This short post listing out Imam Abu Hanifa’s* major students and their students will establish beyond a shadow of doubt that not only is Imam Al-A’azdham Abu Hanifa a muhaddith himself, he is in fact the great-great-great-great-grand shaykh of other muhadditheen in the generations that followed him.
It will abundantly refute the false claims and pathetic lies by the enemies of Ahlus Sunnah, the khawarij wahabis, that Abu Hanifa was “weak” in hadith. It will illuminate the minds of those Muslims who do not know any better or are not properly aware of how to refute or respond to such animosity towards the chieftain of the fuqahaa AND MUHADDITHEEN of the Ahlus Sunnah, our master Imam Abu Hanifa, ‘alaihir rahmah.
All Sunnis are welcome to use the information contained below to refute the jahil wahabis on internet forums and other online venues. In sha Allah, in due time, more will be presented on the noble imam to completely destroy the fallacies of the jahil khawarij wahabis.
When you are done, please do read the Fatihah for our master Imam Abu Hanifah, ‘alaihir rahmah. Please note that unless a direct quote is given, the tone of the post is paraphrased from books of scholars of jarh and ta’deel with only some brief and logical common sense conclusions. I have tried my best to keep it as brief and digestible as possible. Without further ado…
* it should really be Abu Haniifah, but ‘Hanifa’ is an acceptable spelling in English.
Imam Al-A’azdham Abi Haniifah Nu’aman ibn Thaabit,
Radzi Allahu ‘anhu
1 – Imam Abu Yusuf:
Ibn Jarir At-Tabari counted him amongst HUFFAZDH of hadith, scholars of fiqh, chief judge, and more.
Al-Dhahabi counted him amongst the HUFFAZDH of hadith.
Yahya bin Mu’een – An AUTHORITY of JARH & TA’DEEL called him as the possessor of hadith and the possessor of Sunnah.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that when these 3 are unified on a matter, they can’t be opposed. When asked who those 3 are. He said: Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf, and Muhammad ibn Hasan. Imam Abu Hanifa possesses magnanimous insight in qiyas; Imam Abu Yusuf always keeps an eye on the textual proofs and Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan maintains expertise on the Arabic language more than all other people.
The teachers of Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim & Imam Abu Dawood – Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and Imam Yahya bin Mu’een – are students of Imam Abu Yusuf (making them grand-students of Abu Hanifa, and Imams Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawood as great-grand-students of Abu Hanifa)
Another teacher of Imam Bukhari, Shaykh Ali bin Al-Madeeni, is also a student of Imam Abu Yusuf and a grand-student of Abu Hanifa. He is one of the grandest huffazdh of hadith sciences.
2 – Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan
A master of Arabic and Quranic sciences.
His students include Imams Ash-Shafi’iy, Abu Hafs Al-Kabeer, Khalaf bin Ayyub, and many more.
Imam Shafi’iy said about him: “The greatest favor upon me in the science of fiqh is that of Imam Muhammad”
“I haven’t found someone more eloquent than him. When he used to talk, it used to feel like the Quran was revealed in his language.”
“I haven’t seen a greater scholar of the Quran than Imam Muhammad.”
Ibrahim Harbi says that once he asked Ahmad Ibn Hanbal “From where do you explain such subtle/delicate matters?” and he (Ahmad ibn Hanbal) replied, “This is all the benefit of Imam Muhammad’s books.”
3 – Imam Zufar bin Hudhayl
Imam of jarh and ta’deel Yahya bin Mu’een – has called him “thiqah mamoon” (trustworthy and reliable).
4 – Imam Malik ibn Anas
Whenever Abu Hanifa used to visit Madinah, Imam Malik used to make sure he visited him and gained benefit. His Muwatta too was inspired by Abu Hanifa’s writings. He used to OFTEN narrate Abu Hanifa’s opinions and was always on the lookout for them.
Is-haq ibn Muhammad says that in religious queries, Imam Malik used to count Imam Abu Hanifa’s opinions as reliable.
He had a great respect and reverence for Abu Hanifa. Like Abu Hanifa, he too held the position that the practice of rafa’ yadayn other than the opening takbeer is abrogated from the Sunnah.
