The Lawḥ-i ḥaqq / Lawh al-Haqq.
("The Tablet of the Truth/ the True One/ the Real, the Ultimately Real"...)
Stephen N. Lambden UCMerced.
Being updated - in progress March 2015. Last updated 18-11-2016.
Opening of the The Lawḥ-i ḥaqq as printed in Ganj-i shayigan, 40.
The Lawḥ-i ḥaqq (loosely "Tablet of the Truth/ the True One/ the Ultimately Real") of Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Bahā'-Allāh (1817-1892 CE), is a short to medium-length Arabic Tablet most probably dating from the mid. 1850s or early 1860s, to the Iraq period (1852-1863) of his life. It is a highly rhythmic Tablet meant to be heard, the exact date of which in unknown (late Iraq; possibly even early Edirne?). As far as I am aware it has only been printed once in `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāvarī's Persian survey of Bahā'-Allāh's major Tablets entitled Ganj-i shaygān ("The Befitting Treasury" ; see Lawh-i ḥaqq in Ishrāq Khāvarī (ed.) Ganj.. 37-40.). This printing is reproduced and translated below on the Baha'-Allah page of this website.
Within the Lawḥ-i ḥaqq the centrally important Islamic term al-ḥaqq is frequent; hence the title traditionally accorded this weighty Tablet. The Arabic noun haqq has been translated in many different ways ranging, for example, from "right", "real" to the Ultimately Real or God and more besides. It even occurs in the Arabic version (perhaps 9th cent. CE ?) of the Syriac Diatessaron or Gospel harmony (see John 14:6) of the early Syrian Christian writer Tatian (d. c. 180 CE). Haqq has a fascinating semantic field and range of senses in a wide range of Islamic and other sources. As a divine "Name" or "Attribute" it has been frequently used within Sufi mystical and theosophical writings as a key expression synonymous with the Deity who is the Ultimately Real, indicative of the main Arabic personal Name of God الله Allāh. This name of the transcendent yet personal Deity is mentioned numerous times in the Qur'ān and is the object of the devotion of many thousands of pious Muslims. Ḥaqq is frequent as a masculine noun in the Qur'an and often indicates the Deity.
The term al-Haqq [ḥaqq] = الحق
The term [al-] ḥaqq is a masuline Arabic noun meaning (loosely) "Truth", "the Ultimately Real [Godhead]" though it has various other related theological and non-theological shades of meaning. Muslim thinkers, philosophers, intellectuals and mystics have frequently and variously defined ḥaqq حق , al-ḥaqq. It has many multi-faceted philosophical, theological and other senses. It semantic field is immense. No single rendering of the term can possibly do justice to its rich basic, general and philosophical-theological range of senses. English translations of al-ḥaqq are of necessity inadequate; no single definition through the many allegedly synonymous words, can encompass its weighty theological and other implications.
Before going into further details it will approprite to cite the opening, foundational paragraphs of the Encyclopaedia of Islam ( EI2) article Hakk [=Haqq] by MacDonald* as updated by Calverley :
"The original meaning of the root hkk has become obscured in Arabic but can be recovered by reference to the corresponding root in Hebrew with its meanings of (a) "to cut in, engrave" in wood, stone or metal, (b) "to inscribe, write, portray" (this also in a Canaanite inscription of the 8th cent. B.C.; S. A. Cooke, North-Semitic inscriptions, Oxford 1903, 171, 185), (c) "to prescribe, fix by decree", therefore "prescribed, decree, law, ordinance, custom", (d) "due to God or man, right, privilege" (cf. Brown-Driver-Briggs, Hebrew and English lexicon, Oxford 1952; L. Koehler and A. W. Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti libros, Leiden 1953). The word hakk, meaning "something right, true, just, real", is common in pre-Islamic poetry (the index prepared by the School of Oriental Studies of the Hebrew University lists 916 places in edited texts); it also occurs, with the meaning "truth", in the proverbs of the Arabs (Maydānī, ed. Freytag, Arabum proverbia, nos. 85, 123, 232). Derived from this again is hakk as a Divine Name. This is already attested, in the forms hqt and hq, in the South Arabic inscriptions (Y. Moubarac, Les noms, titres et attributs de Dieu dans le Coran et leurs correspondants en epigraphie sud-semitique, in Museon, 1955, 86 ff.), and it occurs also in the Arabic translation of the Diatessaron (A. Ciasca, Tatiani Evangeliorum Harmoniae Arabice, Rome 1888, 172, on John, XIV, 6).
The primary meaning of hakk in Arabic is "established fact" (al-thabit hakīkat an), and therefore "reality", and the meaning "what corresponds to facts", and therefore "truth", is secondary; its opposite is batil (in both meanings). This is well stated by Djurdānī (Ta`rīfat, s.v.), whereas some of the lexicographers start from the secondary meaning (cf. Lane, Lexicon, s.v.). Hakk in its primary meaning is one of the names of Allāh (cf. al-asmā' al-husnā, no. 52), and it occurs often in the Kur'ān in this sense, as the opposite of batil. The commentators of the Kur'ān usually explain it as thabit (e.g., Baydāwī on sūra X, 32; XX, 114; XXII, 6, 62; XXXI, 30). A similar usage is implied in pre-Islamic poetry, by the use of the antonym batil, in the verse of Labīd (Dīwan, ed. Huber, xli, 9): a-la kullu shay'in ma khala 'lldha batilu, "Lo, everything except Allāh is vain, unreal." (The occasional explanation of the Divine Name hakk as "Creator" is based merely on its alliterative contrast with khalk, "creation". For another explanation, see Massignon, K. al-Tawasīn, 174). But the use of hakk in the Kur'ān, in Islamic traditions (cf. Wensinck, Concordance et indices, s.v.), and in Arabic literature in general, is not restricted to the Divine Name; it may refer to any "reality", "fact", or "truth"; thus, the features of the Day of Judgment, Paradise and Hell are hakk. A further meaning of hakk (pl. hukūk) deriving directly from the primary one, is "claim" or "right", as a legal obligation [see hukūk]; this use of the term is already fully developed in the Kur'ān. Islamic religious law distinguishes the hakk Allah, mainly Allāh's penal ordinances, and the hakk al-adamī, the civil right or claim of a human..." (D.B. MacDonald* + [E. E. Calverley]) Extract from the Encyclopaedia of Islam CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0 © 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands).
The following important article on 'God in Islam' by Louis Gardet is also worth citing is this connection (M. Eliade, et. al. ed. Enc. Rel. Vol. 6:30) :
Allāh al-ḥaqq. This phrase appears frequently in the Qur'ān, where it is related to the sovereign power of the Most High (as in 22:6, "That is because God is the Truth, and he brings the dead to life, and he is powerful over everything"). Like al-Raḥman, al-ḥaqq, which signifies both "the real" and "the truth," is considered a synonym of Allāh, and the Sufis, the mystics of Islam, would use al-ḥaqq by preference when addressing God. The usual translation as "truth" conveys poorly in our European languages all the resonance of the Arabic term. The primary sense of the root conveys the idea of an indestructible law engraved in stone, hence an un-challengeable established fact. It is only by derivation that the concept of correspondence to fact arises. Only then, in the third instance, does the sense of right and legal obligation that results from it develop. "The real," "the truth," and "right" founded on justice are all suggested together by the term al-ḥaqq. Certainly the Qur'an uses al-ḥaqq for every reality, every truth, and every recognised right. However, the source of each lies always in God, who alone can authenticate every reality and every truth since only the divine decree (qadar) really founds truth and right, a created fact, a word, or a requisite of the created thing. God alone is total truth, since he alone is the real in its totality. Truth and reality correspond here since God alone is "subsistent in himself," al-Qayyūm (3:1), he who exists in himself and by himself with no reason for being other than himself (see also 20:111, 2:255). It is this absolute subsistence that establishes him in reality and truth, necessary by essence and "without cleft." He is for this reason perfectly truthful and makes truth manifest. Used thus in figurative substitution, al-Ḥaqq is related to the Qur'anic substantive names preferred by tradition, such as al-`Adl ("justice"), al-Nūr ("light"; God is perfectly and manifestly evident in himself: "light upon light," 24:35), and al-Salam ("peace"). The term al-ḥaqq thus shows that in Islam God is not merely presented as the supreme reality, but rather as the only reality, the only one to truly deserve this name since reality without breach or hollow (ṣamad) is a concept that applies only to God... (Enc. Rel. 6:30f.).
al-Haqq in the Qur'an and select Islamic Traditions
"So elevated be God, the Sovereign (al-malik), the True One (al-haqq)" (Q. 20:114a).
"That is since Allah (God) is al-haqq (the True One), for He indeed enlivens the dead" (Q. 22:6a).
"On that Day, they shall hear the cry [trumpet blast] in Truth (bi'l-haqq)" (Q. 50:42a).
