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Imam Abu Hanifa R A

Imam Abu Hanifa R A

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Published by hayatali
The Life and works of Imam Abu Hanifa R A
The Life and works of Imam Abu Hanifa R A

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Published by: hayatali on Jun 09, 2008
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10/07/2012

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 Preface
 
Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammadand his family and Companions.This is a study of Imam Abu Hanifa – his life, opinions and
 fiqh
. I first address his life in order tounderstand his personality, psychology and thought, so that I can offer the reader a true and sound picture inwhich the special qualities and attributes of this Imam are revealed. Then I examine his views on dogma,
 fatwas
and analogy.Deriving a true picture of Abu Hanifa from the books of history and biographies is not easy since theadherents of his school have been excessive in their praise, going beyond acceptable bounds, and hisdetractors have been equally intemperate in their criticism. When faced with these two extremes, theinvestigator who seeks only the truth may be confused and this uncertainty can only be resolved withdifficulty and great effort.I think that I have managed to reveal a true picture of Imam Abu Hanifa, with all its shadows and shafts of light, and in the process of discovering it I have shed light on the time in which he lived and mentioned somedetails of the most notable contemporary sects. It is certain that he used to argue and debate with these sectsand that their opinions and ideas were much discussed at that time. Mentioning them will clarify the spirit of the age and the currents of thought prevalent in it.Then I examine his opinions on politics and dogma. This is necessary if we want to study all theintellectual aspects of any thinker. His views on politics had an effect on the course of his life. To ignore themwould be to ignore an important aspect of his personality, psychology, heart and thought. His views on dogmawere the clarification of all the ideas prevailing in his age and the pure core of the opinions of those who werefree of excess and extravagance. They were a sound expression of the views of the Muslim community.Indeed, they are the core of the
deen
and the spirit of certainty.I then go on to look at his
 fiqh
, which is the primary goal of this study. I begin by elucidating the generalprinciples which he used in his deduction and which define its path and clarify his method in
ijtihad.
For this Irely on what the early Hanafis wrote regarding the principles on which they depended and the methodemployed by Abu Hanifa. Concerning that I chose to be succinct rather than comprehensive, general ratherthan specific, and did not go into all the principles mentioned by the Hanafis since many of them cannot beascribed to the Imam and his companions but come from a later period.Having identified the method of Abu Hanifa, I turn to the study of some of the secondary areas of hisviews derived from a detailed examination of his life, such as some of the areas of 
 fiqh
which are connected tohuman free will in respect of property and some of the areas which are connected to trade and merchants in ageneral fashion. Scholars also mention that Abu Hanifa was the first to speak on legal stratagems and so it isessential to clarify that area of his thought, distinguishing the reality of what he did, and balance between whatis actually transmitted from him and what is said about him.In all the methods and branches mentioned, the Imam’s thought will be clarified by mentioning some of the disagreements between him and his companions. Clarification of their differences will show their ideasand orientations.In order to reach a fruitful conclusion to this study, it was also necessary to clarify the action of the lateradherents of this school in respect of the intellectual legacy left by the Imam and what subsequent generationsdid with it when faced with disparate customs. It was also necessary to examine the extent to which deductionplayed a part in the school and to look at the flexibility of its general principles of extrapolation and the role ithad in preserving the path of Islam, and the Book and the
Sunna
and their guidance.We must affirm that the need for the help of Allah Almighty in doing this is immense. If it were not for Hishelp, we should not reach any end or achieve any goal. We beseech Him to help us and grant us success.
 
Muhammad Abu ZahraDhu’l-Qa‘da 1364November 1945
 
 Foreword
 
It says in
al-Khayrat al-Hisan
by
 
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami al-Makki: “The renown of a man in the past isindicated by the disagreement of people regarding him. Do you not see that when ‘Ali died, may Allahennoble his face, there were two parties: one of which intensely loved him and the other of which intenselyhated him?”This test is true of many people and can also be applied to Abu Hanifa. People were partisan about him tothe extent that some people practically put him in the ranks of the Prophets and claimed that the Torah gavethe good news of him and that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had mentioned him byname and stated that he was the Lamp of his Community. They attributed to him endless virtues and qualitiesand exalted him above his rank. On the other hand, some people were partisan against him to a fanaticalextent, accusing him of being a heretic and of leaving the path, corrupting the deen and abandoning the
Sunna
.Indeed, they accused him of contradicting it and giving
 fatwas
regarding the
deen
without evidence or clearauthority. Some of them went to excess in attacking him and were not content with unfounded falsification,but were so intensely hostile that they attacked his
deen
, personality and faith.This happened even while Abu Hanifa was still alive and discussing with his students the requirements of 
 fatwas
: what should be taken from
hadith
, what should be derived by analogy and rules, and how to conduct
ijtihad 
in a proper manner.Why was there such disagreement about him? There are various reasons for it which shall be examined indetail in the course of this study. But it is appropriate to mention here one reason which may be the basis of the others. Abu Hanifa had a forceful personality which caused his method in
 fiqh
to spread beyond his owncircle and region to other regions of the Islamic world. People discussed his views in most areas of the Islamicworld, some opposing them and some agreeing with them.His views had opponents and supporters. Those who depended on texts alone regarded them as aninnovation in the
deen
and strongly objected to them. Sometimes the point of objection was not even theopinion of Abu Hanifa, who was a scrupulous and godfearing man, but was merely something wronglyattributed to him. The opponent would speak of it because he saw it as an innovation without knowing itsbasis or who had actually said it. The sharpness of the criticism was sometimes blunted when the critic sawhim or learned the evidence on which the judgement was based. Sometimes the critic would then respect theopinion and agree with him.An illustration of such an instance is found in respect of al-Awza‘i, the
 faqih
of Syria, who was acontemporary of Abu Hanifa. He said to ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, “Who is this innovator who has emergedin Kufa called Abu Hanifa?” Ibn al-Mubarak did not answer him, but began to mention some difficultquestions and how to understand them and give
 fatwa
regarding them. He asked, “Who gave these
 fatwas
?”He replied, “A shaykh I met in Iraq.” Al-Awza‘i said, “This is a noble shaykh. Go and take a lot from him.”“It is Abu Hanifa,” he stated. After that al-Awza‘i and Abu Hanifa met in Makka and discussed the questionswhich Ibn al-Mubarak had mentioned. He investigated them. When they parted, al-Awza‘i said to Ibn al-Mubarak, “I envy the man his great knowledge and intelligence. I ask forgiveness of Allah. I was in clearerror. Devote yourself to the man. He is not as they say about him.” (
al-Khayrat al-Hisan
, p. 33)The conflict between his supporters and opponents intensified in the fourth century AH when
madhhab
 partisanship became prevalent and
 fiqh
was debated by partisans. There were debates in people’s houses andin mosques about these matters so that whole days were spent in debates and arguments about
madhhab
. Eachwas a supporter of his Imam and partisan on his behalf. It is in this time that most of the biographies of theImams were written, usually with excessive praise of the particular Imam in question and attacking the others.The conflict was extremely severe between the Hanafis and the Shafi‘is. That is why these two Imams becametargets for bitter attacks, given the extreme partisanship of their supporters.Abu Hanifa, of course, was a target because of the great number of 
 fatwas
he gave based on opinion whichled people to attack his knowledge of 
hadiths
, his scrupulousness, the quality of his
 fatwas
and other thingswhich were connected to his school regarding deduction and extrapolation. The fanatics attacked him for all

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