Chapter Four: Condemnation of Abu Hanifa
In his tactical attempt to reach out to actual Sunnis, Abu Sulaiman sought to make a special reference to the following tradition, commenting as follows:
“Here, their master Al-Kulayni narrates in their most trustworthy book which equals Al-Buikhari for us, “Usool Al-Kafi”:”Sadeer said: “I heard Abu Jaffar, peace be upon him saying, while holding my hand and exiting then he stood in front of the house: “O’ Sadeer, the matter of the people is that they come to these rocks and go round them and then they come to us and let us know their wilayah for us and it is Allah’s saying: “I am the most forgiver for those who repented, believed, and did good deeds and then were guided.” Abu Ja’far pointed to his chest and said: “Guided to our wilayah.” Then he said: “O’ sadeer, let me show you those who hinders the religion of Allah.” Then he looked to Abu Hanifah and Sufyan Al-Thuwray at that time and they were in a circle in the mosque. Abu Ja’far said: “Those are who hinders the religion of Allah without guidance from Allah and without an obvious book. If those dirts sat in their houses, then the people who would look for someone to tell them about Almighty Allah and about His prophet would come to us and we would tell them about the almighty Allah and about His prophet.”
This tradition does not in any way negate the fact that Abu Hanifa was a student of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as). It is not uncommon for a student to leave his teacher and formulate his own thinking. If Imam Ja’far (as) was criticizing Abu Hanifa, it was because he felt that he had gone astray in his teachings, and this is linked to Abu Hanifa’s introduction of Qiyas as an addition to fiqh. If Abu Sulaiman is seeking to strike a chord with his Sunni brethren that the Shi’a Imams have condemned their Imam, we should also point out that such condemnation was not exclusive to Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, the Ulema of Ahl’ul Sunnah have been scathing in their attacks on Abu Hanifa, attacks that were far worse than the comments of Imam Ja’far (as). Let us present the condemnation of Abu Hanifa advanced by various esteemed Sunni scholars.
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 454:
Ishaq al-Harbi said: ‘Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked about Imam Malik. The reply was ‘His Hadith are correct but his opinions are weak.’ Then he was asked about Awzai, he replied: ‘His hadith and opinion are both weak’, then he was asked about Abu Hanifa, he said ‘His opinion and his hadith bear no value’. Then he was asked about Imam Shafiyee, the reply was, ‘His Hadith and opinion is Sahih.’’
We also read the following words of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 579 which has been declared ‘Sahih’ by the margin writer of the book namely Bashar Awad Maruf:
Ahmad bin al-Hassan al-Tirmidhi said: ‘I heard Ahmad bin Hanbal saying: ‘Abu Hanifa used to tell lies’.
In Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 569 we read another Sahih narration:
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: ‘According to me the opinion of Abu Hanifa is equal to the faeces of goats’
Modern day Sunni scholar Hassan al-Saqqaf records in his book Al-Salafya al-Wahabia, page 73:
“The Hanbalis believe that Abu Hanifa was an Imam of error”
Imam Malik condemned Abu Hanifa
We read a Sahih tradition in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 552:
Mansoor bin Muzahim said: ‘I heard Malik bin Anas saying Abu Hanifa mocked the religion and whoever mocks the religion is irreligious’.
In another Sahih narration on the same page we read:
Mutrif said: ‘I heard Malik saying the error must be extinguished from religion and Abu Hanifa was an error’
We read a Sahih tradition in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 551:
Al-Waleed bin Muslim said: Malik bin Ansa said to me, do the people mention Abu Hanifa in your country? I replied: ‘Yes’. He replied: ‘Your country should not be stable’.
In Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 416 we read:
Malik bin Anas said: ‘The fitna of Abu Hanifa is more harmful than the fitna of Iblees’
In Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 415 we read:
Malik bin Anas said: ‘No one was born in Islam more harmful than Abu Hanifa’
And we also have this statement of Imam Malik recorded by Imam Ibn Abdul Barr in Jame’a Bayan al-Elm, Volume 3 page 391:
Malik said: ‘Had Abu Hanifa rebelled against the nation through the sword it would have been less harmful’
Imam Idrees Shafiyee condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read the following words of Imam Shafiyee in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 567 which have been declared ‘Sahih’ by the margin writer of the book namely Bashar Awad Marouf:
Shafiyee said: ‘I don’t know anyone who wrote a book proving his errors except Abu Hanifa’
We also read a Sahih tradition on the same page:
Shafiyee said: ‘I saw the books of Abu Hanifa’s companions and they comprised of130 pages, I found in them 80 pages that contradicted the Quran and Sunnah’
In another Sahih tradition that we read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 549:
Shafiyee said: ‘No one was born in Islam more evil than Abu Hanifa’
Imam Subki records the following statement of Imam Shafiyee in his famed work Tabaqat al-Shafyyia al-Kubra, Volume 2 page 94:
(Imam Shafiyee said) ‘I saw the book of Abu Hanifa and they claim that they say whatever is in Allah’s book and His prophet’s tradition, whilst they actually they go against them’
Imam Sufiyan Thawri and Imam Awzai condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
Again in a tradition declared Sahih by Bashar Awad Maruf , we read the following remarks of Imam Sufiyan al-Thawri (d. 161 H) and Imam Abdulrahman bin Amro Awzai ( d. 157 H) in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 549:
Awzai and Sufyan said: ‘No one was born in Islam with more misfortune than him’
On the same page, we have another Sahih tradition:
Sufyan said: ‘No one was born in Islam more harmful than Abu Hanifa’
In another tradition declared Sahih by Bashar Awad Marouf , we read the following remarks of Imam Sufiyan al-Thawri about Abu Hanifa in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 548
Sufyan al-Thawri said: ‘No one was born in Islam more unfortunate on the Muslims other than him’
We further read in a Sahih tradition in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 525 that Abu Hanifa indulged in Kufr twice:
Sufyan said: ‘Abu Hanifa repented from Kufr twice’
We read in Al-Sunnah by Abdullah bin Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Volume 1 page 193:
Sufyan al-Thawri said:’ Abu Hanfia repented from heretics opinions many times’
The reviser of the book namely Muhammad Qahtani said about this narration:
‘The narrators are Thiqah’
Ahmad ibn Hanbal recorded in Al-Elal, Volume 2 page 546:
Awzai said: ‘No one was born into Islam more harmful than Abu Hanfia’
Salafi scholar Dr. Wasiullah who is the margin writer of the book declared this tradition to be ‘Hasan’.
Once again in a Sahih narration, we read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 547:
Sulayman bin Hasaan al-Halabi said: ‘I heard Awzai on several occasions saying that Abu Hanifa destroyed the pillars of Islam one by one’
Similarly, in Abdullah bin Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s famed work Al-Sunnah, Volume 1 page 207, we read a narration declared ‘Hasan’ by Muhammad Qahtani:
Salama bin Kulthom said: ‘When Abu Hanifa died, Awzai said: ‘Praise be to Allah for killing him, he used to destroy the pillars of Islam one by one’
Imam Sufiyan bin Uyaina condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
According to a Sahih narration in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 526
Sufyan bin Uyaina said: ‘Abu Hanifa repented from Atheism on three occasions’.
Imam Abdullah bin Mubarak (d. 181 H) condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
In a Sahih narration, we read the following in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 556:
Abu Ishaq al-Taleqani said: ‘I heard Abdullah bin al-Mubarak saying: ‘Anyone that owns the book of Abu Hanifa and uses it and spreads the opinions with it, will cause his Hajj to become void and his wife shall no longer remain lawful for him’ Then the slave of Ibn al-Mubarak said: ‘I think the one who wrote the book is Satan’. Ibn al-Mubarak replied: ‘The one who wrote the book is worse than Satan’.
