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In the history of Islam, we find many personalities, who due to their beliefs or propaganda or both, were able to influence the society to such an extent that the common people were carried away by them. Erudite scholars and renowned thinkers too were not exempted. One such person was Abul Mugees al Husain Bin Mansur Muhammi Al Bayzaawi Al Hallaj, a well-known SufI. AI-Hallaj is also known in Persian, Turkish and Urdu literature as ‘Mansur’. He was born in 244 A.H. in the district of Pars at a place called “Tur’ which is to the north – east to ‘Al Bayza’. It is said that Hallaj was the grandson of a fire-worshipper and was from the progeny of Abu Ayyub, a companion of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). His father was a (cotton) carder but he himself was not. His father left Tur for Waasit. Waasit is a town which was founded by the Arabs whose inhabitants were mostly Hanbalis. Some extremist Shias (Ghalis) also resided in it’s rural areas. In such an environment, Hallaj lost touch of Persian conversation. An important Madressa of Quranic recitors existed there. Here, he memorised the whole Quran before the age of twelve. Even in that tender age, he was inclined to search for it’s hidden meanings. He aligned himself with the Sufi school of Sahl-e-Tustari. At the age of twenty, he left Sahl-e-Tustari for Basra where he joined the Sufi order of Amr bin Uthman Al Makki and wore the sufi dress (kharqa). He married Ummul Husain, the daughter of Abu Yaqoob Al Aqta. From her, he had three sons and a daughter. Due to his wedlock with Ummul Husain, Uthman Al Makki became jealous of him and began to oppose him. Although Hallaj is accused to be a Ghali Shia at one time, a deep research into the matter clearly shows that all along he ascribed to the Sunni faith. (Ref: The History of Islamic Philosophy by M. M. Sharif, Vol. I, p. 346) Hallaj was also in contact with the famous Sufi, Junaid. He went to Baghdad for exchange of thoughts with him. Although Junaid persuaded him to stay there, he refused. For, he was completely fed up with the dispute between his father-in-law Al-Aqta and Amr al-Makki. Therefore, he left Baghdad after the uprising of Zanjies was quelled. From Baghdad, he came to Mecca where he performed his first Haj. He vowed to remain inside the holy precincts for a year, praying and fasting. In this way, he kept testing his personal method for “divine unification”. And opposing the principle of “Hifz-e-Sirr” (Protection of Divine Secrecy-a Sufi doctrine), started propagating his own ideologies. Amr al- Makki dissociated himself from him. Yet, Hallaj managed to collect more disciples around him. After he returned to Khuzistan, he ceased wearing the Sufi dress. He began to dress like the common people to enable him to speak and propagate more freely. His method of propagation raised doubts and suspicions. The main plank of his campaign was that each man should be made capable of finding Allah in his own heart [It was for this that he received the title Halla) ul Asrar (the Carder of Distinctions)] Hallaj gained popularity in different towns under different titles in different periods of time. According to lbn Kathir, he is known to Indians as Abul Mugees, the Khorasanis remember him as Abul Mameez, the people of Pars as Abu Abdullah Az Zahid, the Khuzistanis Hallaj ul Asrar, the Baghdadis as Mustalim and the Basraites as Al Muhayyar. (Al Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. II, p. 133) But he also acquired notoriety for a number of reasons. Scholars, both Shia as well as Sunni, accused him of cheating and showing false miracles. He performed his second Hajj with four hundred disciples.
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There some of his former friends and Sufis accused him of sorcery, magic and being in contact with the Jinns. Even after this Haj), he made a long tour of Turkey and India. There he came in contact with the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. (Ref: Tazkiratui Awliya : Essay on Husain Bin Mansoor Al Hallaj) Around 290 A.H. he performed his third and last Hajj. This time, he had a patched shawl on his shoulders and an Indian Lungi tied to the lower part of his body. On the plains of Arafat, he invoked, “0 Allah, annihilate me. Make me wretched in the eyes of the people.” After completing this Hajj, he returned to Baghdad and made a replica of Kaaba in his house. At nights, he prayed on tombs and graves and during days, he roamed the bazaars and streets, displaying his mad love for Allah. He used to show himself as a wretched man in the eyes of the people and also expressed his wish to die. He implored, “0 Muslims! Save me from Allah. He has permitted you to shed my blood. Kill me!” Muhammad Bin Dawood Az-Zaaheri was infuriated with this statement. He convicted Hallaj and wanted him to be put to death. But the Shafaae jurist, lbn Surrayyij was of the view that the position and condition of the Sufis was beyond the courts of law. It was during this period that Hallaj announced his infamous slogan “Anal Haq” (I am The Truth, [read God]) in the mosque of Al Mansur in the presence of Ash-Shibli. In the last part of 290 A.H., the revenue officer of the young Abbasid Caliph Muqtadir, Al Furat arrested Hallaj and filed a case against him. Hallaj was brought to Baghdad. Here, he was subjected to the ire of Hamid (a Sunni) and kept in jail for nine years. In 301 A.H., lbne Isa, nephew of a minister who was Hallaj’s disciple, dismissed the case against him. He also freed the jailed supporters of Hallaj. In 303 A.H., Hallaj cured successfully the chronic fever of the caliph. In 305 A.H., he brought to life the dead parrot of the crown prince. The Mutazelis denounced him as a charlatan and a sorcerer. During the period of 304-306 A.H. the charge of lbn Isa’s ministry was taken up by lbn Furat. He was a sworn adversary of Halla) but the Caliph’s mother did not allow him to revive the case against Hallaj. It seems that two important writings of Hallaj belong to this period.
