Jan 27 2010

Mansur al-Hallaj – Your spirit is mingled with mine

Published by at 10:04 am under Poetry

Your spirit is mingled with mine
by Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj)

English version by Bernard Lewis

Your spirit is mingled with mine
as wine is mixed with water;
whatever touches you touches me.
In all the stations of the soul you are I.

— from Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems, Translated by Bernard Lewis

/ Photo by N.Post /

The great Sufi mystic poet, al-Hallaj, was put to death by orthodox religious authorities for poems like this, in which he seems to be equating himself with God.

This is the danger faced by most mystics. The sacred experience is one of ecstatic union with the Divine. Where do “you” cease to be, and where does the Divine begin? In mystical union, these questions are artificial since the Divine is everywhere and no tangible sense of you as a separate individual remains. There aren’t two in which to have a relationship; there is only the One.

Particularly notice the image of wine mixing with water. This sounds like a passing metaphor, but it actually resonates with layers of esoteric meaning.

“Wine” here is not wine; it is the drink of divine union. It is the “water” of the purified soul, awakened and flavored with the fermenting fire of life. This is the celestial drink of initiates: the amrita of the yogis, the ambrosia of the Greeks, even the tea of the Chaikhana…

water = the purified individual soul
wine = the sweet, blissful flood of the Divine

When wine is poured into water, water takes on the nature of wine, until no difference can be perceived. This is how he comes to that final line of realization:

In all the stations of the soul you are I.

When the divine wine pours into the clear water of the soul, everything is turned to wine. God and self become indistinguishable. Rather, self is lost and only God remains.

As a result, mystics keep producing ecstatic and dangerous poems like this one, and orthodox authorities keep trying to silence or marginalize them.

Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj), Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj) poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj)

Iran/Per (9th Century) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Mansur al-Hallaj is one of the more controversial figures of Sufism. Considered by many to be a great poet-saint, he was executed for blasphemy.

The name al-Hallaj means “wool carder,” probably a reference to his family’s traditional occupation. Al-Hallaj was born in the province of Fars, Persia (Iran). He later moved to what is now Iraq, where he took up religious studies, particularly the Sufi way.

Orthodox religious authorities took offense at his poetry and teachings, particularly the line in one of his great poems “Ana ‘l-Haqq,” which translates as “I am the Real,” but can also be translated as “I am the Truth” or “I am God” — acknowledging the mystical realization of unity with the Eternal. He was condemned by a council of theologians, imprisoned for nine years, and eventually put to death. He is revered today as a martyr for truth by many Sufis and mystics.

More poetry by Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj)

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Mansur al-Hallaj – Your spirit is mingled with mine”

  1. alan jacobson 27 Jan 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Dear Ivan,

    Soma is another great celestial drink in the time of the Rig Veda.

    Trust all is well with you,


    With love,


  2. Alenkaon 27 Jan 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Al-Hallaj may Allah sanctify his secret, is a great saint that I really love… He may be among those who made me enter Islam… 🙂
    When he is saying “ana-l-haqq” he’s actually saying something that he alone can understand, as he is in a high state of communion, and connexion to Allah. That is why if he was killed for what appears to be apparently some heresy, we can keep in mind that he can be excusable with his Lord, as only Him knows what was happening inside…
    Thanks for sharing !

  3. Rainduston 27 Jan 2010 at 3:28 pm

    “Sew up one’s lip with thread of the Beloved’s Name” F.B. (IDIS, ghazal 149)

    His head rolled towards the water uttering “I AM THE TRUTH”

    His ashes when scattered on the river spelled out “I AM THE TRUTH”

    Jai Al Hallaj, Victory in the Divine Beloved is Yours!

  4. Rainduston 27 Jan 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Hope your health is good by 31st January, ambkj! Rani didi

  5. aparnaon 27 Jan 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Dear Ivan, mind reader.
    This morning i was trying to remember this name- Omar Khayyam …. You do read minds don’t ya?? ;-p And just recently, ruminating on ‘advaita’ (non-dual) i happened to put down the life of Al-Hallaj in form of an article.
    This is the post:

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for reading minds. Thank you for living pal!! 🙂

  6. Ivan M. Grangeron 27 Jan 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I’m always up for a little mind reading, Aparna.

  7. humairaon 28 Jan 2010 at 6:46 am

    Dear, ivan,

    i must say yr effort and time u give to yr selection . i am very much intersted in reading poetry of sufis.
    at tymes ones found many loops in life and specialy one is going old.

    well , yes i hav read abt this incident or cruelty of misunderstanding out of this divine relationship. its the ultimate experince of ones self with his ALLAH, and ana l Haq. is the infinite level. after that One needs or wants to explain any thing. its the begining of or rather a reborn of soul and body.

    thanks again , i feel that my comments are nit that mature but i am sure will by reading others views and yr summery will surely improve. thanks. thogh i am a new commer by all means,

  8. Sergeyon 29 Jan 2010 at 10:52 am

    Dear Ivan and Aparna,
    where could I possibly read more about the life of Al-Hallaj and his poetry?
    Aparna, I was surprised to see “St. Andrei Rublev Icons” written under the portrayal of Al-Hallaj in your article. This painter is one of most mystical in Medieval Russia.

  9. aparnaon 29 Jan 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Ah Ivan, and i thought you only read poetry??? Ha ha, i have an open mind (it’s so open, it’s like a bill board on the highway it seems!! 🙂
    Sergey, Ivan has marvelous Al-Hallaj poetry on this very site. You may also like to read about Shams Tabriz (or Shams Tabrizi) who also, is said to have pronounced Ana- a- Haq. 🙂

  10. Arunon 05 Jan 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Very Similar to Kabir.. poetry and proffession too
    Great work

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