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Execution of Mansur al Hallaj

Execution of .

Allama-IqbalAllama Iqbal says in Persian Psalm. It is the tradition of Mansur al Hallaj to disclose the secret of Divine Essence. The fame of Mansur al Hallaj, his execution or the eternal life is due to him proclaiming “Ana al-Haq ” which means I am the Truth. Mostly he is denied but he is becoming ever popular as people are becoming more aware of him.

858 AD

Born

Mansur al Hallaj was born in 858 AD to a cotton-carder in al-Bayḍa town of Fars province of Iran.

858 AD

Before The Age 12

Memorized Quran

When his father migrated to Shushtar, he memorized Quran before he turned twelve from a school of Kira.

Before The Age 12

2 Years Later

The Robe of Spirituality.

After two years in the company of Sahl al Tusteri, Hallaj went to Basra where he joined the Sufi order of Amr ibn Uthman al-Makki. There he received khirqa or The robe of spirituality.

2 Years Later

Proclamation

After this proclamation Ana al Haq he was put behind bars for 9 years and then Martyred.

When his father migrated to Shushtar, he memorized Quran before he turned twelve from a school of Kira. He tried to find out spiritual and esoteric meanings of Quranic verses from his early age. Therefore, he firstly joined the school of mysticism of Sahl al Tusteri. After two years in the company of Sahl al Tusteri, Hallaj went to Basra where he joined the Sufi order of Amr ibn Uthman al-Makki. There he received khirqa or the robe of spirituality.

Hallaj also had meetings with the famous Sufi, Junaid of Baghdad and got training of seclusion and detachment. It is important to clarify that Junaid of Baghdad had no involvement in the execution of Mansur al Hallaj as some historical books mention. This is totally wrong as it is the cause of hurting the lovers of both of them. A simple logic is that Junaid of Baghdad was not alive at the time of his hanging.

Family of Mansur al Hallaj

Mansur al Hallaj married the daughter of Abu Yaqub Aqta and had three sons and a daughter from her.

Though his marriage became a reason for resentment of his spiritual guide Amr al-Makki. Being fed up of the discords in the family he went to Baghdad. After staying there for one year he went to Makkah and performed his first Hajj. When he came back to Khorasan, he abandoned the Sufi robe due to opposition so that he could preach Islam with freedom.

Ibn Kathir writes in Al-Bidaya Wan Nihaya (Vol. 11) that al Hallaj was famous by different titles in various cities.

According to it, people wrote letters to him addressing him with the titles such as Moghees in India, Minber in Khurasan, Abu Abdullah Al Zahid in Fars and Abu Abdullah Al Zahid Hallaj Al Israr in Khuzestan. People in Baghdad and Basra called him Al Mustalim and Al Muheir respectively.

He offered four hundred units of supererogatory prayers every night and adopted this practice as an obligation for himself.

Someone asked him why do you trouble yourself when you have received such exalted rank in spirituality. He replied that real friendship is to be patient on calamities. The person annihilated in Allah becomes indifferent to any feeling of happiness and sorrow.

Mystic Endeavours of Mansur al Hallaj

He said in his age of fifty that he had yet not adopted any creed. However he had chosen the most difficult things from all the creeds. He said that he had offered salats of one thousand years in fifty years and had a new ablution for every salat. He had been passing his life in rags during the period of his devotions and supplications. When he had to take off his rags on the insistence of people he had grown a lot of lice. A person on seeing a scorpion near him tried to kill it. He forbade him to do so and said that it had been with him for twelve years.

 

He performed his second Hajj with the disciples and continued spiritual instruction and persuasion but he faced several accusations and endured a lot of troubles and agonies. During his third Hajj he prayed to Allah, “May Allah annihilate me and make me accursed in the eyes of the world (the worldly people)”.

On his return Baghdad and started proclaiming his Divine love openly in the streets and bazars, and uttered, “O people! Kill me as Allah has forgiven you my blood.”

Then the time approached when he proclaimed ‘Ana al Haq’. It is important to mention that the being of a perfect Fakir (Sufi) is like a mirror. If a disciple or an adversary sees any wrong in him, the person must know that he would only see his own esoteric reflection through the Sufi (good or bad).

Mansur al Hallaj’s Proclamation of Ana al Haq

Hallaj’s claim of “Ana al Haq” is called the claim of Divinity but studying the history of that turbulent time, it becomes obvious that everyone in that age was claiming Divinity through his actions and deeds. After this proclamation he was put behind bars for nine years and then martyred. During his imprisonment the sage of the society sent two messengers to make him retreat from his proclamation of “Ana al Haq“. They said to him if he accepted, he would be released but he refused. Later, a Sufi known as Ata visited him personally but he replied, ‘Ask Him (Allah) who uttered those words to apologise’.

