Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah has over forty reports in his renowned al-Musannaf with Abu Hanifah in their chains. There is always only one narrator between him and Abu Hanifah, and these single intermediaries give us an excellent insight into those who would narrate hadiths from Abu Hanifah. The number and calibre of hadith scholars who narrate from a shaykh after hearing from him is an indication of the shaykh’s rank and reliability. As Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah said, Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated from Abu Hanifah “through the medium of 12 of his most eminent shuyukh.” (al-Musannaf li Bni Abi Shaybah, Muhammad ‘Awwamah ed. 20:6)
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah (159-235 H), the name with which he is better known, is ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim. He was a contemporary of Imams Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Ishaq ibn Rahwayh and ‘Ali ibn al-Madini. His narrations are found in all six of the famous collections of hadith besides the collection of Imam al-Tirmidhi. Abu Hatim, Ibn Khirash and al-‘Ijli said: “[He was] trustworthy,” and al-‘Ijli added: “He was hafiz of hadith.” ‘Amr ibn ‘Ali said: “I have not seen [anyone who] had memorised more than Ibn Abi Shaybah.” Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam said: “[Knowledge of] hadith culminates at four: Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma‘in and ‘Ali ibn al-Madini. Abu Bakr was the most retentive of them, Ahmad the most understanding of them, Yahya the most prolific of them and ‘Ali the most learned of them.” Ibn Hibban said: “He was a proficient and trustworthy master [of hadith], of those who wrote and collected and compiled, and he was the most retentive from the people of his time.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal, Bashshar ‘Awwad ed. 16:34-42) His work al-Musannaf is one of the largest collection of narrations including marfu‘, mawquf and maqtu‘ reports.
Based on Muhammad ‘Awwamah’s edition, I will list those who narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah and those who he narrated from according to the reports found in al-Musannaf, with reference to the hadith numbers in parentheses where those narrations can be found in the book:
Narrators from Abu Hanifah:
1. Ja‘far ibn ‘Awn (no. 1710)
His full name is Ja‘far ibn ‘Awn ibn Ja‘far ibn ‘Amr ibn Hurayth al-Makhzumi al-Kufi (120 – 206), and he is a narrator found in all six of the famous collections of hadith. His great grandfather, ‘Amr ibn Hurayth (d. 85) was from the young Sahabah, and is also a narrator found in the six collections. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “[He was] a pious man, there is no harm in his [narrations],” and Ahmad would recommend those who visit Kufa to take from Ja‘far. Yahya ibn Ma‘in, al-‘Ijli, Ibn Shahin, Ibn Qani‘, al-Dhahabi and others said he is “trustworthy” (thiqah). Ibn Sa‘d said: “He was trustworthy, with many hadiths.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal, Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf ed. 5:70-3)
2. Yazid ibn Harun (no. 5400)
Yazid ibn Harun Abu Khalid al-Wasiti (118 – 206) is also a narrator found in all six collections. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “He was a proficient master of hadith.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini, Abu Hatim, Ibn Sa‘d and others all said he is trustworthy. Ibn al-Madini said: “I have never seen a man who had memorised more than Yazid ibn Harun.” Yazid ibn Harun said about himself: “I memorised 24,000 hadiths with their chains, and this is no boast!” Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah said: “I have not seen [anybody] with a more accurate memory than Yazid ibn Harun.” Al-‘Ijli said: “He was trustworthy and firm in hadith; and he was pious, with extremely wonderful Salah.” Ahmad ibn Sinan said: “I have not seen a scholar with more beautiful Salah than Yazid ibn Harun. He would stand as though a pillar praying from Zuhr to ‘Asr, and from Maghrib to ‘Isha’, he would not tire from Salah in the day and night.” Al-Mizzi states: “His excellences and virtues are very many.” (ibid. 32:261-70)
In earlier posts, I quoted Yazid’s praise of Abu Hanifah:
He said: “I comprehended the people and I have not seen anyone more intelligent, nor more virtuous, nor more scrupulous than Abu Hanifah!” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:498) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf comments, “Its isnad is sahih.” Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali reported: I heard Yazid ibn Harun when a man asked him, “O Abu Khalid! Who is the best in fiqh from those you have seen?” say, “Abu Hanifah.” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:468) Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf comments, “Its isnad is hasan.” The weight of such praise from Yazid ibn Harun of Imam Abu Hanifah can be gauged from this brief account of his qualities.
