al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj

from the

Chapter on the Exposition of the Beliefs of

This Fold [the Sufis] on Questions of Doctrine

(Faslun fî bayân i‘tiqâd hâdhihi al-tâ’ifa fî masâ’il al-usûl)


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: Rida Tawfiq ‘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-Junayd, 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 (awliyâ’) 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 Risala ila al-Sufiyya is the earliest complete treatise of its kind and probably the most respected Sufi treatise in Islam.



Doctrine of al-Hallaj on the Divine Attributes

as narrated by al-Qushayri


[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 yûjidhu kân).


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


[31] “His description: He has none (wasfuhu lâ sifata lahu).[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 (kamâ bâyanûh bihudûthihim).[3]


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


Page 1 of 3 | Next page