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On Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahullah)

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On Imam Abu Hanifah Being A Tabi‘I
January 12, 2013

An original Deoband.org article

By 'Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-'Uthmani

Translated by Zameelur Rahman





Know that the majority of hadith-scholars agree that a man becomes a Tabi‘i by merely having met a Sahabi and having seen him, and it is not a condition that he accompanies him for a period of time and narrates from him. [Al-Suyuti] said in Tadrib al-Rawi on the definition of a Tabi‘i:


It was said: he is one who met him [i.e. a Sahabi], although he did not accompany him, as was said on [the definition of] a Sahabi, and al-Hakim agrees with this. Ibn al-Salah said: “It is closest [to the truth].” The author [i.e. al-Nawawi] said: “It is most apparent.”


Al-‘Iraqi said: “The practice of the majority of the scholars of hadith is based on this, for indeed Muslim and Ibn Hibban included al-A‘mash amongst the generation of the Tabi‘in.” Ibn Hibban said: “We have included him in this generation because he had met [with a Sahabi] and had recollection [of that meeting]. He saw Anas although it is not authentic from him that he heard a connected narration from him.” Al-Tirmidhi said: “He did not hear any of the Sahabah.” Hafiz ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi also counted him amongst them, and he counted Yahya ibn Abi Kathir amongst them as he met Anas, and Musa ibn ‘A’ishah as he met ‘Amr ibn Hurayth.


Hafiz [ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani] said in Sharh Nukhbat al-Fikar:

This is the preferred view, as opposed to one who makes it a condition for a Tabi‘i to have accompanied [a Sahabi] for a period of time or that it is authentic he heard [from him], or that [he reached] the age of distinction (tamyiz).

Once this has been settled, we say:


Our Greatest Imam is undoubtedly a Tabi‘i according this preferred view and is included in His (Exalted is He) statement: “And those who follow them in excellence, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.” (9:100)


Imam ‘Ali al-Qari said in al-Tabaqat:

His sighting of some Sahabah has been established, and his narration from them has been disputed while the relied upon [position] is it is established as I explained in Sharh Musnad al-Imam regarding the condition of his chain of narration to some of the noble Sahabah. Hence, he is from the notable Tabi‘in as stated by the scholars and luminaries.


Hafiz al-Dhahabi mentioned him in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, and he said:

His birth was in the year 80. He saw Anas ibn Malik more than once when he came to them in Kufah. Ibn Sa‘d narrated this from Sayf ibn Jabir that he heard Abu Hanifah say this.


This shows al-Dhahabi was sure of [the accuracy of] this narration from Ibn Sa‘d as is not hidden.

The Seal of the Huffaz, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him), said in Tabyid al-Sahifah:

This question [of Abu Hanifah being a Tabi‘i] was raised to Hafiz Ibn Hajar and he replied with [a statement], the text of which is:

“Imam Abu Hanifah lived at the time of a group of Sahabah, as he was born in Kufah in the year 80 H, and at that time ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Awfa [resided] therein, since he died after that by agreement; and in Basra at that time there was Anas ibn Malik who died in the year 90 or thereafter.


“Ibn Sa‘d narrated with an unproblematic chain that Abu Hanifah saw Anas. Other Sahabah besides these two were alive in the lands [of Islam] after this.


“One of them [i.e. the scholars] compiled a volume on what was transmitted of Abu Hanifah’s narration from the Sahabah. However, their chains of narration (isnad) are not devoid of weakness.


“The relied upon [position] on his being present [in the times of which Sahabah] is what has passed, and on his sighting of some Sahabah what Ibn Sa‘d narrated in al-Tabaqat. Hence, by this consideration, he is from the rank of the Tabi‘in, and this has not been established for any of the Imams of the towns contemporary to him, like al-Awza‘i in the Levant, the two Hammads [ibn Salamah and Ibn Zayd] in Basrah, al-Thawri in Kufah, Malik in Madinah, Muslim ibn Khalid al-Zanji in Makkah and al-Layth ibn Sa‘d in Egypt. And Allah knows best.”

This is the end of what Hafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned.