Farid ud Din Attar depicts scenes of his death as:

When he was taken to the scaffold he kissed Baab ul Taaq and then put his step on the stairs. When Shaikh Abu Bakr Shibli asked him about Sufism? He answered, whatever you are watching is the lowest grade of Sufism (mysticism) because nobody can reach the highest level. After that people hurled stones at him but he tolerated it all with patience. First of all his hands on the stairs and then foot were amputated, then eyes were taken out and then his tongue was cut off. At last, when he was beheaded he uttered laughter and died. 

Farid ud Din Attar goes on to say that every part of his body was saying Ana al Haq. When every limb was cut into pieces and only the neck and back remained, the litany of Ana al Haq continued from both these organs too. The next day, people cremated his remains and thrown the ashes in river Tigris. (Tazkirat al Awliya)

Viewpoint of Sufi Saints

The people of the time hanged Mansur al Hallaj because of his proclamation Ana al Haq. The people of sharia call him an infidel but the difference of opinion is also present among the people who follow mysticism. Some of them believed him and some rejected him but the others remained silent. We present views of some Sufi saints here. If you find any slipups in these quotes, pardon me as a seeker of Divine path as no one can touch the exalted ranks of these Sufi saints and this analysis is based on my state of Faqr, experience and study.

My spiritual guide Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman writes in his book ‘Sufism – The Soul of Islam’ while describing “Ana Abdu Hoo” (I am the slave of Allah) “Ana al Haq” (I am the Truth) and “Ana Allah“(I am Allah).

Mansur al Hallaj uttered Ana al Haq, Bayazid Bastami said,”Subhani ma Azama Shani” and Abu Bakr Shibli spoke “Ana Allah” on approaching the station of Divine Oneness. Whereas the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) always called Ana Abdu Hoo (I am AbduHoo (Divine Slave)).

The delight that is in being a slave cannot be found in claiming Lordship. In fact the perfect accomplished men like the station of slavehood because to be a Divine lover is the status of humility whereas belovedness is the station of pride. Actually “I am Abdu Hoo” is more significant than “I am the Truth” and “I am the Exalted.” (Sufism – The Soul of Islam)

Sufism-the-Soul-of-Islam

View of Sultan ul Ashiqeen

These words of my spiritual guide who is on the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) are pointing to the lapse of the controversial personality and writing Rehmatullah Alaih with his name is a sign of respect for spiritual rank.

The spiritual rank that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) received on the night of Miraj is beyond imagination. If someone reaches the station of annihilation, he also faces the satanic threat on faith. The Mystics must be grateful for being safe from this threat because of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who has taught the way out of this threat through Miraj. Even after reaching the extreme closeness to Divine Essence which is unknown except the distance of two bows length (Qab Qausayn), his eyes remained engrossed in Allah. Allah says in Quran:

مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى

Meaning: His eye neither inclined aside nor overstepped the limit (53: 17)

The entire universe was decorated and presented to him. If he liked something for himself and for his umma was only the Essence of Allah. What does it mean that his eye did not incline towards anything else? It means he was closest to Him at a distance less than between two bows brought together (Qab Qausayn) even then he kept saying, Ana Abdu Hoo. That is why he became the manifestation and confidant of Hoo.

Sultan Bahoo About Ana al Haq

Thus, only the humbleness can rescue a seeker at the station of extremity. Sultan Bahoo writes in his book “Ain ul Faqr” about the temporary station of Ana al Haq. Mansur al Hallaj uttered, Ana l Haq (I am the Truth). Ana is a secret whoever comes to know it he finds the Divine secret.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) when reached this station. He said,” O Allah, your Essence is pure and I could not get your gnosis as is rightful to have. I could not worship you the way as deserve. Thus, it transpires that this station is also imperfect, the next level is to reach the station of “la takhaf”. Allah says in Quran:

أَلاَ إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Meaning: Beware! Verily, the friends of Allah will not have any fear, nor will they grieve. (10: 62)

Be wise and remember that this station is Faqr for which the Holy Prophet expressed pride. (Ain ul Faqr)

Who are those Mystics who have no fear and grief? Surely, those are the ones who have attained the status of belovedness advancing from being lovers. They are the confidant of Allah and this is the path of Faqr.

Remember! Nobody can reach the station of gnosis where the Holy Prophet (pbuh) reached without the ardent love and his obedience. And after reaching that station still confessing humility that undoubtedly the right of gnosis of the Essence could not be fulfilled, is Sunna.

