Imam Abu Hanifa had thousands of students. Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhummad and Sayidina Ibn Mubarak were the most famous students of Imam Hanifa.
“Shaykayn” said which means Imam Hanifa and Imam Yusuf said.
“Sahibayn” said which means Imam Yusuf and Imam Muhammad said.
“Tarafayn” said which means Imam Hanifa and Imam Muhammad said.
The Work Conducted By His Students
Imam Abu Hanifa had a council of 40 students who lived and studied in his academy. He has reportedly spoken on 83,000 juristic issues.
Whenever an issue came to the attention of Imam Abu Hanifa’s council they used to discuss the matter for months and reach a conclusion based on the consensus.
The council used to resolve the problems of the community, they were unlike some of the scholars today who are harsh and send people away. They used to “speculate” and “assume” issues and then passed Fatwa’s on them.
It is for this reason why the permissibility of test tubes babies was announced approximately 800 years ago. The Fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifa is compatible and applicable to modern times.
Imam Abu Hanifa believed that no one should interfere with the decisions of a sane and mature person. It is for this reason why he is the only Imam who believes that a mature and sane woman can get married without the permission of her parents.
28 of Imam Abu Hanifa’s students became judges in different towns, cities and provinces and 8 became Imams, capable of passing legal rulings according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
He told his students that they should…
- Not ask questions when he is walking
- Not ask questions when other people in the gathering are talking
- Not ask questions when he is standing.
Code Of Conduct Of His Students
One of his students named Tobah Bin Saad had some questions that he wanted to ask Imam Abu Hanifa. So he went to his home and waited until he came out and walked behind him with his note book and wrote down all the answers to the questions.
The next day he went to visit Imam Abu Hanifa in his study circle and found that he was discussing the same questions that he had asked him yesterday, but was giving completely different answers to what he had been told.
When Tobah Bin Saan asked Imam Abu Hanifa the reason he was giving different answers to what he had been told, Imam Abu Hanifa told him “I had told you not to ask me questions when I am walking”.
Imam Abu Hanifa used to tell his students to keep their appearance and mannerism respectable. He used to say “If you are walking down the street and someone calls you from behind don’t turn around, have dignity”.
He gave his students a code of conduct on how they should behave in court. He told them that their purpose was to serve people and NOT rule them. They should not behave like dictators and should serve with justice. He told them to resign from a post if they felt things were not in their control. He advised them against working for the sake of salary and greed and told them to keep their doors open day and night.
In one incident Imam Yusuf returned home late one night and was getting ready to retire to bed. A messenger of the Caliph knocked on his door and told Imam Yusuf that the Caliph needed him. Imam Yusuf told the messenger that it was late and told him to make up some excuse.
The messenger told Imam Yusuf that he was unable to do so. Imam Yusuf had a bath, changed his clothes, applied some perfume and left to meet the Caliph. The Caliph apologised for disturbing the Imam late at night and told him that he had a problem that needed to be resolved.
The Imam told him that not only he but his family had also been disturbed, but the Imam was more then willing to resolve the Caliphs problem. The Caliph informed him that he wanted a man to either give him or sell him a slave girl.
But the man had sworn an oath that if he gives her as a gift or sells her then his wife is divorced. The Imam had a solution, he told the man to give half of her as a gift and sell half of her that way his oath will not be broken.
Imam Abu Hanifa informed his students to offer their five daily obligatory prayers in the Mosque and after every prayer they should make an announcement to the people urging them to come to their court if they needed justice. After Isha prayer this announcement should be repeated three times.
Imam Ibn Mubarak fell in love with a slave girl; he spent an entire night talking to her. He was so infatuated by her that when he heard the Fajr adhan he assumed that it was the Adhan for Isha. He later realised that he was wasting his time with someone who’d be of no benefit to him in the hereafter.
Imam Ibn Mubarak told his followers that he learned a lot from his slave. If anyone ever asked him who was his teacher he would reply; ‘My slave’. He told them that when he purchased his slave and brought him home he asked him his name. His slave told him ‘I do not have a name you can call me whatever you wish’.