The upshot of what he and others said is that the chains of those [reports on Abu Hanifah’s narration from the Sahabah] are graded weak and inauthentic, but are not baseless. Therefore, the matter of narrating them is flexible, because it is permissible to narrate a weak [narration] and to say without qualification that it has been narrated, as they have stated.


I say:

It is established from all of this that the Imam’s sighting of some Sahabah is established by [narrations] that are relied upon, and his narration from them has been narrated through weak transmissions, so if its weakness is due to the wickedness (fisq) of the narrators it will not rise by their sum total to the level of hasan, although because of the multiple paths, it will be excluded from having no basis as we mentioned previously from Tadrib al-Rawi in Bab Ahkam al-Da‘if from the introduction [to I‘la al-Sunan]; and if it is for other than wickedness it will rise from weakness to the level of hasan. It is not hidden that a man having narrated from someone is not from the subject of laws, rather from the subject of reports and virtues, so there is no stringency therein like the stringency in laws, since flexibility in the subject of virtues remains well-known amongst the hadith-scholars.


As for his sighting Anas, a great multitude of the hadith-scholars and the scholars of reports have confirmed it:

From them are Ibn Sa‘d, Hafiz al-Dhahabi and Hafiz Ibn Hajar as has passed.

Hafiz al-‘Iraqi said: “The narration from any one of the Sahabah is not authentic from Abu Hanifah, and he had indeed seen Anas.”


From them is al-Daraqutni. Hamzah al-Sahmi said: I heard al-Daraqutni say: “Abu Hanifah did not meet any of the Sahabah, although he did see Anas ibn Malik with his eyes, though he did not hear from him.” Al-Suyuti also cited these two [statements] in Tabyid al-Sahifah.


[From them is] Imam Abu Ma‘shar ‘Abd al-Karim ibn ‘Abd al-Samad al-Tabari al-Muqri’ al-Shafi‘i (d. 478 H), since he compiled a volume on that which Imam Abu Hanifah narrated from the Sahabah. Al-Suyuti also mentioned this.

From them is Hafiz al-Suyuti, since he mentioned the aforementioned statements and approved of them, and he regarded the narrations [of Abu Hanifah from the Sahabah] as not being baseless as has passed.


From them is Hafiz Abu al-Hajjaj al-Mizzi. He mentioned him in Tahdhib al-Kamal and he said: “He saw Anas.”


[From them] is Hafiz al-Khatib al-Baghdadi. He said in Tarikh Baghdad: “He saw Anas ibn Malik.”


[From them] is Imam al-Nawawi in Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat, for he quoted the statement of al-Khatib and he approved of it.


[From them] is Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi. He said in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanahiyah: “Abu Hanifah did not hear from the Sahabah. He only saw Anas ibn Malik.” (Tadhkirat al-Rashid, p. 281)


[From them] is Hafiz Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, since he said: “Muhammad ibn Sa‘d, the scribe of al-Waqidi, mentioned that Abu Hanifah saw Anas ibn Malik and ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz’ al-Zubaydi.” He mentioned this and remained silent after it [indicating his approval]. [This is extracted] from al-Jawhar al-Mudiyyah fi Tabaqat al-Hanafiyyah (1:273).


From them are Imam al-Jazari, al-Turbushti, author of Kashf al-Kashshaf and the author of Mir’at al-Jinan, Imam al-Yafi‘i. ‘Ali al-Qari mentioned them in Sharh Nukhbat al-Fikar amongst those who state Abu Hanifah saw Anas and other Sahabah, as also mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Rashid, p. 280.


From them is Ibn Hajar al-Makki since he said in al-Khayrat al-Hisan: “It is authentic, as al-Dhahabi said, that he saw Anas ibn Malik when he was small, and in one narration [he saw him] multiple times.”

From them is ‘Allamah Ahmad al-Qastallani, since he said in the commentary of al-Bukhari in Bab Wujub al-Salati fi al-Thiyab: “And from the Tabi‘in, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Sirin, al-Sha‘bi, Ibn al-Musayyab and Abu Hanifah.”

