The knowledge of Fiqh. What is a Madhhab? Imâm-i A’zam Abû Hanîfa.



The following is an excerpt taken from the beginning of the book entitled Majmû’a-i-Zuhdiyya:

In Arabic, when the word fiqh is used in the category of faqiha yafqahu, that is, in the fourth category, it means to know, to understand. When used in the fifth category, it means to know and understand the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya. The knowledge that explains the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya has been called The science of Fiqh. A person who knows the teachings of Fiqh is called a Faqîh. The science of Fiqh explains the things which people should do and those which they should not do. The knowledge of Fiqh originates from the Qur’ân al-kerîm, from hadîth-i-sherîfs, from the ijmâ’-i ummat and from qiyâs. These four sources of the knowledge of Fiqh are called the Adilla-i shari’iyya. Mujtahids, while extracting ahkâm (rules) out of these four sources, parted into four Madhhabs. I have explained in the fourth chapter that the Ashâb-i-kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în’ and the mujtahids who came during the century after them are called Salaf-i sâlihîn. Unanimity of the Salaf-i sâlihîn is called Ijmâ’-i ummat. The Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya that have been derived from the Qur’ân al-kerîm or from hadîth-i-sherîfs or from the Ijmâ’-i ummat are called Qiyâs-i fuqahâ. To understand by way of qiyâs if something is halâl or harâm, it is compared to something else which is known as halâl or harâm. To do this, the reason which makes that thing halâl or harâm has to exist in the former, too!

It is Imâm-i azâm Abû Hanîfa who established and first practised the science of Fiqh.

The knowledge of Fiqh, i.e. Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya (Islam’s commandments and prohibitions), is very extensive. It is divided into four major parts:

1— ’Ibâdât is divided into five branches: namâz, fast, zakât, hajj, jihâd. Each has many divisions. It is written in Durr-ulmukhtâr and in Radd-ul-muhtâr that jihâd means to invite people to Islam and to fight against those who will not accept it, [against the armies of those tyrants who prevent others from hearing about this invitation and prevent those who heard it from believing it. This fight is assumed by the State, armed forces of the State.] It is also jihâd to help those who fight [that is, the State, the army] through material support, through ideas, [words and writings,] by increasing the number of defenders of Islam, and by curing [and by praying for] them. It is declared in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Perform jihâd against disbelievers through your property, through your lives, and through your tongues!” Also, it is jihâd to maintain security near the frontier and to learn how to use various means of warfare during the time of peace. It is fard-i kifâya for Muslims to perform this kind of jihâd. When the enemy attacks, it becomes Fard-i ’ayn for everybody, for women and children, that is, for those who are close to the place, and if their power does not suffice, for those who are far away, even very far from the area. [It is written in the two hundred and seventy-second page of the fifth volume of Ibni ’Âbidîn: “Women go out for jihâd after veiling themselves and with their husband or mahram relatives.”] People who do not help will become sinful. If a person understands that he will be killed if he attacks and will be captured if he does not attack, he must not fight. But he had better attack if it will harm the enemy and will render an advantage for the Muslims. The case is not so with performing Nahy-i ’anilmunkar to sinful Muslims, that is, admonishing them. People for whom it is wâjib to advise are permitted to advise even if it will be of no avail, even if they know that they will be killed. But it is not permissible when it causes fitna. When besieging a city of disbelievers, first they will be invited to Islam. If they accept it, they will become brothers with us. If they do not, they will be asked to become dhimmîs by paying a tax called the jizya. Jizya means to pay a fine, a retribution. It is the money which disbelievers are to pay to the (Muslim) government in return for being spared from death. There are two kinds of jizya. The first is the sum agreed on while making peace with disbelievers. This sum can never be changed later. The second kind of jizya is the sum levied on those (disbelievers) who are left to themselves instead of being killed after a victory won over the enemy. At the end of each month one dirham of silver —which is equal to half a gram of gold— will be taken from the poor ones. Those with moderate means will be charged two dirhams, and the rich ones will be charged four dirhams. Those who cannot work or who are ill for more than half a year will not be charged at all. A person with an income more than ten thousand dirhams a year is considered rich. One who earns more than two hundred dirhams is considered to have moderate means. The jizya is not levied on children, on women, on very old people, on religious men, or on Muslims. No one can be forced to pay any kind of tax other than zakât, ’ushr, jizya and kharâj. Otherwise, it will be cruelty, in which case what has been taken will have to be given back.

[The government will make payments from the Bayt-ul mâl for all public services it has to provide. If the Bayt-ul-mâl has no income or has insufficient income, then the government asks its citizens to pay taxes against the public services to be performed. Citizens have to pay these taxes in full and on time. It is collected by force from those who refuse to pay it.]

If they do not accept this either, they will be attacked. If they accept the jizya they will be our countrymen and will live under Islam’s justice. They will be granted the right to perform their acts of worship and to sell to each other pork and alcoholic drinks. Among them, and between them and the Muslims, the same laws, rights, punishments, and trade dealings, as is the case among the Muslims will be practised. The hadd[1] for alcoholic drinks will not be inflicted on them. Their customs, except receiving interest, will not be considered a crime. [Interest is harâm in their religion, too.] If an enemy is powerful, it is permissible to make peace by even giving goods to them. If powerful murtadds captured cities and the cities became Dâr-ul-harb, it is also permissible to make peace with them when there is a darûrat.