Abdulrahman bin Mahdi (d. 198 H) condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
In a Sahih narration, we read the following in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 561:
Abdulrahman bin Mahdi said: ‘There was a wall between Abu Hanifa and the truth’
While in Tarikh Baghdad, volume 13 page 416 we read:
Abdulrahman bin Mahdi said: ‘After the sedition (Fitna) of Dajjal, there is no worse sedition (fitna) in Islam than the opinion of Abu Hanifa’
Imams of Ahle Sunnah Hamaad bin Salama al-Basri (d. 167 H) and Shu’aba bin al-Hajaj (d. 160 H) cursed Abu Hanifa
In Abdullah bin Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s authority work Al-Sunnah, Volume 1 page 211, we read a narration declared ‘Sahih’ by Muhammad Qahtani:
Mansoor bin Salama al-Khuzai said: ‘I heard Hamaad bin Salama cursing Abu Hanifa’. Abu Salama said: ‘Shu’aba used to curse Abu Hanifa’
Moreover we read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 14 page 446:
Shu’aba said: ‘A fistful of dust is better than Abu Hanifa’
Imam Ibn Habban condemned Abu Hanifa
Imam Ibn Habban records in Al-Majrohin, by ibn Haban, Volume 3 page 64:
It is not permissible to adhere to him, because he was propagating to Erja and according to our scholars it is impermissible to adhere to one that propagates innovations (Bid’a), I don’t know any disagreement among the Muslim scholars and the pious religious (people) in all the countries about dispraising him (Abu Hanifa), every one dispraised him one by one.
Ayub’s views regarding Abu Hanifa
In a Sahih narration, we read the following in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 547:
Salam bin Abi Mutee said: ‘Ayub was sitting in the mosque, then Abu Hanifa saw him and came towards him. When Ayub saw him coming towards him, he said to his companions: ‘Come on, let’s move before he spreads lice among us.’
Abu Muhammad condemned Abu Hanifa
In a Sahih narration, we read further condemnation of Abu Hanifa in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 551:
Abu Muhammad said: ‘He remained on falsehood and adhered to it, he would not return to the truth even if it was clear to him’
Abdullah bin Idrees al-Zaafari (d. 192 H) condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
In a Hasan narration, we read the following in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 556:
Abdullah bin Idrees said: ‘Abu Hanifa is astray and leads others astray’
Imam Ibn Abi Sheybah declared Abu Hanifa a Jew
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 441:
Tarif bin Abdullah said: ‘I heard ibn Abi Sheybah say when Abu Hanifa was mentioned in his presence, he replied: ‘I consider him a Jew’’.
Yazid bin Harun (d. 206 H) declared the companions of Abu Hanifa Christians
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 436:
Yazid bin Harun said: ‘I never saw a group of people resembling the Christians more closely than the companions of Abu Hanifa’
Khalid bin Yazid bin Abi Malik (d. 185 H) condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 439:
Khalid bin Yazid bin Abi Malik said: ‘Abu Hanifa made fornication and interest Halaal’
Umar bin Qays condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 432:
Umar bin Qays said: ‘Whoever wants to learn the truth should enter Kufa, learn about Abu Hanifa’s fatwas and then oppose him’.
Shuarik Bin Abdullah (d. 177 H) condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 417:
Shuraik bin Abdullah said: ‘It is better to have a wine seller in every corner of Kufa than to have some one believe in Abu Hanifa’s opinions’
Muhammad bin Muslimah condemned Imam Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 415:
“Hamdweh said: ‘I asked Muhammad bin Musalama: ‘Other than Madina, Abu Hanifa’s Fatwas are everywhere, why is that?’ He said: ‘Allah’s msessenger (pbuh) said: ‘Dajjal and the plague can’t enter it (Madina)’ and Abu Hanifa is one Dajjal amongst many’’.
According to Abi Bakar bin Dawood al-Sajistani, there is an Ijma that Abu Hanifa was on error
We read the following account in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 394:
Abu Bakr bin Dawood al-Sajistani said to his companions: ‘What do you say about an opinion wherein there is agreement of Malik and his companions, Shaffiyee and his companions, Awzai and his companions, al-Hassan bin Saleh and his companions, Sufyan al-Thawri and his companions, Ahmad bin Hanbal and his companions?’
They replied: ‘Oh Abu Bakr, there cannot be a more correct opinion than this.’ He replied: ‘All of them agreed that Abu Hanifa was on error’.
