Part III | Iqbal and Hallaj: Strikingly Similar

And Ibless has got a very important role to play in this process of becoming. According to Hallaj, Iblees knows the God well; and according to Iqbal, he knows His creations well. Hallaj writes that “Ma kana fis samayi muwahidun illa ibless” (Ta Seen ul Azal). That is to say that “there is no monotheist in the sky save for Iblees”. He goes on to say that “Iblees said there is not in the two worlds anybody who knows you and I have a will in you and you have a  will in me”, an idea which has been expressed by Iqbal in these words: “ Mujh say badd kar fitrat e aadam ka wo muhrim nahi / sada dil bandun main jo mashhoor hai parwardigar”.

And while pointing to this will of Iblees with reference to the will of God, Iqbal has made the following point with a positive manner of thinking :

Jihan az khud barun aawurda keest?/ jamalish jalwa hayi parda keest /mura goyi ki az shaitan guzarkun /bagu baman ki ou parwarda keest?

At another place, he says “muzi andar jahanay kur zoqay / ki yazdan darad wa shaitan nadarad”.

And through Shaitan he reminds the reader :

Aadam khaki nachad dun nazar wa kam suwad/ nadd dar aagosh tu peer shuwad dar baram


Naqash gar e rozgar tabb wa tab jawharam/ paikar e unjum zit u gardish e unjum ziman

And the fact of the matter is in the words of Ab Salam Nadwi that Allama Iqbal was of the opinion  that “If Adam would have remained in the center of good (paradise) only, he would not have been able to explore the Nature, nor would have his self-consciousness evolved. Iblees refused to bow before him because of this incompleteness/want in the self.However ,when man in this world completes/perfects his self ,then Iblees too bows before him” as “ Bazm ba dew ast aadam ra zawal /razm ba dew ast aadam ra jamal.”

Hallaj, in comparison with Iqbal, uses a provocative kind of symbolism for saying the same thing, for example, he says:

“I had a debate with Iblees and Pharaoh regarding the meaning of courage/self-consciousness. Iblees said, “If I would have bowed before Adam, then I would fallen from the heights of self-consciousness”. Pharaoh said , “Had I believed in messenger, Moses, then I would have fallen from the heights of self-consciousness.”And I said, “If I would take a U-turn from what I say /do, then I would fall from the very capacity of self-consciousness” as the spiritual guide ,Rumi ,has ,while going through the same stage ,asserted : “Pesh e Deen nur ou bemani istiqrar /hay wa qayim chun khuda khud ra shumar.”

Good and evil are both creations, not exactly the external forms of the Aharman according Zorastrian belief. One of the reasons for throwing Adam out of the Eden could be that there was/is no possibility of differentiating good from evil.

Mard azaday ki danad khub dzusht/ mi nagunjad ruhe ou andar bihisht

And in this world of water and clay these two opposite forces do appear in the form of light and darkness and play the role of a catalyst in the evolution of the soul. Hallaj has represented these two forces through Pharaoah and Moses; while as Allama Iqbal has represented them through Mohammad (PBUH)  and Abu Lahab. He says: “Sateeza kar raha hai azal say ta imroz /charag e mustafwi say hai sharer e bulahbi.”

But Hallaj has declared Kaleem Ullah insufficient as a symbol and says: “ ‘fa lama qaza musa alajal’ taraka al ahla heena sara lilhaqeeqat ahal, raza bikhabar dunan nazar liyakoona farqan bainahu wa baina khairil bashar.”( Translation : So when Moses completed his tenure, he left his family. When he became eligible for the station of prophethood, he was satisfied with the news only and not the sight so that there remains a difference between him and the best of all the creations). In this way, he presents a sealing argument in favour of the eternal innocence of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). More explanation of this argument has been presented in the Ta Seen un Nuqta of his book where he says “And it is because of this fact that Prophet Mohammad has been named as Harmi (one who lives in /around Kaaba) because he never came out of this sacred place though he was/is beyond it always.”While writing “he is beyond/above it” Hallaj spontanieously cries out “Ah” and when Iqbal too became aware of the same ,he said “ Maqmish abdahu aamad wa leikin/jahan e shoq ra parwardigar ast.”

