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Imam Abu Hanifa (r.a)

Imam Abu Hanifa (r.a)

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Published by Shuaib Qureshi

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Published by: Shuaib Qureshi on Dec 25, 2010
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02/01/2012

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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

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