Narrations of Imam Abu Hanifah from Sharh Mushkil al-Athar

Imam Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi (239 – 321) narrated several hadiths in his masterpiece work, Sharh Mushkil al-Athar, containing Imam Abu Hanifah in its chain. One of them is referenced in an earlier post. I will quote another five below, and another in a later post inshaAllah when discussing Imam al-Nasa’i’s narration from Abu Hanifah. All references are based on Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut’s excellent edition of the work available for download here. The second and fourth narrations in this list are examples of Imam Abu Hanifah’s thuna’iyyat (two-narrator chains).

1. Al-Tahawi narrates: Ibrahim ibn Abi Dawud narrated to us: He said: Muhammad ibn al-Muthanna narrated to us: He said: Ishaq ibn Yusuf al-Azraq narrated to us from Abu Hanifah from ‘Alqamah ibn Marthad from Sulayman ibn Buraydah from his father: He said: the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The inviter to goodness is like its doer.” (no. 1545, vol. 4:204)

The shaykh of Imam al-Tahawi, Ibrahim ibn Abi Dawud, is Ibrahim ibn Sulayman ibn Dawud al-Barallusi al-Suri (d. 270). Al-Tahawi narrated many hadiths from him. Al-Dhahabi described him as a “proficient master” (al-hafiz al-mutqin) and Abu Sa‘id ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Yunus (d. 347), the biographer of Egyptian narrators and a student of Imam al-Tahawi, said: “He was one of the memorisers, proficient Qur’an-reciters, trustworthy and firm narrators.” (Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala, al-Arna’ut ed. 12:612-3) The rest of the narrators in the chain are trustworthy hadith transmitters found in all six of the famous collections of hadith.

The narrator from Abu Hanifah, Ishaq ibn Yusuf (117 – 195 H), better known as al-Azraq, was declared thiqah by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Ma‘in, al-‘Ijli, Ibn Sa‘d, al-Bazzar and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 1:257-8). The shaykh of Abu Hanifah in this chain is ‘Alqamah ibn Marthad al-Hadrami (d. 126), a Kufan narrator of hadith. Al-Mizzi lists Abu Hanifah amongst those who narrated from him (Tahdhib al-Kamal 20:310).

This hadith was narrated through the same chain by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241) in his Musnad (no. 23027, vol. 38:132, Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut ed.) from al-Azraq who narrated from Abu Hanifah from ‘Alqamah.

2. Al-Tahawi narrates: Ahmad ibn Dawud narrated to us: He said: Isma’il ibn Salim narrated to us: He said: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan narrated to us: He said: Abu Hanifah narrated to us: He said: ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah narrated to us from Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him): He said: Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “When the star appears, calamity is lifted from the inhabitants of every land.” (no. 2282, vol. 6:53)

The shaykh of Imam al-Tahawi is Ahmad ibn Dawud ibn Musa al-Makki (d. 282), declared thiqah by Ibn Yunus (Misbah al-Arib no. 1593). Isma’il ibn Salim Abu Yahya al-Kufi is a narrator found in the collections of Muslim, Abu Dawud and al-Nasa’i, and was declared thiqah by Ibn Ma’in, Ahmad, Ibn Sa’d and others. Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (132 – 189 H) is a mujtahid Imam, from the foremost students of Imam Abu Hanifah. Al-Dhahabi said: “[He is] strong in [his narrations from Imam] Malik,” ‘Ali ibn al-Madini said he is “reliable” (saduq), and al-Daraqutni said: “He does not deserve rejection.” (Lisan al-Mizan, Abu Ghuddah ed. 7:60-3) Al-Daraqutni also counted him amongst “the trustworthy masters [of hadith].” (Nasb al-Rayah, Muhammad ‘Awwamah ed. 1:409) His transmission of the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik which includes approximately a thousand narrations was well-received by the ‘ulama which is a strong indication of his strength and credibility in hadith science. The strong criticism of him from some authorities was a result of methodological differences and is of no consequence. ‘Ata ibn Abi Rabah (ca. 27 – 115) was the greatest of Imam Abu Hanifah’s teachers as he himself mentioned (see here), and he has many narrations found in all six of the famous collections of hadith. One of the scholars said: “‘Ata’ was black, blind in one-eye, snub-nosed, lame and limp and then he became blind after this, yet he was trustworthy [in transmitting hadith], a jurist and a scholar possessing many hadiths!” (Tahdhib al-Kamal, 20:76) He met 200 companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and he would issue fatwa in the presence of the companions, such that Ibn ‘Abbas would say to questioners: “O people of Makkah! Do you gather your questions to me, when Ibn Abi Rabah is amongst you?!” (ibid. 20:77)

(For an elucidation of the meaning of this hadith, see Imam al-Tahawi’s commentary that follows after narrating it)

