Imam abu hanifa biography

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abu hanifa biography

Regarding the biography of Imam Abu Hanifa, the well-known Muhaddith and Hambali Faqee Allama Zahabi (748 AH) quotes a famous poem:

الإمامة في الفقه ودقائقه مسلمة إلى هذا الامام. وهذا أمر لا شك فيه.

وليس يصح في الاذهان شئ : إذا احتاج النهار إلى دليل

The status of leadership in Ilmul Fiqh and its subtleties is reserved for the Imam. There is no doubt about it. “If a document is needed to prove the day, then there is no such thing as intelligence”.[1]

That is, just as doubting the validity of the day or demanding documents to prove that the day is a day is definitely madness, similarly doubting the status of Imam Abu Hanifa or discussing in detail to prove his status should also be considered as madness in the world of knowledge. Even then, I was forced to do something ‘crazy’.

Some of my dearest scholars and knowledgeable people requested me to discuss the evaluation of Imam Abu Hanifa in a little detail. Because the book ‘Al-Fiqhul Akbar’ is the first original book written on the subject of Islamic faith. Before discussing the content of this book, it is necessary to review the author’s evaluation complaints. Even in the present era, there is a debate about the acceptability of Imam Abu Hanifa in Arabic, Bengali and other language books. Many inquisitive readers may have ambiguities or questions about this. That is why I tried to discuss his evaluation debate in detail by discussing his biography very briefly.

1. Introduction to the era :

Imam Abu Hanifa (80-150 AH) was the first of the four famous Mujtahid Faqihs of the Muslim Ummah. He was of the Tabiee generation. Imam Malik Ibn Anas (93-179 AH) and Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris Shafi’i (150-204 AH) both belong to the Tabi-Tabiyi generation. And Imam Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hanbal (164-241H) was a student of Tabi-Tabiyid. Rahimahumullahu: May Allah have mercy on them. In fact, among the jurists of the Tabi’i era, only Imam Abu Hanifa gained such fame.

The beginning of the Umayyad period with the acceptance of the caliphate of Muawiya (ra) in 41 Hijri. He died in 60 Hijri. Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah ruled for about four years (60-64 AH). After his death, his son Mu’awiyah ruled for a few months and the year Khanek Marwan Ibn al-Hakam (64-65 AH).

After him, his son Abdul Malik reigned for about 21 years (65-86 AH). For the next 46 years until 132 Hijri, Abdul Malik’s sons, grandsons and nephews ruled the kingdom. 99 to 101 AH: Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz ruled the caliphate for about three years. His reign is considered to belong to the “Khilafate Rashedar” phase.

From the year 99 Hijri, the Abbasid movement started secretly under the slogan of “the reign of the Prophet’s dynasty”. From 127 A.H. open rebellion and war began. In 132 Hijri, the Umayyad Caliphate fell and the Abbasid Caliphate was established. The first Abbasid Caliph Abul Abbas Saffah ruled for about four years (132-136 AH) followed by Abu Jafar Mansur for about 22 years (136-158 AH).

In addition to state ups and downs, instability and change, religious beliefs and actions also saw the birth of various factions during this period. Despite internal problems, the Muslim state was established as one of the world powers at that time. From China, Russia, and parts of India to North Africa and Spain—more than half the world at the time—was covered by Muslim states. Economic prosperity and knowledge spread widely.

Before the birth of Imam Abu Hanifa two political-religious sects were born during the caliphate of Ali (RA) Kharijites and Shias. From the middle of the Umayyad period, the sects of Qadariya, Murjiya, Jahmiyya, Mutazila etc. emerged. It was at this time that Imam Abu Hanifa was born during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik and died during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Mansur.

2. Short biography :

(A). Ancestry and Birth :
The full name of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) is Abu Hanifa Nu’man Ibn Thabit Ibn Yuta. His grandson Ismail said in his genealogy, I am Ismail Ibn Hammad Ibn Numan Ibn Thabit Ibn Numan Ibn Marjuban. We are of Persian descent and have never been bound by the chains of slavery. My grandfather was born in 80 Hijri. Thabit appeared to Ali (RA) in his childhood and he prayed for the well-being of him and his progeny. We hope his dua was not in vain.[1]

About his date of birth someone 60 AH. And some 70 h. Sal noted. But according to most, he is 80H. (699 AD) was born.[2]

(B). Education and Masters :
Imam Abu Hanifa memorized the Qur’an at the beginning of his educational career. Historians have mentioned that he taught Ilmul Qiraat to Asim Ibn Abin Najud (128 AH), one of the famous 7 reciters of the Holy Quran. [3] Later, he acquired knowledge in various branches of Islamic knowledge.