Man is the crown of all creations and his self-realization and Ana has the potential of exploring the whole Universe as long as he is bound to the destination of Goodness. Iqbal says “ sabaq milla hai meraj e mustafwi say mujhay /ki aalam e bashariyat ki zadd main hai gardun”; “aroj e aadam khaki say unjum sehmai jatay hain /ki yeh tuta huwa tar amah e kamil na bann jaye.”

In other words, when the soul is drunk with love and not with mere reason as reason is the base of love and not the destination of consciousness, then only it recognizes itself and its value in this world.It is in the same context that in the Dayira e Nuqta Hallaj says “The man caught in the web of this world called me Zindeeq; and, in the second circle, the man of the world of intuition called me the scholar of divine connection”;and Iqbal has the following verse to say in the same context : “Agar ho ishq to kufr bhi hai musalmani /na ho to mard e musalman bhi kafir wa zindeeq”.

It is because of this thinking/style of thought that the two were called philosophers and men drunk with the love of God.

The fact of the matter is that when man lives in the prison of the literal understanding of the Universe, he cannot enjoy the taste of intuition: “farog e Danish ma az qiyas ast /qiyase ma zi taqdeer hawas ast”.

And as soon as the consciousness attains the capacity of the intuitional understanding of the Universe, the traveler on the path is blessed with a new system of senses: “ Chu hes deegar shud ien aalam digarna /sakoon wa ser wa keif wa kam digarna”.

And a revolution is caused in the very concept of time and space in the mind of the man: “ Buda andar jihan e chahar so /harki gunjada ro mewad darad”,or “ Teri khodayi say hai meray jinun ko gila/apnay liye lamakan meray liye chahar so” and “isi roz wa shab mai ulajj key na rehja/ki teray zaman wa makan aur bhi hain!”

Allama Iqbal has time and again repeated this experience, while as Hallaj has without any division of Reason and Love explained the difference through the conditions of soul: “ Ayuhaz zann la tahsibu inni anal aann aw yakoon aw kana” (Translation : Oh you who assumes ! Don’t assume that I am at this time “I” or I will become “I” or that I was “I”(Ta Seen ul Fahm)”.Here ,Hallaj has negated all the three times (Present, Past and Future) and created a new world for himself. In Love, on the one hand, the world of reason finds its boundaries getting shrunk; on the other hand, the light of heart becomes aware of new dimensions of time and space. However, there has been a very visible difference between the experience of the two: Hallaj found an eternal abode in the world of love and Iqbal could not say goodbye to the earthly abode as he says “gah meri nigahe tez cheer gayi dile wajood!/gah ulaj kay reh gayi meray tawahumat main”; and ,in his experiential condition, Allama cried out: “Iqbal bhi Iqbal say aagah nahi hai / kuch is main wallah tamaskhur nahi hai.”

Both of them agree on this point that while graduating through different stations of spiritual evolution the human soul suffers from different faults which can be avoided if the traveler is on the path believes in Prophethood. Hallaj has in many of his Tawaseen attempted a Sufistic explanation of this concept. He describes Prophet Mohammad (SAW) as the Sirr ul Asrar (Secret of all Secrets), while as Allama Iqbal thinks of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) as the Maula e Kul without whose following one cannot think of self-realization as he says “muqam e khuwesh agar khawhi dareen der/ bahaq dil band wa rahe Mustafa raw.”

It is important to remind here that the gradations like fana fi sheikh, fana fir rasool, fana fil Allah and baqa bil Allah have been for centuries in vogue in Tasawuf (Mysticism). However, Hallaj and Iqbal have  distinction of this belief that the whole esoteric world is confined to one and only one fana fir rasool; even the two insist on this fact that no traveler can claim that his/her consciousness went beyond it. Iqbal says , “Tumi guyi rahe batha giriftem / digarna juz tu mara manzilay neest”.

According to Hallaj, “ anyone who says  that he really recognized the Prophet, he/she made his/her existence bigger than the existence/being of goodness; reason being that anybody who claims to have recognized any existence/being ,he/she becomes at the times of his/her own recognition stronger than the Maroof (goodness)” (Bustan ul Maarifat).

