“When a mans sleep is better then his waking – it is better that he should die”
(Mansur Al Hallaj)
A big Thanks To Mike Crowley for helping to inspire this edition. He alerted me to a quote I had put in yesterday’s entry… and so here we are with another Sufi Poet Saint, Mansur al-Hallaj. Except for the quotes, everything in this edition is his writings…. Really, his works are quite beautiful.
Have a good day, and enjoy this entry!
On The Menu:
The Article: From The Tawasin of Mansur Al-Hallaj ,The Garden of Gnosis
Poetry: Selected works from al-Hallaj
Bio of al-Hallaj
The Art: Various Persian Minatures…
From The Tawasin of Mansur Al-Hallaj
The Garden of Gnosis
Abu Umara al-Husayn ibn Mansur Al-Hallaj, may Allah purify his soul, said:
The definite noun is included in the understanding of the indefinite noun, and the indefinite noun is included in the understanding of the definite noun. Non-definiteness is a mark of the gnostic and ignorance is his form.
The external form of gnosis is concealed from the understandings and returns to them. How does he know Him where there is now how? Where did he know Him where there is no where? How did he reach Him and there is no idea of union? How did he separate from Him and there is no separation. Pure definiteness cannot be the object of any limited or numbered object, nor does it have need of maintenance nor is it worn out.
Gnosis is beyond the idea of beyond, and beyond spatial limit and beyond the intention, and beyond awareness, and beyond received traditions, and beyond perception. Because all of these are something which was not in existence before being, and came into being in a place. He has never ceased to be, was and is before dimensions, causes and effects. So how can these dimensions contain Him, or limitations comprehend Him?
He who says: I know Allah by my lack of Him, how can he who lacks know Him who always is?
He who says: I know Him because I exist – two external absolutes cannot co-exist.
He who says: I know Him because I am ignorant of Him – ignorance is only a veil, and gnosis is beyond the veil. If not, there is no reality to it.
He who says I know Him by His Name – the Name is not separable from the Named because He is not created.
He who says: I know Him by Himself – this alludes to two objects of recognition.
He who says: I know Him by His works – that is suffice oneself with the works without looking for the One who made them.
He who says: I know Him by my inability to know Him – this one is unable to cut off, so how can the connected perceive the known object?
He who says: As He knew me, I know Him – that is to allude to formal knowledge (ilm) and to return to the known which is different from the Divine Essence. Being distinct from the Essence how can it perceive the Essence?
He who says: I know Him as He has described Himself. It is to be satisfied with traditional authority without immediate confirmation.
He who says: I know Him by the anti-thetical Attributes – the known is one thing which does not admit of being confined or cut into sections.
He who says: The object alone knows Himself – He confirms that the gnostic is tied by his difference, because the object never ceaces to know Himself in Himself.
Oh Marvel! Man does not know before a hair of his body how it grew black to white. So how will he know He who made things exist? He who does not know the summary or the analysis, nor the First and the Last, nor changes, nor causes, nor realities, nor devices, it is not possible for him to have knowledge of He who does not cease to exist.
Praise be to Him who veiled them by the Name, the definition and the mark! He veiled them under a word, a circumstance, perfection, and beauty from the One who always was and will be! The heart is a piece of flesh, so gnosis cannot take residence there, being a divine substance.
Understanding has two logical dimensions: extension and breadth. The pious spiritual life has two aspects: traditions and obligations. The totality of the creatures of creation is in the heavens and on the earth.
But gnosis has neither extension nor breadth, no seat in the heavens nor on the earth, it does not abide in the exterior forms nor in the interior intentions as do traditions and obligations.
He who says: I know Him by His reality – he makes his existence superior to that of the Object. Because whoever knows something in its proper reality becomes more powerful than the simple object of which he has knowledge.
Oh man! Nothing in creation is smaller than the atom, and you do not perceive it. How can one who cannot recognize the atom be able to know He who is subtler than the atom to perceive?
What is exluded goes to the side which perishes and that which is enclosed remains on the side of the essential knowledge. The essence of gnosis is concealed in its name by its gnosis. It remains disjoined and severed from the thoughts, objects of distraction, and forgetfulness.
He who wants gnosis fears them, and he who fears them frees himself from them, and draws apart from them. Its East is West and its West is East. It does not have a place above the higher world and it does not have a place below the lower one.
Gnosis is removed from the existential things, it remains constantly with the Divine permanence. Its paths are narrow, and there is no road of access to it. Its meanings are clear but there is no guide to it. The senses do not perceive it, and the descriptions of men do not attain to it.
He who possesses it is solitary and he who mixes it becomes a heretic. He who strips it away becomes blind and he who attaches himself to it, perishes. Its lightning is an unceasing supply of water, its blow gives freely, and its arrow sticks, and when it throws to the ground it silences. One who fears it becomes an ascetic and it makes a watcher of the careless. Its tent-ropes are the gnostics and the means of ascent.
Gnosis has no other analogy that itself. Allah has no other analogy than Himself, and He resembles it. He is like it and He is like Himself, as it is analogous to itself. He is only like Himself and it is only like itself.
Its edifices are its supports and its supports are its edifices. Those who possess it are those who possess it, and its edifices are to it, in it, and by it.
It is not Him, and He is not it. And there is no He except it and no it except Him. There is no gnosis except Him. There is no He except Him!