After the five principles of Islam, the highest act of worship is jihâd. All the sins of a martyr, except his debts to creatures, will be forgiven. Furthermore, Allâhu ta’âlâ will compensate on the Day of Rising for the debts to creatures. Muslims who die in a jihâd or on the way for hajj or while keeping guard near the frontier will be given the thawâb for these worships of theirs continuously until the Rising. Their bodies will not rot. Each of them will intercede for seventy people on the Day of Rising. It is written in the six hundred and thirty-eighth page of the second volume of Hadîqa: “He who becomes a martyr by drowning will be given twice as much thawâb as the one who becomes a martyr on land.” It is declared in a hadîth: “Learn how to shoot arrows, and how to ride a horse!”

It is declared in another hadîth: “He who learns how to shoot arrows and then forgets it is not one of us,” and in another hadîth: “Playing is not useful. Only, it is appropriate to learn how to shoot arrows, to tame one’s horse and to play with one’s wife.” That is, they are useful and necessary. These hadîths command and encourage us to learn and train ourselves to use all  means of war during the time of peace. As is seen, it is an act of worship to get ready for jihâd. Our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ states that there are three kinds of jihâd against disbelievers: through actions, through words, through prayers. It is fard-i kifâya to get ready for jihâd through actions, to learn how to make new weapons and how to use them. Recently the second type of war, that is, the attacks of the irreligious through articles, movies and radios, has grown. It is jihâd also to stand against this. [It is explained in detail in the sixty-fifth and one hundred and ninety-third letters (of the first volume of Maktûbât)[2] that this type of jihâd is more important and deserves more thawâb. These two types of jihâd are performed under the command and permission of the government. It is wâjib not to rebel against the government and not to violate its laws.]

2— Munâkahât, which has many divisions, such as marriage, divorce, nafaqa, and many others.

3— Mu’âmalât, which has many divisions, such as buying and selling, rent, companies, interest, inheritance.

4— ’Uqûbât (penal code), that is, the punishments called hadd, which is mainly divided into six sections: Qisâs (lex talions), drunkenness, sirqat (theft), zinâ (fornication), qazf (accusing a woman falsely of adultery), riddat (turning a renegade), and the punishments for these. Because the punishment come after the sin, they are called ’Uqûbât.[3]

It is fard for everybody to learn the ’ibâdât (worship) part of Fiqh. It is fard-i kifâya to learn parts of Munâkahât and Mu’âmalât. That is, it is fard to learn these for those who meet with such circumstances. [It is a must for every Muslim to learn the four parts of Fiqh and give ’ushr in the dâr-ul harb, too. For instance, it is also harâm in the dâr-ul-harb to look at the awrat parts, heads, arms, or legs of kafîr and murtadd women living there. Only, it is permissible for Muslims not to follow the Ahkâm-i-ilâhiyya in mu’âmalat with disbelievers in the dâr-ulharb. Please see the paragraph under the heading INSURANCE towards the end of the forty-sixth chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss!] The dhimmî, i.e. non-Muslim countrymen, also, have to learn branches of ’uqûbât and mu’âmalât, for, Islam commands the dhimmîs also to obey the rules of ’uqûbât and mu’âmalât. A disbeliever who lives in the Dâr-ul-Islâm but who has another nationality has to obey only the rules of mu’âmalât.

After the branches of knowledge termed Tafsîr, Hadîth and Kalâm, Fiqh is the most honoured branch of knowledge. It brings more thawâb to study the science of Fiqh than it does to perform supererogatory prayers of namâz at night. And it brings more thawâb to learn it from a teacher than to study it alone. The following six hadîths are sufficient to indicate the honour in Fiqh:

When Allâhu ta’âlâ wishes to do a favour to a slave of His, He makes him a faqîh in religion.

If a person becomes a faqîh, Allâhu ta’âlâ sends the things which he longs for and his food by means that he does not anticipate.

The person whom Allâhu ta’âlâ calls the highest is the one who is a faqîh in religion. This hadîth alone would suffice to show the greatness of Imâm-i a’zâm Abû Hanîfa ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’.

Against the devil, one faqîh is stronger than a thousand ’âbîds (people who worship much).

Everything leans on a pillar. The basic pillar of Islam is the science of Fiqh.

The best, the most valuable act of worship is to learn and teach Fiqh.

The Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya in the Hanafî Madhhab were brought about through a chain of scholars that can be traced back to Hadrat ’Abdullah Ibni Mas’ûd ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, one of the Sahâba. To be more specific, the chief of the Madhhab, Imâm-i a’zâm Abû Hanîfa, learned the knowledge of Fiqh from Hammâd, who had learned it from Ibrâhim-i Nahâ’i, who from ’Alqama, who from ’Abdullah bin Mas’ud, who had learned it from Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’.

Abû Yûsuf, Muhammad, Zufar bin Huzayl, and Hasan bin Ziyâd are all Imâm-i a’zam’s disciples. Of these, Imâm-i Muhammad wrote some thousand books on religious teachings. Because he married the widowed mother of Imâm-i Shâfi’î, who was one of his disciples, when he died his books were inherited by Imâm-i Shâfi’î and this caused the latter’s knowledge to increase. For this reason, Imâm-i Shâfi’î said: “I swear that my knowledge on Fiqh has increased by my reading Imâm-i Muhammad’s books. He who wants to deepen in the science of Fiqh should keep company with Abû Hanîfa’s disciples.” And once he said: “All Muslims are like Imâm-i a’zam’s household, children.” That is, as a man earns his household’s subsistence, likewise Imâm-i a’zam undertook the task of uncovering the religious teachings which people need in their matters, thus rescuing everybody from a very difficult job. Imâm-i Shâfi’î’s establishing a different Madhhab does not mean that he disliked Imâm-i a’zam or that he disagreed with him. The Sahâba had different Madhhabs, too. Despite this, they liked and respected one another. The final âyat of Fat-h Sûra is a proof-text to verify this fact.

