), to express what no human language can truly express. Only the hearts of the true beloveds whose eyes are open and who are in the deep surrender to Allah in all His Faces, can touch something of the meaning of Hallaj’s words. It was this hidden language, beyond the understanding of the rational mind, which disturbed and angered the orthodox religious scholars and guardians of the peace of Baghdad.
As he, may Allah be pleased with him, said in a poem:
“The long-awaited revealing of a well-kept secret
is becoming clear to you.
A dawn is breaking on your darkness.
Your own heart is the veil covering the Secret.
If you had kept yourself
He would not have been revealed to you.
But when you destroy your own heart
He enters it and discloses His holy revelation.
So, guarded by this revelation,
an ever-nourishing dialogue will follow
Its verse and prose delicious to Us both.”
Increasingly the delicious meanings of his ecstatic states took possession of him until he reached a point where the two states of belief and unbelief had disappeared in the Majesty (jalal) of Allah’s Decree for him, so that finally he came to be called an unbeliever by those who could not understand him and who feared him because of a certain power which he possessed. For how could there be any meeting-place between he who loves through the ecstasy of annihilation and he who loves by the outside Law?
So that finally when Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj said, “I became an unbeliever to Allah’s Religion, and unbelief is my duty because it is hateful to Muslims,” this was the culminating point of ecstatic expression (shathiya) for those early beloveds of Allah who included Hasan al-Basri, Rabi`a al-Adawiyya, Bayazid al-Bistami and an-Nuri, may Allah be pleased with them all.
your memory is in my heart. To whom thus did I write?
In a letter to one of his close beloveds Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj wrote:
“May Allah veil you from the outside of the Religious Law, and may He reveal to you the Reality of unbelief (al-haqiqa al-kufr), because the outside of the Religious Law is a hidden idolatry, while the Reality of unbelief is a manifest knowing.
In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate, Who manifests Himself through everything (tajalla ma`rifa jaliya), the revelation of a clear knowing to whomsoever He wishes, peace be upon you, my son. This praise belongs to Allah Who manifests Himself on the head of a pin to whom He wishes, so that one testifies that He is not, and another testifies that there is none other than He. But the witnessing in the denying of Him is not rejected, and the witnessing in the affirming of Him is not praised.
And the purpose of this letter is that I charge you not to be deceived by Allah, neither to despair of Him, and not to covet His Love, and not to be satisfied with not being His lover, not to affirm Him, and not to deny Him, and beware of speaking about the Oneness of Allah! Peace.”
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj called the outside Law a hidden idolatry (ash-shirk khafi) because he said that, “It is bound up with outside things-with duality and opposition. In the measure that a person is preoccupied with the outside Law, so he is prevented from being with Allah alone.”
He, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote many compositions, poems, sayings and books about the Religion of Islam and Jurisprudence. His poetry, as well as being profound and subtle, is very tender and full of yearning, as can be seen, and his language is very pure and refined in the style so characteristic of the Persian Masters.
Al-Hujwiri, writing in the 12th century, said that he had seen at least fifty works by Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj in Baghdad, and in the neighboring districts, and also in Khuzistan, Fars and Khurasan. His best-known works are his Diwan, his Akhbar Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, his Kitab at-Tawasin, and a Commentary on the Holy Qur’an.
The Kitab at-Tawasin, which deals with the subject of the Unity (at-tawhid), and with the science of Prophethood, contains eight chapters, each called tasin, from the secret letters at the beginning of the sura, the Ant (an-naml). It also contains a dialogue between Allah, Praised and Exalted is He, and the Devil (ash-shaytan) in the form of a discussion of the fact that the Devil refused to obey the Order of Allah to prostrate to Adam, and of the dilemma between not worshipping anybody but Allah, which is His Divine Will, and on the other hand, His Order to prostrate before a created being.
The Kitab at-Tawasin also contains beautiful poems in honor of the Prophet, may prayers and peace be upon him. In the Riw ayat of Ruzbihan Baqli Shirazi, who wrote in the late 12th century, everything that he could find about Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj is gathered together. In addition there are some examples in this book of gatherings of ahadith which Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj made, and which are said to be not very different from the generally accepted ahadith, except that they were confirmed for him by a chain (sanad) of cosmic origin-of angels, stars, the sun, etc., and not by a chain of human transmitters.
