In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
He is Al-Husayn Ibn Mansoor Al-Hallaaj – Abu Mugheeth or Abu Abdillaah. His grandfather was a fire worshipper from Persia. He was brought up in Waasit and it also said that he was brought in Tastar. He entered Baghdad and then Makkah. He stayed in the middle surroundings of Masjid Al-Haraam whilst exposed to both the heat and cold. He stayed there for many years – without a roof over his head – at different times, ate little morsels of food and drank little water – at breakfast time – for a whole year due to a desire to practice self-restrain and exerting himself in worship, and he used to sit on a rock under the severe heat at the mountain of Abu Qubays.
He accompanied some of the leaders of the Soofees such as Junaid Bin Muhammad, Amr Bin Uthmaan Al-Makkee and Abul Husayn An-Nooree. Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee said, “The Soofiyyah differ regarding Al Hallaaj – many of them said that he was not from them and that he is not to be attributed to their path as well as those before him such as Abul Abbaas Bin Ataa Al-Baghdaadee, Muhammad Bin Khafeef Az-Sheeraazee and Ibraaheem Bin Muhammad An-Nasraabaadhee An-Naysaabooree, who declared Al-Hallaaj to be upon the correct path and recorded his speech to the extent that Ibn Khafeef said, ‘Al-Husayn Bin Mansoor [i.e. Al-Hajjaaj] is an erudite scholar’”. Abu Abdir Rahmaan As-Sulamee – and his name was Muhammad Ibnul Husayn – said, “I heard Ibraaheem Ibn Muhammad An-Nasraabaadhee reporting something from Al-Hallaaj about the soul and then said to the one who rebuked him, ‘If there is anyone – after the Prophets and the truthful ones – who is a monotheist, then that would be Al-Hallaaj’”. Abu Abdir Rahmaan said, “I heard Mansoor Bin Abdillaah saying, ‘I heard Shiblee saying, ‘Al-Husayn Bin Mansoor (i.e. Al-Hallaaj) and I are the same thing, except that he manifested himself but I concealed myself’”.
Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadee said, “Those who negated that Al-Hallaaj is not one of the soofees attributed magic to his deeds and that his beliefs are that of heretics”.
Al-Hallaaj’s statements conveyed Hulool [ Hulool_1 ] and he has poems related to Soofiyyah. The people have not ceased – since Al-Hallaaj was executed – to differ regarding his affair, but as for the rightly guided jurists, the Imaams and scholars, they all agreed that he deserved to be executed by the ruler and that he was a ridiculous and hidden disbeliever, and a magician. This is also what the majority of the early Soofees said about him.
However, amongst the Soofees there is a group – as we have mentioned- who beautify his affair, deceived by his outward appearance, unable to grasp his true reality and the true reality of his speech, because in the beginning he devoted himself in worship, but neither did he possess sound knowledge nor was his affair founded on the sound legislated divine path through which a person can attain the pleasure of Allaah and fear of Allaah. This is why Al-Hallaaj caused more corruption than rectification. Imaam Sufyaan Bin Uyaynah [rahimahullaah] said, “Those who become corrupt amongst our scholars have some resemblance to the Yahood and those who become corrupt amongst the worshippers have some resemblance to the Nasaaraa”, and this is why Al-Hallaaj entered into the affair of Hulool and Ittihaad[ Hulool_1 ] and thus he became of the people of corruption and deviation.
His circumstances changed and he roamed about in different lands and manifested to the people that he is one of the callers to the path of Allaah. It has been authentically reported that he entered India and learnt magic, then he said, “I call to the path of Allaah through it”. The people of India used to communicate with him and referred to him as the one who delivers people from hardship; the people of Khurasan used to communicate with him and referred to him as the distinguished one; the people of Persia referred to him as Abu Abdillaah the one known for abstaining from the pleasures of the worldly life, and the people of Khuzestan referred to him as Abu Abdillaah – the mysteries (or secrets) and the one who abstains from the pleasures of the worldly life.
Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee [rahimahullaah] reported with his chain of transmission that Al-Hallaaj said, “The knowledge of the early and latter generations goes back to four statements: loving what is lofty (sublime), having hatred for what is lowly, following the revelation and fear of deviating”. Indeed Al-Hallaaj slipped from the last two affairs [i.e. hatred for what is lowly and following the revelation], because neither did he follow the revelation nor did he remain upon steadfastness, rather he was diverted from it and then deviated towards Bidah [innovations in religion] and misguidance.
Abdur Rahmaan As-Sulamee reported from Amr Bin Uthmaan Al-Makkee who said, “One day I was walking with Al-Hallaaj in one of the alleyways of Makkah whilst reciting Qur’aan, so Hallaaj heard my recitation and said, ‘I say something similar to this’, so I abandoned him.
Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee [rahimahullaah] said, “Mas’ood Bin Naasir narrated to me that Ibn Baakoor Az-Sheeraazee said that he heard Abu Zur’ah At-Tabaree saying, ‘The affair of Husayn Bin Mansoor Al-Hallaaj – amongst the people- is that some have accepted and some have rejected, but I have heard Muhammad Bin Yahyah Ar-Raazee saying, ‘I heard Amr Bin Uthmaan cursing Hallaaj and then said, ‘I would have killed him with my hands if I was able [i.e. if allowed by the law]’, so I said to him, ‘What did find with the Shaikh?’ He said, ‘I read an Aayah from the Book of Allaah, so he [Al-Hallaaj] said, ‘I may be able to come up with the likes of this statement and make a statement it’”.
Abu Zur’ah At-Tabaree said, “I heard Abu Yaqoob Al-Aqta saying, ‘I gave my daughter in marriage to Al-Husayn Al-Hallaaj due to what I saw that he was following the right path and is one who strives in worship, but it became clear to me – after a short time – that he is a magician, trickster and a wicked disbeliever’”. This marriage took place in Makkah and the wife was Umm Husayn Bint Abee Yaqoob Al-Aqta. She bore a son for Al-Hallaaj, who was called Ahmad Ibn Al-Husayn Bin Mansoor.
Abul Qaasim Al-Qushayree mentioned in his treatise in the chapter: Safeguarding the hearts of the Mashaayikh that one day Amr and Ibn Uthmaan went to Al-Hallaaj at Makkah and they found him writing something on sheets of papers, so Amr said to him, “What is this?” He said that he was contending with the Qur’aan. Amr said, “After this incident, I supplicated against him and he was never successful thereafter. I also rebuked Abu Yaqoob Al-Aqta because he gave his daughter in marriage to Al-Hallaaj”.
Amr Bin Uthmaan wrote many letters (or books) in which he cursed Al-Hallaaj and warned the people against him, and sent the letters (or books) to various regions. Then Al-Hallaaf wandered in the lands – going right and left- and began to show that he is a caller to the path of Allaah and utilised various types of tricks. He continued doing so until Allaah brought punishment upon him – the punishment that is never averted from a people who are criminals, so he was executed with the sword of the Islamic legislation which does not land except between the shoulders of the heretics. He wanted to oppose the Qur’aan in the land of the sacred house where Jibreel conveyed the Qur’aan, and indeed Allaah said, [وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ – And whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), him We shall cause to taste a painful torment]. [Surah Hajj. Aayah 25]
And there is no evil greater than Al-Hallaaj’s deed.
Indeed Al-Hallaaj resembles the disbelievers of Quraish in their wilful stubbornness, just as Allaah said:
وَإِذَا تُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَـٰتُنَا قَالُواْ قَدۡ سَمِعۡنَا لَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَقُلۡنَا مِثۡلَ هَـٰذَآۙ إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّآ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
And when Our Verses (of the Qur’an) are recited to them, they say: “We have heard this (the Qur’an); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients.” [Surah Al-Anfaal. Aayah 31]
An Excerpt from Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah. Vol 11. Pages 132-135. Slightly paraphrased
Some of the tricks of Al-Hallaaj