Not only did Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa establish the science of of Fiqh, divide it into branches, and set ways and methods, but he also gathered the teachings of Fiqh coming from Rasûlullah and from the Sahâba and conveyed it to hundreds of his disciples. Of these disciples, some were educated and trained as specialists in ’Ilm-i kalâm, that is, in the teachings pertaining to îmân. Of these, Abû Suleymân Jurjânî, one of those educated by Imâm-i Muhammad Shaybânî, and Abû Bakr-i Jurjânî, one of this person’s disciples, became well-known. And of these disciples, Abû Nasr-i ’Iyâd educated Abû Mansûr-i Mâturîdî in the science of Kalâm. Abû Mansûr recorded the teachings of Kalâm that came from Imâm-i a’zam by way of books. Struggling against those who had deviated from the right way, he consolidated the belief of the Ahl as-sunnat. He spread it everywhere.

Everyday Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’ performed the morning prayer in the mosque and then answered his students till noon. Before midday, he performed Qaylûla sitting. It is written in Shir’a-t-ul-Islâm, in Ibnî ’Âbidîn, in its chapter about bey’-i-fâsid,[4] and in Mawâhib-i ladunniyya, in its chapter about dream interpretation, that it is sunnat to perform Qaylûla, that is, to sleep for a while as the sun approaches noon. It is written in Mîzân-ul-kubrâ[5] that Qaylûla can be performed in the afternoon all well.

After early afternoon prayer he taught his disciples until night prayer. After night prayer he went home and rested for a while. Then he went to the mosque and worshipped until morning prayer. This fact has been stated by Mis’ar bin Kadâm-i Kûfî, one  of the Salaf-i sâlihîn, and by many other noble people.

He traded and earned his living in a way that was halâl. Sending goods to other places, he bought his disciples’ needs with his earnings. He spent much for his own home, and gave as much as he spent for his home to the poor as alms. Every Friday he distributed twenty gold coins to the poor for the souls of his parents. He would not stretch his legs towards his master and teacher Hammâd’s house. However, there was a distance of seven streets between them. Once he heard that one of his partners had sold a great amount of goods incompatibly with Islam; he distributed all ninety thousand aqchas earned from this merchandise, thus accepting not even a penny of it. The villages of Kûfa city had been raided by brigands, who had driven away the sheep. Thinking that these stolen sheep might have been slaughtered and sold to the people, he did not buy or eat mutton for seven years from then on, for he had learned that a sheep lived at most seven years. He avoided the harâms very much and observed Islam in everything he did.

For forty years Imâm-i a’zam performed morning prayers with the ablution which he had performed for night prayers, [which means that he did not sleep after night prayers.] This fact is written with proofs in Mavdû’âtul’ulûm, in Durr-ul-mukhtâr, in the preface of Ibnî ’Âbîdîn, and in Mizân-ul-kubrâ. [The wives of these great people, like they themselves, made it a pleasure for themselves to worship Allâhu ta’âlâ, to serve His Religion, and sacrificed their rights and pleasures for Allah’s way. Also, all the Sahâba, with the wishes and permission of their wives, had gone to distant places for jihâd in order to spread Allah’s Religion, and many of them became martyrs and did not come back. And their wives were happy because they shared these thawâbs.] He performed hajj fifty-five times. During his last hajj, he entered the Ka’ba and performed a na’mâz of two rak’ats. He recited the entire Qur’ân in the namâz. Then he wept and supplicated: “Yâ Rabbî! I haven’t been able to do the worships in a manner worthy of Thee. But I have understood very well that Thou couldst not be understood through mind. Forgive my faults in my service for the sake of this understanding of mine!” At that moment a voice was heard to say: “O Abû Hanîfa! You have known Me well and served Me beautifully. I have forgiven you and those who are in your Madhhab and those who will follow your way until the end of the world.” He read the entire Qur’ân al-kerîm once every day and once every night. These facts are written in Durr-ul-muhktâr, in the preface of Ibni ’Âbidîn, in Khayrât-ul-hisân, in Mir’ât-i kâinât, and also at the end of Hazânat-ul-muftîn. Reciting the entire Qur’ân al-kerîm in one rak’at of namâz has been managed only by ’Uthmân bin Affân, by Tamîm-i Dârî, by Sa’îd bin Jubayr, and by Imâm-i a’zâm Abû Hanîfa. It is written in Shir’a-tul-Islam: “It is mustahab to read the entire Qur’ân al-kerîm in forty days. Rasûlullah used to recite it all once a year, for it had settled in his blessed heart. While reading the Qur’ân al-kerîm it is necessary to meditate over its meaning and to have it settle into the heart. For this reason, he prohibited it from being read entirely in a period of time shorter than three days. ’Uthmân bin Affân, Zayd bin Thâbit, ’Abdullah ibni Mas’ud, Ubayy-ibnu Qa’b-il-hadrajî and many of the Sahâba used to read it all once a week. ’Âbids (those who worship much) should read it twice a week and those who spread knowledge should read it once a week.” It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “He who reads the entire Qur’ân al-kerîm in less than three days cannot understand its meaning.” The hadîth does not prohibit the performing of one prayer of namâz by reciting the entire Qur’ân. Those who asked Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ were ordered to read it though according to the time that was suitable with the conditions they were in and their jobs.

Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ stated that Imâm-i a’zam would come to the world. In a hadîth, which is quoted in Diyâ-i ma’nawî, in Mawdû’âtul’ulûm, in Khayrât-ul-hisân, and which is said to be sahîh in the book Ibni ’Âbidîn, is stated: “As Âdam and all Prophets boast about me, so I boast about a person with the surname Abû Hanîfa and with the name Nu’mân, who will be the light of my Ummat. He will protect them against deviating from the right way and from falling into the darkness of nescience.” He died in 150 A.H., when he was seventy years old. The great savant Hadrat Ibni Hajar-i Makkî states that the hadîth-i-sherîf, “In the year one hundred and fifty the world’s ornament will be gone,” is intended for Imâm-i a’zâm. Shamsaddîn Sâmî Bey writes as follows in his Qâmûs-ul a’lâm:

“The name of Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa is Nu’mân. His father’s name was Thâbit. He is the first of the four great imâms of the Ahl as-sunnat. He is a great pillar of the brilliant Religion of Muhammad ‘’alaihis-salâm’. He is a descendant of one of the notables of Persia. His grandfather had embraced Islam. He was born in the city of Kûfa in 80 A.H. He was born early enough to live during the times of Anas bin Mâlik, ’Abdullah bin Abî ’Awfâ, Sahl bin Sa’d-i Sâ’idî and Abu-t-tufeyl ’Âmir bin Wâsila, who were Sahâbîs. He learned the science of Fiqh from Hammâd bin Abî Suleymân. He kept company with many great persons of the Tâbi’în, especially with Imâm-i Ja’far Sâdiq. He memorized many hadîths. If he had not become a Madhhab leader, he had been brought up so as to become a great judge, a man of ideas. He had a superior intellect and a wisdom which bewildered everybody. In the science of Fiqh he reached a grade that did not have an equal or a likeness. Yazîd bin ’Amr, who was the Governor of Iraq during the time of Merwân, offered him the judgeship to the lawcourt of Kûfa. But because he had much zuhd, taqwâ and wara’ as well as knowledge and wisdom, he did not accept it. He was afraid of failing to observe the people’s rights because of human weaknesses. Although he was whipped a hundred and ten times on the head with Yazîd’s command, he persisted in refusing. He was invited to Baghdad by the second Abbâsî Khalifa Abû Ja’far Mansûr. He was commanded to accept the judgeship, but he refused it again.

He was the first to divide the science of Fiqh into branches; he arranged different sections for different branches of the science, and wrote the books entitled Farâid and Shurût. There are innumerable books describing his extensive knowledge in Fiqh, his miraculous power in qiyâs, and his dumbfounding superiority in zuhd, taqwâ, mildness, and piety. He had very many disciples, some of whom became mujtahids. He passed away in 150 A.H., when he was seventy years old. Because he would not accept the presidency of the Supreme Court of Appeal offered by Abû Ja’far Mansûr, he was sent to jail. There he was whipped. He was whipped ten times more for each following day. He became a martyr when the number of whippings became a hundred. Abû Sa’d-i Hârazmî, one of the viziers of the Seljuki Emperor Sultan Melikshah, had a wonderful tomb built over Hadrat Abû Hanîfa’s grave. Later, this tomb was restored and embellished various times by Ottoman Sultâns.

The Hanafî Madhhab spread everywhere during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. It was almost the official Madhhab of the State. Today, more than half of the Muslim population over the world and the majority of the Ahl as-sunnat worship in accordance with the principles of the Hanafî Madhhab.”

It is written as follows in the book Mir’ât-i kâinât:

Imâm-î a’zam’s father, Thâbit, had met Hadrat Imâm-i ’Alî in Kûfa and ’Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ had invoked a blessing on him and on his children. [This fact is written in the books entitled Durr-ul-mukhtâr, Mawdû’ât-ul-’ulûm and Ghâliyya, and especially in Ibnî ’Âbidîn, which gives even its documents.] He saw Anas bin Mâlik and also three or seven more of the Sahâba ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în’. He learned hadîths from them.

It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Of my Ummat, a person named Abû Hanîfa will come. He will be the light of my Ummat on the Day of Rising.” It is stated in another hadîth-i-sherîf: “A person named Nu’mân bin Thâbit and called Abû Hanîfa will come, and will enliven Allah’s Religion and my Sunnat.” The hadîth-i sherîfs that read: “There will come a person named Abû Hanîfa. He is the most useful of this Ummat,” “One of my Ummat will enliven my Sunnat and kill the bid’ats. His name is Nu’mân bin Thâbit,” “In every century there will be people who will get promoted among my Ummat. Abû Hanîfa is the highest of his time,” “Of my Ummat, there will come a person named Abû Hanîfa. There is a beauty-spot between his two shoulderblades. Allâhu ta’âlâ will enliven His Religion through his hand,” are well known. One of the savants asked Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ in his dream: “What would you say about the knowledge of Abû Hanîfa!” He stated in response: “Everybody needs his knowledge.” Another savant asked in his dream: “O Rasûlallah! What would you say about the knowledge of Nu’mân bin Thâbit, who is of Kûfa city?” He stated: “Learn from him, and act as he teaches you. He is a very good person.” Imâm-i ’Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ said: “Let me inform you about a person named Abû Hanîfa, in Kûfa city. His heart will be full of knowledge and ultimate divine meanings. During the latest time period, many people will perish because they will not appreciate him. As a matter of fact, Râfidîs will perish on account of Abû Bakr and ’Umar.” Imâm-i Muhammad Bâqir ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’ looked at Abû Hanîfa ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ and said: “When people who defile my ancestor’s Religion are on the increase, you will enliven it. You will be the savior of those who fear and the refuge of those who are confused! You will bring heretics round to the right course! Allâhu ta’âlâ will help you!”