3. Waki‘ (no. 6147, 6222, 9580, 10125, 15124, 16941, 17599, 18841, 21925, 25743, 27713, 29599/33443)
Waki‘ ibn al-Jarrah al-Kufi (129 – 196) is also a narrator found in the six collections of hadith. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “I have not seen a greater container of knowledge than Waki‘, nor [one who] memorised more than Waki‘.” He also said: “I have never seen a man like Waki‘ in knowledge, memory, chain and chapters, along with humility and scrupulousness.” He also said: “Waki‘ was the Imam of Muslims in his time.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in said: “I haven’t seen anyone with a greater memory than Waki‘.” Ibn ‘Ammar said: “There was no one in Kufa in the time of Waki‘ greater in fiqh and more knowledgeable of hadith than him. Waki‘ was a luminary.” ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San‘ani who was a contemporary of Waki‘ said: “I saw al-Thawri, Ibn ‘Uyaynah, Ma‘mar, Malik, and I saw and I saw, and my eyes have never seen the like of Waki‘.” ‘Ali ibn Khashram asked Waki‘ the method of acquiring such a proficient memory, and he said: “Abandoning sins, I have not experienced [anything] equal to it in [perfecting] memory.” Yahya ibn Aktham said: “I accompanied Waki‘ in journey and residence, and he would fast continuously and complete the Qur’an every night.” Waki‘’s son narrates: “My father would pray the entire night, and there did not remain in our house anybody except he would pray [in the night], and even our black slave girl would pray.” Al-‘Ijli said: “[He was] Kufan, trustworthy, a worshipper, pious, eloquent, from the memorisers of hadith, and he would issue fatwa.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 30:462-84)
As shown in an earlier post, Waki‘ would issue fatwa according to the opinions of Imam Abu Hanifah. Al-Mizzi also quotes this from Yahya ibn Ma‘in in Tahdhib al-Kamal (30:474-5). Some of the fatwas Waki‘ reported from Abu Hanifah are recorded in the Musannaf; see numbers 10713 and 32152. The hadith narrations of Waki‘ in the Musannaf include a number of reports reaching the Sahabah.
4. ‘Isa ibn Yunus (no. 5876, 29099)
‘Isa ibn Yunus al-Kufi (d. 187) is also a narrator found in the six collections of hadith. He was the grandson of the famous narrator from the Tabi‘in, Abu Ishaq al-Sabi‘i (d. 127), who he saw. He was the brother of the famous narrator Isra’il ibn Yunus (100 – 160). Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini, Abu Hatim, al-Nasa’i and others said he is trustworthy. Abu Zur‘ah said he was a “master [of hadith]” (hafiz). (Tahdhib al-Kamal 23:62-76)
Number 29099 is a narration from Imam Abu Hanifah that reaches ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab.
5. Hafs ibn Ghiyath (no. 5881, 17775, 21106, 24313)
Abu ‘Umar Hafs ibn Ghiyath al-Kufi (117 – 194), a narrator found in all six collections of hadith, was the Qadi of Kufa for thirteen years under Harun al-Rashid, and he was Qadi of Baghdad for two years. Yet, when he died, he did not leave behind any wealth. Yahya ibn Ma‘in, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Sa‘d and others said he is trustworthy. Al-‘Ijli said: “[He was] trustworthy, reliable, a jurist. Waki‘ was often asked about something, and he would say: ‘Go to our Qadi and ask him.’” Yahya ibn Sa‘id al-Qattan said: “The most trustworthy of the companions of al-A‘mash is Hafs ibn Ghiyath.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 7:56-70)
Waki‘ ibn al-Jarrah listed Hafs amongst the companions of Imam Abu Hanifah as mentioned here. This is also recognised in the books of later non-Hanafi authorities, as for example, Imam al-Nawawi refers to him as “Hafs ibn Ghiyath al-Hanafi” in his work on Usul al-Hadith called al-Taqrib of which al-Suyuti’s Tadrib al-Rawi is a commentary (Tadrib al-Rawi, Muhammad Ayman al-Shabrawi ed., p. 374). The narrations recorded in the Musannaf are all Hafs’s narrations from Abu Hanifah from Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, either from Hammad’s own opinion or narrating from Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i or Sa‘id ibn Jubayr.