In the Tafsir of Sulami, who died in 1021 C.E., can be found some fragments of Hallaj’s Commentary on the Holy Qur’an. This was the way in which his heart saw the truths and the laws of the Religion, and he also wrote and spoke about the idea of isqat al-fara’id, by which he meant that certain religious duties could be exchanged, he claimed, for acts which may be more useful at a particular moment. For example, he said that instead of performing the Pilgrimage, people should invite orphans to their houses, to feed and clothe them, and to make them happy on the Great Feast (al-`id al-akbar). This idea can be compared with the story of Abu Yazid al-Bistami’s meeting with the man on the road to the Pilgrimage who asked him for money, and to walk seven times around him instead of making the journey to Mecca. (chapter three).
But if anyone looks with the deep Eye, he can see that there was never any doubt about Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s being a true Muslim. One of the ahadith which he believed in is that in which the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, said, “Allah has not created anything which He loves more than He loves Muhammad and his family.”
In his Kiitab at-Tawasin he wrote in praise of Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon him: “All the Lights of the Prophets, may peace be upon them all, proceeded from his Light. He was before all, and his name is the first in the Book of Destiny. He was known before all things and all beings, and he will endure after the end of all. By his guidance, all eyes have attained to sight. All knowledge is merely a drop. All wisdom merely a handful from his stream; all time is merely an hour from his life.”
In a chapter of his Kitab at-Tawasin, Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj drew a parallel between the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said: “Die before you die,” and a moth which is attracted to the flame of a candle. It circles the flame and little by little approaches it until in the end it is burned by it. He compared himself to the moth which does not want either the light or the candle or its heat, but only to throw itself into the flame. This was exactly the same, he said, as his own case with the Love of his Beloved God-to throw himself into the Fire of the Love, and to be consumed by It. For at the moment of being consumed he would reach the completed Perfection of the Order of Allah for him, and the Reality of his true existence in Him. His words: I am the Truth (ana al-haqq), appear in one of the chapters of his Kitab at-Tawasin where he writes about his own claim to the saying, and also that of Pharaoh (Fir`awn), and that of the Devil (ash-shaytan). He compares Pharaoh’s words (and he said): “I am your Lord Most High,” (79:24) and the saying of the Devil: “I am better than he,” (70:12) (meaning Adam), and his own words: “I say, I am the Absolute Truth. Inside my cloak is nothing but Allah.”
This led to a great deal of controversy about the difference between the I’s of Pharaoh and the Devil, and the beloved of God. An answer came in the revelation from Allah: “Pharaoh saw only himself so he lost Me, and Husayn saw only Me and lost himself.” So that the I of the Egyptian ruler was a word of total unbelief, but the I of Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj was an expression of Grace from Allah.
Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj’s follower, Ibrahim ibn Fatik, said that when his Master was asked: Who is a Sufi? he replied, “He who is single in essence.” (wahdani adh-dhat) In that state he sees only with the Eye of his Reality. He, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote in his Diwan:
“There is no longer between me and the Truth (al-haqq),
Explanation, nor proof, nor signs to convince me.
Here shines out the vision of God, like a flame
Resplendent in its dazzling sovereignty.
Only he knows God to whom He makes Himself known.
The ephemeral, which passes away with time,
Cannot know what is Eternal
So that the Creator can no longer be removed
From what He has created.
Do you not see this temporal being turned away from Him
For the remainder of time?
The proof is His, from Him, towards Him
And in Him the Witness itself,
Of the Reality in a revelation,
Which distinguishes the good from the evil.
His is the proof, from Him, in Him and for Him.
In truth we have found It,
Even as a science in Its outer manifestation.
Such is my existence, my evidence and my conviction.
Such is the Oneness of my proclaiming His Unity, my belief!
Thus do those express themselves who are One in Him,
And who know Him, in secret and in public.
This is the summit of existence of those
Who are intoxicated by Allah, the sons of the People of God, The companions of my soul!”
This was the culmination of the holy life of the Beloved of Allah, Sayyiduna Mansoor al-Hallaj, the Martyr of the Love of God. No words are enough to speak of the Beauty and the Majesty of this station, or this case, but Allah Himself is the Love and Encompasses everything. From His Order, and in It, His creation returns to Him. To Him belongs all Praise, the Mighty, the Supreme, for what He creates.
My heart has eyes that see only for you, and it is completely in your hands. [al-Hallaj]