Of the above-said hadhîths, the first, the second and the fifth are written in Khayrât-ul-Hisân, and also in Mawdû’atul’ulûm, by Allâme Taşköprülü. In the preface of a valuable book of Fiqh entitled Durr-ul-mukhtâr, the author quotes the hadîths, “As Adam ‘’alaihis-salâm’ boasts about me, so I boast about a person among my Ummat. His name is Nu’mân and his surname is Abû Hanîfa. He is the light of my Ummat” and “As Prophets boast about me, likewise I boast about Abû Hanîfa. He who loves him has loved me. He who dislikes him has disliked me,” and states that Abû Jawzî’s calling them ‘mawdû’ hadîths’ is bigotry and obstinacy on his part since they have been quoted by various other scholars. Ibni ’Âbidîn writes that these hadîths are sahîh, and enlarges on the subject, as follows: “As is reported in the book Khayrât-ul-hisân by Ibni Hajar-i Makkî, it is stated in a hadîth-isherîf in Bukhârî and Muslim: ‘Even if îmân goes up to the planet of Venus, one of the sons of Fâris will certainly bring it back.’ Fâris means the people living in that part of Iran called Fars. Imâm-i a’zam’s grandfather was from there. It is obvious that this hadîth-isherîf denotes Imâm-i a’zam. There is no doubt about it.”

Such hadîth savants as Suyûtî, Zahabî and Asqalânî said mawdû’ about some hadîths; yet by saying so they meant: “They do not fulfill the conditions which sahîh hadîths should do according to my Madhhab.” They did not mean that they were concocted hadîths. We should not say concocted about these hadîths, which exist in valuable books, by being deceived by the obstinate, envious articles of such people as Ibni Taymiyya, Ibni Jawzî and ’Aliyyulqârî, who have dissented from the Ahl assunnat, or of heretics called Wahhâbîs. Please read the fifth and sixth chapters! It is written in the three hundred and tenth page of the book Berîqa that it is declared in a hadîth-i-sherîf in Bukhârî and Muslim: “The most useful of people are Muslims who are in my century. (That is, they are the Sahâba.) After them the best ones are those who come after them. (That is, they are the Tâbi’în.) And after them the best ones are those who will come after them. Lies will spread among people who will come after them. Do not believe their words or deeds!” This hadîth-i-sherîf is written also in the book Fath-ul-majîd by Wahhâbîs. All the Sahâba, and also most of those who lived in the centuries after them are as they are described in the hadîth-i-sherîf. Imâm-i a’zam is one of the Tâbi’în, who are praised in this hadîth-i-sherîf. In fact, it is known by all Muslims and even by all men of knowledge, whether they are religious or irreligious, that he is one of the highest of the Tabi’în. Since Imâm-i a’zam ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ is one of the highest of those who have been celebrated through this hadîth-i-sherîf, it would be unnecessary to look for another hadîth-i-sherîf for explaining his greatness. A person who says mawdû’ about the hadîth-i-sherîfs that are written above and which praise him has denied this sahîh hadîth-isherîf as well. Another scholar who announces the greatness of Imâm a’zam Abû Hanîfa is Muhammad bin Mahmûd Harezmî (d. 665 [1266 A.D.]). He wrote a commentary to Imâm a’zam’s book entitled Musnad, and listed Imâm a’zâm’s virtues and merits in the initial pages of his commentary. His written account is quoted at the end of the book entitled Usûl-ul-erbe’a.[6]

As our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wassalam’ praises the imâms of Madhhabs in the hadîth above, let us see what he declares about the Wahhâbîs and about those men of religion who, like Wahhâbîs, have appeared recently. It is declared in the two hadîth-i-sherîfs that are written in Tanbîh and Mukhtasar-i Tezkîra: “Towards the end of the world there will be a decrease in knowledge and an increase in ignorance” and “The decrease in knowledge indicates a decrease in the number of savants. Ignorant men of religion will cause fitna by giving fatwâs according to their own points of view. They will cause people to deviate from the right way.” These hadîth-i-sherîfs inform us that in the latter time period ignorant, sinful and heretical men of religion will be on the increase and will mislead Muslims.”

Studying the science of kalâm and the science of Ma’rifat in his youth, he acquired immense erudition. Then, serving Imâm-i- Hammâd for twenty-eight years, he attained maturity. When Hammâd passed away, he replaced him as a mujtahid and muftî. His knowledge, his superiority became known far and near. On account of his knowledge, virtue, intellect, comprehension, zuhd, taqwâ, trustworthiness, quickness to reply and repartee, devoutness, trueness, and all other human maturities, he was superior to everybody. All the mujtahids contemporary with him or succeeding him, other savants and great people, and even Christians have praised him. It is written in Khayrât-ul-hisân, in Mîzân-ul-kubrâ, in Mir’ât-i-kâinât, and in Mawdû’atul’ulûm that Imam-î Shâfi’î said: “In the knowledge of Fiqh, all people are Abû Hanîfa’s children.” Again, it is written in Hâfiz Zahabî’s book As-sahîfa fî manâkib-i Abî Hanîfa, Ibni Hajar-i Makkî’s Kalâid-ul-uqbân fî-manâkib-in Nu’mân, Hamawî’s Eshbâh, Muhammad bin Yûsuf’s Sîrat-i Shâmî and in Mahmûd Pishâwurî’s Persian book Hujjat-ul-islâm that Imâm-i Shâfi’î said: “He who wants to become a Fiqh scholar should read the books of Abû Hanîfa,” and they wrote that this was also reported by Imâm-i Muzanî. Once he said: “I reap benefits from Abû Hanîfa.  I visit his grave every day. When I am in a difficult situation I go to his grave and perform a namâz of two rak’ats. I beg Allâhu ta’âlâ. And He gives me what I wish for.” This is explained in the preface of Ibni ’Âbidîn and also in the hundred and sixty-sixth page of Shawâhid-ul-Haqq. It is written in Ghâliyya: “Imâm-i Shâfi’î used to perform morning prayers near Abû Hanîfa’s grave, but he would not recite the prayers of the Qunût out of his respect towards him. There was no savant on earth who was superior to Abû Hanîfa.” Imâm-i Shâfi’î was a disciple of Imâm-i Muhammad, who was Imâm-i a’zâm’s second disciple. He said: “Allâhu ta’âlâ bestowed knowledge upon me through two people. I learned Hadîth from Sufyân bin Uyayna and Fiqh from Muhammad Shaybânî.” And he said once: “There is one person to whom I am grateful concerning knowledge pertaining to Islamic and worldly matters. He is Imâm-i Muhammad.” Imâm-i Shâfi’î, again, said: “I wrote enough books to load a beast of burden with what I learned from Imâm-i Muhammad. Had it not been for him, I wouldn’t have acquired anything of knowledge. In knowledge, all people are the children of the savants of Iraq. The savants of Iraq are the disciples of the savants of Kûfa. And the savants of Kûfa are Abû Hanifa’s disciples.” Imâm-i a’zam acquired knowledge from four thousand people. Five hundred thousand religious matters have been solved, and all of them have been answered in the Hanafî Madhhab.