منصورؒ جہیے چک سولی دتے، جیہڑے واقف کل اسراراں ھوُ

 

(The people hanged) Mansur al Hallaj because of his knowledge of Divine secrets.
Sultan Bahoo
( Abiyat e Bahoo Kamil)

Seven Esoteric Esoteric Subtleties

It is worth mentioning here that Sultan Bahoo describes seven esoteric subtleties instead of six subtleties as he also includes, ‘Ana’ and ‘yakhfa’. He says in “Ain ul Faqr”.

Ana or ego is also of two types, one is, Qum bi Izn Allah (قُمْ بِاِذْنِ اللّٰہِ) and Qum bi Izni (قُمْ بِاِذْنِیْ). Therefore Bayazid Bastami said, I am exalted, great is my glory and Hallaj uttered I am Divine Truth. (Ain ul Faqr)

Imam Al Ghazali writes in his book ‘Mishkat Al Anwar’ about the personalities who have directly observed Ana al Haq and Oneness of Being (Wahdah al wujud):

The Mystics annihilated in Allah agree on the point that they seen none in the existence except the Divine Essence. Some of them are such that their state is mystical and intellectual while some are in the state of taste and presence at this level. They completely renounce multiplicity and world. They are totally engrossed in Oneness. And they remain stunned and their intellects are lost. They have no more capacity to discuss anything other than Allah not even themselves. To them nobody exits but Allah. They are so intoxicated that their wisdom is gone even some of them utter Ana al Haq (I am the Truth). One of them said I am exalted, great is my glory. (Mishkat Al Anwar)

The Station Annihilation in HOO HOO

The annihilation of Ana (l or me) and the manifestation of Hoo after removing the veil of innerself or nafs but this is a spiritual state not the destination. If a perfect spiritual guide is accompanied in such situation then tongue is controlled and emotions are composed and everything is managed. According to Divine consent immortality is gained. It means the Divine Essence becomes his ear with which He hears, his eyes with which He sees, his hands with which He holds and his foot with which He walks .(Qudsi Hadith)

Here, the man is at the height of humility in spite of being a total wisdom . His saying is an ultimate order whereas the saying of an annihilated one is incomplete no doubt, it is a reality but like an imperfect man.

As Ghaus e Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said by the command of Allah:

قَدَمِیْ ھٰذِہٖ عَلٰی رَقَبَۃِ کُلِّ وَلِیِّ اللّٰہ

Meaning. My step is on the neck of every saint.

This saying is an order of the Universal Divine Man and the words ‘Ana al-Haq’ are only a saying of a seeker of Allah. Now, how can one differentiate it? It can only be learnt by treading the path of Faqr and mysticism.

Data Gunj Bakhsh Ali Hujwiri seems convinced of Mansur al Hallaj but writes about Ana al Haq in his book Kashf Al Mahjub:

‘Get to know that his words are not to be followed because he was engrossed in his spiritual state and he was not composed enough’.
Gunj Bakhsh Ali Hujwiri
Kashf Al Mahjub

Did Mansur al Hallaj belong to People of . or Alliance?

"Some people say that Mansur al Hallaj belonged to the people of Transmigration (hulool) and some relate him to the group of people believing in alliance (Itehad). According to the author (of Tazkirat al Awliya), the person who knows a little about Oneness of Allah, cannot proclaim either of these two dogmas. Instead, such kind of person has no knowledge of Tawhid or Oneness of Allah."
Fariduddin Attar
Tazkirat al Awliya

Mansur al Hallaj was seeing ‘Oneness Of Being’ through his own (inward) mirror so it is ignorance or heartlessness to associate his spiritual state with transmigration or alliance.

Fariduddin Attar further writes, “I am surprised at people who see the sound of ‘Ana Allah’ that was coming from a tree at Mount Sinai as legitimate but the same voice when uttered through the tongue of Hallaj is labelled violation of Sharia.

Among the books of Hallaj, “Tawaseen” is most famous. Below is a chapter wise summary of this book so that we may review the views of Mansur al Hallaj.

Chapter one – Taseen al-Siraj Taseen al-Siraj

In this chapter, Hallaj has comprehensively described the secrets unveiling the eternal reality of the Mohammadan light. His love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) seems at its ultimate level which shows the grand status of his Divine love for Allah and his Prophet (pbuh). He writes:

‘All the light (theophanies) of prophet-hood sprout from holy Prophet’s light. All its brightness is revealed by his lustrous personality. None of the light among all the lights is brighter, more explicit and more native than the Prophet’s (pbuh).’

His courage has excelled all the courage of the world. His existence has surpassed the nothingness. And his sacred name has also surpassed the Pen of destiny. He is the one who existed before everything. Whoever it is whether in the world or out of the world is not more pleasant, more sagacious, more famous, more just, kind, more fearful and more sympathetic than the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). He is the greatest Miraj and the chief of the creation. His remembrance began from pre-existence and will continue until eternity.