Muhammad bin Isma’eel says that one time Abu Hanifa and Malik were catching each other’s hand and walking towards the mosque, at the door of the mosque, Imam Malik insisted Abu Hanifa enter first.
Another time, in the Prophet’s ﷺ mosque in Madinah, Abu Hanifa and Malik were having a discussion on matters of knowledge. Whenever Abu Hanifa spoke, Malik was silent and listened with full reverence and attention without making any objections. Likewise, whenever Malik spoke, Abu Hanifa listened silently. This continued until Fajr.
Imam Shafi’iy says that if Imams Malik and Ibn ‘Uyaynah were not there, the knowledge of the Hijazis would have perished!
Lot of people are mistaken and think that Imam Malik was Abu Hanifa’s teacher and not student, but this is wrong. Malik has narrated on the authority of Abu Hanifa, but not vice versa. Imam Ibn Hajr Ash-Shafi’iy speaks on this topic and says that it is not proven that Abu Hanifa narrates on the authority of Malik but rather the opposite is the case; and whatever Dar Qutniy says is reported by Abu Hanifa quoting Malik is only in a discussion setting and not formalized and official reportage of hadith (with all the accompanying conditions and scrupulousness of reporting ahadith).
5 – Imam Mis’ar ibn Kidaam
His case is very unique. At first he objected to Abu Hanifa, was envious of him, and even backbited about him. Then one time after meeting Imam Abu Hanifa, he saw his piety and knowledge and was immensely remorseful and became his student.
He was another great scholar of hadith.
Imam Sufyan Ath-Thawriy says that whenever he and his companions disagreed on a hadith matter, they would always approach Mis’ar ibn Kidaam. They used to call him the “mizan” (balance / scale) of hadith sciences.
6 – Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Mubarak
One of the most famous students of Imam Abu Hanifa.
Imam Nawawi said about him: “The imam upon whose imamate and mightiness, a consensus can be arrived on every matter. The one whose mentioning invites the mercy of Allah, and forgiveness (maghfirah) can be hoped for by love of him.”
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal says that, in the time of ‘Abdullah ibn Mubarak, NO ONE struggled so much to obtain ahadiith as he did.
SAHEEH BUKHARI & MUSLIM – narrate HUNDREDS of ahadith on his authority!
Imam Yahya bin Mu’een, an authority of jarh and ta’deel says, “I never saw someone describe the qualities of Abu Hanifa the same way ibn Mubarak used to describe his qualities, and he always remembered him in good terms.”
7 – Imam Wakee’ ibn Al-Jarraah
Another special student of Abu Hanifa.
Imam Adh-Dhahabi adorns him with such titles as: “The Imam, The Hafizdh, The Certified Muhaddith of Iraq, The First Imam of the sciences, Wakee’ ibn Al-Jarrah”
One of his most elite and beloved students – Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
Imam Yahya bin Mu’een says that he (Wakee’) used to issue fatwas based on the opinions of Imam Abu Hanifa.
8 – Imam Yahya bin Sa’eed Al-Qattan
A major muhaddith in the mujtahid scholarly council of Abu Hanifa’s mujtahid students (Abu Hanifa set up a council of his mujtahid-scholar students for resolving matters of religious queries)
‘Allama Adh-Dhahabi says about him that the muhaddith who first started the practice of writing about the science of knowing the rijaal (men who report) in the science of ahadith is Imam Yahya bin Sa’eed.
Then AFTER HIM, his STUDENTS, Yahya bin Mu’een, ‘Ali bin Al-Madeeni, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal discussed on it (and developed the science further).
And AFTER THEM (Ahmad bin Hanbal et al), THEIR STUDENTS, people like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and others worked on this science and took it further! Which makes Imam Abu Hanifa the great-grand-shaykh of people like Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim in the science of hadith!
Ahmad ibn Hanbal has a famous saying: “I haven’t seen someone better than Yahya bin Sa’eed by my eyes!”
Adh-Dhahabi says that Yahya bin Sa’eed used to issue fatwas on Abu Hanifa’s rulings.
Yahya bin Mu’een says that Yahya bin Sa’eed once said, “We don’t lie to Allah. We haven’t heard better than the ijtihad of Abu Hanifa and we have adopted most of his rulings.”