We have seen that Imam Abu Hanifa was born in 80 Hijri. Some of the Companions were alive till 110 Hijri. So it was very possible for Imam Abu Hanifa to meet and learn from some of the Companions. There is debate as to how many companions he actually met.

Hanafi biographers claim that he met a few companions. On the other hand, one or two opponents claimed that he did not meet any Sahabah. In this context, the famous historian and Shafi’i Faqih Ibn Khallikan Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim (608-681 AH) of the seventh century Hijri said:

وأدرك أبو حنيفة أربعة من الصحابة، رضوان الله عليهم وهم: أنس بن مالك وعبد الله بن أبي أوفى بالكوفة، وسهل بن سعد الساعدي بالمدينة، وأبو الطفيل عامر بن واثلة بكمة، ولم يلق أحداً منهم ولا أخذ عنه، وأصحابه يقولون: لقي جماعة من الصحابة وروى عنهم، ولم يثبت ذلك عند أهل النقل.

“Abu Hanifa had the time of four Companions (RA): (1) (in Basra) Anas Ibn Malik (92 AH), (2) Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa (87 AH) in Kufa, (3) Sahl Ibn Sa’d Sa’idi in Madinah. (88 AH) and (4) Abu Tufail Amir Ibn Wasila (110 AH) in Makkah. He did not meet any of them and did not learn from any of them. His followers say that he met some companions and narrated hadiths from them. This matter was not proved by the Muhaddiths.”[4]

According to the Hanafi biographers, he met 7 Companions:

(1) Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Haram Ansari Khazraj Madani, Radiyallahu Anhu (After 70 Hijri)

(2) Abdullah Ibn Unais. Radiyallahu Anhu (85 AH or before him)

(3) Wasila Ibnul Asqa Ibn Ka’b Ibn Amir Laisi Shami, Radiyallahu Anhu (85 AH)

(4) Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa: Alkamah Ibn Khalid Ibn al-Harith Aslami Kufi, Radiyallahu Anhu (87 AH)

(5) Abul Harith Abdullah Ibnul Harith Ibn Juz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Madikarib Jabidi Misri, Radiyallahu Anhu (88 AH)

(6) Anas Ibn Malik Ibn Nadr Ibn Damdam Ibn Zayd Haram Ansari Nazzari Madani, Radiyallah Anhu (92/93 AH)

(7) Ayesha bint Azrad. His date of death and other identities are not known. He narrated some hadiths from Ibn Abbas and other Companions. Historians and Rizalists refer to him as Tabiyy. Some have considered him a Companion.[5]

In this context, the famous Muhaddith, historian and Hanafi Faqeeh Allama Mahmud Ibn Ahmad Badruddin Aini (762-855 AH) said: The description of his meeting with Jabir Ibn Abdullah (RA) is not correct. But the possibility of him meeting others cannot be ruled out. Since his biographers have mentioned it, it would be unreasonably partisan to deny it without concrete evidence.[6]

In fact, almost all biographers, rizalists and historians agree that he met Sahabi Anas Ibn Malik (RA). Allama Aini said:

كان أبو حنيفة، رضى الله عنه، من سادات التابعين، رأى أنس بن مالك، ولا يشك فيه إلا جاهل وحاسد. قال ابن كثير فى تاريخه: أبو حنيفة …. أدرك عصر الصحابة، ورأى أنس بن مالك، قيل: وغيره. وذكر الخطيب فى تاريخ بغداد أن أبا حنيفة رأى أنس بن مالك. وذكر المزى فى التهذيب أنه رأى أنس بن مالك، وكذا ذكر الذهبى فى الكاشف، وغيرهم من العلماء،

