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Mansur Al-Hallaj Doctrine

Al-Qushayri’s Risala Ila Al-Sufiyya

11 February 2015

Doctrine of Al-Husayn Ibn Mansur Al-Hallaj

From The Chapter on

The Exposition of the Beliefs of This Fold [The Sufis] On Questions of Doctrine

(Faslunfîbayâni‘tiqâdhâdhihi al-tâ’ifafîmasâ’il al-usûl)

From Al-Qushayri’s Risala Ila Al-Sufiyya

Translated With Notes By Dr. G.F. Haddad

 [The numbering in brackets corresponds to our forthcoming translation of the paragraph chapters of al-Qushayri’s entire Chapter on Doctrine from the beginning of his Risala (Eds. ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud and Mahmud ibn al-Sharif. Cairo: RidaTawfiq ‘Afifi, 1974.)]

 AL-HALLAJ is Abu Mughith al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj al-Baydawi al-Wasiti (d. 309) the ascetic, he hailed from Persia and was raised in Iraq. He first accompanied al-Junaid; al-Nuri and others then became known in 299. After accusations were raised to the ‘Abbasi Caliph al-Muqtadir Billah he was jailed on charges of heresy, then tortured to death in unspeakable fashion. Many if not most of the Ulema consider him one of the Friends (Auliya’) of Allah, such as Ibn Khafif who visited him in jail, Abu al-Qasim al-Nasir Abadi, al-Qushayri, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah, Ibn al-Hajj, Ibn ‘Aqil – who wrote Juz’ fi Nasr Karamat al-Hallaj (“Opuscule in Praise of al-Hallaj’s gifts”) –, Ibn Qudama, al-Tufi, Ibn al-Mulaqqin, al-Munawi, al-Sha‘rani, etc. Among his sayings: “Take care of your ego; if you do not make it busy, it shall make you busy” and “Whoever points to Him is an aspirant-Sufi whereas whoever points on His behalf is a Sufi.”

 AL-QUSHAYRI is Zayn al-Islam Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karim ibn Hawzan ibn ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Talha ibn Muhammad al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi al-Istiwa’i al-Shafi‘i al-Ash‘ari (376-465), the Teacher, “the absolute Imam, jurist, Mutakallim, scholar of Principles, Qur’anic commentator, man of letters, grammarian, writer, and poet, the spokesman of his time, leader among his contemporaries, the secret of Allah in His creation, the Shaykh of shaykhs, the Teacher of the Congregation and most advanced one of the Fold, the goal of those who tread the Path, the ensign of Truth, wellspring of Felicity, pole of Leadership, and grace personified. He never saw such as himself nor did any who saw him ever see such as him in his perfection and brilliance. He gathered together the two sciences of Sharî‘a  and Haqîqa and explained in the best manner the principles of the Path” (‘Abd al-Ghafir al-Farisi). He was also an expert in horse and swordsmanship. His Risalaila al-Sufiyya is the earliest complete treatise of its kind and probably the most respected Sufi treatise in Islam.



 [16] Shaykh Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami – Allah have mercy on him! – told us: I heard Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ghalib say: I heard Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn Sa‘id al-Isfanjani say: al-Husayn ibn Mansur said: “You must categorically consider all to be contingent, for pre-existence belongs to Him [alone].

 [17] “All that appears through body is necessarily an accident (‘arad).

 [18] “That whose assemblage comes about through cause-and-effect (al-adât) is held together through its powers (quwâhâ). [1]

 [19] “All that comes together at one time goes into dispersion at another time.

 [20] “All that something else causes to subsist is characterized by dependency.

 [21] “All that imagination can possibly apprehend can be pictured.

 [22] “All that is contained is subject to ‘where.’

 [23] “And all that has a genus is the object of a modality.

 [24] “No ‘above’ shades Him – Exalted is He! – nor does any ‘below’ carry Him.

 [25] “No limit/direction faces Him (walâ yuqâbiluhu hadd) nor does any ‘at’ (‘ind) beset Him.

 [26] “He is not confined by any ‘behind’ nor limited by any ‘before’.

 [27] “No ‘before’ caused Him to appear nor did any ‘after’ cause Him to vanish.

 [28] “No ‘all’ gathered Him.

 [29] “No ‘He is’ brought Him into existence (lam yûjidhukân).

 [30] “No ‘He is not’ can cause Him to be missed (walamyufqidhu lays).

 [31] “His description: He has none (wasfuhu lâ sifatalahu). [2]

 [32] “His act has no cause (‘illa).

 [33] “His being has no duration (amad).

 [34] “He is transcendent beyond the states of His creatures: there is not for Him the least deliberation (mizâj) in His creation, nor working (‘ilâj) in His acts.

 [35] “He is clearly separate from them by His pre-existence (bâyanahum biqidamih) just as they are clearly separate from Him by their contingent nature (kamâbâyanûhbihudûthihim). [3]

 [36] “If you ask ‘When?’ – His being is before Time.

 [37] “Should you say, ‘HÛ’ – the letters hâ’ and wâw are but His creation.

 [38] “And if you say, ‘Where?’ – His existence precedes Place.

 [39] “So letters are His Signs (fal-hurûfuâyâtuhu); [4]

 [40] “His existence is the affirmation of Him (wujûduhu ithbâtuh); [5]

 [41] “Gnosis of Him is the upholding of His Oneness (ma‘rifatuhu tawhîduh); [6]

 [42] “and His Tawhîd is to distinguish Him clearly from His creatures.

 [43] “Whatever you imagine in your imaginings, He is different from that (mâtusawwiru fil-awhâmi fa huwa bikhilâfih).

 [44] “How can that which He Himself began analyze Him? (kayfayahullubihimâminhubada’ahu). [7]

 [45] “Or how can that be part of Him which He Himself gave rise to? (aw ya‘ûduilayhimâhuwaansha’ahu).

 [46] “The pupils of the eyes cannot see Him.

 [47] “Nor can conjectures apprehend Him.

 [49] “His nearness is His generosity (qurbuhukarâmatuhu).

 [50] “His distance is His contempt (wabu‘duhuihânatuhu).

 [51] His elevation is without ascent (‘uluwwuhu min ghayritawaqqul). [8]

 [52] His coming is without displacement (wamajî’uhu min ghayritanaqqul). [9]

 [53] He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden (57:3), the Near (al-qarîb), the Far (al-ba‘îd), [10]There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing (42:11).