A Comprehensive Biography of Imam Abu Hanifa

Al-Numan bin Thabit, commonly called Abu Hanifah or Abu Hanifa is believed to be to be the person who established any of the schools, or rituals in Islamic the legal system (fiqh) in the Sunni law schools. He is also known as Al-Imam al-Azam (The Grand Imam) and Siraj Al-Aimma (The Lamp of the Imams).

Parents of Imam Abu Hanifa:

In the book Qamoos al-alam states: Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa’s birth name was Numan. The name of his father was Thabit. The name of his grandfather was Numan also. He was the fourth of the great Imams of the Ahl-as-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. “Imam” means “profoundly knowledgeable scholar. He was among the principal pillars of the incredible faith in the name of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).

Suggested Read: What Are Vices And Virtues? Surah Dua, How To Perform Salatul Tasbih? And Wudu Dua

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incredible faith in the name of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).

1. His lineage and birthplace:

According to many reliable sources According to the majority of sources, Abu Hu al-Numan anifa Thabit Bin Zuta marzuban, a native of Kufa, Iraq in 80 AH (699 AD). His father was an Persian specifically Thabit Ibn Zauta Al Farisi. While there is some contradicting evidence on the Imam’s lineage however, it is known for certain that he wasn’t Arabic however, he was one of the famous Persian merchants.

When Imam was born the government was one of Islamic government was under the control by Abdul Malik bin Marwan (king of the 5th Umayyad Banu).

According to several sources, he was given”Abu Hanifa” as his name suggests “Abu Hanifa” because he was one who was determined to worship Allah and sincerely fulfill obligations to the religion, since the word ” Hanif ” in Arabic is “inclined or inclined” to the true religion.

2. His Early Life:

The sources don’t provide any details about the father’s name, however it is likely that he was wealthy, a businessman and a pious Muslim. In many sources, it is stated that his father was a friend of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (R.A.) when he was a young man and that his grandfather, Imam’s father, gave Ali (R.A.) an amount of faludhaj (a sweet treat that was of Persian source) to celebrate Nawruz (Persian the Persian New Year). This suggests that Imam’s family was wealthy as they could afford Ali (R.A.) sweets. Ali (R.A.) treats that only the rich ate.

Abu Hanifa grew up in his home town of Kufa and attended school there . He spent the majority of his life in the city, with only occasional religious observances (Hajj) as well as scholarly trips to Makkah, Madinah, and other learning centers. Under the guidance of his father, Abu Hanifa memorized the Quran. He was raised in Kufa initially as a scholar, then as a merchant, and then student, and later as a teacher and expert on Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh).

Imam Abu Hanifa remained in his family’s business (silk cloth trader) and quickly established an image of sincerity and fairness. There are many stories about his time as a trader and all them mention that, prior to studying law (fiqh) the man had an inherent virtue, a generous heart, a sincere nature and a warm personality.

A few of his tales is that of the time when he took his partner, Hafs Ibn Abdur-Rahman, to market a cloth on the market in a far distance. He noted a defect in the cloth as well as instructed Hafs to make it clear the defect to the buyer once the cloth was sold and then price the cloth in accordance with the defect. 

Hafs made a sale of the fabric, but the seller did not mention the defect. And, to make matters worse and make matters worse, he couldn’t recall the identity of the buyer. In the midst of having to pay unjust profits Abu Hanifa decided to renounce the whole amount of the transaction, which was 30000 dirhams (both the basic price and profit) and gave the proceeds to the needy.

3. His change of mind towards his Study of Islamic Law (Fiqh):

This is an excellent illustration of how Allah’s will operates. The other day, Abu Hanifa was going home after completing his work. Imam Al-Shabi was also on his way to home. They came across each other and the encounter altered the life of Abu Hanifa. Imam Shabi asked,

  • “what do you do in your free time?”
  • Abu Hanifa replied,
  • “I go to the market, then to my shops”.
  • Then Imam Al-Shabi demanded,
  • “There are many scholars, do you have any teachers of the deen (religious devotion)?”

In the end, Abu Hanifa agreed to specialize in a specific area. He did research on the different branches of Islam including Quran, Hadih, Language Poetry, and so on. He also thought about the idea of being a judge so as to aid people in determining what is considered halal and what is considered haram, since this would be beneficial to the masses. He contacted Imam Al-Shabi to inform him of his decision.