From them is al-Azniqi since he said in Madinat al-‘Ulum: “It is established by this distinction that the Imam is from the Tabi‘in.”


From them is ‘Allamah Badr al-Din al-‘Ayni al-Hanafi since he affirmed his narration from those Sahabah whose time he was present in, as mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Rashid (p. 281).


From them is Hafiz al-Sam‘ani since he said in al-Ansab: “Abu Hanifah al-Nu‘man ibn Thabit al-Taymi al-Kufi, the Imam of the champions of juristic opinion, and the jurist of Iraq. He saw Anas ibn Malik.”


From them is Hafiz ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi. He said in al-Kamil fi Asma’ al-Rijal: “He saw Anas.” This is mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Rashid (p. 427).


As for his narration from the Sahabah, Imam Abu Ma‘shar ‘Abd al-Karim ibn ‘Abd al-Samad al-Tabari al-Muqri’ al-Shafi‘i (d. 478 H) affirmed it, and he compiled a volume on it, as has preceded. He is from the great scholars of the Shafi‘is. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Baqi and others narrated from him, as mentioned in Tabaqat al-Shafi‘iyyah (3:243). Hafiz [ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani] mentioned him in Lisan al-Mizan, and he said: “He narrated from a group and he resided in Makkah, and he taught recitation [of the Qur'an] to people for a long time. Abu Nasr al-Ghazi, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd al-Baqi al-Ansari, and Abu Tamam al-Damiri and others narrated from him…Ibn Tahir said: ‘I heard Abu Sa‘d al-Harami say in Herat: ‘Abu Ma‘shar’s audition of Juz’ Ibn Nazif is not authentic, and he only took a copy and narrated it.’ I say: This is not a valid criticism.” (4:50)


The Imam and hadith-scholar, ‘Abd al-Qadir ibn Abu al-Wafa’ al-Qurashi al-Hanafi al-Misri, the first to write on the ranks (tabaqat) of the Hanafis, also affirmed it. Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned him in Husn al-Muhadarah, and Hafiz Ibn Hajar in al-Majma‘ al-Mu’assas and they praised him, as mentioned in al-Fawa’id al-Bahiyyah (p. 42). Al-Qurashi said: “Those from whom he heard, Allah Almighty be pleased with them all, are: ‘Abd Allah ibn Unays, ‘Abd Allah ibn Jaz’ al-Zubaydi, Anas ibn Malik, Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah, Ma‘qil ibn Yasar, Wathilah ibn al-Asqa‘ and ‘A’ishah bint ‘Ajrud. I related from al-Khatib that he saw Anas ibn Malik, and I refuted the one who said that he did not see him, and I explained that with a satisfactory explanation and all praise is due to Allah.” This is from al-Jawahir al-Mudiyyah (1:28).


The Imam, Abu ‘Ali ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far al-Razi narrated from Muhammad ibn Sama‘ah from Abu Yusuf: I heard Abu Hanifah say: “I performed Hajj with my father in the year 93 H when I was 16 [years old][1], when suddenly there was an old man around whom men had gathered, so I said to my father: ‘Who is this old man?’ He said: ‘This is a man who had accompanied the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) called ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz.’ I said to my father: ‘What does he have?’ He said: ‘Sayings he heard from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).’ I said to my father: ‘Take me to him that I may hear from him.’ I came in front of him and the people parted until I came close to him, and I heard him say: ‘Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever gains understanding in the religion of Allah, Allah will suffice him of his worries, and give him sustenance from where he did not imagine.”’”


Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrated it as follows: “It was reported to me from Abu Ya‘qub Yusuf ibn Ahmad al-Saydalani al-Makki: Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn Musa al-‘Uqayli narrated to us: ‘Abu ‘Ali ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far al-Razi narrated to us,” and he narrated it, and remained silent after it. This is in al-Jawahir al-Mudiyyah (1:273). The statement has preceded from Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr relating from Ibn Sa‘d that Abu Hanifah saw Anas and ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz’ al-Zubaydi, indicating that he believed what Abu ‘Ali ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far al-Razi related is authentic. Allah knows best.


