Over time, Hallaj has become a saintly hero of legendary proportions. He advocated justice for the poor, worked healing miracles, spoke wildly about God's love for humanity, and was regularly denounced as a heretic. He was a poet who became known as the ecstatic "mystic pillar" of Islam, "the martyr of mystical love." Hallaj announced that he wanted to give his life in divine love for humanity, to practice "a transfiguring compassion for the suffering of the world." He was persecuted precisely because of his mystical claims, such as his insistence that "with one saint, God purifies 70,000 people every minute." In his most infamous statement, he announced "I am the Truth." Today, scholars believe he was simply explaining his oneness with the Creator and creation, and the deep truth that every human being is united with a loving God.

John Dear, You Will Be My Witnesses