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| Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifah |

The true picture concerning the criticism levelled against IMAM E AA'ZAM (RADIYALLAHU ANHU)

Imam Abu Hanifah was very diligent in this topic. Whenever he use to do Qiyyas he used to always do it in the light of Qur’an or Sunnah. Now let us examine what Hafidhh Dhahabi, and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir wrote about Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh. They say:

Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh was born in 80A.H, living in the time when there were still some Sahaba living. He saw the famous companion, Anas Bin Malik Radi allaho unho and six other companions too. He learnt Ahadith from a group of Tabi’een, and spent much of his time in worship.

Abdullah Ibn Mubarrak said: 'He was the Greatest of all those who was well-versed in Islamic laws'. Imam Shaf’i said: 'All those who study Fiqh, are children of Imam Abu Hanifah' (Islamic law). Imam Yahya Bin Mau’een said: 'there are no accusations on Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh, and he is clean from all lies'. Whoever wants to learn Fiqh, he is dependent upon Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh. The people should pray for Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh after their prayers. He was the one of the greatest scholars on the earth. When he used to recite the Qur’an at night, he used to cry so much that his neighbours used to pity him. The place were he died, Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh read the Qur’an seventy thousand times. He died on 15 Rajab, 150 A.H. At his funeral, there were so many people that the Salaah of Janazah had to be read six times. May Allah grant him peace and Blessings.

[Tazkarra Al Hufaz, Tarikh Ibn Kathir, By Hafidhh Dhabi and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir, “biography of Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh]

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah says:

There is no doubt regarding Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh’s knowledge, people later attributed many lies to Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh, which were all untrue. The aim of such writings was to taint Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh.

[Minhaaj Al Sunnah Al Nabaweea, Vol./1, page. 259, By Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Al Qayyim says:

Imam Abu Hanifah would not do Qiyyas, even if he found a weak Ahadith. There are two types of Qiyyyas:

1) Which is against the Qur’an and the Sunnah, this is not permissible:

2) One that is in the light of Qur’an/Sunnah, this is permissible, our Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] also gave permisiion to Ma'az Bin Jabal to do Qiyyas.

[Aalmul Muaqqeen chap Qiyaas]

Why is it then today, after such great scholars like Hafidhh Dhahabi and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir who have corrected such erroneous lies against Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh, that people still propagate such vile accusations?

A review of Islamic history reveals that when Allah Almighty bestows any extraordinary scholar with His blessings, you can be sure that they would not have respite from distortions, slander and lies that are leveled against them. Imam Abu Hanifah was one of those great scholars of Islam against which such attempts were made. It is apparent, from the history books that Imam Abu Hanifah, (like the three Orthodox Sunni Mujtahid Imams; Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'ee, and Imam Ahmed) had many enemies.

Why did they have enemies, one may ask? Many of those who argued against and attacked them, were from misled Sects, such as the Khawarij. There were also those from amongst the court of the Khalif who for one reason or another, had opened their hearts to jealousy, but as such, had the support of the court and their stances were often enough not questioned

With such ferocity, and by the number of accusations leveled against Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) it is unfortunate to say that some of these accusations did have an effect on a few simple minded Muslims. It should be said that they cannot be entirely at fault, since even with the case of Aisah (Radiallaho anha.) we recall that even some of the Companions were convinced of these false accusations. However, this incident was no small matter. It resulted in Allah Ta'ala sending Revelation as a warning to those companions who believed the accusation. Allah Ta'ala questioned them that upon hearing the accusations, why did they not reject such slander?

To some extent, we can also say that similarly to the erroneous accusations that were leveled against Aisha that were shown to be baseless. Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) also faced such accusations, that have been mentioned by various pious people of later generations in their books.

We should thus learn from the incident involving Aisha (May Allah bless her and grant her peace]) that we should not accept accusations from the enemies of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) such as the Kawarij and the Mutazilah. Whenever people utter words of malice and indulge themselves in accusations against Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) they never mention that the majority of them are found to stem from two particular misled Sects – namely the Khawarij and the Mu’tazilah. Rather, people end up mentioning two particular people. They are Imam Bukhariand Khatib al Baghdadi.

1) Imam Bukhari has stated:

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) was a Murji’i.

[Al Tareekh Al Kabir under the life history of Nauman Bin Thabit]

Imam Bukhari also writes:

The time when Sufian Thuri (great scholar of Islam) heard news about the death of Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh he said ‘Praise be to Allah that such a man had died as he was gradually destroying Islam. There could not be a worse person born in Islam’.

