Hallaj : The Outsider To Islam

Mansur al-Hallaj

(c. 858 – March 26, 922 AD)

A Persian mystic, revolutionary writer, and a pious teacher of Sufism … most famous for his poetry.

During one of these trances, he would utter : Anā l-Ḥaqq … “I am The Truth,” which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, since al-Ḥaqq … “the Truth” … is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah.

In another controversial statement, al-Hallaj claimed : “There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God.”

Similarly he would point to his cloak and say, Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh … “There is nothing in my cloak but God.”

Who amongst the Islamists, then or now, will appreciate the man who found the truth in own form, not in the Book nor in an usurper prophet ?

Mansur’s utterances led to a long trial and his subsequent imprisonment for 11 years in a Baghdad prison. He was publicly executed on March 26, 922.


Mansur or Hallaj Came From…the Fars province of Persia, from the family of a cotton-carder.

(Hallaj means “cotton-carder” in Arabic).

His grandfather was a Zoroastrian. His father lived a simple life, and this form of lifestyle greatly interested the young Mansur.

He wrote : ” If you do not recognize God, at least recognise His sign… I am the creative truth —Ana al-Haqq— because through the truth, I am eternal truth.”

Even beyond the Muslim faith, Hallaj was concerned with the whole of humanity, as he desired to communicate to them “that strange, patient and shameful desire for God…”

This was the reason for his voyage, beyond the Muslim world (shafa’a)… to India and China.

Today, many honor him as an adept who came to realize the inherent divine nature of all men and women. The Islamists though continue to see him as a heretic deserving death by every means approved amongst Muslim clerics.

To me, Mansur’s fate reminds me of several others in Christendom… of those heretics who were put away “without shedding of a single drop of blood.”



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