3. Al-Tahawi narrates: Rawh ibn al-Faraj narrated to us: He said: Yusuf ibn ‘Adi narrated to us: He said: ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman al-Razi narrated to us from al-Nu’man ibn Thabit Abi Hanifah from Hammad [ibn Abi Sulayman] from Sa’id ibn Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them): He said: “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) dispatched the weak of his family in the night from Muzdalifah, and he said to them: ‘Do not pelt the jamrah until sunrise.'” (no. 3495, vol. 9:120)

Al-Tahawi’s shaykh, Rawh ibn al-Faraj Abu al-Zinba’ (d. 282), was a Maliki jurist and also the one who taught Imam al-Tahawi the science of qira’ah according to his transmission from the founder of one of the seven readings, ‘Asim ibn Bahdalah. He was thiqah as mentioned by al-‘Asqalani in Taqrib al-Tahdhib. Yusuf ibn ‘Adi ibn Zurayq (d. 232) is a narrator found in the collections of al-Bukhari and al-Nasa’i, and he was thiqah (Tahrir al-Taqrib no. 7872). The narrator from Abu Hanifah, ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman al-Kinani (d. 187), is a narrator found in all six collections of hadith, and was declared thiqah by a number of authorities. Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman (d. 120) was the primary teacher of Abu Hanifah in fiqh, and he was a mujtahid Imam, the greatest of the students of Ibrahim al-Nakha’i as he himself expressed. Hammad’s narrations are found in all six collections of hadith, although in Sahih al-Bukhari there is only one narration narrated as mu’allaq (i.e. where Imam al-Bukhari does not cite his chain to Hammad). For the scholars’ praise of his knowledge and reliability, see Tahdhib al-Kamal (7:269-79).

4. Al-Tahawi narrates: Yazid narrated to us: Abu Qatan narrated to us: Abu Hanifah narrated to us from ‘Atiyyah from Abu Sa’id [al-Khudri] from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), then he mentioned the equivalent of it [i.e. the words: “Whoever lies upon me deliberately, let him take his seat in the Fire.”] (no. 401, vol. 1:361)

The shaykh of al-Tahawi, Yazid ibn Sinan ibn Yazid al-Qazzaz (178 – 264), is also one of the shaykhs of al-Nasa’i in his Sunan. (Imam al-Tahawi in fact shares some shuyukh with all the collectors of the six books of hadith besides al-Bukhari.) He was declared thiqah by al-Nasa’i, Ibn Yunus and Ibn Abi Hatim (Tahdhib al-Kamal 32:152-5). The narrator from Imam Abu Hanifah Abu Qatan ‘Amr ibn al-Haytham (121 – 198) is a narrator found in all six of the famous collections of hadith besides Sahih al-Bukhari, and was declared thiqah by al-Shafi’i, Yahya ibn Ma’in, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini (Tahdhib al-Kamal 22:280-5). The shaykh of Imam Abu Hanifah is ‘Atiyyah ibn Sa’id ibn Junadah al-‘Awfi (d. 111), a narrator found in the collections of Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and also in al-Bukhari’s al-Adab al-Mufrad. It was reported from Yahya ibn Ma’in that he said he is “acceptable” (salih) and “there is no harm in him,” and Ibn Sa’d said “he is thiqah if Allah wills,” although it is also reported from Ibn Ma’in that he considered him weak and this was reported from a number of other authorities also (Tahdhib al-Kamal 20:145-9). The text of the hadith itself, however, is of unquestionable authority, and is probably the most authentic hadith in existence.

5. Al-Tahawi narrates: Ahmad ibn Dawud narrated to us: He said: Isma’il ibn Salim al-Sa’igh narrated to us : He said: Abu Mu’awiyah narrated to us: al-Nu’man ibn Thabit reported to me from ‘Alqamah ibn Marthad from Ibn Buraydah from his father: He said: “Ma’iz al-Aslami came to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) while he was seated and confessed [that he committed] adultery. He rejected his [confession] four times, and then he ordered his stoning. Thereupon, they stood him up in a place with few stones. When stones struck him, he began to worry, so he came out running until he reached al-Harrah wherein he was stopped by them and they pelted him with its stones until he became silent. Later, they said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! When stones struck Ma’iz he became worried and ran.’ He said: ‘Why did you not let him go?!'” (no. 432 vol. 1:379-80)

The chain is the same as the second narration mentioned above, except for the narrator from Abu Hanifah, Abu Mu’awiyah Muhammad ibn Khazim (113 – 195), whose narrations are found in all six collections of hadith, and he was declared thiqah by the major authorities of narrator-criticism. This hadith is well-known and is found with different chains of transmission in many books of hadith.

One comment on “Narrations of Imam Abu Hanifah from Sharh Mushkil al-Athar

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