6. ‘Abd Allah ibn Numayr (no. 9434, 9437, 12388, 12401, 12602, 18685, 27562)
‘Abd Allah ibn Numayr al-Hamdani al-Kufi (115 – 199) is also a narrator found in all six collections of hadith. He was declared thiqah by Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Ibn Sa‘d, al-Daraqutni and others. Al-‘Ijli said: “Trustworthy, sound in hadith, a champion of the Sunnah.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 16:225-9).
7. Abu Mu‘awiyah (no. 11053, 11124, 28902)
Abu Mu‘awiyah Muhammad ibn Khazim al-Tamimi al-Sa‘di al-Kufi (113 – 195) is also a narrator found in all of the six collections. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “Abu Mu‘awiyah is the most retentive of the companions of [Sulayman ibn Mihran] al-A‘mash.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in was asked who is the strongest of the narrators from al-A‘mash, and he replied: “After Sufyan and Shu‘bah, Abu Mu‘awiyah, the blind.” Al-‘Ijli said: “[He was] a Kufan, trustworthy (thiqah).” Al-Nasa’i, Ya‘qub ibn Shaybah, Ibn Sa‘d and al-Daraqutni said he was thiqah. However, many authorities discovered some errors in his narrations. He was criticised because of irja’, but this was from the acceptable category of irja’ discussed in detail in an earlier post. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 25:123-34)
8. ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak (no. 12532, 28611)
‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak (118 – 181) was one of the imams and luminaries of Islamic scholarship and piety, and also a narrator found in the six collections. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi said: “The four imams are Sufyan al-Thawri, Malik ibn Anas, Hammad ibn Zayd and Ibn al-Mubarak.” Shu‘ayb ibn Harb said: “Ibn al-Mubarak did not meet any man except Ibn al-Mubarak was more virtuous than him.” Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “There was none in the time of Ibn al-Mubarak more ardent in gaining knowledge than him.” Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah: “I inspected the condition of the companions [of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)] and I did not find any excellence in them over Ibn al-Mubarak except their companionship of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and their battles with him.” When the news of his death reached Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, he exclaimed: “Allah have mercy on him! Indeed he was a jurist, a scholar, a worshipper, an ascetic, generous and brave, a poet.” ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi would not favour anyone in hadith over Malik and Ibn al-Mubarak. When Ibn al-Mubarak’s students recounted his virtues, they would say: “He combined knowledge, jurisprudence, literature, grammar, language, poetry, eloquence, asceticism, scrupulousness, fairness, night-prayer, worship, pilgrimage, battles, bravery, insight, physical strength and avoiding talk about what did not concern him.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in said: “Ibn al-Mubarak was more learned than Sufyan al-Thawri.” Mu‘adh ibn Khalid ibn Shaqiq said: “I do not know that Allah has created a characteristic from the characteristics of virtue but Allah has put it in ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak.” Al-Mizzi said after collecting these narrations and others: “His virtues and excellences are very many.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 16:5-24)
It has been mentioned in earlier posts that it was transmitted with authentic chains from ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak that he said: “When the opinion of Abu Hanifah and Sufyan concur on something, that is strong,” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:471) “the greatest faqih of people, is Abu Hanifah,” “I have not seen the like of him in fiqh,” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:469) “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.” (Tarikh Baghdad 15:471) According to another report with a good (hasan) chain, ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak said Abu Hanifah was a “sign” (ayah) in “virtue” (khayr) (Tarikh Baghdad 15:461).
