Mansour Al-Hallaj: From The ‘Book of Tawasin‘- About The Triple Enclosure
An example of ‘triple enclosure’ in Islam:
The dome of the Rock, plan of the Al-Aqsa Mosque
on the Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem.
(Source: page 194 of Bruno Etienne’s biography of Abdelkader, Hachette, Paris-1994)
Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is an impressive excerpt from Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj’s’ ‘Book of Tawasin‘, about the ‘triple enclosure’, here taken from Stephane Ruspoli’s French edition, published in 2007 by Albouraq Publications. From pages 126 & 127, in our Via-HYGEIA working English translations. The description of this particular symbol is to be found in the writings of Louis Charbonneau-Lassay and René Guénon, as an example of a typical symbol of an elusive tradition within Christianity. It is fascinating to continuously dis-cover that symbols are of an universal nature and beyond the cultural differences speak of the human experience in front of the unknown and the unfathomable, the intersectional domain of the ‘mundus imaginalis’. Western alchemist, such as Michael Maier or Eirenaeus Philalethes used the concept of enclosures and walled gardens to signify stages of the great work, etc…
From Book II, ‘Tasin of the Quest after Truth’
Symbolism of the point and the circles of the truth
(884) 14. Here is the sketch of truth, and those who seek it, with mention of its doors and access means.
The external enclosure does not allow to reach it (truth), the second leads there, but the means of access are being severed, and the third enclosure makes one wander in the desert of the ‘truth of the truth’. Disenchantment is the reward for the person who enters the inner cercle, as ‘the path is closed, and the seeker is sent back’. The superior point is his thought, and the inferior point marks his return to the initial point of departure, and the central point displays his perplexity.
(894) The interior circle does not have a door, and the point that dwells in its center, it is the ‘signification of the truth’. The signification of the truth is a thing that both outsides and insides (of the creatures) can not escape and it allows no perishable forms.
Abraham and the sacrifice of the birds
(898) 15. If you are eager to understand what i am alluding to, ‘take four birds and cut them while turning them towards you.’ (note 1-Kur’an, 2-260), then the true one will not try to fly away. After being away, a sincere zeal made him present himself, while fear was paralyzing him and perplexity was depriving him of his means. Such are the meanings of truth. More tenuous to grasp is the circle of the inert substances (ma’adin) and the remains of cotton balls (note 2). More tenuous than anything else, is the ‘understanding of the understanding’ that puts an end to conjecture.
The enclosure of the Ka’ba as symbol of unity
(912) 16. So it goes for the person who speaks from the circle’s enclosure, not from behind the circle (of truth). As for ‘the Science of the science’, it is forbidden, and the interior circle is its forbidden domain. This is why the Prophet was called ‘Forbidden’ (harami). No one came out unscathed from the forbidden Enclosure, except him. ‘Because he was seized with fear and came out covered with the cloak of Truth, and gave a warning cry to Humanity.’
(920) 17. Even more tenuous to grasp if the recall of the Point, as it is the origin. The Point neither expands nor diminishes, nor ceases. The ignorant dwells in the external circle and slurs my spiritual state, because he does not see me. Then he calls me an heretic and throws anathemas to me. ‘ He shouts, out of outrage, realizing that my condition dwells in the forbidden Enclosure that is beyond, and shouts: ‘Ho!’.
(924) The adept of the second circle thinks i am a wise initiate. The person who reaches the third circle believes i am in safety. Finally, the person who reaches the ‘circle of the truth’ forgets me and disappear from my sight. ‘No, indeed! There is no refuge. To your Lord on that Day is the settlement. On that Day man will be informed of everything he put forward, and everything he left behind.’ (Kur’an, 75, 11-13). Then he runs to find out, and flees towards the refuge. He fears what is evil, and worries being abused and deceived.
(929) 17bis. I dived into the abysses of the ocean of eternity. The person who reaches the circle of the Truth remains on the shore of the ocean of knowledge, busied by his own science, and he disappeared from my sight. He has not refuge anymore ! I am now his refuge, and in his progression, he must come to me because he is below my station. There is no other shelter than me. I can instruct him of his beginning and his end, because he had fled and errs in his science.
Parabola of the bird
(930) 18. I saw a bird among the birds of Sufism. That bird had two wings, and was ignorant of my condition as he was still flying. He came to question me about purity (safa), and i told him: ‘Cut your wings with the scissors of abolition (fana), otherwise you cannot follow me’. He answered: ‘Thanks to my wings I fly towards my Friend.‘ I told him: ‘Poor wretch! -“Nothing is like Him“-(Kur’an, 42, 11)’. At that very moment, he fell into the ocean of understanding and drowned.
1. Kur’an says (2, 260): “And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [ Allah ] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.“.
Stephane Ruspoli explains: ‘The holocaust of sacrificed birds by Abraham comes from ‘Genesis’ 15,9-11. It has been developed in a midrash form, the ‘Abraham’s apocalypse’ (chapter 12)-another possible source of this Koranic verse. The bird that does not fly away represents Hallaj who does not shy away in front of his own sacrifice.’
2.‘cotton balls’ is a reference to Hallaj’s nickname: ‘cotton carder‘.