Imâm-i a’zam’s taqwâ was very great. He used to trade in order to earn halâl food. He had commercial partners. He used to distribute earnings of thousands of aqchas which he considered doubtful to the poor and to men of religion. He used to support his hundreds of disciples and meet their needs with his own earnings. For thirty years he fasted every day. [He ate for five days in a year, i.e. on the days of ’Iyd.] He used to perform namâz at nights. He used to spend most of the hours of his days giving lectures and answering the questions of the people in the mosque. At nights he used to worship his Owner in the mosque or in his home. For forty years he performed the morning prayers with the ablution he had made for the night prayers. He often used to read the entire Qur’ân in one rak’at or in two rak’ats. And sometimes, whether in namâz or not, he would recite an âyat describing Allah’s torment or mercy, time after time, and then weep, moan and sob. Those who heard him would pity him. He would wear clothes like those of the poor. But sometimes he would wear very valuable garments in order to exhibit the blessings of Allâhu ta’âlâ. He performed hajj fifty-five times and stayed in the blessed city of Mekka for several years. At the place where his soul was taken away he recited the entire Qur’ân seven thousand times. He said: “I have laughed once in my life. And I rue it.” He would talk infrequently, but think much. He used to discuss some religious subjects with his disciples. One night, after performing the night prayer in jamâ’at, he was going out of the mosque, when he began to talk with his disciple Zufar on some matter. One of his feet was outside the door and the other one inside the mosque yet. They talked until the morning adhân and then went back into the mosque to perform the morning prayer before he had time to take his other foot out. Saying that Hadrat Imâm-i ’Alî ‘radiy- Allâhu ’anh’ had said: “It is permissible to spend up to four thousand dirhams for livelihood,” he used to distribute the excess of the four thousand dirhams of his earnings to the poor. Yazid bin ’Amr wanted to make him the governor and the judge of Kûfa city. He would not accept it. He imprisoned him and had him beaten. His blessed head and face swelled. The next day he took the imâm out and repeated his offer with oppression. The imâm said: “Let me consult,” and obtained permission. He went to the blessed city of Mekka and stayed there for five or six years.

Khalîfa Mansûr had very profound respect for the îmâm. He sent him ten thousand aqcha and a jâriya as a present. The imâm did not accept them. One aqcha was worth one dirham of silver. Mansûr was cruel. In 145 A.H., Ibrâhîm bin ’Abdullah bin Hadrat Hasan had been recruiting soldiers in order to help his brother Muhammad, who had declared his caliphate in the blessed city of Medina. He had come to Kûfa. It was rumoured that Abû Hanîfa had been supporting him. Upon hearing this, Mansûr had the îmâm brought to Baghdad from Kûfa. He told him to tell everybody that Mansûr was the rightful Khalifa. He would give him the presidency of the Supreme Court of Appeal in return for this. He exerted intense presure on him. The imâm, having too much taqwâ to esteem worldly ranks, did not accept it. Being hurt, Mansûr imprisoned him. He had him thrashed. Having received thirty blows, his blessed feet bled. Mansûr repented and sent him thirty thousand aqcha, but he did not accept it. He imprisoned him again and had him thrashed, each day ten blows more than the day before were added. On the eleventh day, because Mansûr was afraid that the people might attack, he was forced to lie down on his back. Poisonous sherbet was poured into his mouth. He performed sajda (prostration) while dying in 150  A.H. Some fifty thousand people performed his namâz of janâza.[7] There was such a great crowd that the prayer was accomplished with difficulty, not before the late afternoon prayer. For twenty days many people came to his grave and performed his namâz of janâza there.

He had seven hundred and thirty disciples. His son Hammâd was one of his notable disciples.

There have been some disagreements among the disciples of Imâm-i a’zam ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’. The hadîth, “Disagreements among the savants of my Ummat is Allah’s compassion,” informs us that these disagreements are useful. He used to fear Allahu ta’âlâ very much, and was very careful in obeying the Qur’ân al-kerîm.

He used to say to his disciples: “On any matter, if you happen to obtain a document that disagrees with my word, leave my word aside and follow the document!” For, his disciples, like he himself, were mujtahids. All his disciples swear: “We have stated even our disagreements with him based on a proof, a document which we had heard from him.”

Muftîs should act in accordance with Imâm-i a’zam’s word. If his word cannot be found they should follow Imâm-i Yûsuf’s word. Next to him, Imâm-i Muhammad’s word should be followed. When the word of Imâm-i Yûsuf and that of Imâm-i Muhammad are on one side and Imâm-i a’zam’s word is on the other side, a muftî can give a fatwâ in accordance with either side.