“Abu Hanifa (RA) was among the Tabi’is. He saw Anas Ibn Malik. No one but a fool or a jealous person doubted this. Ibn Kasir says in his History: Abu Hanifa … received the age of the Companions. He saw Anas Ibn Malik. It is said that he also saw other Companions. Khatib Baghdadi mentions in Tarikh Baghdad that Abu Hanifa saw Anas Ibn Malik. Miyyah mentions in his book Tahibul Kamal that he saw Anas Ibn Malik. Al-Zahabi mentions this in his book ‘Al-Kashif’. Other scholars have written the same.”[7]

In addition, Abu Hanifa (RA) received education in various branches of Islamic knowledge from all the famous Tabi’i and Tabi-Tabii Alim of the Muslim world at that time, especially in Iraq. Allama Badruddin Aini (855 AH) mentioned that the number of teachers of Imam Azam was about four thousand. The number of his Tabi’i and Tabi-Tabii Ustads in the book “Musnad Abi Hanifa”, a collection of hadiths narrated by him, is about 200.[8]

Prominent Muhaddith, Rizalbi and Shafi’i Fiqh Imam Yusuf Ibn Abdur Rahman Abul Hajjaz Miyyee (742 AH) in his biographical book ‘Tahjibul Kamal’ of the Rabbis of Sihah-Sittah books, mentions 77 of the masters of Hadith of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) who are mentioned in the sources. Hadith of Imam Abu Hanifa compiled in different books. Most of them are Tabiee. Some were contemporaries of Imam Azam and some were Tabi-Tabi’i. Most of them were considered to be the famous Muhaddis and Imams of Hadith of that time. The hadiths narrated by most of them are compiled in Bukhari, Muslim and other well-known hadith books.[9]

(C). Teaching and students :

The fame of Imam Abu Hanifa spread during the lifetime of the Ustad. Especially in Fiqh, after the death of the famous Tabi’i Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman (120 AH), he succeeded him and became famous as the best Faqeeh of Kufa. He spent the next thirty years in research and teaching. In the section on evaluation of Imam Abu Hanifa, we will see that Imam Abu Hanifa’s fiqh spread throughout the Muslim world during his lifetime.

No other jurist of the Tabi’i era achieved such fame. Naturally, students from all parts of the Muslim world came to him for education. A list of 97 of his muhaddith students is presented by Imam Miyyee. Most of them were famous muhaddis of that era and their hadiths are compiled in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and other famous hadith books. In addition, many of these students of Imam Abu Hanifa served as judges or qazis in all famous towns of the Muslim world including Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, Shiraz, Wasit, Rai, Khurasan for the next half century. All of them died between 150 and 230 AH.[10]

Apart from these students, Allama Aini mentions the names of another 260 students who learned Hadith and Fiqh from Imam Azam. He mentioned the names of each famous city in the Muslim world at that time and mentioned the names of some famous scholars who taught Hadith and Fiqh from Imam Abu Hanifa and continued to spread knowledge in these cities and towns. Many of them were judges, imams or famous scholars of these cities. Thus it can be seen that there were many famous students of Imam Abu Hanifa in every city of the Muslim world at that time.[11]

(D). .Akhlaq :
Imam Abu Hanifa’s Akhlaq and Ibadat also attracted the attention of the good people of Mubarak era. Historians have noted that he had a great literary talent in Arabic and fluent language. His speech captivated the audience. When he spoke he seemed to be the most eloquent of all men and his words were the sweetest. He could easily convey his message to the audience.
His body color was beautiful and slightly brown. Face and figure were beautiful and attractive. He used to wear nice and neat clothes and was always fragrant. Even when he left the house, his arrival was known by his scent before he was seen. His student Abu Yusuf narrated it:

كان أبو حنيفة ربعا من الرجال، ليس بالقصير ولا بالطويل، وكان أحسن الناس منطقا وأحلاهم نغمة، وأنبههم على ما يريد

“Abu Hanifa was a man of medium stature, neither short nor very tall. Among men he was the most beautiful in conversation, the sweetness of his words was the greatest and he could convey the meaning of his mind better than anyone else.”[12]

Umar ibn Hammad said about him:

إن أبا حنيفة كان طوالا، تعلوه سمرة، وكان لبسا، حسن الهيئة، كثير التعطر يعرف بريح الطيب إذا أقبل وإذا خرج من منزله قبل أن تراه