(1) Taaseenul Azal – which is a treatise on the argumentation of lblis.
(2) A discussion on the Meraj (ascension) of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). He expressed that due to the spiritual experience of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), it is possible for man to be merged with Allah. Due to the influence of Husayn lbn Rauh Nawbakhti, the case was revived. It was debated upon in the years 308-309 A.H. Hallaj claimed, ” (The real) Kaaba is inside the heart. It is more important to circumbulate it seven times.”

Due to this, he was convicted of being from the Qeraametah (who were in favour of it’s demolition). The Maliki judge of this case, Qazi Abu Umar bin Yusuf passed, the following verdict, “It is lawful to shed your blood.” At last, the Abbasid caliph Muqtadir signed the warrant for sending him to the gallows. On 24th Zilqad, at the gate of Khorasan, Hallaj (who had a crown on his head) was lashed to unconsciousness infront of a huge crowd. When he was nearly dead, he was hung at the gate. The order for beheading him was received from the caliph late at night. Actually the verdict of his crucification was postponed for the morrow. All those who had signed the verdict said loudly, ‘Whatever has been done is under the Islamic law. We are responsible for his death.” Later, Hallaj was beheaded and his body charred by putting kerosene on his body. His ashes were consigned to the river from a high tower. According to the eye-witnesses, his last words were: “The most important thing for a Gnostic is, by the permission of Allah, the Almighty, to achieve perfect physical unification (with Allah)” During the case, Hallaj was accused of various conspiracies against the religious and economic policies of the government. He was accused of defaming Allah and propagating the concept of assimilation (with Allah). His theory of giving importance to the religious symbols only from the aspect of it’s hidden meaning showed the confusion and commotion of his mind. It also indicated that he was advocating their destruction. Regarding assimilation, Hallaj had actually written, “Your (Allah’s) soul has merged with my
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soul like amber fuses with the fragrant musk.” (Diwan-e-Hallaj translated by Massinon, p.41) He really took the cake by claiming, “We are two souls who are put in one body…” (Ibid) The above quoted statement clearly proves that Mansur Hallaj who lived during the minor occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) was a polytheist. he had evidently violated the belief of Tawheed.
Mansur Hallaj was one of those who had falsely claimed the special deputyship during the minor occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sugra). lt is narrated by Husain bin lbrahim Abul Abbas Ahmed Bin Ali Bin Nuh, from Abu Nasr Haibatullah bin Mohammed, the scribe of lbne Binte Umme Kulsum binte Abi Jafar Amn: “Allah intended to expose the fallacies of Hallaj and that he may be degraded and insulted. Abu Sahl bin Ismail bin Ali Nawbakti (R.A.) was among those who had become aware of the plots and deceit of Hallaj. Hallaj thought that Abu Sahl was ignorant (of his charialanism) and hence went to him to convince him of his claim. First, he wrote to Abu Sahl that he (Hallaj) was the representative of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.) and that the Imam had ordered him to correspond with the former. He offered Abu Sahl to help him in his work so that the heart of Abu Sahl may rest in peace. Abu Sahl replied, “I have a small problem which only you can solve. I know that it is nothing in comparison to the extraordinary feats that you have performed, I am highly desirous of young girls but they are repulsed by my greying hair. And I find it too cumbersome to apply henna (herbal dye). If you can make my hair permanently black, I shall help and assist you, and do whatever you desire”. When Hallaj received this reply, he at once realised that Abu Sahl had seen through his fraud and discontinued the correspondence. Shaikh Sadooq says, “Hallaj went to the city of Qom. There he wrote to the relatives of my father and invited them to his cause. The relatives forwarded his letter to my father, who tore up Hallaj’s letter and wrote to them, “What is this nonsense ! Which fool is trying to deceive you? Who is this cheat who has instigated you?” -Due to these blatant assertions, Hallaj was disgraced and expelled from the city of Qom. On account of his false claims and nonsensical beliefs, Vali-e-Asr Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) cursed him and issued a Tawqee to denounce him. It read as follows:
“We seek refuge in Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.) from him (Hallaj). We invoke one curse after another on him. secretly as well as openly, at all times, in all conditions and on everyone who follows him despite getting our message.” (Kalematui Imam al-Mahdi p. 282)
After examining the above Tawqee, it becomes clear that in the school of Ahiul Bayt la.s.], there is no place for evil people like Husain Bin Mansur Hallaj. It was the impact of this tawqee that during the minor occultation and till the later centuries, Shia scholars continued to denounce Hallaj. But in the seventh century, some people began to defend Hallaj, ignoring the Tawqee of Imam (A.S.). They began to call Hallaj, Wali of Allah. As if this was not enough blasphemous, they even composed eulogies glorifying him. Like him, they also repeated the words of “Anal Haq’ (I am God). Allah alone knows which facet of Mansur’s personality has attracted them that they ignored the clear Tawqee of an infallible Imam cursing Hallaj and followed and expressed their love for this deceiver and cheat. Imam (a. s.) has clearly stated that whosoever follows Hallaj is also accursed.
Let us pray to the Almighty Allah that may He give us the ability to discern falsehood from ‘truth. That we may not be misled by any false claimant or charlatan. Amen.