"Imam Abu Hanifah" - Nu'man ibn Thabit 80-150 A.H.
Better known as 'Imam-e-Azam' (The Greatest Imam), or by his kunyah 'Abu Hanifah', Nu'man ibn Thabit was born in the city of Kufa (modern day Iraq) in the year 80 A.H (689 A.D). Born into a family of tradesmen, the Imam's family were of Persian origin as well as descending from the noble Prophets (saw) companion Salman al Farsi (ra). Imam Abu Hanifahs father Thabit had met in Kufa, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) who made dua for him and his progeny, and some say that Abu Hanifah was a result of this dua.
A hadith given by al Bukhari and Muslim states that Abu Hurairah narrated Allah's messenger (saw) as saying: "if the Deen (faith) were at the Pleides , even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it, or one amongst the Persian descent would surely have found it". Abu Huraira also narrates: "We were sitting in the company of Allah's Apostle (saw) when Surah al Juma was revealed to him and when he recited amongst them (those who were sitting there) said 'Allah s Messenger?' but Allah's Apostle (saw) made no reply, until he was questioned once, twice or thrice, and there was amongst us Salman the Persian. Allah's Apostle (saw) placed his hand on Salman and then said: "Even if faith were near the Pleides a man from amongst these would surely find it".
Imam as-Suyuti a Shafi alim (rh) remarked "It has been communicated unanimously that this hadith refers to Imam Abu Hanifah".
Kufa at the time of the Imams birth was a great centre of knowledge and learning , with many of the noble Prophets (saw) companions (ra) having taken residence there. Due to the presence of these venerable people who had engendered so much interest in hadith and riwayat that practically every house in Kufa had become a centre of these disciples and their disciplines. At first , Imam Abu Hanifah was not a student of knowledge. However, by coincidence, whilst one day passing by the house of Sha'bi (acclaimed "Great Scholar among the Successors"), Abu Hanifah was called in by the shaykh who mistook him for a student. "Where are you going young man?" asked Sha'bi. Abu Hanifah named the merchant he was going to see. "I meant to ask" asked Sha'bi. "Who's classes you attend?". "Nobody's" replied the Imam regretfully. "I see signs of intelligence in you" began Sha'bi, "you should sit in the company of learned men". It was after this encounter that the young Imam began his quest for knowledge. Imam Abu Hanifah acquired knowledge from over four thousand people. His teachers included many prestigious men of the time whose sanad went back to a number of companions (ra). He himself was blessed with the meeting of the companions: Anas ibn Malik, Abdullah ibn Afwa and Sahl ibn Sa'ad (ra), thus gaining him the rank of being a Tabi'i (successor to the companions).
Amongst Imam Abu Hanifah's shayukh was Hammad ibn Sulayman, he joined his circle at the age of 22, having already become a well known debater and studied with this shaykh until the latter's death, where upon he took over his majlis (circle) at the age of forty. Shu'ba, a leading muhaddith who knew by heart two thousand traditions was also a teacher of Imam Abu Hanifah. Shu'ba was greatly attached to Imam Abu Hanifah saying "Just as I know that the sun is bright I know that learning and Abu Hanifah are doubles of each other".
The Imam's quest for knowledge inevitably took him to the Holy Sanctuaries, at a time when Makkah was a busy centre for learning. A number of acknowledged masters of Hadith, who had had access to the Prophets (saw) companions (ra) had established their own schools there. Of these was 'Ata bin Rabah's school. 'Ata was a famous Tabi'i who had associated with most of the companions and acquired from this association a status of authority. He himself claimed to have met two hundred men who had associated with the Noble Prophet (saw). The leading companions all acknowledged his learning. Abdullah ibn 'Umar (ra), son of the caliph 'Umar often used to say: "Why do people come to me when 'Ata ibn Abi Rabah is there for them to go to?". Of the other Muhaddithin of Makkah whose classes the Imam attended was 'Ikrimah. He was the slave and pupil of Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, who educated him with great care and attention, making him so proficient that he, during his own lifetime gave Imam Abu Hanifah the authority to exercise personal judgment and rulings. 'Imam Abu Hanifah was the first to analyze Islamic jurisprudence, divide it into subjects, distinguish its issues and determine the range and criteria for analytical reasoning (Qiyas)'.