[Tareek Sagheer biography of Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh]

Imam Bukhari also writes that :

On two occasions Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh was ordered to repent from making blasphemous statements.

[Khitab Al Daufa Walmat Rukin by Imam Bukhari, Al Intiqa By Imam Abdul 'barr]

Imam Bukhari informs us that he had taken these statements from his tutor Na’eem bin Hamad. [Tareekh Al Saghir by Imam Bukhari]

Imam Bukhari was so impressed by his tutor, that he never mentioned or used Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh as a reference for his book “As Sahih Al Bukhari” Although whenever he did mention Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh he referred to him as Kufi

(Nicknamed from his homeland - Kufa).

Before we proceed any further, it is important to refer to one particular accusation against Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) which was that he belonged to a deviant sect called the Murji'i. To answer this, we first need to see what character Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) possessed. Importantly, who gave Imam Bukhari information regarding Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) and In Sha Allah, we will demonstrate that he was not a Murjie and pinpoint from where this false accusation came from.

I have mentioned that Naeem Bin Hammad conveyed this information to Imam Bukhari, but before proceeding any further, let us take note of what Hafidhh Dhahabi, Hafidhh Asqalani and Kateeb al Baghdadi have written in connection to Naeem bin Hammad.

We learn that Naeem Bin Hammad was a famous Scholar from a reion called Marau. He had sight in one eye only. During the later part of his life he went to live in Egypt. At first, he belonged to a sect called Jahmiyya, and was an active member. He then later left this sect and wrote a book, which was the first book to use the science of Musnad. These were a compilation of narrations by the Sahaba, which were placed in an alphabetical order, according to whom he had narrated the Hadith. During this particular period, the Umma used to question whether the Holy Qur’an was Makhluq (created). When this question was put forward to Naeem Bin Hammad he did not give an explanation. He was then sent to prison along side Yaqub Faqia. He died in 228 Hijra. It was noted that no Janza [funeral prayer] was prayed over him and he was buried without a Kaffan [shroud].
[Tazkara tul Hufaz, Khateeb Baghdadi and Tahzeeb al Tahzeeb, by Hafidhh Dhahabi, Hafidhh Asqalani and Khateeb , biography of Naeem Bin Hammad]

This is a brief overview of his life and now we shall examine as to what status he held as a scholar. We shall do this by looking at what Hafidhh Dahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani have written, since they compiled together all the works by previous scholars who had written concerning Naeem Bin Hammad. What follows, are their accounts:

Imam Abu Dawud said that:

Naeem Bin Hammad, had attributed 20 Hadith to the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] which he in fact had never said, thus being fabricated sayings.

Here are two examples of such fabrications:

1) Abu Huraira reported that:

The Prophet of Islam [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] had said: "A time would come, when if you adhered to ten percent of Allah's commands you will succeed, and if you leave this ten percent you will die. (spiritually, not physically).

The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] had never uttered such words, this is a Munkar narration.

2) Abu Huraira narrated that :

The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] had said: "A time will come when my Ummah will be split into more than 70 sects. The worst will be those who indulge in Qiyyas (analogical deduction) in matters of uncertainty.”

Abu Zur’a said: “I asked Imam Yayha bin Mu’een, where did Naeen bin Hammad get this Hadith? He answered that it has no origins and that this is not a Hadith but has been invented. Whatever Naeem Bin Hammad had said about Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullah alayh were all lies and had no substance. Abu Zur’a said that whenever Naeem Bin Hammad would narrate a Hadith of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace], he would add in his own words in the Hadith. Whenever he would narrate a fabricated Hadith he would attribute it to the “great Imam of Hadith.”

Daar Qutni said that whenever Naeem used to mention a fabricated Hadith, he would do so to support the Sunnah. He had a lot of Munkar narrations, which other Imams did not have.

[Mizan Al Etedaal, and Tahzeeb Al Tahzeeb, by Hafidhh Dahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani, biography of Naeem Bim Hamaad]

Imam Bukhari took his narrations from Naeem Bin Hammad for his book, Sahih al-Bukhari and Tareekh. Since Naeem Bin Hammad received criticism from amongst the Muhaditheen likewise, Imam Bukhari also received criticism for his book of Hadith from the scholars of Hadith.

This overview concerning the character of Naeem Bin Hammad will allow us to understand that he was not a reliable Hadith expert in the eyes of the Scholars of Hadith. Now we shall elaborate upon the statements made by Imam Bukhari about Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah) by noting what the scholars of Hadith had to say concerning ...

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