Friday, September 24, 2004

The Four Imams-Notes from Sidi Gibril's Encyclopedia

Abu Hanifa

Ø Al-Nu’man ibn Thabit ibn Kawus ibn Hurmuz ibn Marzuban al-Taymi, al-Imam Abu Hanifa (80-150h).
Ø Called ‘the true Faqih’ by Malik, ‘the Imam’ by Abu Dawud, ‘Faqih al-Millah’ by by al-Dhahabi, and ‘one of those who have reached the sky’ by Ibn Hajar. Imam Shafi’I praised him saying: ‘people are the dependants of Abu Hanifa in Fiqh’ (Ibn Hajar, Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb) Abu Asim al-Nabil said that his nickname was ‘the pillar’ (al-watad) because he stood a lot in prayer.
Ø First of the Mujtahid Imams and known as the ‘greatest imam’ in the schools of Sunni orthodox. Also, he is the only Tabi’I from the 4 mujtahids.
Ø Abu Mu’awiyah al-Dar (the trustworthy Hadith master) said: ‘Love of Abu Hanifa is part of Sunnah’.
Ø Imam al-Kawthari said: The imam is considered an Iraqi of Persian origin. (Ihqaq al-Haq p39)
Ø Ali Qari said Abu Hanifa is foretold by the Prophet (saw) in this hadith:

‘Were belief to be found at the Pleaides, a man from those people (pointing to Salaman al-Farsi) would go there and obtain it’. (Abu Hurayrah, al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi)

‘Were knowledge hanging at the Pleaides, a man from Persia qould go there and obtain it’ (Ahmad in Musand from Abu Hurayrah, al-Dhahabi in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz)

Abu Hurayrah used pay special attention to the Persians and say to them:
‘Draw near, Banu Farrukh! For if knowledge wer hanging at the Pleaides, there would be, among you, one those who would take It’. (Muslim, Abu Huryrah, Ibn Masu’d in al-tabarani al-Kabir)

Ø Khatib narrates in Tarikh Baghdad that Abu Hanifa’s father carried him to Sayyiudna Ali ibn Abi Talib who supplicated for him. Isma’il ibn Hammad ibn Abi Hanifa said: ‘We hope that his supplication was answered’.
Ø Ibn Kathir (al-bidayah 10:23): His funeral prayer was performed 6 times over him due to the crowds in Baghdad.

Some of his famous positions:

q [His articulacy in inference of] the time of Asr [from a hadith]
q Facing the Grave of the Prophet (saw) during dua
q Cancellation of wudhu by laughter
q His precedence in dialect theology ‘kalam’
q Iman neither increases nor decreases
q Differentiation between Iman and Islam
q Preference of weak hadith over scholarly opinion ‘rai’y’ and legal analogical reasoning ‘qiyas’
q First to innovate the sub headings for fiqh, and the rest followed him.

His sayings and aphorisms:

q It may be a small action becomes great by its intention, and a great action becomes small by its intention.
q Whoever learns hadith without fiqh is like the pharmacist that assembles medicaments without knowing which applies to what until the physician comes. Thus remains the student of hadith; he does not know the application of his hadith until the faqih comes.

Malik ibn Anas

Ø Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik Amr, Abu Abd Allah al-Himyari al-Asbahi al-Madani (97-179h)
Ø Scholar of Madinah, predicted by the Prophet (saw), the Imam of the abode of emigration. Second of the major mujtahids
Ø Al-Qurtabi mentioned in his tafsir (s13 v8) that his mother gave birth to him after two years of pregnancy some said three.
Ø The Prophet’s prediction: ‘Very soon will people beat the flanks of camels in search of knowledge and they shall find no one more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable scholar of Madinah’ (Abu Hurayrah in Musnad Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi who said its hasan sahih, al-hakim with three chains declaring it sahih on the criterion of imam Muslim…)
Ø Abu Hanifa praised Malik (after meeting him on hajj): ‘if there is any excellence in them it lies in the fair haired, blue eyed youth’. (al-Gharnati in intisar al-Faqir)
Ø Malik relied upon the fiqh of Abu Hanifah: Shafi’i’s sheikh and Ahamd’s Grandshaykh, Abd al-Aziz ibn Muhammad al-Darawardi said: ‘Malik ibn Anas used to look into Abu Hanifa’s books and benefit from them’. (Abu Ghudda in al-Intiqa)
Ø Malik complied the soundest book ever after the Qura’n, as said imam Shafi’I (this was before the time of Bukhari and Muslim), and he was the first to do that, as said by Ibn abd al-Barr. Muwatta means: ‘the approved’ in which he gathered narrations of the sahabah and others from Hijaz. This masterpiece took 4o years to compose originally consisting of 40,00 hadith and then reduced to 2,000.
Ø Ibn Abd al-barr mentioned that the muwatta is all sahih, except for 4 narrations ‘that are not known’. Al-Iraqi and Ibn Hajar agreed with him. Sheikh Sakih al-Fulani said that Ibn Salah wrote an epistle in which he mentioned the 4 authentic chains and that he has the version of the author.


q To say I don’t know is part of knowledge. Ibn Jamil said that I saw the imam being asked 40 questions to from which he replied to 32 of them: ‘I do not know’.
q ‘The turbans should not be neglected. I wore the turban when I had not a hair on my face. I saw 30 men wearing a turban in Rabi’as circle’. (al-Kahtib, aljami li akhlaq al-rawi)
q ‘He who practices tasawwuf without learning sacred law corrupts his faith, while he who learns sacred law without practicing tasawwuf corrupts himself only he who combines the two proves to be true’. (Ali Qari, Mirqat)


Ø Muhammad ibn Idris ibn al-Abbas ibn Uthman ibn Shafi ibn al-Sai’b ibn Ubayd Abd Yazid ibn Hashim ibn al-Muttalib, Abud Abd Allah al-Shaf’i’ al-Makki. (150-204h)
Ø Praised by Ahmed: ‘like the sun over the world and good health for people –do these two have replacements or successors?’ He revise and read the risalah 80 times. Nawawi: he has 3 peculiar merits: 1-his family lineage 2- birth in Palestine and upbringing in Makkah 3- education at the hands of superlative scholars
Ø Al-Shafi’I was from the family of the Prophet (May Allah send abundandt peace upon him)
Ø Prediction of the Prophet (narrated by Abu Hurayrah in sunan Abi Asim): ‘Oh Allah! Guide Quraysh, for the science of the scholar that comes from them will encompass the world’.
Ø His father died while he was young. Mother took him to Hijaz when he was 2. They later moved to Makkah. Mother could not afford paper so he wrote on bones; shoulder bones.
Ø He memorized Qura’n at 7 and the Muwatta at the age of 10 (his teacher would deputize him to teach when he was absent!) and was given permission for fatwa at 15. (Ibn Abi Hatim, Manqib al-Shafi’I p39)
Ø Malik his teacher. Went to Madinah to Muhammad Hasan Shaybani and bought all his books for 60 dinars. Later, Hasan became the stepfather too.
Ø Most hadith masters follow him. He reconciled the schools of hadith and fiqh.