Al Hafiz al-Kabir Abu Bakr Ahmad al- Harizmi wrote in his book (Musnad), 'Saif al Aimma' reports that when Imam Abu Hanifah derived a matter from the Qur'an and Hadith, he would not give the answer to the inquirer unless all of them (his students) confirmed it. One thousand of Abu Hanifah's disciples attended all his classes when he taught in the mosque of Kufa city. Forty of them were mujtahids. When he would find an answer for a matter he would suggest to his students who would study it together, and when they reached an agreement of it being consistent with The Qur'an and Hadith, and with the words of the Sahabah, he would be delighted and say, "Al-hamdu li'llah wallahu Akbar", and all those who were present would repeat his words. Then he would tell them to write it down.
Ibn 'Abd al- Barr relates in al-Intiqa', 'Abd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Dawraqi said: "Ibn Ma'inn was asked about Abu Hanifah as I was listening, so he said "He is trustworthy (thiqatun), I never heard that anyone had weakened him" No less than Shu'ba wrote to him (for narrations), and ordered him to narrate hadith'. Ibn Hajar said in Kharija ibn al Salt's notice in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, Ibn Abi Khaythama said: "If al Shu'bi narrates from someone and names him, that man is trustworthy (thiqa) and his narration is used as proof (yuhtajju bi hadithihi)".
Many well known shuyukh narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah, to name but a few: al Thawri, ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd and 'Abd al-Razzaq (one of Iman al-Bukhari's shaykh) Al Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal names about one hundred names of those who narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah.
Imam as-Shafi (rh) is recorded to have stated: "All men of fiqh are Abu Hanifah's children," "...I would not have acquired anything of knowledge had it not been for my teacher. All men of knowledge are children of the ulema of Iraq, who were the disciples of the ulema of Kufa, and they were the disciples of Abu Hanifah".
The Hanafi madhab, entitled after the Imam, spread far and wide during the time of the Ottaman Empire. Today, more than half the Muslims on the earth perform their ibabdah according to the Hanafi madhab. The Hanafi school has decided court cases in the majority of Islamic lands for the greater part of Islamic history, including the Abbasis and Ottoman periods.
Not only was Imam Abu Hanifah's extraordinary mind and knowledge something to be admired but so too was his exemplary character and piety. Dhahabi writes "Accounts of his piety and devotion have reached a degree of tawatur" (i.e. an unbroken chain of uncontradicted narrations).
He was given the title of the 'Peg' by some, for his continuous standing in prayer, often reciting the entire Qur'an in his nightly rakahs. He performed the Fajr prayer with the ablution made for the Isha prayers for forty years, (due to him praying the whole night through). It is reported that he had recited the whole Qur'an seven thousand times in the place where he died.
He earned his living through trade, sending goods to other places and with the earnings he met the needs of his students. He gave much to charity and every Friday he would distribute twenty gold coins to the poor for his parents' souls.
In the year 146 A.H, Abu Hanifah was sent to prison by Mansur, the leader at the time, after the Imam's refusal to state that Mansur was the rightful khalifa, as well as refusing the position of presidency of the supreme court in recompense. Whilst in prison Imam Abu Hanifah was thrashed with a stick. Mansur repented and sent the Imam money, only to be refused again. By now Imam Abu Hanifah had become well known and thousands flocked to meet and seek his opinion wherever he went. His imprisonment far from reduced his popularity, and Mansur realized that he would have to treat the Imam carefully, thus he allowed him to teach whilst still in prison. Mansur finally decided to do away with the great Imam and had him poisoned. Abu Hanifah feeling the effects of the poison, bent down in prayer and died in the month on Rajab. News of the Imam's death reached far and wide, and thousands gathered at the prison. The city Qadi washed his body, and kept repeating "by God you were the greatest faqih and the most pious man of our time...".
By the time the bathing was finished so many people had assembled that the funeral prayer was performed attended by fifty thousand people.
The Great Imam died in Baghdad in 150 A.H at the age of seventy. May Allah swt. be pleased with him. Ameen.
This article was written by Maida Malik.
From what I understood from your comment,Imam Abu Hanifa will be punished for completing the Quran on his nightly prayers? since he's going against the Shariaa as you claim (assume that you do believe that it happened) your making your own judgment, and believe me no one has the right to judge but All Mighty Allah.
No true believer worships our Scholars or our prophet (PBUH), Worship only Allah, but they are the way, as in the Authenticated Hadeeth that I mentioned earlier, (Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets). So with fiqh & Shareia issues, you must go to scholars for opinions, because they are learned men.
BTW, Salman Al Farisi was one of the great Sahabi, nothing wrong with having Ulema/Scholars who are non-arabs (e.g. Persian).
May Allah Guide us all.