In the Qur'ān al-ḥaqq occurs more than 250 times with various meanings, mostly revolving around the realization of truth and justice (for details see Hanna Kassis, A Concordance of the Qur'an, Berkeley, London : Univ. California Press, 1983, pp. 537-542). As an Attribute of God it often has the sense of `The True One' (al-haqq). It has been regarded as a Divine Attribute or designation of the Deity as well as a word appropriate to manifestations of reality or conveyors of 'Truth'. Thousands of comments on the implications and meanings of the Qur'anic al-haqq as a general or theological term and synonym for God (Allah; see Q. 18:44; 20: 114; 22:6, 63; 23:115, etc), can be found in the massive Islamic Tafsir literatures of Qur'an commentary extant in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and many other languages.
Select bibliography + further reading 1
- S. Nomanul Haq, `Ultimate Reality: Islam' in Robert Cummings Neville, ed., Ultimate Realities: A Volume in the Comparative Religious Ideas Project. New York: State Univ. of New York, 2001, pp.75-94.
- Massimo Campanini, `Haqq/Haqiqa' in Oliver Leaman ed. The Qur'an: an encyclopedia. Abingdon, Oxon + London, New York : Routledge, 2006, pp. 247-249.
- Robert Cummings Neville, Ultimates: Philosophical Theology, Volume One. New York : State University of New York Press, 2014.
Some uses of al-Haqq and al-Haqiqa in Shi`i Islam
According to various traditions related from the twelver Imams the Shi`i religious amr, "Cause" or phenomenon is itself an expression of al-haqq :
They [the Imams] do furthermore say:
"Our Cause (amr) is Reality-the Truth (al-ḥaqq), the reality of Reality-the Truth (ḥaqq al-ḥaqq). It is exterior Reality and interior Reality (ẓāhir wa bāṭin) as well as the interior Reality of the exterior Reality (bāṭin al-ẓāhir) and the interior Reality of the interior Reality (bāṭin al-bāṭin). It is the mystery (al-sirr) and the mystery of the mystery (sirr al-sirr), the very mystery of the secreted mystery (al-sirr al-mustansirr) and a mystery veiled up in mystery (sirr muqanna` bi'l-sirr)" (cited al-Ahsa'i, Risala fi jawan Shahzadeh Muhammad Mirza, in M-Rasa'il 30: 269).
In the fourth volume of his encyclopeadic Bihar al-anwar (Oceans of Lights), Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (d. 1111/1699-1700) has a short section on the Names of God within a larger division entitled Kitab al-tawhid (The Book of the Divine Unity). Therein he writes on al-Haqq (see Bihar 2nd ed. 4:193) as follows:
"al-Haqq": al-Haqq has the meaning of al-muhiqq ("Expressing / Confirming the Truth / Certainty"). Thereby is indicated all-comprehensivity [expansiveness] (tawassu`a an) since it is a verbal-noun (masdar). It is thus that they say, `ghiyath al-mustaghithin' (the aid of the succourers), the secondary implication being that thereby is intended that servitude before God (`ibadat Allah) is [before] al-haqq ("Reality") for servitude before other than Him is falsehood (al-batil). Such is confirmed by His saying, exalted and glorified is He, "Wherefore is it that He huwa al-haqq, He [God] is al-haqq; if anyone should be supplicate through other than Him, such is vain falsehood" (al-batil) (see Q. 31:30) ...".
al-Haqīqa (reality, Ultimate Reality),
The closely related, non-qur'anic (cf. Q. 7: 105) though often theologically important Arabic adjectival form al-haqīqa (reality, Ultimate Reality; from the same Arabic root, h-q-q, as al-haqq) cannot be discussed in detail here, though reference may be made to the pages on this website about the Islamic حديث الحقيقه, hadith al-haqīqa (tradition about Ultimate Reality). This important tradition and its Babi-Baha'i interpretations are rooted in a theologically loaded coversation ascribed to the first Shi`i Imam, `Alî b. Abî Tâlib (d.40/661) and his Shî`î associate, the one-time governor of Hît (Iraq, 130 miles from Baghdad), Kumayl ibn Ziyâd ibn Nahîd ibn Haytham ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Nakhâ'î (d. c. 81/701). Refer to the `Shī`ī Islam and Qajar Persia' page and the last severn or so links on this hadith :
al-Haqq has sometimes been used of the twelver (Ithna `ashari) Shi`i Imams themselves. The semi-ghuluww, Khutbat al-ṭutunjiyya (loosely, "Sermon of the Gulf") ascribed to Imam `Alī (d. 40/661), has this first Shī`ī Imam (like Jesus, see Jn. 14:6, "I am the way and the truth (ἡ ἀλήθεια) and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me") make the claim in Arabized Greek to be the "Truth", or proclaim, "I am the Truth" , (Ar.) `-L-Y-U-TH-U-A (Gk. ἀλήθεια= "Truth"). The Arabic version of the Diatessaron of Tatian in registering this Johannine verse (John 14:6), uses the Arabic al-Haqq ("The Truth-True One") as do some other versions of the Arabic New Testament. In the context of the writings of Baha'-Allah, the Johannine use or promise of a future al-haqq is important as it is sometimes viewed as prophetic intimation of his person and claim to be al-Haqq as the Paraclete ("Comforter") of the Gospel of John (see further the following URL.: http://hurqalya.ucmerced.edu/node/1831/).
The general twelver Shi`i use of al-ḥaqq as truth or reality can be found in book titles such as the حقاليقين, Haqq al-yaqin (The Reality of Certainty) of the erudite encyclopedist Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (d.1111/1699-1700) compiler of the well- known Bihar al-anwar (Oceans of Lights).
A Preliminary Note on Islamic claims to be al-Haqq
As we shall see below, Muslim and other messianic and/or theophanic claimants to subordinate or actual ("anthrpomorphic" / "anthropopathic") identity or oneness with the divinity expressed themselves by proclaiming various modes of this identity, sometimes presupposing descent (nuzul), incarnation or manifestation (mazhar) with the Qur'anic Arabic Allah (God), the Persian Khuda (God) or the Arabic-Persian al-Haqq/ Haqq (the Truth/True One/God). These three terms for the Divinity can be more or less synonymous designations of the ultimate Godhead. In claiming to be, represent or establish the rule or "kingdom of God", Muslim saviour figures - Mahdis, returned Jesus', etc- have referred to themelves as Divine in an eschatological age of fulfillment. So too mystics who have been infused with the sense of Deity, given up their own identity in the spiritual path (fana' fi Allah), or in one way or another appropriated immortality through Divinity (baqa' fi Allah). Such perspectives are normally viewed as heterodox or heretical by most Islamic thinkers and theologians, though this condemnation depends on exactly how such elevated claims are voiced and expressed. Elevated figures can and have claimed divinity-Divinity without presupposing identity with the Ultimate Deity, the `Wholly Other' or the non-gendered "Locus" of apophatic negation.
al-Ḥaqq (No. 52, or 12, 25 or 57) among the ninety-nine Names of God (asma' Allah) and Commentaries thereon.
al-Haqq is one of the ninety-nine Names of God according to a very well-known tradition of the Prophet Muhammad transmitted through Abu Hurayra as well, for the Imami Shi`a (with a few variant Names and ordering) from the first Imam `Ali ibn Abi Tālib (d.40/661). PDf. Many of the great theologians of Islam wrote detailed comments on each of these divine Names, including al-Haqq. Among them al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), al-Ghazālī, (d. 505/1111); ʻAbd al-Salām Ibn Barrajān (d. 536/1141); Fakhr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ʻUmar Rāzī (d. 606/1210), the renowned Muhyi al-Din, Ibn al-`Arabi, d. 638/1240) and Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ansari al-Qurṭubī (d. 671/1273). Full details cannot be set forth here.
`Abd al-Ḥamid al-Ghazālī, (450/1058-d. 505/1111) on al-Ḥaqq.
Like scores of others Islamic theologians, al-Ghazālī wrote an extended commentary upon the 99 Names of God, entitled al-Maqṣad al-asnā : fī s̲h̲arḥ asmāʼ Allāh al-ḥusnā, as listed and transmitted through Abu Hurayra from the Prophet Muhammad and recorded in several of the six Sunni canonical hadith collections and related books. An extremely influential medieval Sunni Muslim theologian, his commentary on al-ḥaqq in his aforementioned book includes some interesting remarks about the famous claims of al-Ḥallāj (see above) and reads as follows :
2. Al-ḥaqq the Truth is the one who is the antithesis of falsehood, as things may become evident by their opposites. Now everything of which one is aware may be absolutely false, absolutely true, or true in one respect and false in another. Whatever is impossible in itself is absolutely false, while that which is necessary in itself is absolutely true, and whatever is possible in itself and necessary by another is true in one respect and false in another. For this last has no existence in itself and so is false, yet acquires existence from the side of what is other than it, so it is an existent in this respect that acquired existence is bestowed upon it so in that respect it is true while from the side of itself it is false. 82 For that reason the Most High said: everything is perishing but His face [al-wajh] (XXVIIl:88). He is forever and eternally thus; not in one state to the exclusion of another, for everything besides Him forever and eternally is not deserving of existence with respect to its own essence [dhat ] but only deserves it by virtue of Him, for in itself it is false; it is true only in virtue of what is other than it. From this you will know that the absolutely true [al-haqq al-mutlaq] is the One truly existing in itself [huwa al-mawjud al-haqiqi bi-dhatihi], from which every true thing (kullu haqq) gets its true reality [haqiqat] . [I 3 8] It may also be said about the judgment, by which reason asserts that something exists, that it is true in the measure that it corresponds to the thing. Considered in itself, the judgment may be said to exist, but considered in relation to the reason which understands it in its intentional role, it is said to be true.
