Al-Khatib al-Baghdādi records a statement from Imām Abū Ḥanīfah’s grandson, Isma’īl bin Ḥammād, who gave Abū Ḥanīfah’s lineage as ‘Thabit bin No’mān bin
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Place of birth: Kufa

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!Im!m Ab # $an%fah (150 A.H/767 A.D) is a well known Mujtahid born in the year 80 A.H. (689 A.D.). He is 1known as ÇThe Greatest Im !mÈ (al-Imam al-AÕ “am) and is the Þrst of the four Mujtahid Im !ms and the only successor (t!biÕ”) amongst them. He was born into a family of tradesmen in the city of K #fa in ÔIr !q. !Although Im !m Ab # $an%fah was born in K #fa, he was originally from Persian origin. It was Þrst his grandfather named ÔZawtaÕ who, after accepting Isl !m in Persia at the time of Ali RadhiAllahuAnh Õs Caliphate, came and settled in K #fa. After settling in K #fa, his grandfather ÔZawtaÕ changed his name to ÔNoÕmanÕ. He 2(i.e. Abu Han %fahÕs grandfather) then later had a son named Th !bit. Th !bit was the father of Im !m Ab # $an%fah. He named Im !m Ab # $an%fah ÔNoÕman’, identical to the name of his father. Al-Khatib al-Baghd !di records a statement from Im !m Ab # $an%fahÕs grandson, Isma’ %l bin $amm!d, who gave Ab # $an%fahÕs lineage as ÔThabit bin NoÕm !n bin MarzubanÕ and claiming to be of Persian origin. !Umar RadhiAllahuAnh has said regarding K #fa, that it is the Ôtreasure houseÕ of Im !n. All the Mufassireen, Muhadditheen, and Fuqah ! were based in K #fa. The year Im !m Ab # $an%fah was born was the year in which many ‘a&!bah were passing away. ItÕs even said that the grandfather of Im !m Ab # $an%fah, NoÕm !n, took him to Ali RadhiAllahuAnh and asked him to make dua for Ab # Han%fah. 3!ÔAbu Han %fahÕ There is a widespread belief that Im !m Ab # $an%fah had become famous by the title ÔAb # $an%fahÕ simply because he had a daughter named ÔHanifahÕ, that he once faced difÞculty solving an issue that he was presented with and it was his daughter ÔHanifahÕ who promised to give him the answer to the issue if he agreed to adopt her name in his title – and which after agreeing and receiving the answer – he titled himself that. However, this is a mere fabrication and has no basis. In fact, Im !m Ab # $an%fah did not have any daughter named ÔHanifahÕ, he only had one son named Ô $amm!dÕ who he named after his teacher 4!1A mujtahid is a scholar who is qualiÞed enough to perform ijtih !d. When rulings do not directly appear in the QurÕ !n or $ad%th, 1juridical analogy (qiy!s) is done after going through several Ahad %th and pre-existing rulings. This process is known as ijtih !d. Seerat Aimma ArbaÕa ; Maulana Q!zi Athar Mub !rakp #ri; Pg. 31 2 Tar “kh Baghd!d; Khat%b Ab # Bakr al-Baghd!di; V. 13; Pg. 327 3 al-Khat%b; Tar “kh Baghd”d; V. 13; Pg. 329 4

