PART-II | Two Great Souls: Iqbal and Hallaj

For fulfilling the above-stated mission, Hallaj coined the term “Ana al Haq”( I am the truth) and Allama Iqbal came up with the concept of Self-realization (Khudi). From analytical point of view, both are actually one and the same thing. For rationalists, these two concepts are either beyond understanding or mere superstition. The traditional Ulema (theologians) of the two periods were either the Qaroons of the dictionary of Hijazi spirit of language or were totally ignorant of the current disciplines of knowledge, with the result, with reference to the concepts of “Ana al Haq” and “khudi”, leaving the common people aside even scholars/intellectuals of the two times could not understand the underlying meaning of the same as they would go on saying about modern knowledge :

Mazhab hai jis ka naam who hai ik janoon e kham/ hai jis aadmi kay takhayul ko irtiaash

Yes, there was one difference between the two times. In Hallaj’s times, narrow-minded scholars of jurisprudence dominated the scene and so they did not allow him to live; while as in Iqbal’s times, even though the enlightened scholars/intellectuals were a minority, they were conscious of the reality/truth to the extent that despite Allama’s satire in “ khalq e khuda ki ghat main rind-o-faqih-o-meer-o-peer”, they did not doubt the intention of Allama Iqbal. This is the reason when a cleric Deedar Ali Shah issued a decree of Kufr against Allama Iqbal, he became the object of criticism/blame of the whole subcontinent.

Hallaj continued his spiritual experiments while being altogether carefree about the environment in which he was living and even the consequences of the ideas that he propounded. He says, “ Wallazi lam yazl kana qablal jihat wal illat wal aalat kaifa tazzamanathu jihat wa kaif talhiq un nihayat” ( “Ta Seen ul Marifat”).

(Translation : Ma’rifat (gnosis) is such a thing that existed before all the dimensions , all the causes and all the instruments.Then how can dimensions encompass it and how can logical objectives be associated with it.”

Mansoor says , “ Mann wasala ilal manzoor istagna anin nazr” ,that is “the one who became one with the beloved ,normal sight/seeing has no value for him/her”.

However, Allama Iqbal presented his spiritual experiments only on some special occasions as he went on representing the environment of his times with full force and even was very careful in his style of saying such things:

Azan tarsam ki pinhanam shud fash /gam e khud ra nigoyam badil khuwesh

Aahay ki za dil khezad azbahar jigar dozi sat/ dar seena shikan our a aalooda nakun lab ha

With the understanding of his readers maturing up and evolving to a greater extent, Allama was not only accepted as a great poet but a philosopher also; rather people even recognized him as an “aarif”, somebody who is blessed with the sight of the truth and a “Rind”, somebody who is drunk with the love of the God. He says, “ nishnakht maqam e khuwesh uftad badam khuwesh / ishqai ki namooday khawast az shorish e yarabb ha”

For the explanation of spiritual evolution, Hallaj has in one symbol shown three steps of the same and in another worked out four points; however, Iqbal has made the use of common concepts like Aql, Ishq, Ilm and Irfan for working out his philosophy of the same and has thus avoided talking through a high level symbolism for saying the same thing.

Hallaj says, “ Zau ul misbah ilm ul haqeeqat wa hararathu haqeeqat ul haqeeqat wal wasool ilaihi haq ul haqeeqat” ( Ta Seen ul Fahm) which means that “The light of the lamp is the knowledge of the Reality ;its heat is the Reality of the Reality ,and union with the same is the Truth of the Reality.”

At another place, he says that “In the comprehension of the Truth, the one who is still in the world of waiting (Aalam e Intizar), he/she refused to recognize me and could not even see me, with the result, not believing in me and so calling me a Zindeeq; the one having the recognition of the second circle assumed me the scholar with divine guidance; yes, when I reached the third circle, he considered me still caught in wishes and desires;and ,the one who has reached the fourth circle forgot me and disappeared from my sight” (Ta Seen un Nuqta).

Allama Iqbal confined this whole division to Aql and Ishq only. He says:

Aql dar paichak asbab wa ilal/ ishq chogan baz maidan e amal;

Ilm tarsan az jalal e kayinat/Ishq garq andar jamal e kayinat;

Banda e takhmeen wa zann kiram kitabi na bann/ilm sarapa hijab ishq sarapa hazoor

At the surface level, this categorization might look contradictory; nevertheless, the fact of is that it is a matter of individual experiences. Since both the masters find their power of expressions in the spiritual world inadequate, they, therefore, finish their discourses by asking questions, Hallaj by declaring himself a convict and Allama by asking questions.

Hallaj says , “ kaanni…kaanni…kannai huwa…a huwa anni.” (trans. As if I…as if I….as If I am He….Is He me?”

Iqbal says, “Zamanay gum kunam khud ra zamanay gum kunam our a / zamanay hardura ya bam chi raz ast ein chi raz ast ein?”;

“Tu nay yeh kya gazab kiya mujh ko bhi fash kardiya/ Mein hi to ik raz tha seena e kayinat main.”

Despite this difference in saying the things, the two are quite similar to each other in their way of thinking: “kira khabar tui yaki madu char khudeem”.

