By Mason, Herbert I.W.
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Extra info for Al-Hallaj
Also, in this period 18 Hallaj Hallaj's preaching became more vehement and focussed precisely on his desire for martyrdom: in the name of the Sacred Law of Islam and for the common good. He stirred again the opposition between canonists Ibn Dawud and Ibn Surayj over his case, as well as the support of a number of disciples in Samanid Khurasan and in Baghdad, including vizirs and other leaders of state and the young new Caliph Muqtadir's mother, the Greek Shaghab, a devoted disciple. Many of the latter saw in him an inspired and awaited leader called to reform the Community and its leaders to recognize and practise its revealed tenets of faith and personal and social values prescribed in the Qur'an.
Each reveals its author as a religious psychologist deeper than any found in our specialized fields of mysticism or psychology. Iblis, in his way, as a Shi'ite neo-gnostic manichean, is a negative witness of the Unity of the One he professes only to love, and to love more purely, more uncompromisingly than humanity can. To Hallaj he is therefore a teacher of contemplative love, albeit a tragic figure of fatal self-deception. He is not a grotesque and ugly monster as in Dante's more materialistic depiction, nor a brief defiant tragic hero and ironic witness for liberty as in Milton's Paradise Lost, nor the ever manipulative and companionable deceiver of the ageing life-seeking academic Faust of Goethe's complex romance.
Hamid had Ibn 'Ata', one of Hallaj's closest disciples and also a legal expert who refused to sign the declaration of his guilt, murdered before the end of the trial; some sources have him committing the act himself. Last minute efforts by the Grand Chamberlain Nasr and the Queen Mother Shaghab to persuade Caliph Muqtadir to reverse the vizirial court's decision led to a brief countermanding of the execution, which eventually he approved, however, under Hamid's prodding, along with the most extreme form of punishment sought by the vizir.