4. The pursuit of Knowledge:

Abu Hanifa first dedicated himself to studying theology (kalam). After completing his theology studies He then embarked on studies in Islamic law and knowledge (fiqh) within Kufa which was believed to be the centre of famed fiqh scholars. Abu Hanifa was a student of fiqh at Hammad Ibn Sulaiman who was the most educated teacher of the time. 

Abu Hanifa used to read every day with Hammad Ibn Sulaiman during the time between Maghrib as well as Isha and, whenever he had enough time, he used to visit Hammad’s house. Hammad was Abu Hanifa’s instructor for the span of 18 years. After the death Hammad Ibn Sulaiman in the year 1825, the students of Kufa Madrasah were in agreement to nominate Abu Hanifa as the head of the Madrasah.

Imam Abu Hanifa did his best to abstain from other areas. He was an expert in other areas that comprise Islamic Studies.

After finishing his studies in Kufa as well as Basrah, Abu Hanifa went to Makkah and Madinah as the central point of the religious teachings of Islam. In Makkah he was taught the hadith of Ata Ibn Rbah, who was a the student at the school of Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A.). He taught Abu Hanifa extreme care and care.

Imam Abu Hanifa was taught by nearly 4000 instructors. In all, according to various sources seven were Sahaba (companions of the Prophet (S.A.W. ), ninety-three from|933 of|(), ninety-three were from} Tabieen, ninety-three from Tabieen (Companions of Sahabas) and the remaining of them were Tabi Tabieen (companions of Tabieen). The specific number of teachers in Abu Hanifah is unknown as the man traveled extensively across the world to acquire the knowledge of religion. He was a Hajj more than 55 times.

5. Teachers of Imam Abu Hanifa:

According to the majority of his teachers at the time, they were scholars. Tabieen as well as Tabi Tabieen Included:

  • Abdullah bin Masud (Kufa)
  • Ibrahim Al-Nakhai
  • Amir bin Al-Shabi
  • Imam Hammad ibn Sulaiman
  • Imam Ata Ibn Rabah
  • 8. Qatada Ibn Al-Numan
  • 10. Rabiah bin Abu Abdurrahman

6. Students of Imam Abu Hanifa:

Imam Abu Hanifa was a teacher to thousands of students. 28 of Imam Abu Hanifa’s students were judges in various cities, towns, and provinces and eight were Imams. Here are some of the students of Imam Abu Hanifa’s:

  • Imam Abu Yusuf
  • Imam Muhammad bin Hasan as Shaybani
  • Imam Zufar
  • Imam Malik bin Mighwal
  • Imam Dawood Taaee
  • Imam Mandil bin Ali
  • Imam Nadhar bin Abdul Kareem
  • Imam Amr bin Maymoon
  • Imam Hiban bin Ali
  • Imam Abu Ismah
  • Imam Zuhayr bin Muaawiyah.
  • Imam Hasan bin Ziyaad

7. the works of Imam Abu Haifa

A few of the works that were directly composed by Imam Abu Hanifa include:

  • Al-Fiqh al-Akbar
  • Kitab al-Raddala al-Qadariyyah
  • Al-Aalim wa al-Mutaallim
  • Al-Fiqh al-Absat
  • Kitab Ikhtilaf al-Sahaba
  • Kitab al-Jami
  • Al-Kitab al-Awsat
  • Kitab al-Sayr
  • Risalah Abu Hanifa ila Uthman al-Bayti
  • Wasiyyah al-Imam Abu Hanifa fi al-Tawheed.

5. His interactions with Sahabas:

It was unanimously decided the Imam Abu Hanifa was amongst the Tabieen. There are a variety of contradicting statements regarding the number of companions from Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) (Sahaba) that were viewed from the Imam Abu Hanifa. However, it has been established that the Imam Abu Hanifa visited with several friends of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) who were still alive at the time. A few of the Sahabas whom he met include

  • Anas bin Malik (R.A.) in Basra
  • Abu Tufail ibn Waasila (R.A.) in Makkah
  • Abdullah Ibn Abu Awfa (R.A.) in Kufa
  • Suhayl ibn Saad Saidi (R.A.) in Madinah.