Therefore, the existent most deserving of being [ahaqq al-mawjudat] called true (haqq an] is God the most high, and the knowledge which most deserves to be called true is the knowledge of God great and glorious for it is true in itself that is, it corresponds to what is known, forever and eternally. Moreover, it corresponds through itself and not through something else; not like knowledge derived from another existing thing, for that obtains only so long as the other exists, and should it become nothing, the belief about it will be false. So that belief as well is not true by virtue of the essence of the thing believed, since [I24 Part Two: Chapter One] that very thing does not exist by virtue of itself but by virtue of another. And this may also be applied to assertions, as one speaks of a true or false assertion. And so far as that is concerned, the most true assertion is your saying: there is no god but God, for it is correct forever and eternally, by virtue of itself and not by virtue of another. Therefore, 'true' applies to existence in individuals [al-haqq `ala al-wujud fi'l-a`yan], to existence in the intellect, which is knowledge; and to existence in speech, which is utterance. The thing which most deserves to be [called] true is the one whose existence is established by virtue of its own essence, forever and eternally, and its knowledge as well as the witness to it is true forever and eternally. So all that pertains to the essence of the truly existing One, and to nothing else. [I 39]
Counsel: [1982:139] Man's share in this name lies in seeing himself as false, and not seeing anything other than God great and glorious as true. For if a man is true [haqq an], he is not true in himself [haqq an bi-nafsihi] but true in God [haqq bi'llahi] great and glorious, for he exists by virtue of Him and not in himself; indeed he would be nothing had the Truth not created him. So the one who said [al-Ḥallāj]: 'I am the truth' [أنا الحق , anā al-haqq] was wrong, unless it be taken according to one of two interpretations [ahad al-ta'wilayn], the first of which being that he means he exists by virtue of the Truth [inna-hu bi'l-haqq]. But this interpretation is far-fetched [hadha ta`wil ba`id] because the statement does not communicate it, and because that would hardly be proper only to him, since everything besides the Truth exists by virtue of the Truth [bal kull shay sawiya al-haqq fa-huwa bi'l-haqq]. .
On the second interpretation [al-ta'wil], he [al-Ḥallāj] is so absorbed [immersed / engrossed] in the Truth [mustaghriq an bi'l-haqq] that he has no room for anything else. One may say of what takes over the totality of a thing and absorbs it that one is it [inna-hu huwa], as the poet says: 'I am [ana] whom I desire, and he whom I desire is I [ana],' and by that he means that he is absorbed in it [al-istighraq]. Among Sufi groups the name of God the most high which most often flows from their lips in their statements and during states of prayer is al-ḥaqq [I25]' ... (al-Ghazālī, trans. 1992:124-126; for the Arabic text on al-Haqq transliterated above, see Ghazzālī, al-Maqṣad al-asná, Beirut, 1982, pp.137-139).
Fakhr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ʻUmar al-Rāzī (b. Rayy [Tehran] c. 543/1149–d. Herat, 606/1210), al-Haqq and al-Ḥallāj.
The Sunni theologian and philosopher Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī is perhaps best known today for his massive Tafsir work entitled, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, or Mafātīḥ al-ghayb ("The Great Tafsir or the "Keys to the Unseen"). His erudite Lawāmiʻ al-bayyināt ("Luminous Expositions") on the Divine Names and Attributes (al-asma wa'l-sifat) draws on the abovementioned work of al-Ghazali on the divine Name or attribute al-Haqq, but has more to say about the implications of the ana al-haqq ("Iam the True One [God]") claim of Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj.
al-Rāzī 's commentary upon al-Ḥaqq opens with his citation of excerpts from Qur'anic verses centering on al-Ḥaqq; including Q. 6:62;31:30,33 and 10:82 (cf. above). He then identifies the reality which is al-Ḥaqq with what is al-mawjud, something established or expressive of true Existence, from God, the One Existent. This as juxtaposed or contrasted with al-batil which implies the unreality of falsehood tantamount to ma`dum, "non-existence". al-Haqq is real existence while al-batil (falsehood) is vaporous non-existence. Since the reality of al-Ḥaqq is wajib al-wujud (the "necessarily Existent" [Deity[), associated with His Essence [Essential Reality] (li-dhatihi), it must be expressive of the "establishment of His existence" (itiqad wujudihi), the "ratificarion [upholder] of His Existence" (iqrar bi-wujudihi), and the verification of what is determined and what is established (mustahaqq al-taqdir wa'l-ithbat).
(refer, al-Razi, Kitāb Lawāmiʻ al-bayyināt, 1905: 216-218 and Traité sur les noms vol. 2 pp. 219-223).
Ibn Barrajān (d. 536/1141) and al-Haqq among the Name of God.
Notes and Bib.
- Ibn Barrajān, شرح أسماء الله الحسنى , Sharh asma' Allah al-husna, (Comentario sobre los nombres mas bellos de Dios). Fuentes arabico-hispanas, 24 (Arabic and Spanish). Madrid: La Torre, 2000. (On al-haqq see pp. 71-2].
- A Qurʼan commentary by Ibn Barrajan of Seville (d. 536/1141) : Īḍāḥ al-ḥikma bi-aḥkām al-ʻibra (Wisdom deciphered, the unseen discovered) = Kitāb Īḍāḥ al-ḥikma bi-aḥkām al-ʻibra. ed. Gerhard Böwering; Yousef Casewit. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016.
- The forgotten mystic : Ibn Barrajān (d. 536/1141) and the Andalusian Mu ʻtabirūn. New Haven, Connecticut : Yale University, 2014.
- Ghazzālī, المقصد الأسنى في شرح معاني أسماء الله الحسنى al-Maqṣad al-asná fī sharḥ maʻānī asmāʼ Allāh al-ḥusná, 2nd. ed. Fadlou Shehadi, Beirut : Dar el-Machreq, 1982.
- Ghazzālī, trans. David B Burrell, Nazir Daher, The ninety-nine beautiful names of God = al-Maqṣad al-asnā : fī s̲h̲arḥ asmāʼ Allāh al-ḥusnā. Cambridge, UK : Islamic Texts Society, 2011.
- Fakhr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ʻUmar al-Rāzī, Kitāb Lawāmiʻ al-bayyināt sharḥ asmāʼ Allāh taʻālá wa'l- ṣifāt, ed. Muḥammad Badr al-Dīn al-Naʻsānī Ḥalabī. Cairo: al-Maṭbaʻah al-Sharafiyya, 1323/1905.
- Traité sur les noms divins = Lawâmiʻ al-bayyinât fî al-asmâ ̕wa al-çifât : le livre des preuves éclatantes sur les noms et les qualités). Annotated trans, Maurice Gloton, 2 vols. Paris : Dervy-Livres, 1986, 1988.
- Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ansari al-Qurṭubī, al-Asná fī sharḥ asmāʼ Allāh al-ḥusná wa sifātihi. Beirut: al-Maktabat al-`Asriyya, 1427/2000.
al-Haqq in the select Islamic theologians, Sufis, poets and mystics.
In his useful dictionary of Islam, Ian R. Netton has an excellent entry under al-ḥaqq,
al-ḥaqq (Ar.) The truth/ Divine Truth. This is a word of immense significance in the intellectual and linguistic development of Islam. ḥaqq can be both a noun and an adjective, meaning `truth' and `rightness' and also `true', `right' and `correct'. However, it also has a more technical sense as an attribute and name of God. As such it is not to be borne by any human being. The great mystic al-Hallāj (q.v.) proclaimed `I am the [Divine] Truth' (Anā 'l-ḥaqq) with fatal results. In the Qur`ān (q.v.) the word ḥaqq is used in a variety of contexts (Netton 1992:96).
Abū al-Mughīth al-Ḥusayn ibn Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj (b. al-Bayda' / Ṭūr, Persia, c. 244/858 – d. Baghdad, 309/ 922) and his أنا الحق Ana al-Haqq ("I am the Truth/True One") proclamation.
The spiritually-intoxicated Persian Islamic monist, Sufi and mystic, al-Hallaj (the "Cotton-carder"), is especially famous for his alleged claim to union with the Divinity through his notorious shaṭaḥāt or ecstatic utterance "I am al-Haqq". A pupil of such Sufi masters as His teachers, Abu Muhammad Sahl ibn 'Abd-Allah, (b. Shushtar, 303/818, d. Basra, 283/896) who claimed to be the Hujjat-Allah ("Proof of God") for humanity and the saintly elect among them, ʿAmr ibn ʿUthmān al-Makkī (d. ca. 296/909) and Abū al-Qāsim ibn Muhammad al-Junayd (b. c. 220/835- d. c. 298/910). For his ecstatic proclamations, he came to be arrested in Sūs, then confined for around a decade in Baghdad (c. 911–922). Though judgements about the claims to divinity were variously understood and acted upon, he came to be brutally tortured and eventually crucified. As Jawid Mojaddedi puts it : "On 24 Ḏu’l-qaʿda, Ḥallāj received a thousand lashes, had his feet and hands cut off, and was eventually hanged to death on the gibbet. His corpse was burned and the ashes poured into the Tigris. His students apparently fled eastwards to Khorasan." (EIr. ). Despite this calamatous death, the influence of al-Ḥallāj within segments of the Muslim world and the Islamic universe of mystical discoure, was immense.