9 – Imam Abu Sa’eed Yahya bin Zakariyah ibn Abi Zaidah
He was a great hafizdh of hadeeth and is often called Imam Al-Muhadditheen (The Imam of the Muhaddiths) because he is the TEACHER of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ali bin Al-Madeeni, Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaybah, Yahya bin Mu’een and Qutaybah.
Ali bin Al-Madeeni – the TEACHER of Imam Bukhari used to say about him – “In the times of Yahya, knowledge ended at Yahya.” (Mizan Al-I’itidal)
And Imam Bukhari says about Ali bin Al-Madeeni – “I never felt myself belittled in front of anyone other than Ali bin Al-Madeeni” (Tadhkirat Al-Huffazdh)
He is such a special student of Abu Hanifa (which mujtahid isn’t?) that Imam Adh-Dhahabi Ash-Shafi’iy called him “The Certified Hafizdh” (of hadith),” the Esteemed Faqeeh” and “saahibi Abu Hanifa” (meaning the one who possess Abu Hanifa’s methodology)
10 – Imam Yazeed bin Haroon
Another great hafizdh of hadith.
His students include great hadith masters like Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya bin Mu’een, Ali bin Al-Madeeni, and others.
Ali bin Al-Madeeni, a famous teacher of Imam Bukhari says – “I haven’t seen a greater memorizer of hadith than Yazeed bin Haroon.”
Another teacher of Imam Bukhari, Imam Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaybah says regarding Yazeed bin Haroon – “We haven’t seen someone more perfect than Yazeed bin Haroon in the memorization of hadith.”
Yazeed bin Haroon is the teacher of ALL of the compilers of the Sihaah Sittah (The 6 compilations of sahih ahadith, which are considered the first 6 text books of hadith sciences in our times due to their sophisticated compilation methodology) – SPECIALLY of Imam Bukhari.
Note how he praises Imam Abu Hanifa:
Once Yazeed bin Haroon was giving a lecture. A man in the crowd got up and said “Narrate hadith to us. Don’t talk to us about other people.” Yazeed bin Haroon tells him, “O fool! This is the tafsir (exegesis) of the hadith of the Benevolent Prophet ﷺ, it seems as though your objective is to just listen to hadith and build a [material] collection. Had you wanted knowledge, you would have investigated on the exegesis and meaning of hadith, and you would have seen Imam Abu Hanifa’s books and sayings, which do the tafsir (exegesis) of the hadith for you.” Then he shouted at him, and kicked him out of the hall!
11 – Imam ‘Abdur-Razzaq bin Humam
Another magnificent muhaddith and faqeeh.
Adh-Dhahabi calls him what can be translated to mean ‘The First Noble Master of the Trustworthy (narrators)’. He has reported ahadith on the authority of Abu Hanifa.
GREAT scholars of hadith like Yahya bin Mu’een, Ahmad in Hanbal, Sufyan bin Al-‘Uyayna, Ali bin Al-Madeeni, sat reverently in his gatherings and learnt at his hands.
He was so famous in the science of hadith that people used to travel from far and wide to attend his gatherings. According to some scholars, there was no one after the Prophet ﷺ, whom people traveled to see from so far and wide, like ‘Abdur-Razzaq.
Bukhari and Muslim contain numerous narrations on his authority.
The compilation Musannaf ‘Abdur-Razzaq is his own compilation. Adh-Dhahabi calls this book a ‘TREASURE OF KNOWLEDGE’. Imam Bukhari too admits to taking benefit out of this book.
Someone asked Ahmad ibn Hanbal regarding ‘Abdur-Razzaq if he found someone better than him in the science of hadith. Ahmad bin Hanbal replied, “No”.
12 – Imam Abu ‘Aasim An-Nabeel
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim narrate many ahadith on his authority. He has also narrated ahadith on the authority of Imam Abu Hanifa.
Adh-Dhahabi says that all scholars are unanimous in declaring Abu ‘Aasim as thiqah (trustworthy) in the science of classifying narrators.
One time, someone asked him ‘Is Sufyan Ath-Thawriy a greater faqeeh or Abu Hanifa?’ He replied, ‘Comparisons are made between those things that resemble each other. Imam Abu Hanifa laid the foundations for fiqh, while Sufyan ath-Thawri is just a faqeeh. According to me, Imam Abu Hanifa is a greater faqeeh than Ibn Jurayj. My eye hasn’t seen a person who has greater power in fiqh than Imam Al-A’azdham.’ (translation of quote)
13 – Imam Makkiy bin Ibrahim
Adh-Dhahabi calls him Hafizdh, and Imam, and Shaykh of Khorasan.