Through him, Allah revealed Divine secrets. Allah conveyed His message through him. It means his word is Allah’s word.Allah Almighty has not entrusted him to anyone among His creation because the Holy Prophet Mohammad pbuh is the bearer of the secret of the station of Hoo. Nobody knows the reality of Hoo because where He exits He is only Hoo.

Chapter 2 – .

In this chapter Hallaj says as the human being lives in the mirror of his whims and thoughts. That is why his access to Divine reality (Hahooiyat) is impossible. Although giving the example of a moth he says,

“When a moth completing its round of a lamp (annihilation) comes back (immortality), then its shades are different. Every human being is attributed with one or more of the Divine attributes and he gives the news of his state in the subtlest conversation.

 

 

He writes further that :

Man in spite of having distinction and eminence of annihilation and immortality (fana, baqa) expects to reach perfection (Hahooiyat) and he lives in the world with pride and pleasure.

The moth (Divine lover) dives into the fire when it does not satiate at its warmth and light. It means the lover does not sate at the knowledge about His love (Allah) alone rather annihilates in the Him and informs of its subtle secrets in the form of his experience to the lovers of Allah. Mansur Hallaj says about this station:

“A lover realises his meagerness and shatters. He lives the rest of his life without (dependency on) body and name as well as has no sign of (innerself- an nafs) in his being (There is nothing in his being other than Divine Essence).

ہمہ اوست در مغز و پوست

Meaning: There is nothing in his being other than Divine Essence.

All the aforementioned things cannot belong to the one who follows his inciting innerself. One should follow a Mystic who has completely annihilated in Divine Essence.

 

We end the chapter on the point that no one can reach the exalted station that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) reached on the night. No one can ever reach his prestige.

Bibliography
  1. Shams ul Fuqara – Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
  2. Abiyat e Bahoo Kamil – Sultan Bahoo (research and compilation by Sultan ul Ashiqeen)
  3. Ain ul Faqr – Sultan Bahoo
  4. Tazkirat al Awliya – Fariduddin Attar
  5. Tarikh Ibn Kathir (Al-Nihaya wa'l-Bidaya) vol 11 – Ibn Kathir
  6. Tawaseen – Mansur al Hallaj
  7. Husayn bin Mansur al Hallaj, Shaheed e Ishq – Mohammad Ikraam Chughtai
  8. Kashf Al Mahjub – Data Gunj Bakhsh
  9. Mishkat Al Anwar – Imam Al Ghazali
  10. Zarb e Kaleem – Allama Iqbal

Note:

This is an English translation of Urdu Blog.  سولی یا دائمی حیات! منصور حلاجؒthat appeared in April 2022 issue of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr Magazine. Sahibzadi Muneeza Najib Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Zuhaa Fatima Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.

Chapter 3- Taaseen Al-Safaa
(The Ta-sin of Purity)

Mansur al Hallaj writes in Taaseen Al-Safaa that to reach Allah Almighty is very difficult but it’s like passing through fire and wilderness. The author has mentioned forty waystations that once the seeker crosses acquaints him (her) with the attributes of people of Safaa.

One can understand some of these waystations but others are difficult to understand. He likens the journey towards attaining Divine gnosis with wilderness and says when the seeker crosses these forty waystations then he (she) gets a hint of Divine gnosis. Only the Holy Prophet (pbuh) attained complete Divine gnosis. One needs to bear in mind, as Divine Essence in beyond any boundary, similarly there is no limit to His gnosis. Only that person can reach the ultimate level in Divine gnosis who is on the footsteps of the Holy Prophet. In other words, the Universal Divine Man who is the spiritual vicegerent of the Holy Prophet in his time.

The station of witnessing (truth of certainty) is superior to the stations of knowledge (eye of certainty and knowledge of certainty). Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is stationed at the station of witnessing and Prophet Moses is at the station of knowledge. After describing this subtle point, Mansur Hallaj likens the tree at Mount Sinai to himself that whatever the tree said, in fact it was not the tree. It was Allah Himself who said those words – whether in the case of Mansur Hallaj or the tree at Mount Sinai.

Reality of Hoo Hoo Hoo

It would be a very restricted and limited view to see this exalted station through the lens of human intellect (which is a creation and has a limited comprehension ability) as it is bound within time and space. In fact, the pinnacle of human ascension is not just conquering intellect, instead it is to go beyond the boundaries of time and space and reach the reality of Hoo. Mansur Hallaj said:

  • Renounce the creation (i.e. everything other than Allah) so that you may become the exact reflection of Hoo.

 

  • The Divine Essence (Hoo) is real and the creation is just the creation i.e. His subservient.