Aside from his al-Haqq centered claim to (probably) subordinate Divinity - which is not actually found in any of reliable extant (ms.) of his writings (Massignon, I, pp. 170-71; tr. Mason, I, pp. 128-29; Mojaddedi, Jawid, 2003), al-Hallaj said a good deal in the Arabic prose and poetical works attributed to him, about al-Ḥaqq. His poem `Bayan al-Haqq' (`Elucidation of the Truth/True One', No. 90 in the 1997 Dīwān), for example, opens as follows:
-  Bayan, Bayan al-Ḥaqq! Anta Bayanu-hu/ Wa kullu Bayan in anta fi-hi lisanu-hu.
-  Ashrata ila Ḥaqq bi-Ḥaqq wa kullu man/ Ashara ila Ḥaqq fa-anta imamu-hu.
Very loosely translated this four couplet poem might be rendered:
-  Elucidate! Elucidate the True One (al-haqq)! Thou art His Exposition.  For all of this Exposition is thou in Him, through His tongue!
Within the third of the eleven sections entitled `The "Ṭ"-"S" of the Purity (al-safa')' in his complex sometimes graphically illustated, Kitab Ṭawāsin (Book of "Ṭ" and "S"), al-Ḥallāj seems to associate himself with the Qur'anic Moses, the Sinaitic "bush" or "tree" (shajarat) and the Sinaitic declaration of Divinity heard from it (see Q. 29:28;30:10,38; 20:10; 28:29). The divine identity was voiced from the shajarat, the "bush" or "Tree" upon the al-jabal or "mountain" (al-tur)) (Dīwān, 1997:124-126). al-Ḥallāj writes "that which he (Moses+) heard from the shajara "in the vicinity of the Mount" (al-tur) was that which he heard from the barara, the "dutiful" [servant] or "righteous one" (Moses or al-Ḥallāj), presumably, his hearing or declaring, "I am indeed God..." (ana Allah)" (see Q. 20:9-14; 28:29-30; cf. Exodus3:1-6, 13-15).
al-Ḥallāj continues "my likeness (mathali) is as the likeness of that tree (mathal dhalik al-sharara) such that this is His [his - its] declaration [speech, word, utterance, saying] (al-kalām)". The next line  to some degree clarifies things (though the meaning remains uncertain) : "So the [Divine] al-Haqiqat (Reality) is a [human] reality (haqiqat) although the thing created (al-khalīqa) is [remains but] a thing created (khalīqa). So Cast aside! the created [identity] (al-khalīqa) such that thou be He (anta huwa) and He be thou (huwa anta) on account of al-haqiqat, the Divine-human reality" (refer Kitāb al-ṭawāsīn III [in Dīwān 1997], pp. 124-5). In these and other cryptic lines their author seems to underline the possibility of a transcendent Divine-human or human-Divine interfacing by virtue of both being or having that reality which is al-haqiqa. The Sufi "man" exists in the "image" of al-Ḥaqq, that Reality which is Divine (cf. Genesis 1:6).
In a lengthy section of his Kashf al-maḥjub (The Unveiling of the Beloved One") ʿAli Hujwiri "played a major role in the rehabilitation of al-Ḥallāj in the Persian Sufi tradition" (Mojaddedi, EIr. art. `ḤALLĀJ ...'; see esp. Kashf 1926: 189-194; trans. Nicholson 1911: 150-154+index ). This very early Persian language writer on Sufism, claims to be aware of fifty or more of al-Ḥallāj's books found at Baghdad (Nicholson, 151) and is well-aware of Sufi and other more orthodox groups who either viewed him very highly or condemned him as a magician or heretic. For ʿAli Hujwiri, al-Hallaj was widely misunderstood.'
Rūzbihān ibn Abī al-Naṣr Baqlī Shirazi (b. 522/1128 -d. 606/1209).
One of the collectors of al-Hallaj's poetical and literary heritage, Rūzbihān ibn Abī al-Naṣr Baqlī Shirazi (d.606/1209) cited and commented on al-Hallaj's poems and writings on numerous occasions. Towards the end of the poetical section 44 within the opening of his weighty Sharḥ-i shaṭḥiyyāt (Commentary on the Ecstatic Utterances) of "intoxicated Sufis", headed `Fasl fi Tawhid wa Mutashabihat' (Section on Divine Unity and Matters of Ambiguity), Rūzbihān Baqlī makes positive mention of both Hallaj's the "Pearl (durr) of "I am the Real one [God]" Ana al-Haqq" and of the ecstatic "Pearl (lu'lu') of Praise be unto Me" (suhani) (1995:91).
In his Arabic autobiographical Kashf al-asrār (The Disclosure of the Secrets) Rūzbihān, on numerous occasions, describes his ecstatic mystical visions of al-Haqq as variously personified in the world of the seen and the unseen (`alam al-ghayb). The Divine al-Ḥaqq is visioned in beatiful forms associated with such divine attributes as al-jamal ("Beauty"), al-Jalal ("Might-Glory") and al-baha' ("Splendour"), (see Ruzbihan, Kashf section 83). For this mystic of Shiraz, as with other great Prophet figures, the transcendent al-Haqq was frequently encountered through his inner self (sirr) in the most beautiful of forms : "I visioned Gabriel and all of the cherubim (al-karubiyyin) observing the witnessing of sanctity (al-quds), then I saw al-Ḥaqq, glorified be He..." (Kashf, 119, p.59)
In section 34 of his Kashf al-asrar, he
Farid-al-Din ʿAṭṭār (d. 618/1221)
A further hagiographical rehabilitation of al-Ḥallāj was written by Farid-al-Din ʿAṭṭār (d. 618/1221) at a central point in his Tadhkirat al-awliyāʼ (Memorials of the Saintly ones"), where sets forth a quite lengthy celebratory biography of a saintly al-Ḥallāj ( XXXX ed. Esteʿlāmi, pp. 583-95)."
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273).
Famed author of the Persian mathnavi, Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) also wrote a Persian prose work entitled (Arabic) فیه ما فیه Fīhi mā fīhi ("What is in it is in it"). Discourses (maq̄āl̄at) 11 and 52 of this work (of 71 `Discourses') contain some exposition of the أنا الحق , Anā al-Ḥaqq ("I am the Truth/True One") of al-Ḥallāj. Towards the middle of discourse eleven on the saying, al-qulub tatashahad, “Hearts bear witness to one another,” these words are said to refer to a "hidden reality" (kashf nashuda):
"Absorption is such that whoever enters it is no longer there. They make no more efforts, they cease to act and move. They are immersed in the water. No action is their action; it is the action of the water. But if they flail about in the water with their hands and feet, they are not truly submerged. If they utter a cry, “I am drowning,” this too is not absorption.
Take the famous utterance, “I am God [أنا الحق , Anā al-Ḥaqq].” Some people think this is a great pretension, but “I am God [أنا الحق , Anā al-Ḥaqq]” is in fact a great humility [`azim-i tawādu`]. Those who say, instead, “I am a servant of God [man`abd-i khuda-am]” believe that two exist, themselves and God. But those who say, “I am God” have become nothing and have cast themselves to the winds. They say, “I am God” meaning, “I am not, God is all. There is no existence but God. I have lost all separation. I am nothing.” In this the humility is greater." (trans Arberry, slightly adapted with select transliteration.see Fi hi ed. Furūzānfar, 43-4; Arberry trans. 1961: 55-56).
On similar lines and expository of the Persian verse "When love attains its ultimate goal, Desire turns to dislike", discourse 52 contains a striking defense of al-Hallaj in the light of his having attained fana' (self-extinction in God):
"When Mansur [al-Ḥallāj] reached his utmost friendship with God [Ḥaqq], he became his own enemy and gave away his life. He said, “I am God,” [أنا الحق Anā al-Ḥaqq] meaning, “I have passed away [fana] God [Haqq] alone remains.” This is extreme humility. Your saying, “Thou art God [أنا الحق Anā al-Ḥaqq], and I am Your servant,” is arrogance, for you have affirmed your own existence, and created dualism. To say, “He is God [Huwa al-Ḥaqq],” is still duality, for until “I” [ana] exists “He” is impossible [huwa momkin nishavad] . Therefore it was God [Ḥaqq] alone who said, “I am God,” [أنا الحق Anā al-Ḥaqq] since Mansur [al-Ḥallāj] had passed away [fana] (trans Arberry, slightly adapted with select transliteration, Fi hi ed. Furūzānfar, 193; Arberry trans. 1961: 202).