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Ô$amm!d bin Abi Sulaym !nÕ. In reality the reason why he became famous with the title ÔAbu Han %fahÕ is because ÔHan %fahÕ refers to the upright monotheistic religion, which is mentioned in the Qur !n and ÔAbu 5Han%fah would mean someone who stays steadfast on the truth and orthodoxy. He was seen as one who was in the forefront in being the leading scholar in the legislative laws of faith. 6!ÔÕAjamiÕ The ÔArabs have termed all Non-ÔArabs as ÔÔAjamisÕ meaning those who are ÔdumberÕ compared to the ÔArabs since they donÕt know the Arabic language. Im !m Ab # $an%fah was also a non-ÔArab. He was neither from the offspring of Rasulullah ” nor was his lineage originally Muslim. In fact, he wasnÕt a Sidd %qi, F !r#qi, Uthm !ni, or an ÔAlawi. Despite all this, and being a Non-Arab, today the majority of the Muslims have chosen Im !m Ab # $an%fah as their im!m and most decisions and laws are given according to the HanaÞ Law. 7!Early years of learning !Im!m Ab # $an%fah was Þrst recognized as someone who would grow to reach high heights when Im !m ShaÕbi saw him. Im !m ShaÕbi was from amongst the scholars of K #fa. When he saw Im !m Ab # $an%fah – and at that time Im !m Ab # $an%fah wasnÕt attending any religious class – Imam ShÕabi felt as though he appeared as someone who had the potential to grow into such a personality that would beneÞt the ummah. ThatÕs when he was Þrst encouraged to start attending a class. Therefore, Im !m Ab # $an%fah enrolled in the classes of Im !m Hamm !d bin Abi Sulaym !n Rahimahullah (d.120 A.H./738 C.E.) thus, Im !m Hamm !d was from whom he attained the initial stages of his knowledge from. The predominance of Þqh in the career of Ab # $an%fah seems to be emphasized by the source whereas his interest in theology was curiously, but repeatedly played down. In various places Abu Hanifah is quoted to have said that after a period of complete immersion in theology, he realised that it had adverse effects and was of little use. Therefore he shifted his interest to jurisprudence (fiqh). He stayed and learned with Im !m Hamm!d for 18 years. 8!!2 The plural of ÔHan %fÕ is ÔHunafaÕÕ. Both forms have come in the QurÕ !n, see QurÕ !n 22:31, 2:135, 3:95. 5 Mahammad Zakariyyah al-Kandhalawi ÔAwjaz al-Masalik ila Muwatta MalikÕ, V.1; Pg.176 6 Four Illustrious Imams; Maulana Makbool Ahmed Saharwi; Pg. 20 7 al-Khat%b; Tar “kh Baghd!d; V. 13; Pg. 334 8

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He had a lot of respect for Im !m Hamm !d Rahimahullah and his other mashaaikh. ItÕs mentioned about Im!m AÕzam that he had so much respect for Im !m Hamm !d that he never established any learning center during the lifetime of Im !m Hamm !d Rahimahullah. Never did Im !m Ab # $an%fah even stretch his legs towards the house of Imam $amm!d. It was only after the demise of his teacher, when Im !m Ab # $an%fah established a madrasah where people would ßock towards in thousands. People would come to learn from him from Damascus, Basra, Yemen, Baghd !d, Misr and many other places. 9!Towards Haram !in !After learning with Im !m Hamm !d in K #fa, he did not conÞne himself there rather he also went out to Basra and Haramain to further his studies. When Im !m Ab # $an%fah heard that ÔAt ! bin Abi Rab !h Rahimahullah (d.117 A.H./735 C.E) has met 200 ‘a&!bah, he went to Mecca with the intention of studying under him. ÔAt ! 10Rahimahullah respected Im !m Ab # $an%fah so much that he would ask other students of his to stand up and make space for Im !m Ab # $an%fah to sit. Another person who was present in Mecca when Im !m Ab # $an%fah went there and from whom Im !m Ab # $an%fah was very fortunate to learn from was ÔIkramah RadhiAllahuAnh. 11!Then Im !m Ab # $an%fah went to Madinah al-Munawwarah and obtained two sanads from there. One from Sulaym!n Rahimahullah , and the other from S !lim Rahimahullah . In Mad %nah there were seven senior 1213Ôulamah but when Im !m AÕ “am Rahimahullah went there, these two were the only remaining senior scholars of Mad %nah hence why he was able to acquire the sands of only these two senior scholars. Imam Abu Han %fah also learned from Im !m B!qir and Imam JaÕfar al-S !diq who hailed from the family of Prophet ” 14 !!3 Four Illustrious Imams ; Pg 299 Tahz “b al-Tahz “b; Ibn Hajar al-ÔAsqal !ni; V7; Pg. 200 10 The slave of Abd Allah bin ÔAbb !s and cousin of Rasulullah. 11 ItÕs been said that he was the slave of Maimoonah, wife of prophet, RadhiAllahuAnha. 12 The grandson of Umar RadhiAllahuAnh 13 Four Illustrious Imams ; Pg 2514

