‘An-al-Haq’ (I am the truth) – this statement would be the death of Mansur Al-Hallaj.

A Sufi poet, teacher and philosopher, Hallaj was executed on the orders of an Abbasside caliph for uttering these words, taken to mean Hallaj as claiming himself to be God. After more than a decade of imprisonment, Hallaj was eventually executed publically in Baghdad in the year 922.

He is seen by many as a revolutionary writer and teacher of his time, when practices of mysticism were not meant to be shared publically. Yet he remains a controversial figure, revered by Rumi, hated by many, he was labeled an intoxicated Sufi and is still read today.

Soon, Modern Times Stage Company in Toronto will be presenting the last night Hallaj spends in prison.

The play is written by Peter Farbridge and Soheil Parsa and directed by the latter. “He is given a choice to recant his beliefs or be executed. We try to work out his dilemma,” explains Farbridge.

The play will explore Hallaj’s quest. “Was he inspired by a spiritual notion or was he more of a mad man?” asks Farbridge, a question he says is never answered in the play. – Video by Modern Times Stage Company.

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