Walt Whitman And Al-Hallaj As A Sufi Poet

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Whitman and AL-Hallaj as Sufi poets Throughout centuries poets and mystics of all nations have faced the dilemma of trying to express the inexpressible (Selim 26). They had a lot of knowledge, and insights within, but they were unable to put them into words in many occasions. Especially in times of intense spirituality, words failed to express the ecstasy they reached often through meditation and deep thinking. Sufi poets were among the most poets who suffered from this dilemma. Their beliefs were hard to interpret into words, for they have talked about the Divine and the unity with this higher power. And such radical ideas evoked controversy at that time. Their audacity in expressing their beliefs encouraged many writers to shed the light …show more content…
In his poem “song of myself”, which is divided into 52 sections, he discussed many crucial ideas. He talked about unity, nature, identity, spirituality, and the cyclical nature of life. In the first, third, sixth, and the seventh section respectively, he talked about the cyclical nature of life and how life for him never ends. In fact, death for him is just a phase that everyone has to go through. In other words, life for him is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again and it never ends. If human beings die they give life to other livings. Thus, our life is never really wasted. We will always be the buds for other lives “the smallest sprouts show there is nearly no death/ and ceased the moment life appeared /all goes onward and outward nothing collapses (Whitman, section6). Sufis, as well, believed in the cyclical nature of life. In fact, as mentioned earlier, for the mystics there’s no beginning, no end, no birth, and no death (Weber 222).Given that, Mansur al- Hallaj could be considered an authentic Sufi poet. Although, he doesn’t specifically mention the cyclical nature of life in his poems, but as an authentic Sufi he must have believed in the cyclical nature of life as …show more content…
Since they believed that the divine is everywhere and no sense of” you” as a separate individual remains. This oneness with God was clearly evident in almost all of Al- Hallaj’s poems, especially in his poem “I am He whom I love”, where he said that he and God are two souls blended in one “If thou seest me/thou seest Him/And if thou seest Him/thou seest us both (Badawi 47).In fact, the whole concept of unity lies in these line. Moreover, it’s important to note that in Sufism there’s amusement and celebration in the loss of identity in union with God. Whitman, on the other hand, shared this sense of oneness and unity with him. Throughout the whole poem Whitman made it clear that he feels united with god. For he knows that “The hand of god is the promise of my own/ The spirit of the god is the brother of my own (Whitman, section 5). Moreover, Whitman’s unity expanded to include other forms of unity. In his poem, we see him equating himself to other human beings. He sees himself as a reflection of other people and he sympathizes with people to the extent that their pain becomes his “In all people I see myself/…I am integral with you (Whitman, section 20, 21). Also Mansur al- Hallaj talked about the unity with other people in his poem “your spirit is mingled with mine” when he said “whatever touches you touches me/ in all stations of the soul you are I” (Badawi 47).

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