Explanatory Note

This Question corresponds to Question 7 of Shabistari. It deals with the significance of the cry an al-Haqq of Hallaj.

This famous cry of Hallaj has been universally accepted by pantheistic mystics to be the main slogan of their creed. It was Ibn al-Arabi who first utilised this utterance in support of his philosophy. After him, 'Attar, Shabistari, Iraqi, and others have followed suit. According to the theory, Being is-One and the Real has no duality. The distinction of One and Many has no place in the unity of Being. When a mystic attains self-annihilation, he becomes eternal with God and for him all things are God and so he has every right to say "I am God." Being and Existence are one and that is the Real, Haqq. All objects of the world which appear to have independent being are in reality non-existent and illusory; they are mere shadows. Time-past, present, and futures unreal. It is an imaginary point which is ever-fleeting and we call it a running stream. Even what we call substance is, according to the Ash'arite theory, nothing but composed of accidents which continually change, appear, and disappear. The three dimensions of things are relative and therefore unreal. Such is the reality of the phenomenal world on which we have relied so much. The conclusion, therefore, is that since there is no God, you are at liberty to say either -He is God" or Being except "I am God."

But, as modern research has proved, Hallaj was not a pantheist at all. He was a confirmed dualist and believed in the transcendence of God. According to Iqbal, this utterance was a vivid expression of the depth of religious experience which Hallaj was able to reach in his spiritual development. It was the unique example of the vital way of appropriating the universe, by which the individual not only experiences the Ultimate Ego but is also able to discover the true significance of his own ego in relation to Him. Massignon, the French Orientalist, who published Hallaj's works, has rendered an al-Haqq as "I am the Creative Truth," which brings out the real spirit of the cry. After attaining the highest point, the whole being of the ego is deepened and the individual seems to partake of the freedom and creativity of the Ultimate Ego. But this in no way implies any loss of distinct individuality at all, nor did Hallaj contemplate any such pantheistic union. "The true interpretation of his experience, therefore, is not the drop slipping into the sea, but the realisation and bold affirmation in an undying phase of the reality and permanence of the human ego in a profounder personality."5

In view of the creed of self-negation of the mystic and scholastics, Hallaj's an al-Haqq was a sort of challenge, and Iqbal in his days tried to follow Hallaj in emphasising the important role of the self. He argues in the Cartesian fashion that we can doubt the existence of each and everything, the world of objective nature and the knowledge gained through senses, but we cannot doubt the existence of the ego which doubts and thinks. Referring to the metaphysical difficulties involved in the act of perception, he says that the external world is apparent and yet needs proof, but the ego is above all these doubts and, though hidden, its reality and, existence is beyond all misgivings.

But unless it is ripened and perfected by creative activity, the ego cannot hope to attain everlasting life. "The resurrection," as Iqbal puts it, " ... is not an external event. It is the consummation of a life process within the ego." 6 Personal immortality in the case of man is not attainable as a matter of right " it depends upon 'personal effort while God's immortality is elemental and not,conditioned by any efforts, on His part. This doctrine of conditional immortality serves to emphasise the activist role of human life.

[See Notes]