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His mashaaikh !Im!m Ab # $an%fah also received sanads from many other Ôulamah as well. Although itÕs more well-know about him that he acquired all of his knowledge almost entirely from Basra, K #fa and Haramain, some do say that he traveled to other cities for the purpose of gaining knowledge. His teachers approximately numbered 4000. One of his teachers was ÔAmr bin Shurahb %l Rahimahullah who had met 500 ‘a&!bah and as 1516mentioned previously, ÔAt ! bin Abi Rabah was another prominent teacher of his who had met 200 ‘a&!bah. Im!m Ab # $an%fah had also learned from Im !m Malik Rahimahullah who, in fact, was 13-15 years younger than him. Despite him being younger, Im !m Ab # $an%fah sat in his classes and learned from him. 17!He Rahimahullah was a successor (TabiÕ “) The year 80 A.H. was the year in which many ‘a&!bah were passing away. Some are of the opinion that Im !m Ab# $an%fah had met a group of the ‘a&!bah. Imam Abu MaÕshar Abd al-Kar %m bin Abd al-Samad al-Tabr % al- Muqr% al-ShafÕ % has narrated that Im !m Ab # $an%fah has said: ÇI have met seven companions of Rasulullah ” and they are: 1) Anas bin M !lik 2) Abd Allah bin Juz al-Juzayd % 3) J !bir bin Abd Allah 4) MaÕqal bin Yas !r 5) W !thila bin AsqaÕ 6) AÕysha bint ÔUmar and 7) Abd Allah bin Unais RadhiAllahuAnhum.È On the other hand, Hamza al-Sahm % says: I heard D !r Qutn % saying: ÇIm !m Ab # $an%fah did not meet anyone from the ‘a&!bah except that he had only seen Anas bin M !lik and not heard (him narrating) anything.È 18!ÔAll !ma Jalalud D %n al-Suy #ti Rahimahullah has said: ÒThis question [of Abu Han %fah being a TabiÔ %] was raised to H !Þz Ibn Hajar Rahimahullah and he replied saying, ÒIm !m Ab # $an%fah lived at the time of a group of (a&!bah, as he was born in K #fah in the year 80 A.H., and at that time ÔAbd Allah ibn Abi ÔAwfa resided therein, since he died after that by agreement; and in Basra at that time there was Anas bin M !lik who died in the year 90 A.H. or thereafter.Ó !4 Uq#dul al-Jam !n fi Man!qibi Abi Han “fah NoÕm!n; Muhammad bin Yusuf S !lihi; Pg. 183 15 Tazkiratul Huff !z; al-Dhahab%; Pg. 79-81 16 Four Illustrious Imams; Pg. 28 17 Taby “dh al-Sah “fah; Jal !lud D%n al-Suy #ti; Pg. 13 18

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ÒIbn SaÔd narrated with an unproblematic chain that Abu Han %fah Rahimahullah Anas bin Malik RadhiAllahuAnh . Other (a&!bah besides these two were alive in the lands [of Isl !m] after this.Ó 19Im!m Ab # $an%fah has numerous narrations that reach a companion of Rasulullah ” however, the chains are not free from weakness (dha”f) . The majority of scholars are of the opinion that by seeing a sahabi alone, a person will be considered as a tabiÕ %, and itÕs not necessary for him to spend a long time with the sahabi. Due to this, Imam AÕzam will be considered a tabÕ % since he had seen many ‘a&!bah, however there are differences whether he has narrated from them or not. In conclusion, the scholars have unanimously agreed that Im!m Ab # $an%fah has seen Anas bin M !lik RadhiAllahuAnh . During Im !m Ab # $an%fahÕs time, there were many Ôulamah that were contemporary to him like: Im !m AwzaÕ % who was present in Syria, Im !m Hamm !d who was present in Basra, Sufy !n al-Thawr % who was present in K #fa, and Im !m M !lik bin Anas who was present in Mad %nah. However, none of these Ôulamah had the opportunity of seeing any of the ‘a&!bah and therefore earning the title of a TabiÕ % the way Im !m Ab # $an%fah did. 20!Nevertheless, Im !m Ab # $an%fah holds the status of being a TabiÕ %. In this regard, I feel itÕs worth mentioning the the reason why we emphasis on this point and repeatedly say that heÕs a TabiÕ % and use this to support his authenticity and credibility is because of the blessed saying of Nabi “: ÒThe best people are (the people of) my era, then those who come after, then those who come afterÓ and Abu Hanifah falls under the second category of this hadith. Rasulullah then further mentions that after these three eras, falsehood and deception will become so apparent that people will start giving false evidence. 21!Owning a Business !5 Ibid., Pg 15 19 Uq#d al-Jam !n; Pg. 49-50 20 Sunan Abi Daw #d21

