The Soft Heart of Imam Abu Hanifah

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates:

Al-Khallal reported to us: He said: Al-Hariri reported to us that al-Nakha‘i narrated to them: He said: Bakhtari ibn Muhammad narrated to us: He said: Muhammad ibn Sama‘ah narrated to us from Muhammad ibn al-Hasan [al-Shaybani]: He said: al-Qasim ibn Ma‘n narrated to me that Abu Hanifah stood [in prayer] one night with this verse: “Nay! The Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour is more calamitous and bitterer,” (54:46) repeating it, and weeping and humbling himself (yatadarra’). (Tarikh Baghdad 15:489)

Dr Bashshar ‘Awwad comments: “The isnad of this report is sahih; its narrators are trustworthy.”

In this is an embodiment of the verses: “Allah has revealed the finest discourse, a Book con-similar oft-repeated, at which the skins of these who fear their Lord tremble; then their skins and their hearts soften at the remembrance of Allah.” (39:23) “Only they are the (true) believers whose hearts feel fear when Allah is mentioned, and when revelations of Allah are recited unto them they increase their faith.” (8:2) “Remember your Lord in your heart with humility and awe, and without speaking loudly, in mornings and evenings, and do not be among the heedless. ” (7:205)

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Supplication for Imam Abu Hanifah after the Obligatory Salah

The foremost student of Imam Abu Hanifah, the mujtahid Imam, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub ibn Ibrahim, the first to be given the post of Qadi al-Qudat (Chief Judge) in Islam, would supplicate for his teacher after the obligatory Salahs, a time in which du’as are “most heard” according to a hadith recorded by al-Tirmidhi.

Hafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrates:

‘Abd al-Warith ibn Sufyan narrated to us: He said: Qasim ibn Asbagh narrated to us: He said: Ahmad ibn Zuhayr narrated to us: He said: Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh narrated to us: He said: Abu Sufyan al-Himyari narrated to us from ‘Ali ibn Harmalah: He said: Abu Yusuf al-Qadi used to say after his Salah: “O Allah! Forgive me, and my parents and Abu Hanifah.” (al-Intiqa’ fi Fada’il al-A’immat al-Thalathat al-Fuqaha p. 258)

The chain up to Sulayman ibn Abi Shaykh was shown to be authentic in earlier posts. Abu Sufyan al-Himyari (112 – 202), or Sa’id ibn Yahya al-Wasiti, has some narrations in Sahih al-Bukhari and Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, and was considered reliable (saduq) by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani in al-Taqrib, and trustworthy (thiqah) by Abu Dawud as mentioned in Tahdhib al-Kamal (11:109). ‘Ali ibn Harmalah, a Qadi of Kufa, was a contemporary of Imam Abu Yusuf, and is mentioned in Kitab al-Thiqat of Ibn Hibban. The chain is therefore sound.

This practice may have been inherited from Imam Abu Hanifah himself. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates with his chain that Abu Hanifah said: “I have not prayed a single Salah since Hammad [ibn Abi Sulayman] died but I sought forgiveness for him with my parents, and indeed I seek forgiveness for those from whom I acquired knowledge or [those to] whom I imparted knowledge.” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:457) The chain contains one unknown narrator, while the rest of the narrators are reliable except for Ibrahim ibn Sama’ah, the narrator from Imam Abu Hanifah, who was described as a “Shi’i” (Lisan al-Mizan 1:295).