Hallaj: I Witnessed

Mansur al-Hallaj (c. 858 – 26 March 922) was a Persian mystic, and is most well known as a Sufi martyr.  After a long trial and imprisonment, he was publicly executed, allegedly for having committed blasphemy in saying “I am the Truth.” (‘Truth’, ‘al Haqq’ is one of the sacred names of Allah in Islam, and his statement was equivalent to saying ,”I am God.” There is evidence, however, that his punishment was as much because of his friendship with members of the wrong faction in a time of political turmoil.)  Even among Sufis he was controversial, for he abandoned the traditional Sufi robe, addressed himself to popular audiences, urging them to seek for God within their own souls, and spoke openly about mystical experience, something strictly forbidden in most traditions.  Nevertheless, his influence was great, and he was popularly credited with many miracles, such as lighting hundreds of lamps in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem with his finger.

I Witnessed My Maker

I witnessed my Maker wth my heart’s eye.
I asked, “Who are You?” He answered, “You!”

For You one cannot ask, Where?
Because where is Where for You?

You do not pass through the imagination
Or else we’ll know where You are.

You are He who is everywhere
Yet You are nowhere. Where are You?

In my annihilation is my annihilation’s annihilation
And You are found in my annihilation.

Tr. Mahmood Jamal

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