He used to be a trader. Once he met Imam Abu Hanifa, who told him that it’s good to be a trader, but at the same time he should seek knowledge too because without knowledge, a lot of problems occur in trade. This had an impact on him, and he started learning fiqh and hadith from Imam Abu Hanifa, so much so that in those sciences he achieved the level of an imam (a mujtahid one that is).
He is the teacher of great imams of hadith like Yahya bin Mu’een, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and Imam Bukhari.
In Imam Bukhari’s Sahih, out of the 22 thalathiyaat, 11 are narrated on the authority of Makki ibn Ibrahim, and 9 thalathiyat on the authority of other HANAFI shuyukh! (The thalaathiyaat of Bukhari are those ahadith that have only three narrators between Imam Bukhari and the Prophet ﷺ.)
He loved Imam Abu Hanifa to the extent that after every gathering and every prayer he used to pray for Allah’s mercy on him.
Once in a lecture he started narrating hadith saying “haddathana Abi Hanifa” (Abu Hanifa narrated to us…). One student said, “Give the narration of Ibn Jurayj and don’t tell us Abu Hanifa’s narration.” He became very angry hearing this and the color of his face changed. He said, “We don’t narrate ahadith to idiots. You leave my gathering. It is not allowed for you to write hadith from me.” Then until that student was kicked out of the gathering, he did not start narrating, and after he was made to leave, he started back with “haddathana Abi Hanifa”
14 – Other greats
Among the other great muhaddith and mujtahid students of Imam Abu Hanifa are included:
Sufyan bin ‘Uyayna,
Ibrahim bin Udham,
Hamzah bin Muqriy,
‘Abbad bin ‘Awwam,
‘Ali bin Mus-hir,
Qasim bin Ma’n,
Hasan bin Saleh,
Abu Bakr bin ‘Ayyash,
‘Eisa bin Yunus,
Ishaq bin Yusuf,
Shu’aib bin Ishaq,
‘Abdul Warith bin Sa’eed,
Muhammad bin Bishr,
Hammad bin Zayd –
who are ALL TEACHERS OF MUHADDITHEEN OF SIHAAH SITTAH.
Imam An-Nawawi also counted Imam Sufyan Ath-Thawriy as amongst his students.
Imam Jalaluddin As-Suyuti listed 95 scholars who narrated hadith on the authority of Abu Hanifa. These include
Abu Nu’aym Al-Fadzl bin Dukayn,
Makki ibn Ibrahim,
and Abu ‘Aasim Dzahhaak – who are ALL SHUYUKH of Imam Bukhari, and many many narrations exist on their authority in Sahih Bukhari as well as the other Sahih compilations.
Some reference books:
Tahdhiib Al-Asmaa w Al-Lughaat, Imam Abu Zakariyah Muhiyuddin Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawiy
Manaqib Al-Imam Al-A’azdham Abi Haniifah, Muwaffaq bin Ahmad Al-Makkiy
Manaqib Al-Imam Al-A’azdham Abi Haniifah, Muhammad Al-Kardariy
Tareekh Baghdad, Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadiy
Al-Jawahir Al-Mudziyyah fi Tabaqaat Al-Hanafiyyah, ‘Abd-Al-Qadir Al-Qurashiy
Al-Khayraat Al-Hisaan fi Manaaqib Al-Imam Al-A’azdham Abi Haniifah An-Nu’amaan, Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Haytamiy
Tabyiidz As-Saheefah li Manaqib Abi Hanifa, Imam Jalaluddin As-Suyuti
Tahdhiib At-Tahdhiib, Hafizdh Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaaniy
Tabaqaat Al-Kubraa, Muhammad ibn Sa’ad Az-Zuhri
Tadhkirat Al-Huffaazdh, Hafizdh Muhammad bin Ahmad Shams Ad-Din Adh-Dhahabi
Miizaan Al-I’ytidal, Hafizdh Muhammad bin Ahmad Shams Ad-Din Adh-Dhahabi,