It has another route transmitted by the chief judge, Muhammad ibn Mahmud al-Khawarizmi, in Jami‘ al-Masanid from Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Sama‘ah: Bishr ibn al-Walid al-Qadir narrated to us: Abu Yusuf al-Qadi narrated to us: Abu Hanifah narrated to us, and he mentioned it, although he said: “I performed Hajj with my father in the year 96.” (1:24)


Al-Khawarizmi said: “From his virtues and excellences which was not shared by anyone after him is that he narrated from the companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), since the ‘ulama are agreed on this, although they differ regarding their number.” (1:22) Probably the intent of “‘ulama’” is the Hanafis in particular, and by their “agreement,” the agreement of most of them, and it is not hidden that the owner of a house is more knowledgeable of what is in it. ‘Allamah Muhaddith al-‘Ayni also affirmed his narration from the Sahabah as has preceded, and ‘Allamah ‘Ali al-Qari, since he said: “The relied-upon [position] is it is established,” and it has preceded from al-Suyuti that he did not regard them as baseless.

Whoever denies Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him) is a Tabi‘i after this is either a deficient ignoramus or a pathetic fanatic.

(Abu Hanifah wa Ashabuhu l-Muhaddithun, Idarat al-Qur’an wa l-‘Ulum al-Islamiyyah, 1427 H, 6-11)

  1. This is how it is in the original, and it is probably 96 [as the preferred view is he was born in 80 H] as in Jami‘ al-Masanid, and in all cases it is not free of problems, since ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Harith died in the year 86 or 87 and it was said 88 in Egypt; unless it is said that there was word-alteration (tashif) in the narration and the Imam saw him in the year 86 when his age was 6 years old, and this ‘Abd Allah died in this year or after it by one or two years after returning to Egypt. And Allah knows best. (‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani) []
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Imam Abu Hanifah and his connection to the Sahabi: Ibn Mas‘ūd (ra)





The following is a short treatise linking the Ḥanafī Madhab, one of the great schools of jurisprudence established during the time of the Salaf, to one of the great Companions of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd, and for the most part this treatise also serves as an answer to the accusations made against this great companion with regards to his credentials in the Islāmic sciences.


علاقة مذهب أبي حنيفة النعمان بعبد الله ابن مسعود أبي عبد الرحمان 


The Connection of the School of Abū Ḥanīfah al-Nu‘mān
with ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd Abū ‘Abd ‘l-Raḥmān


Imām Abū Ḥanīfah’s chain of knowledge is as follows:

Imām Abū Ḥanīfah
Ḥammād Ibn Abī Sulaymān
Ibrahīm al-Nakha‘ī
‘Alqamah Ibn Qays
‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd


1. Imām Abū Ḥanīfah al-Nu‘mān Ibn Thābit: he took over the seat of teaching in Kūfā after his teacher Ḥammād Ibn Abī Sulaymān passed away, and was recognised as his main student.[1]


2. Ḥammād Ibn Abī Sulaymān: he was the most learned of the students of Ibrāhīm al-Nakha‘ī and the most noble.[2]


3. Ibrāhīm al-Nakha‘ī: he was born into a family of Scholars, he succeeded ‘Alqamah Ibn Qays, his maternal uncle.[3] He was also regarded as those who were most knowledgeable in regards to opinions and views of ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd.[4]


4. ‘Alqamah Ibn Qays: he was a highly recognised student of ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd to the extent that he was regarded as the closest of the people in terms of attributes, conduct and habit, to ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd.[5]


5. He is ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd (May Allāh be pleased with him), he was a noteable ṣaḥābī (companion) of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ and died in the year 33 or 34 ḥijrī. He has many outstanding virtues which would be far too lengthy to mention here.  It suffices to say that there was not a field that he himself did not excel in, this is because of his attachment to the Messenger ﷺ and always being in close proximity to him; learning from him, helping him [doing his khidmah], asking questions related to the Dīn to the extent that even onlookers would think that he was part of the Ahl ‘l-Bayt [The Messenger’s ﷺ family].