Hallaj says, “ Qala lahu aistakbarta? Qal law kana li maaka lahzatun lakana bi yaleequ takabur wa tajabur” ,that is “ Allah said to Satan , ‘you showed arrogance?’ and Satan replied , ‘If I had been blessed with fraction of a moment with You, then arrogance and being would have suited me?”; at another place, Hallaj says, “ wa Iblees jahada sajood li muddatihi taweelat alal mushahidat” (Ta Seen ul Azal), which means that “Satan refused to bow before Adam because he had been observing/witnessing for long Allah”.

Iqbal, while discoursing on the subject, muses like the following: “ zi mann ra mann dargahi behtar/ki our a deeda wa mara shuneeda”.

Hallaj says, “Qala iblessu iradatuk fi sabiqati fama li budo.Mali budaka budu.Tayaqantu anaal qurba wal buda wahidun”, that is to say “In the process of creation, Your (Allah’s) intention for me against that of Adam is older; therefore, I am not afraid of distance. Your being away from me is not a distance at all.I am sure that nearness and distance are one and the same thing for me.”

Iqbal has constantly translated the same idea: “ Aalam e soz -o- saz main wasl say badd kay hai firaq/wasl main marg e aarzu hijr main lazzaat e firaq”; “ tapedan wa narseedan cha lazzatay darad / khosha kasay ki dumbale mehmal ast hunooz”

In defence of Iblees, Hallaj says “Araftuk fil azal and ana Khairun minhu liana li qidamahu fil khidmat” that is to say “ I know you forever ,therefore I am better than Adam because I am the first to serve and worship you.” Allama Iqbal has thus commented on the issue : “Usai subhi azal inkar ki jurat hui kyun kar/mujhay maloom kya who razdan tera hai ya mera?”

Similarly, Mohiuddin ibn Arabi, talks thus about the gnosis of Hallaj: “ raaitu rabbi biaini rabbi/ fa qala mann anta qultu anta”, that is to say “I saw my Lord with His eyes/ So he asked me “who are you?”and I said “I am You”.

And Iqbal too expresses a similar kind of idea while being a bit careful in his style of expression: “Bar muqam khud raseedan zindagi sat /zat rahay parda deedan zindagi sat”.

Man being an animal whose understanding is limited to five sensory organs cannot therefore fully prove the existence of any creation. Hallaj, in this regard, says, “ Almarifat anil mukawant bayinatun/la tudrikuhal hawasu”, that means that “The gnosis of all the created things is evident/open / the five senses cannot fully well comprehend the same.”

Allama has made the same concern/issue the subject of his metaphysical enquiry into the modern education system: “ mahsoos pe bina aloom e jaded ki /is dor main hai sheesha e aqeeda pash pash” ; and he, thus, criticizes the narrow mindedness in the modern knowledge system : “teri nigah main sabit nahi khuda ka wajood /meri nigah main sabit nahi wajood tera” because he was fully well sure of the fact that there exists beyond the world of senses many more worlds/universes/existences; and, man, while gradually evolving through all such stages, can conquer the world of senses: “harki mahsoosat ra taskheer kard/ aalmay az zarra e tamer kard”.

This creed attains the form of an experience in the world of Love for both of these masters where our concept of time and space is altogether changed. For Hallaj, this world is the laboratory of the Lord who trains/teaches/guides in self-revelation; and, Allama Iqbal finds it open for every believer as he says “ Kushai chasm ki ain khawab, khawab e bedari sat”.

Despite all these similarities between the two, Allama Iqbal has made some beautiful additions to the ideas/inklings/hints thrown by Hallaj as for example Hallaj would say “Al Haqu ma aslamahu ila khalqihi liannahu huwa wa inni huwa wa huwa huwa”(Translation: The Truth of his being (Mohammad PBUH) was handed over to His creations by Allah because he was He and I am He and He is He) Ta seen us Siraj).

However, Iqbal gave a collective colour to the same idea and declared Hallaj’s statement “Anal Haq” as the collective I am “Khudi” (self-realization): “Agar farday ba goyad sarzanish bah /agar qoumai bagoyad narwa neest”.

It is proved here that Iqbal interpreted the Sufi beliefs with due regard to the Islamic Shariat as the tradition of the Prophet goes “Yaddu Allahi alal Jamat”. With reference to being under the protection of the Hand of God (Allah’s help) in this tradition, Allama has described the collective acts of the Qoum e Hashmi or the Ummat I Islamia as the act of the God which is fully supported by this Ayat (Sign) of the Holy Quran “wa ma Ramaita iz ramaita walakin rama alAllah” ( Translation :You did not shoot the arrows when you shot them but Allah shot them).In this context, Iqbal says , “ Azm ou khallaq taqdeer haq sat / roz e haija teer ou teer e haq sat.”

This is not just the concord of their individual ideas only; but while pointing to their spiritual beliefs it becomes quite evident that despite distance in time and space between the two, both were actually the travelers on the same path. The difference between the two is that Allama has left behind a lot of material that serves the detailed explanation of his ideas while as the absence of thirty one other works of Hallaj forces one to depend on those few inklings/hints/suggestions that he has made in Kita but Tawaseen.Some explanations of this abstract are :

Being Muslims, both of them believed that the Universe is the manifestation of the will of Allah even though we may not be recognizing/knowing the same “ Har mojood ka wazeefa e hayat /wa ma hunna lahu illa maqamun maloom”.

( to be concluded)

Note: This paper was published by Professor Mohi ud Din Hajini in the Sheeraza (Special issue on Iqbal titled Mehfil e Iqbal) of the J&K Cultural Academy in 1978 in Urdu.