For Rumi the أنا الحق Anā al-Ḥaqq of al-Ḥallāj is not a hybristic claim to Divinity but a humble proclamation of fana' or the loss of selfhood before the the One, All-Encompassing Divine Reality (al-haqq) (cf. the notes below on Ibn al-`Arabi).
Notes and Bib.
- Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj, ed. Kamil Mustafa al-Shaibi,ديوان ; ويليه كتاب الطواسين / Dīwān ; wa-yalīhi Kitāb al-ṭawāsīn ... (includes as Pt. II Kitāb al-ṭawāsīn, pp.117-147). Koln [Germany] : al-Kamel Verlag/ Kūlūnyā : Manshūrāt al-Jamal, 1997.
- Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj,
- Mojaddedi, Jawid. “Ḥallāj, Abū’l-Mogiṭ Ḥosayn.” In Encyclopedia Iranica. XI/6, 589–592. New York: Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, 2003.
- Louis Massignon, The passion of al-Hallāj : mystic and martyr of Islam. 4 vols. Translated from the French with a biographical foreword by Herbert Mason (Bollingen series, 98.). Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1982.
- Hujwiri, `Ali, Kashf al-maḥjub, ed. V. Zhukovski, St. Petersburg, 1899; Leningrad, 1926. Reprint with introduction by Qasim Ansari,
- The Kashf al-Mahjúb : the oldest Persian treatise on sufiism by Alí B. Uthmán al-Jullábi al-Hujwírí. Trans. Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (= E. J. W. Gibb Memorial series v. 17). London Luzac, 1911 + many reprints.
- Farid al-Din ʻAttār, Tadhkirat al-awliyāʼ. Tehran : Zavār, 1967. / [Tehran] : Intishārāt-i Maulā, [1988?]
- Farid al-Din ʻAttār, Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya' (Memorial of the Saints). Trans. A.J. Arberry, Penguin Books, 1990.
- Farid al -Din ʻAttār, Taz̲kirat al-awliyāʼ. Trans. Paul Losensky, Farid ad-Din ʻAttār's Memorial of God's friends : lives and sayings of Sufis. New York : Paulist Press, 2009.
- Rūzbihān ibn Abī al-Naṣr Baqlī, Sharḥ-i shaṭḥiyyāt : shāmil-i guftārhā-yi shūrangīz va ramzī-i Ṣūfiyyān. ed. Henry Corbin. Tehran : Qismat-i Īrānshināsī, Instītū Īrān va Farānsah, 1966; 3rd ed. 1995.
- Rūzbihān Baqlī, The Unveling of Secrets, Diary of a Sufi master, trans. Carl W. Ernst, Chapel Hill, NC.,: Parvardigar Press, 1995.
- Rūzbihān Baqlī, The Unveiling of Secrets Kashf al-asrār : the visionary autobiography of Ruzbihan al-Baqlī (1128-1209 A.D.). Firoozeh Papan-Matin in collaboration of with Michael Fishbein. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2006.
- Jalal al-Din Rumi, Fīhi mā fīh : maq̄āl̄āt-i Mawlānā Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, ed. Badīʻ al-Zamān Furūzānfar. 4th ed. Tehran: Muʹassasah-i Chāp va Intishārāt-i Amīr Kabīr, 1360/1982.
- Jalal al-Din Rumi, Fi hi ma fi, trans. A. J. Arberry, `Discourses of Rumi'. London: John Murray, 1961.
al-Haqq in the writings of Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-`Arabī (560/1165-d. 638/1240) and select devotees, members of his "school".
The prolific Spanish born "Great Shaykh" and fountainhead of medieval Islamic mysticism, Muhammad ibn `Ali Ibn al-`Arabī had a good deal to say in his Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam and magisterial al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (Meccan Openings [Revelations]) and numerous other writings, about al-Haqq and related dimensions of lslamic theology and mysticism. He championed and underlined both the immanent, unitative, monistic approachability and the utter transcendence of the Ultimate Godhead. Not a phrase or theological aphorism of Ibn al-`Arabi himself, wahjat al-wujud ("the existenetial monism" or "oneness of being") fails to register the depth and complexity of the thought of this spiritual genius.
In the course of writing about al-hayra (bewilderent, perplexity) in section fifty of his al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (I:270-274), the Great Shaykh had occasion to refer to the all-pervading, "holistic" nature of the transcendent, yet immanent Godhead :
"There is only God in existence (fi'-wujud).
And none knoweth God except God! (la ya`raf Allah ila Allah) " (al-Futuhat I:272).
This truth, "regarding al-haqiqat, "the Divine "Reality", he continues, "lies behind such exclamations as "I am God" (ana Allah) uttered, for example, by Abū Yazīd al-Bisṭāmī (d. c. 234/848 or 261/875), along with other Sufi ecstatic declarations of Divinity such as his Subhānī [Subhānī ma a`zam sha'ni] ("Praised be unto Me!" ["Praised be unto Me! What is more sublime than my majesty!]"). This most probably Indian infuenced Persian monistic mystic, Abū Yazīd al-Bisṭāmī was an important figure for Ibn al-`Arabi who mentioned him no less than 144 times in his al-Futuhat (see Abrahamov 1914:36, 91). The (more fully) declaration of al-Bisṭāmī "Subhānī Subhānī ma a`zam sha'ni, "Praised be unto Me!; "Praised be unto Me! What is more sublime than my Majesty!" became a very famous ecstatic utterance (shath). It is cited, for example, by `Ali Hujwiri in his Kashf al-maḥjub, (1926:327) and by Farid al-Din ʻAttār in his Tadhkirat al-awliyāʼ (XXXX:XXXX) (see bib. above).
Notes and Bib.
- al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya. 4 vols. np. nd. [Beirut: Dar Sadr, 1911].
- al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyīya. 11 vols. ed. ʻUthmān Yaḥyā. Cairo: al-Maktaba al-ʻArabīya, 1972-1987.
- Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam
- Ibn al-ʻArabī; Trans. R W J Austin, The bezels of wisdom. New York : Paulist Press, 1980
- Muʼayyid al-Dīn Jandī; Jalāl al-Dīn Āshtiyānī; Ibn al-ʻArabī, Sharḥ Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam. Mashhad : Intishārāt-i Dānishgāh-i Mashhad, 1361/1982.
- William C. Chittick, The self-disclosure of God : principles of Ibn al-ʻArabī's cosmology. Albany : State University of New York Press, 1998.
- Carl W. Ernst, `The man without attributes : Ibn 'Arabi's interpretation of Abu Yazid al-Bistami' in Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society. Vol. 13, 1993: 1-18.
`Abd al-Razzāq ibn Muhammad al-Kāshānī (d. c. 730/1330).
The Persian Sufi Kamal al-Din `Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī [al-Qāshānī] was a leading exponent of the thought of Ibn al-`Arabi. Among many other important works, he wrote a bulky commentary entitled Kitāb sharḥ Manāzil al-sāʼirīn, `The Book of the Commentary on `The Stations of the Wayfafers' on the a text of Khwajah `Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī of Herāt ( d. 481/1088). Within this work are some significant Sufi-irfani type uses of al-haqq. Towards the beginning of this Arabic commentary on the Manāzil al-sāʼirīn there are, for example, a few lines of exegetical interest which include a citation from the Hadith al-Haqiqa or Hadith Kumayl ibn Ziyad :
Now the incomparability of the allusion (tafrid al-ishara) unto al-haqq is through al-haqq, in al-haqq; within, that is, the locus of supra-integrated totality [God the Incomparable] (`ayn al-jam`). Wherefore, is al-haqq independent of the world of creation (al-khalq). Then there is, furthermore the tawhid al-haqq, the divine oneness of al-haqq [expressed] in His Essence (bi-dhatihi), unto His Essence (li-dhatihi) within the configurations of His embodied Temples (suwar hayakil), just as the Commander of the Faithful, [Imam] `Ali [ibn Abi Talib, d.40/661] said [unto Kumayl ibn Ziyad al-Nakha'i] "A Light (nur) shone forth from the Morn of Eternity (subh al-azal) whereupon it scintillated upon the embodied Temples of the Divine Unity (hayakil al-tawhid) [without any] indication thereof [allusion] (ashara)". God testifieth that He, no God is there except Him" (Kashani, Sharh Manazil, 2000: 129).
Notes and Bib.
- ʻAbd al-Razzāq ibn Muḥammad Kāshānī, Sharḥ Manāzil al-sāʼirīn khawājah ʻAbd Allāh al-Anṣārī, ed. Muhsin Bidarfar, Qum : 2000.
Haqq in the گلشن راز Gulshan-i raz ("Rosegarden of the Mystery") of Saʻd al-Dīn Maḥmūd ibn ʻAbd al-Karīm Shabistarī ( d.c. 720/1320).