“Abu Hanifa was somewhat tall. His complexion was slightly brown. He used to wear neat clothes. His dress and appearance were beautiful. He was very fond of using perfume. When he went somewhere or left the house, his arrival could be known by the scent before he was seen.”[13]

Haisami says: There is basically no contrast between being tall and being medium. The combination of these two descriptions is that he was not very tall, so he must be said to be medium. However, he was considered tall among the mediums.[14]

Another of his students, the famous Muhaddith Abdullah Ibnul Mubarak, said:

كان حسن السمت، حسن الوجه، حسن الثوب

“His appearance and appearance were beautiful, his countenance was beautiful and his clothing was beautiful.”[15]

Another of his students, the famous Muhaddith Abu Nu’aim Fadl Ibn Duqain, said:

كان أبو حنيفة حسن الوجه، والثوب، والنعل، وكثير البر والمؤاساة لكل من أطاف به

Abu Hanifa’s face, clothes and shoes were all beautiful. He always strived for the benefit, welfare and compassion of everyone around him.”[16]

Imam Abu Hanifa was a big businessman and rich. And he was generous in spending his wealth on people, especially the scholars. He used to spend on Alim, Talibul Ilm and students as he used to spend on his own family. If he bought clothes for himself, he would also buy for them. When buying fruits or food, he used to buy first for the scholars and students and then for his own family.

And when he used to buy something for gifts, donations, donations and philanthropy, he used to buy it to the best of his ability. He bought some inferior goods for himself or his family but did not do so for others. And he used to support the students himself. Even many poor students became prosperous by his company. He nurtured his beloved student Abu Yusuf and his family for ten years.[17]

Fudayl ibn Yad (187 AH), a well-known scholar and elder of that time, said:

كان أبو حنيفة معروفا بكثرة الأفعال، وقلة الكلام وإكرام العلم وأهله

“Abu Hanifa’s well-known characteristic was that he worked more and spoke less. He had great respect for knowledge and scholars.”[18]

One of the hallmarks of his life was extraordinary worship, Tahajjud and Qiyamullail. Imam Abu Yusuf gave a brief description of the nature of Imam Abu Hanifa. Caliph Harun Rashid (Caliphate 170-193 AH) said to the judge Abu Yusuf: Tell me an account of the character and nature of Abu Hanifa. Then Imam Abu Yusuf said:

أنه كان شديد الذب عن محارم الله أن تؤتى، شديد الورع أن ينطق في دين الله بما لا يعلم، يحب أن يطاع الله ولا يعصى، مجانبا لأهل الدنيا في زمانهم، لا ينافس في عزها، طويل الصمت، دائم الفكر، على علم واسع، لم يكن مهذارا، ولا ثرثارا، إن سئل عن مسألة كان عنده فيها علم، نطق وأجاب فيها بما سمع، وإن كان غير ذلك قاس على الحق واتبعه، صائنا نفسه ودينه، بذولا للعلم والمال، مستغنيا بنفسه عن جميع الناس، لا يميل إلى طمع، بعيدا عن الغيبة، لا يذكر أحدا إلا بخير

He was uncompromising in resisting everything that was against the religion of Allah. He was very pious and God-fearing. He did not say anything without knowing about Deen. He wanted to obey Allah and not disobey Him. He used to avoid worldly people of his era. He did not compete with them for worldly honors. Despite possessing profound knowledge, he remained silent most of the time and engaged in thought and research.

He had no tendency to talk too much or talk nonsense. When asked about a matter, he would answer it on the basis of hearsay or hadith. If there was no sruthi in that regard, he would reply with correct qiyas and follow it. He used to protect himself and his religion. He spent his knowledge and wealth lavishly. He kept himself aloof from all people. No greed touched him. He stayed away from backbiting or gossip. If he mentioned someone, he would say only good things.”[20]

The biggest sign of his intransigence was his refusal to accept state responsibility and power. Despite the pressure and torture, he did not accept all these responsibilities. Because he was not willing to judge someone’s face or to appear in the court of Allah with the responsibility of unjust judgment.

