Imam-i A'zam Abu Hanifa (Part 1)


Shamsaddin Sami Bey writes as follows in his Qamus-ul a'lam:

The name of Imam-i a'zam Abu Hanifa is Nu'man. His father's name was Thabit. He is the first of the four great imams of the Ahl as-sunnat [1]. He is a great pillar of the brilliant Shari'at of Muhammad 'alaihis-salam'. He is a descendant of one of the notables of Persia. His grandfather had accepted Islam. He was born in the city of Kufa in 80 A. H. He was born early enough to live during the times of Anas bin Malik, Abdullah bin Abi Awfa, Sahl bin Sa'd-i Sa'idi and Abut-tufail Amir bin Wasila, who were Sahabis.

He learned the knowledge of fiqh from Hammad bin Abi Suleyman. He kept company with many great persons of the Tabi'in, especially with Imam-i Ja'far Sadiq. He memorized many hadiths. If he had not become a Madhhab [2] leader, he was 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 knowledge of fiqh [3] he reached a grade that did not have an equal or a likeness.

Yazid bin Amr, who was the Governor of Iraq during the time of Merwan, offered him the judgeship to a law-court of Kufa. But because he had much zuhd, taqwa 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. Though he was whipped a hundred and ten times on the head with Yazid's command, he persisted in refusing. He was invited to Baghdad by the second Abbasi Khalifa Abu Ja'far Mansur. He was offered a judgeship, but he refused it again.

[1] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.
[2] madhhab: all of what a profound 'alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four-Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.
[3] fiqh: knowledge dealing with what Muslims should do and should not do; actions, a'mal, 'ibadat.