A mathnavi poetical composition in Persian verse written around 717/1317, the Gulshan-i raz ("Rosegarden of the Mystery") of Maḥmūd Shabistarī, contains numerous uses of Haqq ( = God, the True One ... ) and diverse direct and indirect comments thereon. This author was much influenced by the "monism" of Ibn al-`Arabi and by such famous Persian poets as Farīd al-Dīn ʻAṭṭār (d. c.627/1230) and Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (d. 672/1273). A response to seven questions posed by Amir Husayni al-Hirawi (d. c. 720/1319-20), the answers to questions VI ("If the knower and the known are both theOne pure essence, What are the aspirations in this handful of dust?) and VII (To what point belongs the aphorism, "I am the Truth?" Why call you that imposter a vain babler?") are especially informative regarding the author's concept of Haqq and its allegedly being the goal or reality of the Muslim mystic wayfarer on the path to God.
The prominent Nūrbakhshiyya Sufī, Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Yaḥyā Lāhījī, Gīlānī, Asīrī (b. c. 849/1445-6 -d. c. 912/1506; fl. 15th cent. CE) wrote a bulky and important, complete Persian commentary on the Gulshan-i rāz of Maḥmūd Shabistarī.
Notes and Bib.
* I cite above Whinfield's inadequate 19th cent. translation though this will shortly be replaced with my own. See further,
- گلشن راز Gulshan-i rāz . ed. Samad Muvahhid. Tehran: Ṭahūrī, 1390/2011.
- Gulshan i raz: the mystic rose garden of Sa'd ud din Mahmud Shabistari. The Persian text, with an English translation and notes, chiefly from the commentary of Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā Lāhījī. By E.H. Whinfield, London: Trubner & Co., 1880. Numerous reprints and translations, e.g. Lahore : Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1996. London, Octagon Press,1974.
- Dīvān-i ashʻār va rasāʼil-i Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad Asīrī Lāhījī, shāriḥ-i Gulshan-i rāz. Tehran : Dānishgāh-i Mak Gīl, Mūntriʼāl-Kānādā, Muʼassasah-ʼi Muṭālaʻāt-i Islāmī, Shuʻbah-ʼi Tihrān, bā hamkārī-i Dānishgāh-i Tihrān, 1978 (= Silsilah-ʼi dānish-i Īrānī ; 20).
- Shams-al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā Lāhījī, مفاتيح الاعجاز فى شرح گلشن راز, Mafâtīḥ al-iʻjaz fī sharḥ-i Gulshan-i râz Muhammad Ridā Barzgar Khāliqī; ʻIffat Karbāsī. 5th ed. Tehrān : Zawwār 1383/2003.
The ahl-i haqq (the "People of Truth"), Fadl-Allah Astarabadi (d. [executed] near Nakhǰavān, 796/1394) and the Hurufis ("Letterists"), Sayyed ʿEmadü’d-Din (ʿEmād al-Din) Nesimi (d. Aleppo 820 /1417-8) and the Bektāshis.
As an exalted term related to Divinity, al-Haqq has been used by some religious and related movements as a term central to their self-designation (cf. ahl al-baha', "people of Baha'" = Baha'is). The Ahl-i Haqq is the designation, for example, of a related religious communities with deep roots in early Islamic ghuluww ("extremism") and other Abrahamic, gnostic and related movements. They are of uncertain 8th-10th cent CE (?) origins but became widespread in western Persia, also being popularly and imprecisely known as worshippers or of Imam `Ali (d. 40/661), the `Ali-ilahi (Minorsky, EI2 `Ahli Hakk). Representatives of the ahl-i haqq had some dialogue with 19th century Babis and Baha'is (see Minorsky, `Un traite de polemique Behaie Ahle-Haqq', in Journal Asiatique XXX (1921), pp.165-7).
Fadl-Allāh Tabrīzī Astarābādi (d. [executed near Nakhǰavān], 796/1394)
On one level, the letter-centered, the thirty-two letters of the Perso-Arabic alphabet, related) Hurufis ("Letterists"), originated as devotees of Fadl-Allah Astarabadi, Fadl-Allāh Ḥurūfī or Fadl-Allāh Tabrīzī (b. Astarābād, 740/1339-40 - d. 796/1394) who claimed to be in receipt of divine revelations. He claimed to be a divine incarnation and one capable of reformulating or abrogating Islamic law. His writings include the Jāvīdān-nāmah in two recensions and a collection of Persian poetry in which he uses the pen-name Naʿīmī. It was believed by Hurufis that the appearnce of Fadl-Allah marked the culmination of history which found its latter-day goal in his divine person which was associated with a cycle of uluhiyya ("Divinity"), (see `Faḍl Allah Astarābādī,' in EI2 II:735; EIr. Hamid Algar, (1987) art. `Fażlallāh Astarābādi'; EIr. art, Hamid Algar (2004), `Horufism' Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, pp. 483-490).
Sayyed ʿEmād al-Din Nesimi (d. Aleppo 820/1417-18)
The abovementioned Nesimi was an important poet and a Hurufi follower of Fadl-Allah Astarābādi. According to Ferenc Csirkés (see below + bib.) "there are altogether twenty-three poems that were written either by Shah Esmāʿil (d. 930/1524 CE) or Sayyed ʿEmād al-Din Nesimi... but can also be found in various manuscript copies of both poets’ respective divān under both poets’ names" (2015:156). (see below).
‘Ali ibn Muhammad al‐Jurjānī, al-Sayyid al-Sharīf (b. Tāku near Astarabad, XXX/ 1339 - d. Shiraz, c. 816/1413) and al-Haqq in his Kitāb al -taʿrīfāt.
In the Kitāb al -taʿrīfāt ("Book of Definitions") of al‐Jurjānī, al-haqq is defined as follows - there are also brief, interesting definitions of حق اليقين haqq al-yaqin ("the reality of certainty") - said to be indicative of فناء العبد في الحق، والبقاء به علماً وشهوداً، , "the fana' ("the nullification of self") in the True One (al-haqq) and the subsequent eternality (al-baqa') expressed through knowledge (`ilm) and [divine] witnessing (shuhud an) - and haqa'iq al-asma' (the realities of the [Divine] Names") which cannot be fully discussed here :
اسم من أسمائه تعالى، والشيء الحق، أي الثابت حقيقة، ويستعمل في الصدق والصواب أيضاً، يقال: قول حق وصواب.
وفي اللغة: هو الثابت الذي لا يسوغ إنكاره، وفي اصطلاح أهل المعاني: هو الحكم المطابق للواقع، يطلق على الأقوال والعقائد والأديان والمذاهب، باعتبار اشتمالها على ذلك، ويقابله الباطل.
وأما الصدق فقد شاع في الأقوال خاصة، ويقابله الكذب، وقد يفرق بينهما بأن المطابقة تعتبر في الحق من جانب الواقع، وفي الصدق من جانب الحكم، فمعنى صدق الحكم مطابقة للواقع، ومعنى حقيقته مطابقة الواقع إياه.
al-Haqq is a Name (ism) among His Names (asma'), exalted be He, and that entity ("thing", al-shay') which is expressive of al-Haqq (Reality, Truth... ), that is to say [al-Haqq is] something firmly established (al-thabit) which is a Reality (haqiqa)...
Notes and Bib.
- ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al‐Jurjānī, al-Taʻrīfāt
Shah Ismāʿīl I (b. Ardabil, 692/ 1487- d. 930/1524 CE), al-Haqq and his theophanic claims.
In his Persianate Adhirbayjani Turkic (with numerous Persian, Arabic, Chagatai and other loanwards and elements) or (loosely) Turkish Diwan ( conatining in some recensions more than 250 qaṣīdas, "odes", ghazzals and mathnawis, etc) some written under the under the pen-name Hatayi or Khaṭāʾī ("the Sinful"), Abū al-Muzaffar Ismāʿīl bin Shaykh Haydar ibn Shaykh Junayd al-Safavī (r. 1501-1524) or Shah Isma'il I, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, made some very elevated theophanic claims, including some centered upon the claim to be an incarnation or manifestation of God as al-Haqq. Enthroned as Shah in Adhirbayjan in 1501 as a very young man, he proclained and gradually established Imami or twelver (Ithna `Ashari) Shi`ism as the Islamic religion of Persia and elsewhere. His considerable body of Turkish and Persian poetry not infrequently expresses Sufi, Shi`i ghuluww ("extremist") and Hurufi themes or motifs. He made theophanic, messianic, imamological and other actual or poetical claims; to be, for example, the immortal "Living Khidr" (the immortal, verdent One), Jesus, son of Mary, and Alexander (the Great), a prophet and world-conqueror in numerous Islamic sources. He further claimed to be on the gibbet with Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj whose "I am al-Haqq" (see above) he in various ways repeated. As Minorsky put it "The Hallajian formula ana'l-Haqq lives in his soul, he is Absolute Truth (or God) ([Poem No. 195)" (1942:1026a). He also saw himself as one protected in the scorching fire with Abraham, with Moses on Mount Sinai, the scene of the divine theophany, and the second coming or "return" of Jesus (see Minorsky, trans. Poem 15 in 1942:1042a) . Thackston in his 1988 article transliterates and translates the following lines :
Khadir zinda ila. 'İsa-yi Maryam, / zamana ahlinüng Iskandariyam. "Ever-living Khidr, Jesus son of Mary, I am / the Alexander of the people of this age" (Translit, and trans. Thackston 1988:56-7)
Echoing Shah Ismāʿīl's own theophanic claims, Minorsky sums up aspects of this Shah's exalted view of the first twelver Imam `Ali (d. 40/661) condidered his forbear, whom he saw as al-Haqq and the Creator, with whom he also identified in seeing himself as his "return" :
"In P 1 'Ali's panegyric precedes that of Muhammad. `Ali is given the usual Shi'a titles of Shāh (Nos. 101, 195), Shāh-i mardān, Bahr-i haqiqat "the Sea of True Reality". He is proclaimed God (Haqq), and those who refuse him this distinction are called unbelievers (No. 194). Muhammad is only a Prophet, while 'Ali is a "Manifestation of God" (mazhar-i haqiqat) (ff. 2v, 5v), "God's light" (nur-i ilahi) (2v).