You are very extreme in your views. You are so confident of your claims that you will not listen to other peoples views. you fall into the same trap that you claim muslims fall in!
Pls. see my comment correcting you on the article "Crusade 2.0." where again you try to belittle and discredit our Ulema. Intially I thought you might have done it unintentionally, but reading your comments, its delibrate.
Do you have solid evidence and proof that Imam Abu Hanifa did not complete the quran in his prayers during the night? you seem to be so confident that you must have been there with him to descredit it? and if you don't have solid proof, then you are spreading false statemnts, which is dangerous.
when you read articles of western people reading novels of 400-600p in one seating, U would probably believe it blindly. but when it comes to our Ulema reading 114 chapters of the holy quran, you instantly discredit it, why?
And to the posts who question the possibility of it happening, remember a day has 24 hrs, you can do so much in 1 day, but we today are so consumed with work and entertainment, we seem to be wasting much valuable time and then we allways claim that we don't have much time. Imam Abu Hanifa used his time very wisely. Yes he did trade during the day, but that does not mean that he did it without sleeping! even today Arabs in the Middle east sleep during the afternoons, it's called Siesta.
al-`Ulama' warathat al-Anbiya' (Our
Ulema/Islamic Scholars are inheritors of the
Prophets) no one who is a true believer would
discredit any of our scholars who were giants in
research, true scholarship and spirituality, Some Ulema have remembered thousands upon thousands of Ahadeeth with their chain of Rewayia's, unheard of in our time.
Again, pls. stop your attacks on anything written to raise the status of our great scholars, your doing alot of damage, especially when don't have solid proof to support yo
Here are few words from Iman Abu Hanifa on obligation to accept hadeeth and give up the imam's view if contrary to it.
1. "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
2. "It is not permitted21 for anyone to accept our views if they do not know from where we got them."
In one narration, "It is prohibited23 for someone who does not know my evidence to give verdicts24 on the basis of my words."
Another narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one day, and take it back the next day."
In another narration, "Woe to you, O Ya'qub! Do not write down everything you hear from me, for it happens that I hold one opinion today and reject it tomorrow, or hold one opinion tomorrow and reject it the day after tomorrow."
3. "When I say something contradicting the Book of Allaah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), then ignore my saying."
. Ibn 'Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam, as follows:
"When a hadeeth contrary to the Madhhab is found to be saheeh, one should act on the hadeeth, and make that his madhhab. Acting on the hadeeth will not invalidate the follower's being a Hanafi, for it is authentically reported that Abu Haneefah said, 'When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab', and this has been related by Imaam Ibn 'Abdul Barr from Abu Haneefah and from other imaams."
This is part of the completeness of the knowledge and piety of the Imaams, for they indicated by saying this that they were not versed in the whole of the Sunnah, and Imaam Shaafi'i has elucidated this thoroughly (see later). It would happen that they would contradict a sunnah because they were unaware of it, so they commanded us to stick to the Sunnah and regard it as part of their Madhhab. May Allaah shower His mercy o
This is indeed a great injustice to Imam Sadiq (as), known to be the greatest Faqeehs and most knowledgable person of his time.
"Once Imam Abu Hanifah was walking down a street, while some minors were playing on the street, one of them commented pointing towards the Imam that this Imam is a saint who performs ibadat whole night with the ablution of Isha until Fajr. Hearing that comment, the Imam got anxious that "what people are thinking so high about him", he started to do the same for the next 50 years".
Analyzing the above story, combing with the teachings of the Glorious Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet (saw), only fools can believe such nonsense. The above story was told none other than a Hifz Teacher to my Hafiz Son. I did not interefere out respect, but lie is a lie which we should desist to promote.
First, Imam was not a saint, because Islam prohibits saint or priesthood. He was politically and socially active. His business was flourishing in the major centers in those days. He was highly intelligent, Persian background and loves to wear expensive clothes.
Unfortunately, many of our Hanafi brothers of India and Pakistan who have no historical knowledge about Imam reckon him as a old saint, which he was not. Out of 85 thousand rulings he had passed, more than 50% of those consists of dealings. Hanafi Maslak is based upon logic (khyas), and other maslaaks especially Hanbali and Shaafi are more closely attached to ahadeet since the collection of ahadeet were not at full swing at the time of Imam Abu Haneefah. The greatness of Imam was more of his political stand when he stood in front of Mansur and said that your rule is non-Islamic.
