Chapter One: Proving the Teacher – Student relationship
This article will seek to expose the false claim of Ansar that Abu Hanifa was NOT a student of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as). Their leading champion Abu Sulaiman asserts:
“The claim that Abu Hanifah was taught by Ja’far Al-Sadiq is a lie that is known to anyone who read something about the life of Abu Hanifah. What is known and famous is that Abu Hanifah was taught by some of the grandest scholars at his time, most notably Isma’il bin Hammad Abu Sulayman Al-Kufi who was one of the most distinguished teachers of Abu Hanifah. In addition, Abu Hanifah was taught by Ibraheem bin Muhammad Al-Muntashir, Ibraheem bin Zayd Al-Nakh’ei, Ayyub Al-Sikhtiyani, Al-Harith Al-Hamadani, Rabee’a Al-Madani, Salim bin Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased at him, Sa’eed bin Masrooq the son of Sufyan Al-Thawry, Sulayman Al-Hilaly, A’asim bin Kaleeb and many others”.
This is the perfect example of Abu Sulaiman’s resentment towards Ahl’ul bayt (as). He is willing to deny an established historical fact so as to lower the status of the Ahl’ul bayt (as) in the eyes of actual Sunnis. Fortunately actual Sunnis have caught on to the efforts of such individuals and we present the lengthy text from modern day Hanafi scholar Mufti Ghulam Rasool of Daar ul Uloom Qadriyah Jilaniyah, London, who has refuted lies such as this in his excellent biography of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq “Subeh Sadiq”. We are quoting with a scanned link of the full pages from pages 186-191:
Imam Abu Hanifa is one of the distinguished students of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), as has been confirmed by Ibn Hajar al Makki in his Sawaiq al Muhriqa, Allamah Shiblinji in his Nur al Absar, Abdul Haleem Jindi and Mohaqiq Abu Zohra and various other Muhadatheen and Ulema have clarified that Imam Abu Hanifa was a student of Imam Jafar Sadiq. Imam Abu Hanifa’s initial chain of knowledge was with Imam Baqar (as) and he subsequently expanded this chain of knowledge with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as). In this regard, Abdul Haleem Jindi writes: ‘Abu Hanifa stated that if he ‘hadn’t spent two years of his life with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), he would have been dead’ (Al-Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq, page 162). Researcher Abu Zohra states: ‘It is widely known that regarding those two years, Abu Hanifa used to say: ‘If these two years had not been available to me due to my good fortune, Numan (Abu Hanifa) would have been dead’ (Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, page 83). Imam Abu Hanifa used to say: ‘I have never seen a greater jurist than Ja’far bin Muhamad’.
This means, Imam Abu Hanifa was Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as)’s student and for a complete two years he remained with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq in Madina. Notwithstanding that, whenever there happened to be any other meeting between the two, Imam Abu Hanifa took full academic advantage of it; he had immense respect for Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. Sometimes when questioned on a matter by Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), Imam Abu Hanifa would intentionally remain silent on account of the immense reverence he had for the Imam, Abdul Haleem Jindi and Ibn Emaad Hanbali has recorded how on one occasion Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) asked Imam Abu Hanifa to what would be the Kafara for a pilgrim who in a state of Ihram breaks the rubaya (front four teeth of a deer). Imam Abu Hanifa replied: ‘O son of the Prophet, I have no idea.’ Upon which Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) replied: ‘A deer does not have rubaya’. (Shadharat al Dhahab, Volume 1 page 220 & Al-Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq, page 162)….
Question: Ibn Tamiyah wrote that Abu Hanifa was not a student of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq but a contemporary, hence not a student.
Answer: This is an incorrect assertion because Abu Hanifa was Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as)’s student. That is why Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqlani, Ibn Emmad Hanbali, Ibn Hajar Makki, Allamah Shiblinji, researcher Abu Zohra and many others clarified that Imam Abu Hanifa was the student of Imam Jafar Sadiq. Furthermore, Allamah Shibli Numani whilst refuting Ibn Tamiyah’s claim stated:
Ibn Tamiyah’s statement that Imam Abu Hanifa was not a student of Imam Jafar Sadiq is incorrect because although Abu Hanifa was a Mujtahid but what comparison he could have with the knowledge and merits of Imam Jafar Sadiq since Hadith, jurisprudence in fact, all kinds of religious knowledge have emerged from the family of Holy Prophet’ (Sirat Numan, page 60). This not only proves that Abu Hanifa was Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as)’s student but also evidences that there is no alternate when it comes to the knowledge and merits of the pure Ahlulbayt, no matter if one is even a Mujtahid and a learned man…
Thus Ibn Tamiyah’s assertion has been proven to be false and baseless, the fact is that Imam Abu Hanifa was the student of Imam Ja’far as al-Sadiq. Imam Abu Hanifa has taken various narrations from Imam Jafar Sadiq, Abu Zohra writes that Imam Abu Hanifa used to narrate copiously from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) and such traditions can be found in Imam Abu Yusuf’s (d. 183 H) book Al-Aathaar and in Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaybani’s (d. 189 H) book Al-Aathaar. The number of traditions Imam Abu Hanifa has narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq in both these books are great. Abu Zohra writes that the truth is that religious bigotry makes a man blind and deaf no matter. In the same way that the evil statements of slanderers were unsuccessful in tarnishing the image of his ancestor Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (kr), no one could hope to reduce the immense stature of Imam Ja’far as al-Sadiq, whether they are those who do Ghulo or those who just cast suspicions. This case is also similar to those who had sought to malign Jesus son of Mary, when one group of people denied his Prophethood and another group was bent upon elevating him. (Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, page 84).