The scholars of Shaam would curse Abu Hanifa
We read the following Sahih account in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 15 page 570:
Al-Qasim bin Abdulmalik said: ‘I heard Abu Museher saying: ‘The scholars would curse some one on this pulpit. Then he pointed by his hand to the pulpit of Damascus. Al-Farhyani said: ‘It was Abu Hanifa’’’.
al-Aswad bin Saalim’s views on Abu Hanifa
We read in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 435:
Aba Ubaid said: ‘I was sitting with al-Aswad bin Saalim in Rasafa’s mosque, they then began discussing an issue. I therefore said: ‘Abu Hanifa’s opinion is so & so’. l-Aswad said to me: ‘You mention Abu Hanifa in the mosque!’ Then he (al-Aswad) never talked to me again until he died.’
Abu Bakar bin Ayash (d. 194 H)’s views on Abu Hanifa
We read the following conversation between Abu Bakar bin Ayash and the grandson of Abu Hanifa in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 435:
A reliable man said: ‘I was sitting with Abu Bakr bin Ayash, then Ismail bin Hamaad bin Abu Hanifa came and and sat down. Abu Bakr asked: ‘Who is this?’ He replied: ‘Oh Abu Bakr, I am Ismail’. Then Abu Bakr clapped with his hand on Ismail’s knee and said to him: ‘How many Haram women did your grandfather make Halal?’
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani condemned Abu Hanifa
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in his famed work Al-Ghuniyah al-Talibeen, page 90 records the Hadith:
‘My Ummah will be divided in the 73 Sects only will attain Paradise others in Hell”
After that, Qadir Jilani states:
‘Of the 73 Sects, are 10 are the respective origins and it also includes the Murjiyah”
Then Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani named those 10 Al-Murjiyah sects which are among the 73 Hell bound sects and included Hanafiyah sect amongst these.
Imam Abu Hamid GhazzaIi condemned Abu Hanifa
Imam of Ahle Sunnah Abu Hamid Ghazzali records in his famed work Al-Mankhul, page 581:
Abu Hanifa was not a Mujtahid because he acquired no knowledge in (Arabic) grammar; this is proven by the fact that he read the words Babu Qays. Abu Hanifa had no knowledge of Hadith, he would ignore Sahih Hadith and would embrace weak ones, he had no capacity to interpret the Sharia, on the contrary he would contradict their rules.’
We also read on page 546:
‘I don’t care if I was incompatible with Abu Hanifa, as a I am 90% sure that his doctrine was wrong’
On page 476, Ghazali first quoted the words of Imam Shafiyee and then gave his own verdict:
Shafiyee said: ‘Whoever practiced Istehsan made a new law’. Well first of all it is recommended to explain the reality of Istehsan. Some of Abu Hanifa’s [rh] companions said: ‘Istehsan’ is a method which lacks proof’. Verily it is kufr whoever believed in it or permitted its practice.
On page 613 we read:
‘Abu Hanifa [rh] had turned jurisprudence on its head and unsettled its method and changed its system’
Regarding the version of Salaat (prayers) Abu Hanifa introduced, Imam Ghazzali stated on page 614:
“It must be known for every religious person that God would never send a prophet for such Salaat and Muhammad wasn’t sent to propagate the people for this (Salaat)’.
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According to Sunnies, the Prophet (s) condemned Abu Hainfa
We read the following episode in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 425:
Muhammad bin Hamaad said: ‘I saw the Prophet (s) in my dream, thus I asked him: ‘Oh Allah’s messenger, what do you say about looking at the opinion of Abu Hanifa and his companions? Shall I look at it and adopt it?’ He (s) replied: ‘No, No, No’ three times.
According to Sunnies, Abu Bakar condemned Abu Hainfa
We read the following episode in Tarikh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 441:
Muhammad bin Amer al-Taei said: ‘I witnessed a dream wherein the people were gathered in Damascus, then an old man appeared dragging another old man and he (the old man) said: ‘Oh people, this person altered the religion of Muhammad (s)’. Then I asked a man standing beside me: ‘Who are these two old men?’ He replied: ‘This is Abu Bakr dragging Abu Hanifa’.