The difference between Islam and other relgions is very simple. Other religions are just religions emphasizing more on isolation and praying for long hours, while Islam is a system, it moderates a person between ibadaat and mamilaat. We are finished in mamilaat. Hananfi School of Thought is famous for maamilaat, not for ibadaat.
How come a person can spend whole night in prayers, while performing flourishing business the whole next day, and on top of that, detailing and providing rulings on more than 85 thousand Fiqh issues is of course laughable. This is how our ummah is being misled by some fools. The greatness of Hanafi Fiqh is that they developed the fiqh by debates not like blind followers like some of us. Read the history first.
During the period of Abbasid period, thousands and thousands of false and fabricated ahadeet were written from the top bottom to keep the ummah busy in praying like monks. Islam is a dynamic system, more than a religion. The praying of whole night is a concept only acceptable in India and Pakistan that too promoted and propagated by some ignorant institutions. The typical Indians and Pakistani believes that "if a person is saint, he or she cannot do anything wrong, and if they do wrong they are not saint". Nonsense.
All learned ulema from Maulana Shibli to Maududi have denied that Imam used to pray whole night. Even the seerah of the Prophet (saw) never indicates such alien practice. Imam Abu Hanifah has given his life not praying the whole night, but because of his political views against Mansur, many of us conveniently ignore that. He even participated in the political revolt against Mansur. By the way, Prophet (saw) brought deen to us, not religion, the concept of deen is to establish Islam in socio-economic and political system. That is deen.
Imam Abu Hanifa's name itself is enough to light up the world. My name means Pleides in Arabic, since Nabi Kareem sallalahu alahi wasalm uttered this word I am honored. My own ancestors used to stay up all night in prayers throughout their lives. Those lucky ones who actually do this are the ones who can go beyong Pleides without any help from NASA!
Nabi Kareem sallalahu alahi wasalam also said this Islam will reach wherever there is a night and a day. This occurs on Mars and planets in other solar systems and other galaxies. so think about it.
"Imam Sahib often recite entire Qur,an in his nightly rakas"
This is not possible - ask any HAFIZ-E- QURAN
or try yourself - even reading 10paras in a night rakas is difficult. Moreover, it is againt teachings of the Holy Profit who in reply to a
question said to complete reading of entire Qur,an atleast in three nights.
SECONDLY, "Iman Sahib performed the fajir prayer with ablution made for Isha prayer for forty years."
Again this is not understandable. He is said to be a business man as well as IMAM - if he remained busy praying the whole night (means he did not sleep) when and how he would perform his duties with regard to business / interpreting islam. Did not he fell ill during all this period. Again it is against teaching of holy propht who used to sleep, pray and also meet with his wives during night.
WOULD REQUEST TO PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME ON THE ABOSE SUBMISSION SO THAT I MAY CORRECT MYSELF.
As far as the other poster's inquiry is concerned regarding not praying all night being against Sharia (a laughable assertion), I would respectfully ask him to answer what then do Muslims all over the world do during the last 10 days of Ramadan esp. on Lailatul Qadr? If worshipping Allah all night would be anti-Shariah (and frankly I'd side with Imam Abu Hanifa over an imbecile like you anyday) then why would all scholars and believers practice it in Ramadan? It defies logic.
But thanks again to IC for this exceptional biography of my shuyook and the leader of my madhab.
I apologize to the entire Muslim community for the oft-ignorant state of some our fellow "praying all night is extreme" Muslim like Shuja nowadays.
If you are unable to spend the night worshipping your Lord like the virtuous Imam Abu Haneefa, at least don't denigrate the Imam and try 'n stop other Muslims from doing so aswell as being anti-Shariah.
Your emblematic of the weak state of the Ummah (making excuses for doing everything haram, but criticizing mutaqeens for praying for extended period of time) and the Muslim community need not tolerate such disrespect and shallow display of your intellect.
The above statement is based upon false information and it is a lie. The act is unislamic and has no place in Shariah. We need to be very careful what we utter. Imam has a flourishing business until his death. He was put into jail by Mansur due to his political views. He was an Islamic activist. Praying whole night for 40 years is not only unislamic and has no place in Islam and Shariah. I also subscribe to Hanafai school of thought, but false is a false.
When I said in the comments section at least Malcolm X is from the twentieth century Raihan had to go get himself bloody confused and make out that I meant being from the twentieth century was the only good thing about him. What I meant was that Malcolm X was not from long ago like most of the really renown Muslim thionkers were. Yes I do think this rticle was perfectly good, but the reason I don't usually write positive responses is because everyone else has usually alredy done that so there is not much need.