It is written in Ibni ’Âbidîn and in Majmû’a-i zuhdiyyâ (in Turkish), i.e. in their introductions, and also in Waqfun-niyyât by Shaykh-ul-Islâm Ahmad bin Suleymân bin Kemâl Pâsha: “There are seven grades of Fiqh savants. The highest of them are the mujtahids in the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya. These are called ‘mujtahîd-i mutlaq.’ The imâms of the four Madhhabs are in this grade. The second from the highest are those great scholars who are called ‘mujtahid fi-l-madhhab.’ Imam-i Abû Yûsuf, Imâm-i Muhammad Shaybânî and the other desciples of Imâm-i a’zam are among them. They derive ahkâm (rules) from the Adilla-i shar’iyya following the methods and principles formulated by Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa. Some of the ahkâm derived by them may not be agreeable with the ahkâm derived by Imâm-i a’zam.  [It is written in al-Mîzân-ul-kubrâ, page 17 that they are called ‘mujtahid-i mutlaq fi-l-madhhab,’ too.] The third group are the ’ulamâ (scholars) who are mujtahid fi-l-mas’ala. They discover the ahkâm for newly arising matters. The ahkâm found by them have to be agreeable with the ahkâm of the afore-mentioned two groups. Khassâf,[8] Tahâwî,[9] Karkhî,[10] Shams-ul-aimma Halwânî,[11] Shams-ul-aimma Sarakhsî,[12] Pazdawî,[13] Qâdîkhân[14] and the similar profound scholars are among the mujtahids of the third grade. The scholars who are in the grades below the first three groups mentioned above are not mujtahids; they are muqallids. For example, the scholars called as’hâb-i takhrîj in the fourth group cannot perform ijtihâd. One of them, Abû Bakr ’Ahmad Râdî (d. 370 [981 A.D.], Baghdâd), was eligible to explain rules that had been stated vaguely and which therefore could be construed in two different ways, and to select one of them. The fifth group of the Fiqh scholars are the as’hâb-i tarjîh. They selected the sahîh (correct) and awlâ (better) ones of several khabars (narrations) which have reached them. Qudûrî and Burhân-ad-dîn al-Marghinânî, author of the book al-Hidâya, are among them. The sixth group are the as’hâb-i tamyîz, muqallid scholars who distinguished the qawî (strong) ahkâm from the daîf (weak) ones and the zâhir khabars from the nâdir ones. The authors of the books Kanz-ud-daqâiq, Mukhtâr, Ikhtiyâr, Wiqâya and Majmâ’ul-bahrayn are among them. They did not include any mardûd (rejected) and daîf reports in their books. The seventh group are the muqallids who could not perform the aforesaid services, but who could only transmit correctly from the books of the preceeding groups and report them. [It is written in Majmû’a-i Zuhdiyya that Tahtâwî and ad- Durr-ul-mukhtâr and Ibni ’Âbidîn are among them.] Scholars of the sixth grade will exist until Doomsday and they will distinguish the haqq (right) from the bâtil (wrong). The hadîth-i sherîf, ‘The ’ulamâ of my Ummat who are on the right way will exist till Doomsday,’ reports this.”

It is written in the introduction to Mîzân-ul-kubrâ: “After the imâms of the four Madhhabs ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ no scholar claimed to be a mujtahid-i mutlaq. Only imâm-i Muhammad bin Jarîr-i Tabarî claimed to be so, but his claim was not accepted. Imâm-i Suyûtî used to say that he was a mujtahid-i mutlaq fi-l-madhhab, and he used to issue fatwâs in agreement with the Shâfi’î Madhhab. The ’ârif-i kâmils who had reached high grades in Tasawwuf became mujtahids by way of dhawq and wijdân. They detected the halâls with their fragrant odour and the harâms with their noxious smell. It is not possible to reach the grade of ijtihâd without receiving fayd from an ’ârif-i kâmil. A Walî who has attained this grade need not imitate a Madhhab. Their calling themselves Hanafî or Shâfi’î is due to having followed a Madhhab before attaining this grade. It is necessary to learn correctly the teachings of Fiqh of one of the four Madhhabs to rise to the grades of Wilâyat. Therefore, it is necessary to learn either by hearing, or by reading the books written by a pious person who is known to hold the creed of the Ahl as-sunnat and an attachment to a Madhhab. A sôfî who follows what he learned by hearing it from a man of religion without a Madhhab and with a heretical creed, or by reading a book written by an unknown person, or a sôfî who does not follow one of the four Madhhabs, will go astray and become a zindîq. He will become an aide-de-satan in tempting others to go astray, too.”