" Do not call a man him [Imam `Ali] who opens to the world the door of Islam, know him as God .... "
"He was God (Haqq) and came down from Heaven to Earth, to show himself to men" (1942: 10251-1026a).
Shah Ismāʿīl implies that he saw the truths of the ahl-i haqq (the People of the True One) clearer than the Sun. He saw his own supporters as "ahl-i Haqq "Men of Truth, God's men" (No. 92) ( 1942:1027a; also alluding to al-Hallāj, 1942: Diwan, 15v, 56r, 64r, 65v),). Poem 195 within the divan text(s) or mss. set forth and known to Minorsky (see image below from `Bibliotheque Nationale supp. ture 1307), is especially apposite :
The opening line of Poem 204 as cited by Minorsky (1942:1037a) are as follows:
They words - ‘aynu’llāhım ‘aynu’llāhım ‘aynu’llāh / gel imdi ḥaḳḳı gör ey kūr-i gümrāh - could be translated in several ways, all of which presuppose the elevted claims of Shah Isma'il, to be the Essence, Persona or "Eye" of God as God (Allah) and Haqq (the True Deity):
"I am the Essence [Persona, or "Eye"] of God, I am indeed the Essence [Persona, or "Eye"] of God, I am indeed God Himself / Come now, behold Haqq, [the Divine Reality] oh, blind one gone astray!
"I am the Primordial Actualizer (manam awwal fa`il mutlaq) of whom they speak / Sun (khurshid) and Moon (mah) are in my power."
(text from Minorsky, 1942. I have adapted the trans. of Minorsky and in the first line cite the transliteration of Ferenc Csirkés - personal communication, Sept. 2016).
In his 1988 article, Wheeler Thackston had occasion to translate and transliterate some key verses of Shah Isma'il, a few of which have allegedly been deliberately removed from various mss. of Shah Ismāʿīl I's Divan by the diligently pious. They include a fairly direct claim to be Haq (Ar. al-Haqq, /Per. Haqq ="God"] including (cf. Minorsky above) the following :
Haq idi nuzul etdi gökdan yara / ki khalq-i-jihana özin göstara.
"He was God [Haq] come down [nuzul] from heaven to earth to show himself to the creatures of the world"
(Translit, and trans. Thackston 1988:56-7)
The implications of the somtimes high theophanological claims of Shah Isma'il I (selectively indicated above) have been variously viewed by Islamic readers and modern academics. Subsequent Safavid Shahs and Shi`i notables played down his hybris. Thackston writes in his above cited 1988 article, "Khata'i's pronouncements must have shocked the "orthodox" Shiites, and indeed such lines have been deliberately deleted from later copies of the Diwan" (1988:57). The same writer and translator adds these apposite words commenting upon the verse commencing Haq idi nuzul -though in theological contexts Haq/Haqq/ al-Haqq is not far removed from claims to Khuda and Allah, to the Godhead:
"It should be noted that Khata'i [Shah Ismāʿīl I], like most poets in the Sufistic tradition, usually uses the term Haqq (the real, the ultimate reality) for God and thus avoids deistic terminology. Unfortunately, there is no ready equivalent in English. in the first stanza quoted here he uses the Persian word for God, khuda, and in the second stanza he uses the Arabic ilah." (1988, footnote no. 49, p. 63).
Quite recently Amelia Gallagher has expressed the following sentiments :
Abandoning the subtlety and equivocation of the dominant poetic style, the poet expresses the triumph of a union achieved with the Divine in forceful tones. The poet seeks to present himself as all things to all men—he is the anticipated appearance of the Hidden Imam, ‘Ali, Jesus, Alexander, Abraham, Faridun, the eye of God and his co-creator. Just as often, he stands in the gallows alongside Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 922), which in part accounts for his promiscuous incarnations (2011: 899).
For the refs. and for some further details on Shah Ismāʿīl I, see Savory et. al. EIr. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/esmail-i-safawi
- Minorsky, Vladimir, “The Poetry of Shāh Ismāʿīl I,” BSOAS 10 (1942), pp. 1005a-1053a.
- Ergun, Sadrettin Nüzhet., Hatayî Divanı Şah İsmail-i Safevi, Hayatı ve nefesleri, Istanbul; Istanbul Maarif Kitaphanesi, MCMLVI (1956).
- Tourkhan Gandjeï, Il canzoniere di S̆āh Ismāʻīl Ḫaṭāʻī. Napoli Istituto Universitario Orientale 1959.
- Wheeler Thackston., “The Diwan of Khata‘i: Pictures for the Poetry of Shah Isma‘il I,” Asian Art, 1 (1988): 37–63.
- Amelia Gallagher (2011)., `Shah Isma‘il’s Poetry in the Silsilat al-Nasab-i Safawiyya' , Iranian Studies, 44:6, 895-911.
- Ferenc Csirkés., `Messianic Oeuvres in Interaction Misattributed Poems by Shah Esmail and Nesimi' in Journal of Persianate Studies 8 (2015) 155-194. The bibliography here contains details regarding printed and mss. copies and editions of the divāns of Shah Esmāʿil I and Nesimi.
al-Ḥaqq الحق in the writings of the Bab.
As indicated above, the word al-ḥaqq is very frequent in the writings of the Bāb in weighty messianic and theological contexts. In occurs hundreds of times in his first major work, the Qayyām al-asmā' (Self-Subsisting of the Divine Names) (mid. 1844, 400+pp). Therein this word is even more frequent that it is in the Qur'an. Diverse phrases incorporating the word al-ḥaqq are an integral part of the saj`, the Arabic versified, rhyming prose of the Bab. For the Bab this style in his large quasi-tafsir volume may be said to underline, the veracity and revealed nature of this neo-qur'anic yet exegetical text.
In his foundational Qayyum al-asma' then, the Bab uses the word al-haqq very frequently, something like XXX times. He specifically gave its eighty-fifth Surah ( = QA. LXXXV) the title سورة الحق Sūrat al-Haqq (The Surah of the Ultimate Reality). In the rhyming Arabic prose of the Qayyum al-asma' numerous phrases centering upon or revolving the around the God-Reality centered word al-haqq, are very common. The commentary section of the three or four page Sūrat al-Haqq, contains a claim to be al-Haqq tooted in Q. 20:114a (see QA 85: verse 6) and commences :
 Praised be to God Who hath, in very truth (bi'l-haqq), sent down the Book (al-kitab) unto His servant (`ala `abd) [ the Bab] to the end that he be, throughout [all] the worlds (`awalim), a manifestation of the similitudes (mazhar al-amthal), made manifest, in the greatest truth (bi'l-haqq al-akbar), according to pure justice (`ala qist al-khalis).  We did indeed fashion thee [the Bab] in worlds of holiness (`awalim al-quds) as a praiseworthy (mahmud an) Pillar expressive of Glorification (rukn an al-tasbih) and a Throne expressive of Magnitude (`arsh `ala al-takbir).
 So hearken unto My Call al-nida') through the Gate (`ala al-bab), about [from] the precincts of the Gate (min hawl al-bab), [saying] `I am indeed the Ruler [King] (al-malik), the True One (al-haqq)' [cf. Q. 20:114a] for I was, in truth, in very truth, one Self-Subsisting (qayum an).  I indeed am, in very truth (bi'l-haqq) as befits the Divine Command [Cause], [elevated] above the all-surrounding [letter] Alif, the "A" (`ala alif al-muhit) for I was, as befits the Truth, according to the Truth (bi'l-haqq `ala al-haqq) one Divinely Sanctioned (mahhkum an).  Thou, in very truth (bi'l-haqq), with the permission of God, the Praiseworthy One (al-hamid), are the Pillar of Legitimacy (rukn al-tahlil) and central Locus of Glorification (markaz al-tamjid), for thou were as one Divinely Sanctioned (mahhkum an). See further, Qayyum al-asma', Sūrat al-Haqq (The Surah of the Ultimate Reality).
In the 90th Sura of the Qayyum al-asma', the Sūrat al-Tathlith (The Surah of the Threefold [Talisman]) Sūrat al-Qital (The Surah of the [Eschatological] Killing) on Qur'ān 12: 90, the Bab, after referring to himself as `Alid Arabian Youth (al-ghulām al-`arabā al-alawwā) adds that he is, in very truth, al-Haqq (the True One [from God]) as well the revealer of His Book from God, the al-Haqq, the True One" adding that he is the al-Qayyūm (Deity Self-Subsisting) or eschatological Joseph (= abjad, al-Qayyum = 156), manifest unto all the worlds.
