Monday, April 10, 2023

Understanding Mansur Al-Hallaj's Ana'l-Haqq In These Megalomaniac Times

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 10 April 2023 ' I've Seen My Lord With The Eye Of My Heart, And I Said, ' Who Are You? ' He Said, ' You.' Mansour Al-Hallaj said just before his execution ' There's Nothing Wrapped In My Turban But God....' ' Allah Is He Who Flows Between The Pericardium And The Heart, Just As Tears Flow From The Eyelids.' Mansour Al-Hallaj Ain Imaan Hai An-al-Haq Ka Tarana Lekin/ Hai Yahi Kufr Agar Deeda-e-Mansour Na Ho (It's quintessential faith/devotion if one proclaims An-al-Haq/ But the same can be rank blasphemous if uttered by someone who's not as evolved as Mansour was). Such is the metaphysical and devotional impact of this ecstatic proclamation, An-al-Haq (the equivalent of Upanishadic Aham Brahmasmi or I'm the Truth/God). Before descanting upon Mansour's An-al-Haq for which he was decapitated on March 26, 922 AD (by the way he was born on March 26, 858 AD), it's imperative to understand the import of Aham-Brahmasmi. Aham Brahmasmi is a term that is used in Hindu and yoga philosophy to describe the unity of the Atman (individual self or soul) with Brahman (the Absolute). It is typically translated as “I am Brahman” or less literally as “I am divine.” It reflects the ultimate goal of yoga – union with the higher self. Yoga itself means “union.” The Persian mystic Mansur was a Sufi and there's no denying the fact that all Sufis were heavily influenced by eastern or oriental mysticism. Here the objective is not to compare but to understand the universality of mysticism which goes beyond all the conventional or organized man-made faiths. But the magnanimity of Advait (non-dualism) of Vedantic philosophy was not fully intelligible to Islam, at least in the 10th-century, which claimed to be a 'revealed' religion and early Sufism. According to early Sufi theories (particularly Ḵarrāz) only God has the right to say “I,” the utterance “I” is, in itself, blasphemy. Ḥallāǰ’s Ana’l-Ḥaqq was later generally understood as meaning “I am God,” for Haqq had become a frequently used equivalent of “God,” especially in the non-Arabic areas. Hence, Ana’l-Ḥaqq was interpreted as the most daring expression of man’s essential unity with God, and is a key expression in the mystical poetry of Iran, Turkey, Muslim India, and Indonesia wherever the theories of Waḥdat Al-Wujud “Unity of Being” were employed. Rūmī, held that Ana’l-Ḥaqq was the expression of perfect selflessness (Fīhī Mā Fīhī); the mystic had completely forgotten himself in God, so that his “I” was a sign of Divine grace. Aham-Brahmasmi or An-al-Haq is the supreme level of faith where 'I' gets completely dissolved. There remains no difference between the creator and creation. It also suggests that humans have the capacity and capabilities to become God and there's no impudence in it. All mystics believe that there's no barrier between the individual self and the Universal soul. All are its parts. Every creature has the element/s of divinity and Har Zarra Chamkta Hai Anwaar-E-Ilahi Se (Akbar Allahabadi): Every particle has the pulchritude of divine effulgence. Mansur annihilated his Ego (the last of human attributes to GO) and self to merge into cosmic consciousness. Only a faithful of his level can empathise with his state of ecstasy when he proclaimed, " I'm the Truth." Mansur could see godliness everywhere and in every breath. In fine, 'I'm the Truth' is the end-point where spirituality and metaphysics lose into each other and get dissolved into the vastness of divinity. Don't Sufis say, ' to be god is to be good and vice versa?' Since much has been written on Al-Hallaj's seemingly impudent utterances in a state of 'Bekhudi' (trance or a state of being self immersed, though this term from Islamic mysticism is difficult to translate), modern scholars of Islam and even psychologists have attempted to analyse Mansour's state of mind and the import of his utterances. Arabic scholar Professor Sir Hamilton Gibb wrote an essay, ' Digging deep into the psyche of Mansour Al-Hallaj'. He (Professor Gibb ) opined that while Mansour's devotion was unquestionable, he was deluded to some extent. However, Gibb used Mansour as a metaphor for ultimate piety and wrote, " While it's difficult for the general people to emulate Al-Hallaj's example, it's advisable (for the masses) to see god or any supernatural power or consciousness as an ever-immanent spirit which doesn't and cannot exist separately. Mansour broke the typical Semitic dualism between the god and worshipper/s. Only the Mansour like understanding of the immanence of divine spirit can help humans, not just Muslims, evolve and become godlike." An-al-Haq also obliterates the FEAR of god, the biggest impediment to reaching and understanding god and godhood. To quote Abdul Hamid 'Adam', "Parda Utha Ke Ab Meri Masti Hai Main Nahin/ Jis Se Tujhe Haya Thi Woh 'Haayal' Nahin Raha " ( ......that 'barrier' has been demolished forever). Such sublimity is not everyone's cup of tea. That's why, Mansour surpasses all. Someone aptly said, "Bandagi Tab Tak Aur Uss Had Tak Karo/ Jab Tak Na Mansour Ban Ke Khuda Mein Tahleel Ho Jao." In short, read and understand Mansour's profound philosophy to annihilate your ego, which refuses to go. ----- Slightly Shorter Version Of This Article Was Published In TOI First. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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