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Mansur al-Hallaj — Sufi mystic

Executed by Islamic authorities

Hallaj: "O Thou Whose closeness girds my very skin."
  • Hallaj: "O Thou Whose closeness girds my very skin."

I entered unannounced into Hallaj’s room one day (says Ibn Fatik); someone had been in before me. Hallaj was in prayer, and his brow pressed to the ground, he was saying: O Thou Whose closeness girds my very skin, Whose Mystery spurns me far away as like all things in time from the Eternal, Thou shinest so before me that I think Thou are all these things; and then Thou dost deny Thyself in me, till I declare Thou art nothing here. And this can neither be Thy Distance, for that would fortify my selfhood, nor Thy Closeness, for that would help me; neither Thy War, for that would destroy me, nor Thy Peace, for that would comfort me.

— from “Akhbar al-Hallaj”

Mansur al-Hallaj (c. 858–922) was a Persian mystic, poet, and revolutionary writer and teacher of Sufism, Islamic mysticism. After being accused of heresy, he was, following a long investigation into his writings and actions, executed by Islamic authorities. In particular, he was accused of blasphemy for declaring that “I am the truth,” a claim he makes based on Koran verse 50:16: “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”

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