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Im!m Ab # $an%fah neither harmed nor deceited anyone. He was someone who was not only generous with his wealth, but with his knowledge as well. He had such a personality that he never asked anyone for a favour. He was someone who would never speak ill of anyone, not even his enemies. He either spoke good or remained silent. He had the ability to explain things well and make it so simple that the listener was able to easily understand and have his questions and doubts clariÞed. !Im!m Ab # $an%fah had so much fear of Allah # that whenever the QurÕan was prayed, Im !m Ab # $an%fah would tremble upon hearing about Allah #Õs wrath and punishment. He would constantly be engaged in worship or spreading knowledge. From Isha to Fajr he would engage himself in worship (Ôib!dah) and worship. He would pray night prayers (tahajjud) and voluntary prayers (naw!fil) and would complete one QurÕan every day. However some scholars say he would complete the recitation of a whole QurÕan in three days. Ibrahim ibn Rustam al-Marwazi says, I heard Kh !rija bin MusÕab saying: “Four are the Imams that recited the entire QurÕan in a single rak`a: `Uthman ibn `Aff !n, Tamim al-D !ri, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, and Ab # $an%fah.È This nocturnal habit of being engaged in worship the whole night and praying Fajr with the 22wudhu of ÔIsha remained for 30 years. although some say he did this for 40 years, the former opinion is 23more well-known. Nevertheless, despite him being occupied with teaching and trade, this was Im !m Ab # $an%fahÕs measure of worship. From Fajr to Zuhr he would teach his classes and thereafter take a short nap if it were the Summer months. He would then resume his teaching after Asr. Im !m Ab # $an%fah would spend the remaining time visiting the sick and helping out the poor. !Im!m Ab # $an%fahÕs wisdom 24Once a husband came to Im !m Ab # $an%fah and wanted to solve an issue he was facing. He told Im !m Ab # $an%fah that he got angry and took an oath that he would not speak to his wife until and unless she speaks to him. The wife also happened to be very hot tempered and also takes an oath that she wonÕt speak to him until and unless he speaks to her. After a while they began regretting their promises and the husband then Þrst goes to Sufyaan Thawri Rahimahullah who tells him that he must pay kaff !rah (atonement) in order to be able to break his promise and speak to his wife. The man was grieved and came to Im !m Ab # $an%fah to Þnd a !7 al-Khat%b; Tar %kh al-Baghd!d; Pg. 355 22 Ibid.,Pg. 353 23 Refer to ÔThe Wisdom of Abu HaneefaÕ by Maulana Ahmad Ali 24

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solution for his difÞculty. Im !m Ab # $an%fah told the man to go and speak to his wife as he no longer has to pay kaffarah. When this answer of Im !m Ab # $an%fah reached Sufyaan Thawri Rahimahullah , he got angry at Im!m Ab # $an%fah for giving the ÔwrongÕ fatwa. Im !m Ab # $an%fah explained that when the wife replied, ÔI will also not speak to you until you speak ÞrstÕ, she already spoke to her husband. It is now permissible for the husband to speak to his wife as he had taken oath to not talk to his wife ÔunlessÕ she speaks with him, and her reply was her speaking to him. 25!A Christian king once sent a person to Baghdad to ask the Muslims three questions with the intention of befuddling them and confusing them about their religion Isl !m. The Caliph of that time gathered the best scholars of Baghdad and allowed the Christian to propose his questions. The Christian then climbed up the pulpit and asked three questions. His Þrst question was, ÒWho was there before Allah #?Ó Second question was, ÒWhich direction is Allah # facing right now? And third question was, ÒWhat is Allah # doing right now?Ó The scholars were left puzzled upon hearing these questions. Amongst them at that time, was little Im!m Ab # $an%fah with his father. He asked his father to let him answer the questions. After getting permission from the Caliph, Im !m Ab # $an%fah was allowed to answer the questions. Im !m Ab # $an%fah said, ÒAs for your Þrst question, who was there before Allah #, are you able to count backwards?Ó The Christian replied saying yes. Im !m Ab # $an%fah told him to count backwards and so he did. Ò4321ÉÓ he counted and then stopped. Im !m Ab # $an%fah asked him, ÒWhy did you stop? WhatÕs before 1?Ó. He replied saying: ÒThere is nothing before 1Ó. Im !m Ab # $an%fah thereafter told him, ÒIf there is nothing before the metaphorical one, then how can there be something before the real ONE?Ó. Then Im !m Ab # $an%fah continued to his second question saying: ÒAs for you second question, which direction is Allah # facing right now, you tell me which direction does a candle light up when you light it up?Ó. He replied saying, Òno particular direction, all around itÓ. Im !m Ab # $an%fah said: ÒThen if the metaphorical light (candle) brightens up all around it, then what do you think about the light of all lights (Allah #)?Ó and as for your third 26question, ÒWhat is Allah # doing right now, in order for me to answer this question, you must come down and let me climb up the pulpit as you are the questioner and I am the being questionedÓ. The Christian came down and let Im !m Ab # $an%fah climb up after which he said, ÒWhat Allah # is doing right now is, heÕs !8 The Wisdom of Abu Haneefah ; Maulana Ahmad Ali ; Pg. 25 Meaning that Allah # is not facing any particular direction and lightens up all around him through his noor. 26