Whilst describing an aspect of Oneness of Being (Wahdah al-Wujud), Mansur Hallaj says:

    • I have no attribute of my own. In fact, it is He (the Divine Essence) who is manifesting Himself through different veils.

He goes on to say:

Allah said to him, ‘You are a beacon for Divine seekers’. And how it is that he (Mansur Hallaj) would not be a beacon for the seekers of Divine path. It was him who faced execution for disclosing the Divine secret. If we analyse the execution of Mansur Hallaj through the theory of Oneness of Being, then it would transpire that if Allah wanted, He could have saved him or would not have allowed things to get to that stage.

One does not get to the state of perfection even after complete annihilation until they reach the station of immortality with Divine Essence.

He further writes:

‘Truth is the only guide for Divine men (those who are immortal with Allah).’

This is because only Allah is enough for such immortal Mystics who are in fact the Universal Divine Men in their respective eras.

Chapter Four: Taseen Al-Dairah (The Ta-sin of the Circle)

realm of Divinity

Here, Mansur al Hallaj mentions three circles (realms). The spiritual realms are five

  • realm of Incomparable and Unknowable,
  • real of first manifestation,
  • realm of Divinity,
  • realm of power, angelic realm) and the sixth is this
  • universe (realm of bodies).

Therefore, it is difficult to make out what three realms Mansur Hallaj is referring to here. However, reading Taseen Al-Dairah, it appears the first realm or circle is realm of power, angelic realm and realm of Divinity.

As Mansur al Hallaj reached the station of annihilation in the spiritual guide (Fana fi-Shaikh) after a lot of hard work and long struggle. Therefore, he said attaining the first circle was achievable. This in fact owes to the benevolence of the Murshid (perfect spiritual guide).

The second circle appears to be realm of first manifestation about which he says it is accessible but from there the return journey begins. 

He calls the third circle the reality of everything, which can indeed be the realm of Incomparable and Unknowable. According to the teachings of Faqr, only one Divine seeker reaches this station (in any given age). He is like ہمہ اوست در مغز و پوست Meaning, ‘Only the Divine Essence is manifest in the physical as well as the spiritual self.

Sultan Bahoo says about this station:

اَحد جد دِتی وِکھالی، از خود ہویا فانی ھوُ

قرب وِصال مقام نہ منزل، ناں اوتھے جسم نہ جانی ھوُ

نہ اوتھے عشق محبت کائی، نہ اُوتھے کون مکانی ھوُ

عینوں عین تھیوسے باھوؒ، سرّ وحدت سبحانی ھوُ

 

 

Sultan ul Ashiqeen Explains:

Whist explaining these verses, my spiritual guide Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman says:

When at the station of realm of Incomparable and Unknowable, the Almighty cast His theophany, there remained no duality. I annihilated in Divine Essence and Oneness and became complete Oneness i.e. annihilated in Hoo. At this station, nearness and union, station or destination, love, body and soul and time and space vanish. Sultan Bahoo says that at this station, I became the exact reflection of Oneness of Allah and His confidant. (Abyat e Bahoo Kamil)

Mansur al Hallaj says, within the circle of Reality, four types of theophanies descend upon the seeker. A seeker observes these from very close to the boundary of this circle. He says, access to this circle is impossible, however, he expresses the observations of this circle which proves that he reached this circle. Reaching every circle is possible but it takes a lot of courage or perseverance.

Mansur Hallaj ends this chapter as below:

‘The Holy being of Prophet Mohammad is beyond every creation. He fears Allah and is very kind to the creation.’

Chapter Five: Taseen Al-Nuqtah (The Ta-sin of the Point)Be Determined.

In this chapter, Mansur Hallaj says:

Those who remained restricted to this world i.e. did not enlighten their inwards. They are the ones who denied (Mansur Hallaj) and criticised him. Those who entered the first circle they regard (Mansur Hallaj) much highly. And those who progressed to the second circle see him as the scholar of Divine knowledge. And finally, those who were fortunate enough to progress to the third circle call him successful. The one who reaches Divine Essence does not pay heed to anything else because he gets so engrossed in Divine Essence that he does not see anything other than Allah.

Mansur al Hallaj attained these high ranks after a lot of struggle and hard work. He describes an example of a Sufi seeker. He says that a Sufi bird (Sufi seeker) was flying. When it could not fly any further, it denied the (spiritual) status of Mansur al Hallaj. He asked the Sufi seeker to annihilate (his essence) and cut his feathers. But he refused and got drowned in the ocean of intellect.

Until and unless one comes out of the circle of intellect, they cannot gain gnosis of Divine Essence as Allah is beyond time and space.

