Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates:
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ya’qub reported to us: He said: Muhammad ibn Nu’aym al-Dabbi reported to us: He said: I heard Abu l-Fadl Muhammad ibn al-Husayn the Qadi of Naysabur say: I heard Hammad ibn Ahmad al-Qadi al-Marwazi say: I heard Ibrahim ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Khallal say:
I heard Ibn al-Mubarak say: “Abu Hanifah was a sign (ayah)!” A speaker said to him: “In evil O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman or in goodness?” He said: “Keep quiet, O So-and-So! Because it is said: ‘peak (ghayah) of evil’ and ‘sign of goodness’ and then he recited: ‘We made the son of Maryam and his mother a sign.’ (Qur’an 23:50)” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:461) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma’ruf commented: “Its isnad is hasan.”
It has already been documented on this blog that it is authentically reported from Ibn al-Mubarak that he said: “as for the best faqih of people, [he is] Abu Hanifah” and: “I have not seen the like of him in fiqh” and: “If anyone has the right to issue [a legal verdict] using his opinion, Abu Hanifah has the right to issue [a legal verdict] using his opinion” and “When [the opinions] of these two, meaning al-Thawri and Abu Hanifah, converge on something, that is strong.” (see here) It has also been documented in earlier posts that ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak would narrate hadiths from Abu Hanifah.