[As soon as a person becomes a Muslim, or a Muslim child reaches the age of maturity called ’âqil wa bâligh (discretion and puberty), the first thing necessary for them to do is to say the Kalima-i shahâdat, learn its meaning and believe its meaning. Thereafter, they have to learn and believe the teachings written in the books of the Ahl as-sunnat savants regarding i’tiqâd, that is, the tenets of belief. Then, they have to learn teachings of Fiqh from the books of any one of the four Madhhabs, that is, the five commandments of Islam, and they must observe these commandments. People who deny that it is necessary to learn and obey these things and those who do not pay due attention to these points become murtadds. That is, after they become Muslims upon saying the Kalima-i shahâdat, they become disbelievers again. The four Madhhabs teach the same tenets of i’tiqâd. People who have adapted themselves to the tenets of Creed and Fiqh taught by any one of the four Madhhabs are called Ahl assunnat or Sunnî. Belief of those who do not follow one of these four Madhhabs is wrong. They are either Ahl-i bid’at -bid’at holders- or murtadds. In both cases, they will certainly go to Hell to be punished in the fire, if they die without tawba[15]. If a Muslim performing a certain practice finds himself, or herself, in a quandary that makes it too difficult for them to perform that practice within the rules of their own Madhhab, they can do it in agreement with the rules of one of the other three (Madhhabs). Then, they will have to observe all the rules related to that practice in that second Madhhab. If a new situation arises, so that it is difficult for them to observe one of those rules while it is easy in their own Madhhab, it becomes sahîh (valid) for them to do it. Thereby they have been compelled to unify the two Madhhabs in what is termed ‘compulsory talfîq’. If it is difficult to observe that rule in their own Madhhab as well, then it will be permissible for them not to observe the former rule in their own Madhhab. However, it is good to keep in mind that it would have been permissible according to the ijtihâd of one of the Ashâb-i-kirâm. Please review the twenty-first chapter! The Sahâbis who were alive when Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ passed away were all mujtahids. When it is difficult to imitate one of the four Madhhabs,, then it becomes sahîh to worship according to the ijtihâd of one of the Ashâb-i kirâm. When difficulty arises, our zann-i gâlib, that is, stronger supposition, becomes acceptable. The meaning of the 102nd âyat of Sûrat-it-Tawba is: “The early Immigrants (from Mekka to Medina) and the Residents (of Medina) and those who follow them are pleased with Allâhu ta’âlâ. Allâhu ta’âlâ is also pleased with them. I (Allâhu ta’âlâ) prepared Gardens for them. They will live there eternally.” It is clear from this âyat also that the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘ridwânullâhi ta’âlâ alaihim ajma’în’ are Allâhu ta’âlâ’s compassion for all beings, and whoever follows any one of them will attain eternal blessings.]    

With a doleful heart and nightmarish dreams,

To union with the beloved and to the rosegarden: Farewell!

With secret sighs and pathetic meanings,

To the spring season, I’ve not had enough whereof: Farewell!

Heavens are black again, no place can be seen;

A vague force ever pulls me backwards;

“Why, are you here only to go away?” it says.

To the blessed stones and soil wehereon you tread: Farewell!

My tears have made on ocean, which blocks my way;

How can I leave my beloved one and go away?

With this fire of farewell to burn away?

To those wishes that rise anew daily: Farewell!

Darkness envelops the entire world, all wishes are gone;

My heart weeps blood all the time, and my soul is in a frenzy;

So, it is time we parted, and soon I have to be gone;

To these carefree wayfarers, and to these avenues: Farewell!

Let me look at your beautiful face once again before I leave;

One look from you I would not change for all the world’s property;

Let the unaware people of this lover make a mockery;

To merriments and pleasures from now on: Farewell!

I invoke my Rabb to bring you close to me;

Would that I saw you once, before I leave the world!

Separation burns me all over, please do embrace me;

To useless day-dreams and passing fancies: Farewell!

Where are you going, leaving your heart and affection here?

How can you ever leave that beauty you hold so dear?

Who are you making your farewells to? Only do consider?

To chimerical and unfaithful dreams: Farewell!

Leaving? O, you, who would never have had enough of seeing the Darling,

And who deems it the rarest blessing to see the Darling for another moment!

Burn and be reduced to ashes, yearning for a new glimpse of the Darling!

To the final Light who illuminates the universe: Farewell!

Where are you going? How come you have left the Darling?

It is not the Darling who burned you; you did it yourself!

Just think! Whose face did you look at in tears?

To those looks that moaned over separation: Farewell!

I will change the past to the present, and watch it;

I will console my heart with tears.

With a deep sigh I will say, “O, you separation!”

To this deserter who abandons the Darling: Farewell!

Your image before me says, “Do stay a little longer.”

“Let your heart dive into this affection, as I do,” it says.

“Kiss my hand and get my benediction,” it says.

With deepest love to the blessed Darling: Farewell!


[1] Please see the tenth chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss.

[2] Of these two letters, the former one occupies the thirty-second chapter of the first fascicle of Endless Bliss.

[3] The fifth and sixth fascicles of Endless Bliss deal with these four major parts of the knowledge of Fiqh. 

[4] Please see the thirty-first chapter of the fifth fascicle of Endless Bliss for kinds of buying and selling.

[5] Written by ’Abd-ul-Wahhâb Sha’rânî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ (d. 973 [1565 A.D.]).

[6] Usûl-ul-erbe’a fî radd-il-wahhâbiyya, written by Muhammad Hasan Jân Serhendî (d. 1349 A.H.).

[7] Please see the fifteenth chapter of the fifth fascicle of Endless Bliss for ‘salât (namâz) of janâza’.

[8] Abû Bakr ’Ahmad bin ’Umar (d. 261 [877 A.D.])

[9] Abû Ja’fer ’Ahmad bin Muhammad (238, Egypt – 321 [933 A.D.], the same place)

[10] ’Ubaydullah bin Huseyn Abu-l-Hasan (260 – 340 [952 A.D.])

[11] ’Abd-ul-’Azîz bin ’Ahmad (d. 456 [1064 A.D.], Bukhâra)

[12] Abû Bakr Muhammad bin ’Ahmad (d. 483 [1090 A.D.])

[13] Fakhr-ul-islâm ’Alî bin Muhammad Pazdawî (400 – 482 [1089 A.D.], Samarkand)

[14] Hasan bin Mansûr Ferghânî (d. 592 [1196 A.D.])

[15] To make ‘tawba’ means to repent for one’s sin(s), to stop committing the same sin(s), to beg Allâhu ta’âlâ to forgive one for having committed the sin(s), and to promise Him not to commit the (same) sin(s) again. Hence, in the case being dealt with, one has to cease from the erroneous creed one has been holding (and to recant it if the one’s eroneous creed has been publicly known).


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