The Imam asked him “What would you like to eat?” the slave replied ‘I do not have any particular desire, so give me whatever you feel like giving me’. He then asked him “Don’t you have any desires of your own?” The slave replied “I do not have any desires of my own – I only desire whatever you desire”. On hearing this reply the Imam cried and said “I wish I was the slave of my Lord in the same way”.
Once someone told Imam Ibn Mubarak that his slave steals the shrouds of the dead and sells them for money. The Imam became upset, because he had a contact with his slave, he had told him to give him one dinar every day for a year and then he will be free. One night the Imam followed the slave into the graveyard and watched him remove the earth on a grave and get into it, the Imam became convinced that he was stealing the shrouds of the dead.
However, much to the astonishment of the Imam, the slave spent the night in worship of Allah (swt) telling Him (swt) that during the day he is busy serving his master which is why he is unable to serve Him (swt), he begged Allah (swt) to make him his Friend and pleaded for forgiveness.
The Imam watched from a distance and wept all night. At Fajr time the slave left for the Mosque and read his Fajr in Jamaat. The Imam watched him pray to Allah (swt) and saw him raise his hands towards the heaven telling Allah (swt) that because he was busy in His (swt) service all night long he was unable to work and earn money for his master and asked Him (swt) to give him one Dinar.
Miraculously one Dinar fell into his open hands. The Imam then revealed himself and told his slave that he was now free, however the slave looked up towards the heavens said “Ya Allah you has exposed me” and died instantly.
Another student of Imam Abu Hanifa used to drink alcohol and was fond of music. Once he heard a singer say “What is the face that had not gone to dust? And what is the eye that had not shed a tear?” these lyrics inspired him to repent and change his ways. He became a great Wali (friend) of Allah (swt). He inherited 20 dinars from his father which took him 20 years to spend.
Imam Yusuf was from a poor background. His father took him to Imam Abu Hanifa’s circles. However, his father became convinced that the wealth of Imam Abu Hanifa would have a negative psychological effect on his son so he stopped taking him to Imam Abu Hanifa. However, since Imam Yusuf had become attached to Imam Abu Hanifa he started to go his circles again. Imam Abu Hanifa asked Imam Yusuf the reason behind his long absence, Imam Yusuf explained to Imam Hanifa the reason. From then on Imam Abu Hanifa used to give Imam Yusuf 100 dinars monthly.
In another narration, Imam Yusuf’s mother used to take her son to an oil producing factory every morning so that he could work and bring home some money. However, Imam Yusuf used to run to Imam Abu Hanifa’s circles. Imam Yusuf’s mother complained to Imam Abu Hanifa and told him to advise her son to work. Imam Abu Hanifa told her that her son had a bright future; he could see him eating Halwa (a rich desert) in the future.
Imam Yusuf’s mother became angry and asked him how he could make fun out of their poverty. Imam Abu Hanifa took Imam Yusuf under his guardianship and trained him to become a well renowned judge. Once the Caliph came to visit Imam Yusuf and brought with up a specially prepared dish that he did not normally make; it was a Halwa and Imam Yusuf smiled when the Caliphs servants uncovered the dish.
Once Haroon Rashid and Zubaida had an argument and in a fit of anger Haroon had told his wife that if she does not leave his kingdom by the evening she would be divorced. He later regretted his actions; his kingdom was very large, it consisted of two oceans and three continents, it was impossible for Zubaida to leave his kingdom by the evening. They summoned Imam Yusuf and asked for his advice, Imam Yusuf told Haroon that his wife should spend the night in the Mosque, for that was not the Kingdom of Haroon but was the kingdom of Allah (swt).
Imam Muhammad was 18 years old when Imam Abu Hanifa passed away. He was not allowed to join the circle of Imam Abu Hanifa as he had not memorized the Qur’an. So he went away and returned two years later after memorizing the entire Qur’an. His father had left him 30,000 dinars and he spent 15,000 dinars on Arabic poetry and grammar and 15,000 on Hadith and fiqh. He was a great Imam and also a judge, he spent 3 years learning 700 hadiths at the door of Imam Malik’s house.
Prepared by Shaykh Muhammad Ramadhan al Qadri (Minhaj Youth Training Co-ordinator).
Summarised By Alveena Salim