Imām Shams ‘l-Dīn al-Dhahabī writes in his Siyar:

وأخرج البخاري والنسائي من حديث أبي موسى قال: قدمت أنا وأخي من اليمن، فمكثنا حينا، وما نحسب ابن مسعود وأمه إلا من أهل بيت النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لكثرة دخولهم وخروجهم عليه .


‘(Imām) al-Bukhārī and (Imām) al-Nasā’ī narrated from a narration of Abū Mūsā that he said: ‘Me and my brother came from Yemen [to Madīnah] and stayed for sometime, we were then led to believe that Ibn Mas‘ūd and his mother were part of the household of the Prophet ﷺ due to their constant going in and out [from the house]’.[6]


He goes on to narrate further:

منصور والأعمش: عن أبي وائل قال: كنت مع حذيفة، فجاء ابن مسعود، فقال حذيفة: إن أشبه الناس هديا ودلا وقضاء وخطبة برسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – من حين يخرج من بيته، إلى أن يرجع، لا أدري ما يصنع في أهله


‘Manṣūr and al-A‘mash [both] narrate from Abū Wā’il that he said we were with Ḥudhayfah while Ibn Mas‘ūd went by, so Ḥudhayfah said [regarding Ibn Mas‘ūd]: ‘Verily, [he was] the closest of the people to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ in terms of conduct, habit, judgement and speech, until he went in his home [after which we did not know]’.[7]


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd – The Narrator of Ḥadīth

عن حذيفة قال كنا جلوسا عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال إني لا أدري ما قدر بقائي فيكم فاقتدوا باللذين من بعدي وأشار إلى أبي بكر وعمر واهتدوا بهدي عمار وما حدثكم ابن مسعود فصدقوه هذا حديث حسن وروى إبراهيم بن سعد هذا الحديث عن سفيان الثوري عن عبد الملك بن عمير عن هلال مولى ربعي عن ربعي عن حذيفة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نحوه وقد روى سالم المرادي الكوفي عن عمرو بن هرم عن ربعي بن حراش عن حذيفة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نحو هذا


From Ḥudhayfah that he said: ‘We were sitting with the Prophet ﷺ and he said: ‘I do not know how long I will be amongst you, so stick to the two after me,’ and he signalled towards Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, ‘be guided through the example of ‘Ammār and whatever Ibn Mas‘ūd narrates to you believe it [accept it]’.[8] [imām al-Tirmidhī said] This is a ḥasan ḥadīth, Ibrāhīm Ibn Sa‘d narrates this ḥadīth from Suyān al-Thawrī from ‘Abd ‘l-Mālik Ibn ‘Umayr from Hilāl the Mawlā of Rib‘ī from Rib‘ī from Ḥudhayfah from the Prophet ﷺ similar to the above. Sālim al-Murādī al-Kūfī also narrated the same from ‘Amr Ibn Harim from Rib‘ī Ibn Ḥirāsh from Ḥudhayfah from Prophet ﷺ similar to the above.[9]


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd – The Mufassir (Qur’ānic Exegete)

قال عبد الله رضي الله عنه والله الذي لا إله غيره ما أنزلت سورة من كتاب الله إلا أنا أعلم أين أنزلت ولا أنزلت آية من كتاب الله إلا أنا أعلم فيم أنزلت ولو أعلم أحدا أعلم مني بكتاب الله تبلغه الإبل لركبت إليه


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd said: ‘By Allāh besides whom there is no God, there is not a sūrah that was revealed from the Book of Allāh except that I am the most knowledgable regarding where it was revealed, and there is not an āyah from the Book of Allāh that was revealed except that I am the most knowledgeable regarding its [reason for] revelation, and if I were to know of anyone more knowledgeable than me regarding the book of Allāh who was within [the distance of] a camel’s journey, I would surely travel to him’.[10]


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd – The Faqīh (Jurisprudent)

The statement of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb regarding Ibn Mas‘ūd’s jurisprudential skills proves he also excelled in this field:

عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ: أَقْبَلَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ وَعُمَرُ جَالِسٌ، فَقَالَ: “كُنَيْفٌ مُلِئَ فِقْهًا “


From Zayd Ibn Wahb, he said: ‘Abdullāh came by one day whilst ‘Umar was sitting, so he [‘Umar] said: ‘He [ibn Mas‘ūd] is a person filled with [the knowledge of] fiqh’.[11]


It is sufficient to mention that Imām al-Dhahabī gives him the title of Faqīh ‘l-Ummah (The Jurist of the Ummah)[12].


