Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr
Carl W. Ernst
This is the first authoritative translation of the Arabic poetry of Husayn Ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, an early Sufi mystic. Despite his execution in Baghdad in 922 and the subsequent suppression of his work, Hallaj left an enduring literary and spiritual legacy that continues to inspire. Carl W. Ernst offers a definitive collection of 117 of Hallaj's poems.
Ernst's fresh and direct translations reveal Hallaj's wide range of themes and genres, from courtly love poems to metaphysical reflections on union with God. In a fascinating introduction, Ernst traces Hallaj's dramatic story within classical Islamic civilization and early Arabic Sufi poetry. Setting himself apart by revealing Sufi secrets to the world, Hallaj was both celebrated and condemned for declaring: "I am the Truth."
Expressing lyrics and ideas still heard in popular songs, the works of Hallaj remain vital and fresh even a thousand years after their composition. They reveal him as a master of spiritual poetry centuries before Rumi, who regarded Hallaj as a model. This unique collection makes it possible to appreciate the poems on their own, as part of the tragic legend of Hallaj, and as a formidable legacy of Middle Eastern culture.