Rabi Ibn Asim said, I brought Abi Abu Hanifa to his office on the orders of Yazid Ibn Umar Ibn Hubairah (132 AH), the governor of the Umayyad government. He instructed him to take charge of Baitul Mal. But Abu Hanifa denied it. Therefore, Ibnu Hubaira gave him 20 lashes. When Ibn Hubayra requested him to take over as a judge, he refused.[21]

This incident happened around 130 Hijri, when he was about 50 years old. After the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate, the second Abbasid Caliph Mansur called Imam Abu Hanifa to Baghdad in 150 A.H. and requested him to take over as a judge. When he refused, the enraged Caliph imprisoned him and died in prison.[22]

One of the characteristics of Imam Abu Hanifa was largeness of heart. He used to say:

اللهم من ضاق بنا صدره فان قلوبنا قد اتسعت له

“O Allah, our hearts have widened in regard to him whose heart has been narrowed in regard to us.”[23]

Abdus Samad ibn Hassan said:

كان بين سفيان الثوري وأبى حنيفة شئ فكان أبو حنيفة أكفهما لسانا

There was a conflict between Sufyan Sawri and Abu Hanifa. Abu Hanifa was more eloquent in this regard.”[24]

Yazid Ibn Haroon said:

ما رأيت أحداً أحلم من أبي حنيفة… إن إنساناً استطال على أبي حنيفة وقال له: يا زنديق، فقال أبو حنيفة: غفر الله لك هو يعلم مني خلاف ما تقول

“I have never seen anyone more steadfast and open-hearted than Abu Hanifa. …. Once a person abused him and said to him: O Jindika. He replied: May Allah forgive you, He knows that I am not what you say.”[25]

(E). death

Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) died in the prison of Baghdad on Rajni in mid-Shaban 150 AH. He was buried in Khayyuran Cemetery in Baghdad. According to popular opinion he was 70 years old at the time of his death.[26]

reference :

[1] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanifah wa Ashabihi, p. 15-16; Ibn Hajar Haytami, Al-Khairatul Hisan fi Manakibi Abi Hanifah Numan, p. 30.

[2] Editorial Board, Islamic Encyclopedia, Volume 2, pp. 172-177.

[3] Shirazi, An-Nukatu fil Masayilil Mukhtalaf Fiha, Volume 1, page 68.

[4] Ibn Khallikan, Wafaiyatul A’yan, B 5/p 406.

[5] Ibnul Asir, Usdul Gaba fi Marifatis Sahaba, Volume 1, page 1385; Ibn Hajar Askalani, Lisanul Mizan, Volume 3, Page 227.

[6] Aini, Badruddin, Maganil Akhiyar Fi Sharhi Asami Ma’anir Asar Volume 5, pp. 138-140.

[7] Aini, Maganil Akhiyar, Volume 5, page 136.

[8] Aini, Maganil Akhiyar, Volume 5, page 141.

[9] Miyyee, Abul Hajjaz Yusuf Ibn Zaki, Tahibul Kamal, Volume 29, pp. 418-420.

[10] Miyyi, Tahibul Kamal, Vol. 29, pp. 420-422.

[11] Aini, Maganil Akhiyar, Volume 5, pp. 146-154.

[12] Khatib Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 13, pp. 330-331.

[13] Khatib Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13/331.

[14] Dr. Khumayis, Muhammad Ibn Abdur Rahman, Usuluddin Indal Imam Abi Hanifa, page 66.

[15] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanifa, p. 3.

[16] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanifa, p. 2.

[17] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanifa, pp. 48, 49.

[18] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanif, p. 50

[19] Khatib Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad Volume 13, page 354.

[20] Saimari, Akhbaru Abu Hanifa, pp. 31, 32.

[21] Saimari, Akhbaru Abi Hanifa, p. 57- p. 58.

[22] Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Intiqa fi Fadaylis Salasatil Ayymmah, page 171; Khatib Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 12, p. 168; Volume 13, page 328; Nawabi, Abu Zakariya Yahya Ibnu Sharaf, Tahazibul Asma wal Lughat, page 794; Zahabi, Siyaru A’lamin Nubala, Volume 6, Page 401.

[23] Khatib Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad 13/352.

[24] Ibn Adi, al-Kamil 7/6.

[25] Zahabi, Tarikhul Islam 9/310.

[26] Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Intiqah, p. 171

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