The Miraj

A large part of chapter five is about Prophet Mohammad’s journey of Miraj. Mansur Hallaj’s some points are described below:

  • The Holy Prophet spent his night in Divine presence. He stayed away from his innerself and got closer to Allah Almighty.
  • Due to his high morality and exalted attributes, he attained Divine closeness.
  • The theophanies and attributes of Divine Essence had overtaken the Holy Prophet. He was initially blessed with Divine presence and then he observed theophanies of Divine Essence and he was blessed with Divine union. Then he separated from innerself and completely annihilated in the Divine Essence. In this realm whatever he saw, his inward did not deny it.
  • The Holy Prophet kept himself engaged in Divine remembrance all the time. He always remained grateful, during happiness and at times of calamities.
  • Eventually, the Holy Prophet gained true closeness to Divine Essence.

Chapter Six – Taseen Al-Azal wal Iltabas (The Ta-sin of Before Endless – Time and Evolution)

Satan was the most revered among the dwellers of heavens but lost his rank due to not bowing to Adam. He felt proud on him being from fire. He said, how can he bow to anyone other than Allah – but he failed to recognise the Divine soul within Prophet Adam.

At one time, Satan inculcated angels towards good. And now he way wards man towards evil. However, he cannot mislead true seekers of Allah.

Chapter Seven – Taseen Al-Mashiah (The Ta-sin of Divine Will)

In this chapter, Mansur Hallaj mentions five circles. First of them is Divine Will, then Divine wisdom, then His power and authority, then His knowledge and finally His Oneness.

Mansur Hallaj further writes that Satan got rejected at first circle for not following Divine command to bow to Adam.

Had he passed the first test, he would have failed at the next step which is Divine wisdom and power and authority.

Chapter Eight – Taseen Al-Tauheed (The Ta-sin of Declaration of Unity)

Mansur Hallaj begins this chapter as:

  • Allah Almighty is one and only one. He has no partners.

Then he mentions Oneness of Being (Wahdah al-Wujud) and Oneness of Witnessing (Wahdah al-Shuhud). He says, the knowledge of Oneness is both mufrad and mujarrad. Mufrad means Tauheed Tashbeeha and mujarrad means Tauheed Tanzeeha.

My spiritual guide, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman says about Tauheed Tashbeeha and Tauheed Tanzeeha in Sufism – The Soul of Islam.

‘The theory of Oneness of Transcendence and Oneness of Immanence stems from the below Quranic verse:

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ

There is nothing like Him and He alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (42: 11)

Here, لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ  is Oneness of Transcendence and وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ  is Oneness of Immanence. Every attribute that every creation has belongs to Him. Whoever attained both these aspects of Oneness truly gained Oneness. Otherwise, who took Oneness of Transcendence sufficient is as if he restricted Divine Essence (to time and space). And who only took Oneness of Immanence all, limited the vastness of Divine Essence. (Sufism – The Soul of Islam)

In this chapter, Mansur Hallaj says, if I say ‘Ana (I)’, Allah responds that ‘Ana’ is only for Him. Therefore, for Mansur, there is only ‘La (something that does not exist)’ and ‘Ana’ is for Allah. This indicates that Mansur Hallaj is at the station of annihilation. And he annihilated such that he completely negated everything other than Allah even his own being.

Chapter Nine – Taseen Al-Israr fi Al-Tauheed (The Ta-sin of Self Awareness in Oneness)

Tauheed (Oneness) is a secret. Allah reveals His secrets (upon whom He wills) through unveiling. The Divine Essence has always been One. How can one even point towards Him – He is even beyond that. The creation simply cannot rightfully praise Him as He deserves. Oneness of Allah is not found in verbosity, He is the ultimate reality. Allah has hidden Himself – but there is no place where He does not exist! He is beyond the confines of time and space. Indeed (Muslims) turn towards Kaaba when prostrating but the Kaaba is not the Lord, it only is a symbol that reminds us of that exalted Essence. The intellect cannot reach Allah (only ardent Divine takes one to Allah).

Chapter Ten – Taseen Al-Tanziha (The Ta-sin of the Disconnectness from Forms)

In this chapter Mansur Hallaj says, if he were to say ‘Tauheed has been corrected’, it would raise people’s eyebrows. It actually means him reaching the station of Divine Oneness. As Imam Ghazali says, Tauheed (Oneness) has four levels:

  1. Oneness of Tongue: This is to proclaim Oneness through tongue. This is the level of hypocrites.
  2. Oneness of Inward: To verify Oneness inwardly. This is the level of Momins (believer).
  3. Oneness of Unveiling: To observe Divine beauty through Divine light via unveiling. This is the level of chosen ones. They see Divine light in everything in this universe.
  4. Oneness of Truth: This is the highest level of Oneness. People at this level see nothing but Allah in every existence. 