"I, verily, am God, Who, no God is there except Me. I created Paradise for the people of love through My Word (kalimatī), this `Alid Arabian Youth (al-ghulām al-`arabā al-alawwā) in very truth, the True one. I originated the Fire (al-nār) from the shadow of Paradise for the people who dispute His Word and His Book which was sent down on the part of God, the True One. And I, verily, am al-Qayyūm, manifest unto all the worlds" (QA 90:363).
Another important early use of al-haqq in the writings of the Bab, is found towards the beginning of his early, Bushire dispatched, Arabic epistle to Muhammad Shah Qajar (d.1848 CE) :
اقرء كتاب ذكر اسم ربك الذی له اله الا هوالعی الكبيروانه لكتاب لاريب فيهقد نزل من لدن امام مبين وانه لهوالحق فی السموات والارض يدعوالناس الی دين الله الخالص من حكم قسطاس قويم وانه لهو السر فی صحف النبيين و المرسلين يلتو آيات ربك عن شجرةالسينإ ان لا اله الا هو
 Recite the Book [Epistle] of the Remembrance of thy Lord Who, no God is there except Him, the Exalted, the Mighty.  Such is indeed a Book about which there is no doubt for it was sent down on the part of a Manifest Imam (imām mubīn).  He is assuredly the True One (al-ḥaqq) throughout the heavens and the earth who summons the people unto the pure religion of God (dīn Allah al-khāliṣ) as accords with a Balance which is assured (qusṭās qawwīm).
Here the "Manifest Imam" (imām mubīn) whom the Bab repesents is "assuredly the True One" (al-ḥaqq) who communicates to all mankind the new, pure religion of God in the eschatological age. The also Bab presupposes his or the hidden Imam or Dhikr (Remembrance) as being al-Haqq, towards the beginning of his early Kitab al-Ruh (Book of the Spirit, mid. 1845) which opens as follows:
The Kitāb al-rūḥ
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
This Book is a Dhikr (Remembrance) from God according to the Decree of a wondrous servant [the Bāb] (`abd badī`). He is assuredly the True One (al-ḥaqq) within the heavens and the earth.
Kitab al-Fihrist (The Book of the Index) dating to 21st June 1845
The word al-haqq occurs no less than four tmes in association with the variously titles Hidden, messianic Imam or the Bab himself at the commencement of the Kitab al-Fihrist (The Book of the Index) :
ذلك الكتاب ذكر من الله في حكم عبد بديع قد نزل من لدن بقية الله امام حق قديم و انه لهو الحق في السموات و الارض
لا يعزب من علمه شيیءِ و لا يحيط بذكره خلق و انه لكتاب قد نزل من لدن بقية الله امام حق قديم و انه لهو الحق في السموات و الارض
This Book is a Remembrance from God (Dhikr min Allāh) containing a directive (ḥukm) of a wondrous servant. It is indeed a Book which hath come down from the [messianic] Remnant of God (Baqiyyat-Allāh), an Imam, al-ḥaqq the True. One, Ancient of Days (ḥaqq qadīm). It [He] is indeed an expression of the al-ḥaqq the Real Truth for whomsoever exist in the heavens and on the earth. No single thing escapes His knowledge and naught created can encompass His [messianic] Remembrance (Dhikr). It assuredly is a Book which was sent down on the part of the (messianic) Baqiyyat-Allāh (Remnant of God) from [a true Imam] before al-haqq, the Real One, the Ancient of days (ḥaqq qadīm). It most assuredly enshrines al-ḥaqq, the Real Truth in [both] the heavens and upon the earth.
In his very well-known Arabic Tablet of Aḥmad (c.1865?), Bahā'-Allāh refers to the Bāb in the following way,
"He [the Bāb] is al-ḥaqq ("the True One") and his Book is the Mother Book (umm al-kitāb) did ye but know" (Bahā' ī Prayers, XX ).
The Bab and Baha'-Allah often claimed subordinate "divinity" - Haqq, Allah, etc - but never pictured themselves as the incarnations or the Essence of the Godhead. The Bab hundreds, if not thousands of times, repeatedly distanced himself from the unknowable apophatic Deity. His new basmala stated this clearly as the centerpiece of His apophatic theology -Bismillah al-amna` al-aqdas = "In the Name of God, the Most Inaccessible [Apophatic], the Supremely Holy [Sacred] - but did not shink from representing himself as an eschatological manifestation of God (Allah, Rabb, etc) on the latter-day `Day of God'. In his Kitab-i panj sha`n (Book of the Five Modes [of Revelations]), for example, he even used a superlative of the Arabic Allah (loosely, A-Allah) in highlighting the transcendence of the divinity or of the future messianic person of man yuzhiru-hu Allah ("Him Whom God shall make Manifest"). He sometimes included key disciples in an eschatolgical pleroma of subordinate Divinity and wrote letters "min Allah ila Allah = from God to God". Baha'-Allah did similarly as reflected in his Lawh-i Haqq and other weighty theological communications a few of which will be succinctly referred to below.
al-Ḥaqq الحق in the writings of the Baha'-Allah.
Like Ḥusayn ibn Manṣūr al-Hallāj (d. 304/ 922), Shah Isma'il I (1487-1524 CE) and other Sufis and theophanic claimants, the Bab and Bahā'-Allāh explicitly claimed to be al-ḥaqq. This obliquely for Baha'-Allah as early as his Rashh-i `ama', then slightly later more explicitly in his Az bagh-i ilāhī ("From the Garden of God" c. 1860?; see below) and other writings.
Bahā’-Allāh in his Rashh-i `Ama' (line 8a)
كوثر حق از كاسه دل گشته هويدا
kawthar-i haqq āz kāsah-’ dil gashtih huvīdā ...
From the Goblet of the Heart the Kawthar ("Fount") of Reality has appeared;
Bahā’-Allāh in his very early Rashh-i `ama' (line 8a cited above) states that from the كاسه دل , "Goblet of the Heart" (kāsa ' dil) the كوثر حق , "Kawthar of Reality" (kawthar-i ḥaqq) has been made manifest. The meaning is probably that the spring or fount of real truth wells out from the centre of his being or that of the Bab. It is a kawthar as a Fount of "abundance" (see Qur'ān 108:1). In Islamic literatures it is usually understood to signify a fountain which gushes forth in Paradise. It occurs quite frequently in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture. Whatever the exact sense of kawthar-i ḥaqq in is in the Rashh-i `ama, it is would seen to indicate the `stream of spiritual reality' that flows out of the heart of the Bābī Cause through Bahā’-Allāh.
The word kawthar here is in genitive relationship with ḥaqq which could be translated in a variety of ways: "God", "Absolute Truth", or "Reality", "Ultimate Reality" etc. It is very frequently used in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture though it is not always clear how it is best translated. The first section of Bahā’-Allāh's Lawḥ-i ḥaqq (c. mid. 1850s-early 1860s?) provides good examples of the dhikr type (repetitive) use of this important term.
Az bagh-i ilāhī ("From the Garden of God", c. mid. 1850s or c. 1860?)
Citation from āz bagh-i ilāhī INBMC 35: 458
"Ah! Ah! This is indeed the Mighty Decree (qadar `uzmani)! This is the Great Destiny (`azm qadrani)!
This is the Pre-Eternal Legion [Army] (jaysh-i abadani) for the Essence of the Spirit of the True One (jawhar-i ruh-i haqq) hath come as the Destroyer of the idols (hadim-i asnam) with the Trumpet of "I am the True One" (ba sur-i `ana al-Haqq)! (trans. Lambden from INBMC 36:458; for the full text see INBMC 36:457-60 Pdf. on this website).
In the Lawh-i az bagh-i lāhī Bahā’-Allāh thus claims to have appeared with the "Trumpet of `I am al-ḥaqq' (bā ṣūr-i anā al-ḥaqq). The above lines would seem to refer to Baha'-Allah and/or the Bab, perhaps with an army of others (as divine aspects of the Bab-Baha'i pleroma of divinity), as those who sound the proclamation of the eschatological trumprt blast (Ar. sur = "trumpet") at which the "idols" of humanity are destroyed.
To this day the "intoxicated" identification with or claim to identity with al-Haqq remains highly theologically controversial. For more than millennium wayfarers on the spiriual path have preferred to identify with al-haqiqa ("Reality") rather than claim oneness or identity with al-Haqq ("The Reality of the True Godhead"). We shall see that in Babi-Baha'i theology the Bab and Baha'-Allah explicitly claimed to be Divine in the subordinate sense though this claim was made in explicit terms numerous times in line with their belief that the escatological "Day of God" and the liqa'-Allah (Meeting with God) had been both literally and symbolically realized. This in the light of theiri claiming to be the eschatological mazhar-i ilahi (Manifestation of God). The Unknowable Godhead remains, however, way beyond all that can and cannot be known. The utterly transcendent Deity, He, She, It, X, can never be direectly known or descend into creation.