That means man boasts of having more of Irfan (gnosis) than Prophet Mohammad (SAW) upon making such a claim.

Despite a difference/distance of more than one thousand years, the two have the similar kind of belief in Allah, the creator of all life, Prophet Mohammad (SAW), for whose birth and manifestation the whole process of evolution started, is the only ideal personality who is to be followed. That is why Hallaj says: “Huwal awwal fil wuslat, huwal aakhir fin nubawat ,huwal batin bil haqeeqat ,huwaz zahir bil marifat.”

And Iqbal believes: “ Nigah e ishq wa masti main wahi awwal wahi aakhir / wahi quran wahi furqan wahi yaseen wahi taha” ; or “ Jalwa ou qudsiyan ra seena soz / bud andar aab wa gil aadam hunuz!”

Here the intuitional view of time and space has been declared the first step of the consciousness and Prophet Mohammad (SAW) the reason/cause of the whole universe: “ abduhu dahar ast wa dahar az abduhu / ma hama rangeem wa aan bay rang wa bu”; or ,in the words of Hallaj : “ Azman  kulluha saatun min dahrihi”.

Hallaj, on the one hand, describes Prophet Mohammad (SAW) as the Sirr ul Asrar (secret of all secrets): “He is the one who informed of the end and the ends and ends of all the ends”; and, on the other hand, Allama puts the following verse in the mouth of Hallaj: “ Kass zi sir abduhu aagah neest /abduhu juz sir illalah neest.”

In this verse, Allama actually sees an exceptional example presented by Hallaj:  “ma absarahu alat tehqeeq illas siddiq liannhu wafaqahu summa rafaqahu” ( No body actually knew the Prophet except Abu Bakr because he knew him and then became his friend).

It is with Abu Bakr Siddiq that the Aalam e Wilayat  starts and passes on its blessings through Hallaj to Iqbal. Iqbal says  “ Dar jihan mara buland aawaza kard /ba hadoos e maqadam sheeraza kard.”

In this context, it would be in place to remind you that both Hallaj and Iqbal believed that in spiritual evolution/progress there is for eternity the manifestation of Mustafwiyat (the spirit of Prophet Mohammad – PBUH) only. Hallaj says: “kana mashhooran qablal hawadis wal kawayin wal akwan.wa kanal mazkoor qablal qabal wa badd al badd” ( Prophet Mohammad (SAW) was famous(in the will of Allah) before all this process of creation and beings of all kinds.He was being mentioned before “before” and after “after”.

Allama has thus translated this belief of Hallaj in his own words : “abduhu ba ibtida bay intiha ast/abduhu ra subh wa sham ma kujast.”

“With beginning” as Allama was also writing with a philosophical argument and “without beginning” as both of them were presenting the same idea/point/inkling with the vision of a “lost one”,so ,by begining of the time ,the highest objective of the will of Allah may also be the meaning.Allama says : “shola hay ou sad Ibrahim sokht /ta charag yak Mohammad bar farokht.”That is why the two believed that all the positive developments in the whole process of creation/evolution were possible because of the light of Mohammad and every creation “ya zi nur e Mustafa our a bahast” or “ya hunuz andar talash e Mustafa ast”.

This interpretation of the Love of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) was felt in the similar manner in the third century after Hijra also as it is being felt in the twentieth century; therefore, for both Hallaj and Iqbal, the ultimate test of differentiating Islam from Kufr is the Love of Prophet:

“ Kashodam parda ra az roye taqdeer /mashu naumeed rah Mustafa geer!/agar bawar nadari aancha goyam /zi deen bagurez wa marg kafiray meer”.

If the whole of Allama’s thoughts and ideas are studied in juxtaposition with the contents/thought of Kitabbut Tawaseen, it becomes quite evident that both of them consider following the Sunnah of the Prophet as the only way of attaining the blessing of self-realization as Iqbal says: “Ki Mohammad say wafa tu nay to ham teray hain/ yeh jahan cheez kya hail oh wa qalam teray hain” which makes the traveler on the path capable of witnessing the Aalam e Akbar ,the Macrocosm where he (traveler) intuitionally feels/realizes :

Aancha dar aadam bagunjad aalamsat

aancha dar aalam nagunjad aadam sat”

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