If we say Allah is beyond the confines of time then people will say Oneness of Immanence is not fit for Divine Essence. However, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the complete manifestation of Oneness of Immanence and the Universal Divine Man. Therefore, Prophet Mohammad said, ‘Who saw me, indeed saw Truth (Allah)’.

Talk or intention, both are attributes. The real Oneness is the Divine Essence, and He is unique in His name and Essence. Mansur Hallaj says:

  • All praises are for Allah Almighty who is beyond the comprehension of the creation.
  • The contemplation of common people remains engulfed by doubts. The contemplation of elite remains restricted to the boundary of intellect. Eventually both these end up being futile.
  • The Lordship of Allah is pure. Allah is beyond all creations.

Chapter Eleven – Taseen Al-Marifah

Marifa (gnosis of Divine Essence) is beyond the reach of intellect and sight. (Mansur Hallaj)

Is it not possible to gain gnosis of Divine Essence?

  • In the state of annihilation, if someone claims to have attained Divine gnosis then that is not possible because how can an annihilated entity recognise the Existing (i.e. Divine Essence)?
  • If someone claims to have attained Divine gnosis whilst still maintaining ‘own self’, then how is it possible for someone to gain Divine gnosis whilst being in the state of duality?
  • If someone claims, recognising Allah is impossible then it remains impossible for him.
  • If someone recognises the name and not the Essence then this is not gnosis because He is one in name and the Essence.
  • If someone says they recognised the Almighty through His Essence. Then this too hints at duality.
  • If someone claims to recognise Allah through His creation then they bound themselves to Allah’s creation (which means they did not attain gnosis of His Essence)
  • A person who claims to recognise Allah through humility then it must be understood that humility is only in front of Allah. The one who thinks gnosis of Divine Essence is impossible he (she) ever remains deprived of it.
  • The one who claims to recognise Allah through knowledge, then knowledge is limited to this physical world. Allah is beyond time and space.
  • If someone says Allah expressed His own attributes then this is the station of eye of certainty (Ilm ul Yaqeen) and not the truth of certainty.
  • If someone say he recognised his own self then it would not be wrong to say he is confined to his inciting innerself
  • When someone says they completely recognised Divine Essence then it must be kept in mind that no one can completely cover all the stations of gnosis of Divine Essence.

 

Mansur Hallaj says:

How strange is it that someone who does not even know the rationale for black hair on his body and why they turn grey, how can they claim to recognise Allah when they don’t even know such things.

The fact of the matter is Allah is Lord and everything else is His creation. The creation must accept this fact.

Closeness to Divine Essence is the path of Divine gnosis and they both go hand in hand. Once must travel this path (in order to attain gnosis). There is no room for being downhearted. It is shear ignorance to leave this path thinking it is impossible.

ذاک العلیم بما لاقیت من دنف

و فی مشیئتہ موتی و احیائی

Explanation: Allah Almighty is all knowing. He is all aware of the tragedies and sufferings that I endured in His love. This is despite the fact that my life and death is subject to His will. (Diwan of Mansur Al-Hallaj)

The most famous book of Mansur Al-Hallaj is Tawaseen. However, Diwan of Mansur Al-Hallaj is one of his books that contains many secrets of Oneness. In this book, he mentioned Divine love throughout and we also find detailed discussion on Divine union. Muzaffar Iqbal has translated this book in Urdu. Although, it is near impossible to find a paperback copy, but a soft copy can be obtained online. Sang-e-Meel Publications published Mohammad Ikram Chughtai’s ‘Hussain Bin Mansur Hallaj’ in which they included one chapter from Muzafar Iqbal’s Urdu translation.

Below is a selection of Mansur Hallaj’s poetry that we have grouped in topics.

Ism Allah Zaat

حرف  اربع  بہا  ہام  قلبی

و تلاشت بہا  ہمومی  و  فکری

Explanation: Four letters i.e. (Ism Allah Zaat – اللہ) are the focus of my thoughts and desires and they keep me restless all the time.

الف تألف الخلائق بالصنع

و  لام   علی   الملامۃ   تجری

Explanation: The letter ‘Alif’ (A) in Allah draws the creation towards action. And the letter ‘Laa,’ (L) encourages them to repent on wrong doings and strive to cleanse their inwards and enlighten them with Divine light.

ثم      لام       زیادۃ      فی     المعانی

ثم  ہاء  اھیم  بہا  اتدری

Explanation: The second ‘Laam’ further increases my Divine love. And then letter ‘Haa’ reveals Divine secrets.

Divine Love

فکیف اصنع فی حب مکفت بہ

Explanation: I have no words to express my (Divine) love that has engulfed me completely.

