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Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr


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About the Author

Husayn Ibn Mansur Al-Hallaj was born in the ninth century and became a major writer and thinker of the Sufi movement.

Carl W. Ernst is William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and codirector of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. He is the author of How to Read the Qur'an: A New Guide, with Select Translations and many other scholarly works.


"Ernst has lovingly prologued the poet's life and work, paying homage to a poet we'd otherwise never have known. He advances the cause of Islam and poetry, illuminates the Qur'an; and dialogues with this poet about the meanings and manners of poetry held in a special time and place that's now sustained as a living thing." --The Washington Independent Review of Books

"As the modern Indian novelist, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, wrote about Hallaj in his short story collection Anargha Nimisham . . . his enemies may eliminate Hallaj's body but they cannot extinguish his voice. This book amplifies Hallaj's voice in a new language." --Reading Religion
"'Before Rumi there was Hallaj.' Carl Ernst makes this astute observation is his Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr, to date the most thorough study in English of the verse of al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, a seminal figure of Islamic mysticism. Ernst provides a rigorous introduction to the writings of Hallaj, followed by carefully crafted translations based on his insightful readings of over a hundred poems ascribed to this early Sufi poet." --Th. Emil Homerin, author of Principles of Sufism
"This translation of al-Hallaj's poetry by a specialist in Sufism comes at the right time. With the increasing interest in Sufism, al-Hallaj's poetry responds to many queries with respect to Sufism, its itineraries, idioms, and basic conceptualizations that lay the ground for later scholarship. Carl Ernst mobilized his devotion, tact, and artistry to convey sense and sound of the poetry of a great Sufi master." --Muhsin al-Musawi, author of The Medieval Islamic Republic of Letters

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