The Kindness of Imam Abu Hanifah to His Mother

As can be gleaned from many of the earlier posts, Imam Abu Hanifah was exemplary in many facets of an Islamic character, from his worship and piety, to his generosity, knowledge, patience and activism. The following narrations also display his exemplary character in his behaviour with his mother.

1. Al-Khatib narrates: Al-Khallal reported to us: He said: al-Hariri informed us that al-Nakha‘i narrated to them: He said: Abu Salih al-Bakhtari ibn Muhammad narrated to us: He said: Ya‘qub ibn Shaybah narrated to us: Sulayman ibn Mansur narrated to me: He said: Hujr ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar al-Hadrami narrated to me: He said: “In our mosque, there was a storyteller called Zur‘ah. The mosque of the Hadramites was associated with him. The mother of Abu Hanifah wanted to seek fatwa in a matter so Abu Hanifah issued her a fatwa but she did not accept. She said: ‘I will only accept what Zur‘ah – the storyteller – says.’ So Abu Hanifah brought her to Zur‘ah and he said: ‘This is my mother, she is seeking a fatwa in such and such a matter.’ He said: ‘You are more learned than me and have more knowledge of jurisprudence! So you issue her a fatwa.’ Abu Hanifah said: ‘I had given her such and such a fatwa.’ Zur‘ah said: ‘The [correct] opinion is as Abu Hanifah said.’ Then she was satisfied and returned.’”

The chain is hasan: Al-Khallal, al-Hariri and al-Nakha‘i are trustworthy narrators, as shown in earlier posts. Al-Daraqutni said about al-Bakhtari ibn Muhammad (d. 290) according to Su’alat Hakim “there is no harm in him” (Mawsu‘at Aqwal Abi al-Hasan al-Daraqutni, p. 145, Tarikh Baghdad 7:640-1); Ya‘qub ibn Shaybah (182 – 262) is the famous author of a Musnad and is thiqah (Tarikh Baghdad 16:410-12);  Sulayman ibn Mansur (d. 240) was declared thiqah by al-Nasa’i, and he narrated from ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181) (Tahdhib al-Kamal 12:75); Hujr ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar was mentioned by Ibn Hibban in al-Thiqat. Al-Khatib also narrated the same incident through a second chain, giving it further support.

2. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrates: ‘Abd al-Warith ibn Sufyan narrated to us: He said: Qasim narrated to us: Ahmad ibn Zuhayr narrated to us: He said: Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh narrated to us: He said: Hamzah ibn al-Mughirah – who died in the year 180 at the age of 90 or so – narrated to me: He said: “We would pray with ‘Umar ibn Dharr in the month of Ramadan the [night] vigil [of Tarawih], so Abu Hanifah would come and would bring his mother with him, though his place was very far and Ibn Dharr would pray till close to the pre-dawn [meal time].” (Al-Intiqa fi Fada’il al-A’immat al-Thalathat al-Fuqaha p. 256)

The chain is sahih: ‘Abd al-Warith ibn Sufyan al-Qurtubi (d. 395) is thiqah according to al-Dhahabi in Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’ (Misbah al-Arib 2:297); al-Qasim ibn Asbagh al-Qurtubi (247 – 340) was called “the great hafiz” and “the muhaddith of Cordoba” by al-‘Asqalani and is saduq (Lisan al-Mizan); Ahmad ibn Zuhayr ibn Harb (205 – 299) is thiqah according to al-Daraqutni and al-Khatib (Tarikh Baghdad 5:265-7); Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh (151 – 246) is thiqah according to Abu Dawud (Tarikh Baghdad 10:68)

Hamzah ibn al-Mughirah is Hamzah ibn al-Mughirah ibn Nashit al-Makhzumi al-Kufi. He is mentioned in Kitab al-Thiqat of Ibn Hibban. Al-Mizzi lists ‘Umar ibn Dharr amongst those he narrated from and Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh amongst those who narrated from him. Yahya ibn Ma‘in said “there is no harm in him” which for him is equivalent to thiqah. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 7:340) ‘Umar ibn Dharr al-Hamdani al-Kufi (d. 153), who led the Tarawih prayer in this report, is a narrator found in the six collections besides Muslim and Ibn Majah, although the latter transmitted from him in his Tafsir. He narrated from his father, ‘Ata ibn Abi Rabah, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and others. Al-Mizzi lists Abu Hanifah amongst those who narrated from him and says “he was from his contemporaries.” Yahya ibn Sa‘id al-Qattan, al-Nasa’i, al-Daraqutni, al-‘Ijli and Ya‘qub ibn Sufyan said he is thiqah. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 21:334-40)

3. In an earlier post, I mentioned the following narration in which Imam Abu Hanifah expresses his love and concern for his mother:

Al-Khatib narrates: Al-Khallal reported to us: al-Hariri reported to us that al-Nakha‘i narrated to them: He said: Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Affan narrated to us: He said: Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid narrated to us from his father: He said: “Abu Hanifah would be brought out every day,” or he said, “amongst the days, and he was beaten, to [force him to] accept judgeship but he refused. He wept on some of the days, and when he was freed, he said to me: ‘The grief of my mother was more difficult on me than the beating.’” (Tarikh Baghdad15:449)

The chain is sound: the narrators al-Khallal, al-Hariri and al-Nakha‘i are trustworthy narrators (thiqat) as detailed in earlier posts; Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Affan (d. 277) was declared thiqah by al-Daraqutni (Misbah al-Arib 3:195); although some imams held negative opinions of Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid (d. 228), he was declared thiqah by Mutayyan, Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Ibn Numayr and Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Bushanji (204-290) [a great hadith-scholar whose narrations are found in Sahih al-Bukhari], and Ibn ‘Adi said: “I did not find in his Musnad or his hadiths anything objectionable (munkar), and I hope there is no harm in him” (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 11:243-9); Abu Yahya ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Himmani (d. 202) is a narrator found in the Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim, and declared thiqah by Ibn Ma‘in, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Qani‘ and others, although some invalid criticism was levelled at him because of irja’. (Tahrir al-Taqrib 2:300-1)

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