لم ذا اللجاجۃ فی بعدی واقصائی

Explanation: (Oh my Lord!) Knowing my ardent Divine love, why do you keep me in ever longing?

یا    جملۃ    الکل   التی   کلھا

احب   من   بعضی  و  من   سائری

Explanation: O Allah, I love You! Every bit of my outward and inward being loves You ardently.

للناس حج ولی حج الی سکنی

تھدی الاضاحی واھدی مہجتی و دمی

Explanation: The Hajj of common people is to visit holy Kaaba. Whereas my Hajj is to behold the incumbent (Divine Essence) of holy Kaaba. Common people sacrifice their animals whereas I sacrifice myself for You.

مثالک فی عینی و ذکرک فی فمی

و مثواک  فی  قلبی  فاین  تغیب

Explanation: I have Your countenance in my eyes, Your remembrance on my lips and I see You in my inward.

فقلت اخلائی ہی الشمس نورہا

قریب ولکن فی تنا و لھا  بُعد

Explanation: I said to my fellows, the sun looks near but to reach it is very difficult.

دق             علٰی             فؤادی

فقد          عدمت          رقادی

Explanation: I have not slept since Allah blessed my inward with His love.

Divine Vision:

ان کنت بالغیب عن عین محتجبًا

فالقلب یرعاک فی الابعاد والنائی

Explanation: If You (Allah) are hidden from my eyes, I still see You in my inward despite the apparent separation.

لی   قلب   لہ   الیک   عیون

ناظرات   وکلہ   فی   یدیک

Explanation: My inward eyes are only to behold You. You have the complete control of my every action.

تراہم     ینظرون     الیک     جھراً

وھم   لایبصرون   من   العماء

 

Explanation: O Allah! You see them when they turn to You but they do not behold You because of their darkened inwards.

Divine Union

حویت   بکلی کل حبک  یا  قدسی

تکا شغنی حتی کانک فی نفسی

Explanation: O Allah! Every bit of my being ardently loves You. You have blessed me with Your Light such that You completely manifested Yourself through me.

قد   تجلت  طوالع   زاہرات

یتشعشعن    فی    لوامع   برق

Explanation: After union with Divine Essence, the theophanies of Divine light appeared within my being such as the lightning strikes during a thunderstorm. 

جبلت روحک فی روحی کما

تجبل العنبر بالمسک الفتق

Explanation: O Allah! Your light has penetrated my soul such as Ambr and Musk mix with each other.

Oneness

شربت من مائہ ریا بغیر فم

والماء قد کان بالافواہ مشروب

Explanation: I sated myself after diving into the ocean of Oneness. The ardent Divine lovers are well aware of the reality of this water. Divine love make them drink this water.

لان روحی قدیما فیہ قد عطشت

Explanation: It is the water that the soul had been longing for from day one.

Oneness of Being

وای الارض تخلو منک حتی

تعالوا یطلبونک فی السماء

Explanation: I wonder why people search for You in skies when in reality You are within them.

انت   الذی  حزت   کل   این

بنخو  لا این  فاین  انت

Explanation: You encompass every bit of the existence yet (outwardly) people cannot recognise you You are everywhere but still You are nowhere. So, where to find You?

دخلت بناسوتی لدیک علی الخلق

 ولولاک لاھوتی خرجت من الصدق

Explanation: I have told people about You the way You have manifested Yourself in the physical world but I have to unveil secret about Your reality in the realm of Divinity (Lahoot).

و  ظاہراً   باطناً   تجلی

فی   کل  شیئٍ   لکل   شیئٍ

Explanation: You are manifest in every creation – inwardly as well as outwardly.

Books Consulted:

  1. Shams ul Fuqara – Sultan ul Ashiqeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
  2. Abyat e Bahoo Kamil – Sultan Bahoo (research and compilation by Sultan ul Ashiqeen)
  3. Ain ul Faqr – Sultan Bahoo
  4. Tazkirat al Awliya – Fariduddin Attar
  5. Tarikh Ibn Kathir (Al-Nihaya wa'l-Bidaya) vol 11 – Ibn Kathir
  6. Tawaseen – Mansur al Hallaj
  7. Husayn bin Mansur al Hallaj, Shaheed e Ishq – Mohammad Ikraam Chughtai
  8. Kashf Al Mahjub – Data Gunj Bakhsh
  9. Mishkat Al Anwar – Imam Al Ghazali
  10. Zarb e Kaleem – Allama Iqbal
  11. Diwan of Mansur Al-Hallaj – Translation by Muzaffar Iqbal

Note:

This is an English translation of Urdu Blog.  سولی یا دائمی حیات! منصور حلاجؒthat appeared in the monthly Sultan ul Faqr Magazine. Sahibzadi Muneeza Najib Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Zuhaa Fatima and Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.

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