So the gnostic is the one who sees and gnosis resides in he who remains. The gnostic stays with his act of cognition because he is his cognition and His cognition is him and gnosis is beyond that, and the Object is still further beyond that.
The story is the business of the story-tellers and gnosis is the business of the elect, and affectations of behavior are the business of individuals and utterance is with the people of delusion, and meditation is with the people of despair, and negligence with the people who are wild.
Allah is Allah. Creation is creation.
And it does not matter!
Poetry By Al Hallaj
” For your sake, I hurry over land and water:
For your sake, I cross the desert and split the mountain in two,
And turn my face from all things,
Until the time I reach the place
Where I am alone with You.”
Kill Me, My Faithful Friends
Kill me, my faithful friends,
For in my being killed is my life.
Love is that you remain standing
In front of your Beloved
When you are stripped of all your attributes;
Then His attributes become your qualities.
Between me and You, there is only me.
Take away the me, so only You remain
I am the One Whom I Love
I am He whom I love,
and He whom I love is I:
We are two spirits
dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me,
thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him,
thou seest us both.
The Sunrise Ruby
In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She ask, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”
He says, “Theres nothing left of me.
Im like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Dont think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see whos there.
Hallaj said what he said and went to the origin
through the hoe in the scaffold.
I cut a cap’s worth of cloth from his robe,
and it swamped over me from head to foot.
Years ago, I broke a bunch of roses
from the top of his wall. A torn from that
is still in my palm working deeper.
From Hallaj, I learned to hunt ions,
but I became something hungrier than a lion.
I was a frisky colt. He broke me
with a quiet hand on the side of my head.
A person comes to him naked. It’s cold.
There’s a fur coat floating in the river.
“Jump in and get it,” he says.
You dive in. You reach for the coat.
It reaches for you.
It’s a live bear that has fallen in upstream,
drifting with the current.
“How long does it take!” Hallaj yells from the bank.
“Don’t wait,” you answer. “This coat
has decided to wear me home!”
A little part of a story, a hint.
Do you need long sermons on Hallaj!
Al Hallaj says about God:
“Before” does not outstrip Him,
“after” does not interrupt Him
“of” does not vie with Him for precedence
“from” does not accord with Him
“to” does not join with Him
“in” does not inhabit Him
“when” does not stop Him
“if” does not consult with Him
“over” does not overshadow
Him “under” does not support Him
“opposite” does not face Him
“with” does not press Him
“behind” does not limit Him
“previous” does not display Him
“after” does not cause Him to pass away
“all” does not unite Him
“is” does not bring Him into being
“is not” does not deprive Him from Being.
Concealment does not veil Him
His pre-existence preceded time,
His being preceded non-being,
His eternity preceded limit.
If thou sayest ‘when’,
His existing has outstripped time;
If thou sayest ‘before’, before is after Him;
If thou sayest ‘he’, ‘h’ and ‘e’ are His creation;
If thou sayest ‘how’, His essence is veiled from description;
If thou sayest ‘where’, His being preceded space;
If thou sayest ‘ipseity’ (ma huwa),
His ipseity (huwiwah) is apart from things.
Other than He cannot
be qualified by two (opposite) qualities at
one time; yet With Him they do not create opposition.
He is hidden in His manifestation,
manifest in His concealing.
He is outward and inward,
near and far; and in this respect He is
removed beyond the resemblance of creation.
He acts without contact,
instructs without meeting,
guides without pointing.
Desires do not conflict with Him,
thoughts do not mingle with Him:
His essence is without qualification (takyeef),
His action without effort (takleef).
“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.”
He was born around 858 in Tur, Persia to a cotton-carder (Hallaj means “cotton-carder” in Arabic). Al-Hallaj’s grandfather may have been a Zoroastrian. His father lived a simple life, and this form of lifestyle greatly interested the young al-Hallaj. As a youngster he memorized the Qur’an and would often retreat from worldly pursuits to join other mystics in study.
Hallaj would later marry and make a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he stayed for one year, facing the mosque, in fasting and total silence. After his stay at the holy city, he traveled extensively and wrote and taught along the way. He travelled as far as India and Central Asia gaining many followers, many of which accompanied him on his second and third trips to Mecca. After this period of travel, he settled down in the Abbasid capital of Baghdad.
During his early lifetime he was a disciple of Junayd and Amr al-Makki, but was later rejected by them both.
Among other Sufis, Hallaj was an anomaly. Many Sufi masters felt that it was inappropriate to share mysticism with the masses, yet Hallaj openly did so in his writings and through his teachings. He would begin to make enemies, and the rulers saw him as a threat.This was exacerbated by times when he would fall into trances which he attributed to being in the presence of God. During one of these trances, he would utter Ana al-Haqq أنا الحق, meaning “I am the Truth,” or “I am God” and also, “In my turban is wrapped nothing but God?” which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, as Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah. In another statement, Hallaj would point to his cloak and say, “Maa Fil Jubbati Illa-Allah” meaning “There is nothing inside/underneath the cloak except God.”
This utterance would lead him to a long trial, and subsequent imprisonment for eleven years in a Baghdad prison. In the end, he would be tortured and publicly crucified (in some accounts he was beheaded and his hands and feet were cut off) by the Abbasid rulers for what they deemed “theological error threatening the security of the state.” Many accounts tell of Al-Hallaj’s calm demeanor even while he was being tortured, and indicate that he forgave those who had executed him. According to some sources, he went to his execution dancing in his chains. He died on March 26, 922.
The Execution of al-Hallaj