6. Abu Hanifa and the Caliphs/Khalifas:

As Abu Hanifa increased in his knowledge, gained popularity in the crowd and gained an reputation for his wit as well as fairness. He attracted attention from those who were the Khalifas also known as the caliphs (The the most important Muslim religious and civil rulers). However, his relationship with Khalifas who ran the growing Islamic state was uneasy to say the least, or antagonistic at worst. As the Khalifas’ lifestyles became more extravagant. they were surrounded by lavish palaces, and naturally separated their followers from the ordinary people.

Imam Abu Hanifa was offered various post which included Chief Treasurer chief judge (Qadhi) by Khalifa Marwan bin Muhammad and the governor in the Iraq province Umar Hubayra al Fazar. However, Abu Hanifa refused all these proposals. The year 763 was the time that Abu Jafar Abdullah ibn Mohammad Al-Mansur, who was the ruler and Khalifa at the time made available to the Imam Abu Hanifa the post of Qadi (Chief Judge of the State)

However, the Imam declined the offer as Abu Hanifa knew that if they were to make him a judge and judge, he would not be able to render fair judgements due to the fact that the Khalifa will force him to make decisions in accordance with his personal preferences. In the letter he wrote addressed to Mohammad Al-Mansur, Abu Hanifa declared that he wasn’t qualified for the position. Al-Mansur was the one who had his own reasons and ideas for requesting the post angered him and claimed Abu anifa of lying. anifa of lying..

6. His Imprisonment and Death:

Abu Hanifa’s remark was not a favorite in the eyes of Mohammad Al-Mansur and so somewhere in the vicinity of 146 AH (768 AD), Abu Hanifa was punished with flogging and imprisonment. According to the legend, Imam was exiled every day and was given 10 lashes, until he receiving 110 of them. Imam died at 70 years old due to the abuse in prison or possibly poison or poison, which occurred in Baghdad approximately 150 AH (767 AC). According to the legend, imam Abu Hanifa passed away in the state of prostration (Sajda) Subhanallah.

In his final days in his death, he made a note to not be buried on any of the land that the ruler had taken over.

7. His Funeral Prayer and Burial Place:

He passed away within Baghdad in Baghdad and later was laid to rest in Baghdad. The word of his death quickly was widely reported all over Baghdad. Everyone gathered to pay their last respects to the Imam who was the most revered who was the founder of Islamic Law. 

It was reported that the crowd was so large at the Janazah Salah (funeral service of prayer) and funeral had to be repeated 6 times to over 50,000 people who had gathered prior to his burial. There was also a report that the crowds gathered each day for an entire week to pray funeral prayers. Hammad, his son Hammad was the leader of the final Janazah Salah.

Imam Abu Hanifa’s remains were buried within the Al-Khayzaran cemetery in Baghdad. The place where his grave is located can be referred to as the district of ‘Al-Adamiyah’ located in northern Baghdad, Iraq.

Abu Hanifa Mosque, also called Jamia Imam Al-Azam, is one of the most renowned Sunni Mosques in Baghdad, Iraq. It is situated around the burial site (tomb) for Imam Abu Hanifa.

7. His Children:

The specifics of Abu Hanifa’s children aren’t known, however it is known that he had one son, named Hammad that was honest, as well as an honorable brother of his dad. Hammad passed away in the year 176 AC. There were four of his sons: Omar, Ismail, Abu Hayyan and Uthamn. Ismail is the grandchild of Imam Abu Hanifa, achieved the greatest fame after the Qadhi (Judge) in Basra by Khalifa Haroon al-Rasheed.

8. His words:

The following are some wise words from Imam Abu Hanifa.

“Knowledge without action is as if a body is without a soul. If knowledge is not embraced by the reality of action, it will be and is neither genuine nor agreeable.”

Suggested Read: Travel Dua, Morning and Evening Duas, Ghusl Dua , Entering House Dua and Dua For Wake Up

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Sources of Imam Abu Hanifa’s Knowledge

Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim states:

 In the early days, those who had learned were referred to as Companions. They had more than 100s of thousands out of which 130 of them gave more fatawa than the others. Seven of Companions who gave the highest amount of fatawa. 