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making the one whoÕs on haqq (truth) go up and the one whoÕs on baatil (falsehood) to come down. This is what Allah # is doing right nowÓ. / 2728!His students !Just like the number of his teachers, his students also totaled to 4000. From amongst his students, Im !m Abu Yusuf and Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Shayb !ni were from among his most distinguished students. Imam Abu Y #suf later went on to becoming the supreme Qaz ” ( judge) of the Ô Abbasi Caliphate. Im!m WaqiÕ was also one of his students and later become the teacher to the authors of Sih!h Sitta. Im!m al-Dhahabi has 29mentioned his six main teachers in had %th, of which one is Abu Han %fah. Im !m al-Bukh !ri has narrated 30eleven of his tul! thiyy! t from Imam Makki bin Ibrah %m Balkhi (d. 215 A.H.) who had Im !m Ab # $an%fah as one of his teachers in Had %th and all the great Muhaddith %n have agreed upon his authenticity. 31!Dreams Im!m Ab # $an%fah once saw himself in his dream digging the grave of Rasulullah ” and collecting his blessed bones. Someone asked Ibn al-Sir %n about the interpretation of this dream and in reply he answered saying: ÒWhoever saw this dream will make knowledge so apparent that none other before him has ever done.Ó 32!ÔAli bin ÔUthman Hajveri Lah )ri Rahimahullah was a staunch HanaÞ of the leading awliy ! of the Indian subcontinent. He once fell asleep in the tomb of Bil !l RadhiAllahuAnh when he was in Damascus and saw an interesting dream. He says he saw himself in Makkah and saw Rasulullah ” entering from the gate of Ban # !9 Meaning every motion that is occurring right now, is happening as a result of Allah #Õs doings. If Allah # doesnÕt do this, no 27movement could take place and we would have all perished. The Wisdom of Abu Haneefah ; Pg. 11 28 Uq#dul al-Jam !n Pg 88-15829 Tazkiratul huff !z; V.1; Pg. 268 30 Ibid., Pg. 268 31 al-Khat%b; Tar %kh Baghd!d V. 13; Pg. 335 32

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Shaybah. He saw that Rasulullah ” takes a man in his lap just as an elder takes a child in his lap. He (i.e. ÕAli bin ÔUthm !n) then runs towards Rasulullah ” and starts kissing his hands and feet. Rasulullah knew that he wished to know who the man in his lap was so Rasulullah informed him that it was ÔAli bin Uthm !nÕs Im !m and the Im!m of the ummah, namely Im !m Azam Abu Han %fah Rahimahullah . 33!Glad tidings from The Ahad %th !Abu Hurayrah RadhiAllahuAnh reports that Rasulullah ” says: ÇIf the d %n were at the Pleiades, even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it.È or Çone amongst the Persian descent would have surely found it.È 34!ÔAllama Jal !lud al-D %n Suy #ti Rahimahullah reports from muhadditheen like Im !m Bukhari and Muslim that these ah !dith refer to Im !m Ab # $an%fah Rahimahullah. One of Im !m Suyuti’s students writes that this statement of his teacher is absolutely true since no other person of Persia has reached the heights of knowledge that Im !m AÕzam has reached. Shah Waliullah muhaddith Dehlavi also says that the ahadith refer to none other than Im !m Ab # $an%fah Rahimahullah Im !mul Hadith Hadhrat MisÕar bin Qud !m says, ÇIÕm 35sure that a person has nothing to fear if he places Im !m Ab # $an%fah as a median between himself and Allah # and follows his madhhab.È 36!His Þnal moments During the initial stages of Im !m Ab # $an%fahÕs life, the Umayyad dynasty was in rule. The Umayyads, namely Ibn Hubayra, the governor of Marw !n in ÔIraq, asked Abu Han %fah to serve as a judge (q!zi) when the civil war broke out in 749 C.E. Abu Han %fah refused and when he heard that the governor intended to execute him, 37!10 Ibid., Pg. 335 33 Sah%h al-Muslim34 Hadhrat MisÕar bin Qud !m was the teacher of Sufy !n Thawri, Sufy !n bin ÔUyaynah, and the teachers of the compilers of the 35Sih!h Sittah. Despite all this, he was from amongst the students of Im !m AÕzam Abu Han %fah Rahimahullah . al-Khat%b; Tar “kh Baghd!d; V. 13; Pg. 339 36Manaqib of Imam Ab # Han”fa; Imam Muwaffaq bin Ahmad al-Makki; II, Pg. 22ff. Another version suggests that the post offered 37to him was the Chancellor of the Iraqi treasury (bayt al-mal) Ibid.

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