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd – The Natural Leader

عَنْ عَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “لَوْ كُنْتُ مُسْتَخْلِفًا أَحَدًا مِنْ غَيْرِ مَشُورَةٍ، لاسْتَخْلَفْتُ عَلَيْهِمُ ابْنَ أُمِّ عَبْدٍ”. هَذَا حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحُ الإِسْنَادِ، وَلَمْ يُخَرِّجَاهُ


From ‘Alī may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: ‘If I were to appoint a leader (khalīfah) without consultation then I would appoint over them Ibn Ummi ‘Abd (Ibn Mas‘ūd)’. [imām al-Ḥākim says] This is a ḥadīth which has an authentic chain although it was not narrated in the ṣaḥīḥayn’.[13]


‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd – The Qārī (Reciter)
عن عبد الله بن عمرو قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: خذوا القرآن من أربعة من عبد الله بن مسعود وسالم ومعاذ بن جبل وأبي بن كعب

From ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Amr that he said: the Messenger of Allāh said: ‘Take the Qur‘ān [meaning it’s recitation] from four (people), from ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd, Sālim, Mu‘ādh Ibn Jabal, and Ubayy Ibn Ka‘b’.[14]


Points of Benefit:

One thing the above Imāms have in common is that they were all distinguished students of their teachers. This chain of knowledge containing intellectuals of the highest calibre from their respective times has been summarised in Radd ‘l-Muḥtār of ‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Ābidīn al-Shāmī as follows:

الفقه زرعه عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه ، وسقاه علقمة ، وحصده إبراهيم النخعي ، وداسه حماد ، وطحنه أبو حنيفة ، وعجنه أبو يوسف وخبزه محمد ، فسائر الناس يأكلون من خبزه

‘Fiqh was planted by ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd, irrigated by ‘Alqamah, harvested by Ibrāhīm al-Nakha‘ī, threshed by Ḥammād [ibn Abī Sulaymān], milled by Abū Ḥanīfah, kneaded by Abū Yūsuf, and then baked by Muḥammad [ibn ‘l-Ḥasan al-Shaybani]. [And now] the rest of Muslims are eating from his bread.'[15]



It is manifest that the great companion ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas‘ūd was a Mujtahid of highest repute, and left no field except that he had mastered it.

[1] Imām al-Dhahabī, Siyar A‘lām ‘l-Nubalā (5/232)[2] Ibid.[3] Ibid (4/521)[4] Imām Dāraqūṭnī, Sunan al-Dāraqūṭnī (3/94 no. 3319)[5] Ibid (4/55), Imām al-Dhahabī writes:


وكان يشبه بابن مسعود في هديه ودله وسمته


[6] Ibid (1/469)[7] Ibid (1/471), also narrated in al-Bukhārī.[8] In other narrations the wording is:

وتمسكوا بعهد ابن مسعود


‘Hold tightly to the order of Ibn Mas‘ūd’, refer to Musnad ‘l-Ḥumaydī (#436).

[9] Imām al-Tirmidhī, Jāmi‘ ‘l-Tirmidhī (#3799)[10] Imām al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ’l-Bukhārī (#4716)


[11] Imām Ibn Abī Shaybah, al-Muṣannaf (#31557)[12] Imām al-Dhahabī, Siyar A‘lām ‘l-Nubalā (1/462)[13] Imām al-Ḥākim, Mustadrak ‘ala ‘l-Ṣaḥīḥayn (#5354)[14] Imām al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ ‘l-Bukhārī (#4713)[15] ‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Ābidīn, Radd ‘l-Muḥtār (1/51)



Compiled by Abu Humayd


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Imam Abu Hanifah and Hadith



Ulama claim that Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) has narrated some Hadiths. Can you mention some of the most well known amongst the Hadiths, along with the references.




Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) states regarding Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah):


‘… He in actual fact has abundant narrations/Hadiths.’

(Al-Jawahir Wad Durar, vol.2 pg.946-948 as quoted in Atharul Hadithish Sharif, pg.171-172)


There are thousands of Hadiths reported via Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah).


Imam Muhammad ibn Sama’ah (rahimahullah) mentions that Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) quoted seventy thousand Hadiths!.

(Atharul Hadithish Sharif, pg.174)


You may refer to Imam Abu Hanifah’s Hadith book entitled: Musnadul Imam Abi Hanifah for more.


In this book (and others) Imam Abu Hanifah’s (rahimahullah) chains for the Hadiths are also quoted.


Al-Muhaddith Shaykh ‘Abid Sindhi (rahimahullah) – the author of the recently published commentary on Musnadul Imam Abi Hanifah; entitled: Al-Mawahibul Latifah makes a point of highlighting those Hadiths of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) that also appear in the famous six (and other) Hadith books.


Note: the above clearly dispels the myth about Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) only having very few Hadiths…

One should avoid such futile discussions.


And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,


Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar


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  • 9 months later...

Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA), whose real name was Nu’maan bin Thaabit was born in the year 80 A.H. in a family of businessmen. He saw Rasulullaah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)’s special servant, the eminent Sahabi Hadhrat Anas bin Maalik (RA). Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) possessed an excellent memory. He always assisted the poor, fulfilled the rights of his neighbours and behaved cordially even towards his enemies and antagonists. He engaged in Salaah all night and wept so much during the Salaah that people outside the house heard him and took pity on him. Hadhrat Nasr bin Haajib (RA) says that he sometimes spent the night at the house of Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) and would see him weep so profusely that his tears wet the mat as they fell like rain. He says that he could actually hear them fall. Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) assisted his poor students and used to even send money to their homes for household expenses. He avoided the ruling class and would not accept the gifts they sent him. Impressed by his courage and outspoken manner in defence of the truth, the Khalifah Mansoor’s wife once sent fifty thousand Dirhams and an exquisite conveyance for Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA), but he declined the gift saying, “I did it for Allaah and in defence of the Deen, not for worldly gain.”    



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Mufti A.H.Elias-May Allaah protect him
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When he grew up, Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) paid keen interest in acquiring the knowledge of Deen and studied under senior teachers and Imaams, eventually mastering the sciences he learned. The Fuqahaa and Muhadditheen attest to his proficiency in these fields and acknowledge that he was indeed a Haafidh of Ahadeeth. He did not only study under the famous Muhadditheen of Kufa, but also travelled to Makkah and Madinah to study Ahadeeth. His teachers numbered almost 400. Allaama Dhahabi (RA) writes, “Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) was an expert in the science of Ahadeeth and was regarded as one of the Huffaadh of Ahadeeth.” In fact, contribution to the science of Ahadeeth was tremendous in that he was the first to deliberate upon the conditions for narrating Ahadeeth and to specify the various ranks of the Ahadeeth. He was also well aware of the lives and credibility of the various narrators of Ahadeeth. It is for this reason that Hadhrat Imaam Abu Yusuf (RA) would say that Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) knew more authentic Ahadeeth than he did.    



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Mufti A.H.Elias-May Allaah protect him

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The real accomplishment of Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) was the documentation and codification of the science of Fiqh. Thousands of intricate questions were raised during his time, which he solved with the teachings of the Qur'aan and the Ahadeeth. In fact, it was his principle never to venture beyond the teachings of the Qur'aan, the Ahadeeth, consensus of the Ummah, and the statements of the Sahabah (RA) when solving the various questions that arose. He established a committee that deliberated upon the various questions at length and viewed them in the light of Qur'aan, the Ahadeeth, consensus of the Ummah and analytical deduction (Qiyaas). The decisions they reached were then documented. This practice continued for 30 years. Ulema have written that Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) had solved approximately 1 200 000 questions pertaining to acts of Ibaadah, monetary dealings and various other aspects of Deen. All these have been presented before the Ummah. Acknowledging his intellectual prowess in Fiqh and his mastery of the Qur'aan and Ahadeeth, senior Fuqahaa and Muhadditheen have stated that Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) was the greatest Faqih (jurist) of his time and one who understood the objectives of the Qur'aan and the Ahadeeth. Even Imaam Shaafi’ee (RA) stated that he had never known a jurist better than Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) and that everyone needs him in the field of Fiqh.     