These seven were Al-Isa, ‘Umar Ibn Abu Talib, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud Umm al-Mu’minin’s ‘A’isha, Zayd Ibn Thabit and ‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with the seven). ‘Umar sent ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud to reside at Kufa. This was due to the fact that ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud was an expert in his field. His prophet (may Allah bless him and bless him and grant peace to him) made a declaration that he was a great scholar.

“Once, there were two people who went to Syria and Kufa to meet with ‘Umar. They gave them gifts and Kufa asked ‘Umar why we feel we have received less than Syrians. He replied, “Why didn’t you offer me ‘Abdullah Ibn Ma’ud, which is the most precious of all gifts?” “Abdullah Mas’ud was known to say that ‘I am aware of the entirety of every Sura within the Qur’an, and the reason why it was given to be used for.

If I have a friend who is more knowledgeable than I am, I should visit his knowledge and gain from his knowledge. Ibn ‘Umar often said”Ibn Mas’ud is brimming of knowledge.’Imam Ibn Jarir has said that there isn’t a single Companion whose students wrote his fatawa and Fiqh, besides ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. 

After a brief period, several Companions moved to Kufa to stay there. After ‘Ali’s khalifa was established, He also relocated to Kufa and that’s when Kufa was declared the capital city for The Islamic State. This then led other Companions to make the move to Kufa. Kufa was one of the main information points for the Companions.At that time , the top school in the world was that of
‘Ali and ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud.

[Ibn al-Qayyim, Alam al-Muwaqqaiy-in, chapter on ‘Qiyas’]

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Imam ibn Sa’d said:

“One a large number of Companions was first to live in Kufa. There were over 500 Companions in Kufa.That is the reason ‘Umar stated Kufa was the center of value [faith].’Kufa was the hub of knowledge in the time”

The book Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Vol. 6 Chapter on Kufa[em>Tabaqat ibn S’d, vol.

In the exact same Kufa the Imam Abu Hanifa was born.In the same location, he gathered his knowledge. He saw and learned from his Companions and learned through the tabi’un. To further expand his knowledge, He often traveled through Makka, Madina, Syria, Yemen and Basra.How can you say that he knew only 17 Ahadith? That’s like saying to the Hafiz in the Qur’an that he only knows Sura Fatiha and only!

Hafiz ibn Taymiyya writes:

the scholars were experts in Hadith and Fiqh. The scholars who are well-versed of both Hadith and Islamic law include Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad, Imam Ishaq, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Abu Hanifa. They also held a excellent status that was appropriate to all of them”

[Ibn Taymiyya, Kitab al-Istegatha, p13]

If Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya writes and admits the fact that Imam Abu Hanifa was a scholar in Hadith and Fiqh How can his followers deny the Imam Abu Hanifa, and say that he knew only 17 Ahadith?

Ibn Khaldun has pondered the idea that Imam Abu Hanifa had only 17 Ahadith. In his book, he has written on the issue in the book Al-Muqaddima. He argues that the accusation is false because Imam Abu Hanifa’s pupils Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad have narrated many ahadiths of Imam Abu Hanifa which they have written about in their books. 

Additionally, they’ve written two books in which they have collected all the ahadith they tell from Imam Hanifa (the titles of the books is Kitab al-Athar by Imam Abu Yusuf and Kitab al-Athar by Imam Muhammad). In addition, all the narrations of ahadith have been compiled into one book known as Jami Al-Masaneed written by Imam Abu Hanifa the famous scholar of Hadith/Fiqh.Imam Abu Hanifa is one of the first scholars who dictated books on Hadith/Fiqh.

The ahadith that Imam Abu Hanifa has narrated were heard straight from his Companions, or the tabi’un (student in those Companions). The Imam he was first to be found in Hadith/Fiqh. All came a long time after his. 

It is the reason his standing should be the top of all them.From the well-known scholars of Hadith/Fiqh, there is sole one to be an a tabi’i (who has had the privilege of seeing his Companions). The privilege was given the imam Abu Hanifa and not to Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad, Imam al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawud, Imam at-Tirmidhi and others.. He was the only person to have this honor.

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May Allah lift Imam Abu Hanifa’s rank in Jannah (Paradise) to be rewarded for the work he has done to help his fellow Muslim Ummah.

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