Therefore it has been proven that those who have sought to belittle the image of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), such as Ibn Tamiyah etc. have not attained even the slightest success. It has also been proven that Imam Abu Hanifa was a student of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) and frequently obtained traditions from him. Allamah Muhammad Khizri writes that Abu Hanifa and most of the Imams of Medina obtained traditions from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as), but Imam Bukhari did not obtain a single tradition from him’ (Tarikh Fiqha, page 293).
Subeh Sadiq, pages 186-191 by Mufti Ghulam Rasool (published in London)
Although Mufti Ghulam Rasool referred the refutation of Ibn Tamiyah’s claim by Allamah Shibli Numani from his famed book Sirat un Numan, we would still like to present an excerpt from the English version of the book:
“Abu Hanifa sat for a long time at Imam Baqar’s feet and acquired from him much valuable knowledge of Fiqh and Hadith not available anywhere else. Shias and Sunnis are agreed that Abu Hanifa derived much of his learning from Baqar. He learned a great deal from the imam’s son, Ja’far al-Sadiq also, which fact is generally mentioned in the history books. Ibn Tamiyah, however, denies this on the ground that Abu Hanifa and Ja’far al-Sadiq were contemporaries and equals, which ruled out the probability of the former being the latter’s pupil. But I consider this sheer imprudence and lack of comprehension on Ibn Tamiyah’s part. For all his greatness as an original thinker and master of fiqh, Abu Hanifa could not compare in learning with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. The Ahl’ul bayt were the fountainhead of Fiqh and Hadith and, in fact, all religious learning. “The master of the house knows best what is in it”, to quote a well-known Arabic saying”.
Imam Abu Hanifah, Life and Work, page 24
We also present with a link, the ‘Musnad Imam Azam’ rendered in to Urdu by Maulana Sa’d Hasan Sahib. The text is a collection of traditions that have been narrated and compiled by Imam Abu Hanifa. On page 23 of the preface of the Musnad, Maulana Abdur Rashid Numani, whilst giving an overview of the life of Imam Abu Hanifa states:
“Imam Abu Hanifa stayed for a long time in the pure (city of) Madina and continuously attended the circles of Imam Baqar (r). In jurisprudence (fiqh) and traditions (hadith) he learnt many things during his time with Imam Baqar (r) which he didn’t know before. Imam Baqar (r) passed away on 7 Dhu’l Hijja 114 AH.
After Imam Baqar’s death, Imam Abu Hanifa had the greatest respect for his son Imam Ja’far Sadiq (r). He would attend Imam Ja’far’s classes quite often to acquire knowledge. Imam Abu Hanifa used to hold the opinion about the Ahl al-Bayt that hadith and fiqh, indeed all religious sciences, have surfaced from their Household”.
Pakistani Sunni Scholar Mohammad Hameedullah Khan in his book “The Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence – A comparative study, states in his brief biography of Imam Abu Hanifa on page 61:
“He got an opportunity to meet Anas, a famous companion of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), at the age of 12 or 13 years and attended the lectures of Imam Jafar as Sadiq. Regarding his place in history of Fiqh, Abu Hanifa said:
I have not seen a jurist of high rank like Imam Jafar as Sadiq [taken from Tabayeen page 69 by Shah Moinuddin Ahmed Nadvi]“
The Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, Page 61
Hamid Hafani Dawood records in Nazarat fi al-Kutub al-Khalida, page 182:
Abu Hanifa and Malik were the students of Imam Sadiq and Abu Hanifa used to say: ‘Without the two years al-Numan would have perished’
Famed Sunni scholar Shaykh Ibn Talha Shafiyee records in Matalib Al-Seul, page 218:
“Many famous scholars benefitted from Imam Sadiq such as Malik bin Anas and Abu Hanifa.”
Ahmad Muhiuddin al-Ajooz records in Minhaj al-Sharia al-Islamia, Volume 3 page 114:
“Also Imam Abu Hanifa studied under his teaching in Kufa and he would say: ‘I never saw someone more knowledgeable than Jafar bin Muhammad al-Sadiq”
Abdulrahman al-Sharqawi records in his book Aema al-Feqh al-Tesa, Volume 2 page 90:
He sat in the company of Imam Jaffr al-Sadiq for two years and learned a great deal from him, despite their disagreement after that time Abu Hanifa used to say: ‘Without those two years, Numan would have perished’
Allamah Shaykh Sharawi Azhari in his famous Egyptian ‘Risala Al Ahraam ul Sunnah’ page 103 periodical number 32932 wrote:
“The Imam of the Shi’a Imamiya was Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq who was the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa. These are the Imamia Jafaria who as we previously explained are one of those who adhere to a pure religion. It is with regards to them that our Shaykh Shaltoot issued a fatwa deeming it permissible to follow this madhab because this is a legitimate Islamic madhab, that acts as a source of guidance for its adherents. In Egypt we have incorporated certain principles of Shi’a fiqh on divorce and inheritance into our Law”.
Modern day Sunni scholar Muhammad Suwayyd who is the supreme judge in the Islamic court of Lebanon, stated in his book al-Madahib al-Islamia al-Khamsa, page 15:
ولقد ثبت انه دارس زيد بن علي زين العابدين وجعفر الصادق من أئمة الشيعة
“It is proven that he studied under the teaching of Zayd bin Ali Zain al-Abideen and Jaffar al-Sadiq the Imam of Shia”
Amongst our Shia Ulema, al-Muhaqiq al-Kurki in Jame al-Maqasid, Volume 1 page 21 also confirmed that Abu Hanifa studied under Jafar Sadiq (as).