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Mufti A.H.Elias-May Allaah protect him

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Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) repeatedly refused to occupy the post of Chief Justice despite the insistence of the Khalifah. The Khalifah Mansoor eventually summoned him to Baghdad and offered him the post there. When he refused yet again, the Khalifah imprisoned him and tortured him. He was lashed every day until he bled. Unable to bear it any longer, he eventually raised his hands to Allaah in tears and pleaded his helplessness and suffering before Him. Muhammad bin Muhaajir reports that one-day a cup full of poison was forced down the Imaam’s throat, causing him to pass away. This was in the year 150 A.H. Fifty thousand people arrived for his Janaazah Salaah, which had to be performed six times. The first Janaazah Salaah was led by the Chief Justice of Baghdad Qaadhi Hasan bin Amaarah (RA) and the last one was led by the Imaam’s son Hammaad (RA). Thousands of Ulema were devastated by his demise and the renowned scholar Imaam Shu’ba (RA) said, “Innaa Lillaahi wa Innaa Ilayhi Raaji’oon! The light of knowledge has been extinguished in Kufa. Take note that the people of Kufa will never again see the likes of Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA).”   



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Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi: No need to discuss the reliability of Imams like Abu Hanifa  




AbuIshaq al-Shirazi: No need to discuss the reliability of Imams like Abu Hanifa


وجملته أن الراوي لا يخلو إما أن يكون معلوم العدالة أو معلوم الفسق أو مجهول الحال، فإن كانت عدالته معلومة كالصحابة رضي الله عنهم أو أفاضل التابعين كالحسن وعطاء والشعبي والنخعي وأجلاء الأئمة كمالك وسفيان وأبي حنيفة والشافعي وأحمد وإسحاق ومن يجري مجراهم وجب قبول خبره ولم يجب البحث عن عدالته


“To summarize; a narrator is either known for his reliability or for his being unsound or else he will be unknown. If his reliability is known as is the case of the Companions, or greatest of the Successors (tabi’un) like Hasan (al-Basri), ‘Ata, al-Sha’bi, al-Nakha’i, and most exalted of the Imams like Malik, Sufyan (al-Thawri), Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Ishaq and those like them, it is imperative to accept their reports and discussion about their trustworthiness is not required.”


 (Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, Al-Luma’ fi Usool al-Fiqh, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiya, Beirut, 2003 p.77)


Who was Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi?


الشيخ، الإمام، القدوة، المجتهد، شيخ الإسلام، أبو إسحاق إبراهيم بن علي بن يوسف الفيروزآبادي، الشيرازي، الشافعي، نزيل بغداد، قيل: لقبه جمال الدين مولده: في سنة ثلاث وتسعين وثلاث مائة
قال أبو بكر الشاشي: أبو إسحاق حجة الله على أئمة العصر وقال الموفق الحنفي: أبو إسحاق أمير المؤمنين في الفقهاء


“The Shaykh, the Imam, the exemplar, the Mujtahid, Shaykh al-Islam, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Yusuf al-Ferozabadi, al-Shirazi, al-Shafi’i, resident of Baghdad. His surname was Jamal ad-Deen. He was born in 393 A.H. …


Abu Bakr al-Shashi said: ‘Abu Ishaq is Allah’s proof on the leading scholars of the time.’ al-Mofaq al-Hanafi said, ‘Abu Ishaq is the Leader of the Faithful from among the fuqaha.’”


(al-Dhahabi, Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala, al-Resalah publications, Beirut, 1985 vol.18 pp.452-455)


Yahya Ja’far



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