The Futility of Competing Corruption: The Poetics of Resistance and Counter-Hegemony in Al-Hallaj’s Al-Tawasin



Abbasid Caliphate, Al-Tawasin, hegemony, resistance, Sufism,


Husayn ibn Mansur Al-Hallaj (857-922 AD) is one of the most famous poets in medieval history. He was an exemplary figure who was persecuted for his revolutionary insights. Al-Hallaj is considered to be an object of debate, creative inspiration, and spiritual insight whose resistance to the corruption and oppression of the political society of the Abbasid Caliphate can be seen as a struggle of competing hegemonies. The Caliphate authority was built on a feeble and "minimal" hegemony, with limited ideological assimilation and understanding between the ruling class and the civil poor one. Hence, prevalent antagonism was raised to construct counter-hegemony and oppose the corrupt authoritative domination of the state. Among such efforts was Al-Hallaj's heartbreaking attempt to resist and construct an ideology that voices the poor's anxieties and demands. He is considered to be one of the most captivating and controversial figures in early Sufism and as one of the greatest mystical figures of Islam. His aroused level of dialogue, both on the subject of justice and on the defense of Qur'anic based Islam, was determined in this powerful period. He is best known for his saying: "I am the Truth" (انا الحق), which many saw as a claim to divinity, while others interpreted it as an instance of annihilation of the ego which allows God to speak through the individual. Al-Hallaj's story is one of the awesome mysteries and guides across the ages to those who would pursue the truth of our human existence to its deepest and most exacting profound source. However, his ideas to compete oppression proved to be a sheer failure ended up with his torture and death. Thus, this paper analyses Al-Hallaj's Al-Tawasin in which he presented a summary of his mystical and linguistic thought. The uniqueness of ideas, their strangeness, and their departure from the prevailing cultural and intellectual pattern in the cultural and historical context in Al-Tawasin called for a special expressive language that relied on ambiguity and abstraction.


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How to Cite

El-Sawy, A. (2022). The Futility of Competing Corruption: The Poetics of Resistance and Counter-Hegemony in Al-Hallaj’s Al-Tawasin. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 10(19), 38–49. Retrieved from