9. ‘Abbad ibn al-‘Awwam (no. 12909, 13092, 16257, 26182)
‘Abbad ibn al-‘Awwam (115 – 185) Abu Sahl al-Wasiti is also a narrator found in the six collections of hadith. Ibn Sa‘d said: “He was from the nobles amongst men in all his affairs.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Abu Dawud, al-‘Ijli, al-Nasa’i, Abu Hatim and al-Bazzar said he is thiqah. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 14:140-5)
10. ‘Amr ibn Muhammad (no. 18274)
Amr ibn Muhammad al-‘Anqari al-Kufi (d. 199) is also a narrator found in all six books, although in Sahih al-Bukhari his narration is only used for support (istishhad). Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Nasa’i and al-‘Ijli said he is trustworthy. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 22:220-3)
11. ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman (no. 29599/33443)
‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Sulayman al-Kinani (d. 187) is a narrator found in all six collections. Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Abu Dawud and al-Daraqutni said he is thiqah. Al-‘Ijli said: “Trustworthy, pious, with many hadiths.” He was also known to have authored a number of books. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 18:36-9)
12. Abu Usamah (no. 30561, 35688)
Hammad ibn Usamah ibn Zayd (120 – 201) is also a narrator found in all six collections. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said he is thiqah and “the most learned of people about the conditions of people.” He also said: “How strong he was! He almost never erred.” Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Ibn Sa‘d, al-‘Ijli and al-Daraqutni said he is thiqah. It was reported from Abu Usamah that he said: “I wrote with these two fingers of mine 100,000 hadiths.” He was known to be from the constant worshippers (nussak) and and to have been extremely intelligent (Tahdhib al-Kamal 7:217-24).
1. Hammad (no. 1710, 5400, 5876, 5881, 6222, 9434, 9437, 9580, 10125, 11053, 12388, 12401, 12532, 12602, 12909, 13092, 15124, 16257, 17599, 17775, 18685, 21106, 24313, 27562, 27713, 28611, 29099, 30561)
Abu Isma‘il Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman al-Ash‘ari (d. 120) was the first and primary teacher of Imam Abu Hanifah. His narrations are found in all six collections of hadith, although in Sahih al-Bukhari they are without chain (mu‘allaq). He narrated from the Sahabi Anas ibn Malik (d. 93), and from the famous Tabi‘i, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr (38-95 H), and others. His primary teacher was Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i, a major scholar of hadith and fiqh from the Tabi‘in, who was the most learned regarding the opinions of ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud and his students. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated with his chain from ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Iyas: “I asked Ibrahim [al-Nakha‘i]: ‘Who should we ask after you?’ He said: ‘Hammad.’” Yahya ibn Ma‘in and al-Nasa’i said he is thiqah. Al-‘Ijli said: “Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, a Kufan, trustworthy. He was the greatest jurist from the companions of Ibrahim.” Dawud al-Ta’i said: “Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman was generous with food and he was generous with dinars and dirhams.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 7:269-79)
Al-Dhahabi said under the biography of Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman in Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’: “The greatest faqih from the inhabitants of Kufa were ‘Ali and Ibn Mas’ud. The greatest faqih from their companions was ‘Alqamah. The greatest faqih from his companions was Ibrahim [al-Nakha’i]. The greatest faqih from the companions of Ibrahim was Hammad [ibn Abi Sulayman]. The greatest faqih from the companions of Hammad was Abu Hanifah. The greatest faqih from his companions was Abu Yusuf. The companions of Abu Yusuf spread to the furthest regions, and the greatest faqih from them is Muhammad [ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani]. The greatest faqih from the companions of Muhammad is Muhammad Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shafi’i. Allah (Exalted is He) have mercy on them all.” Siyar A’lam al-Nubala (5:236)
2. ‘Ata’ (no. 6147, 21925)
‘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) (Tahdhib al-Kamal 20:69-86)
The two reports of Abu Hanifah reporting from him in the Musannaf are in the form of fatwas which he took from him. In the first, Abu Hanifah asked ‘Ata’ about an illegitimately born man leading the people in prayer, and he replied: “There is no harm in it – is there not from amongst them those who pray and fast more than us?” This indicates that Imam Abu Hanifah took both fiqh and hadith (an example was given in the previous post) from ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah.
3. ‘Alqamah ibn Marthad (no. 11124)
‘Alqamah ibn Marthad al-Hadrami’s (d. 126) hadiths are also found in all six collections. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 20:308-11)
4. Kathir al-Rammah (no. 16941)
Ibn Hibban mentions him in his Kitab al-Thiqat as follows: “Kathir ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Aslam al-Rammah, a Kufan who narrated from Nafi‘ from Ibn ‘Umar…Isma‘il ibn Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman narrated from him.” (Kitab al-Thiqat 7:353)
5. Al-Haytham (no. 18274, 25743, 28902)
His full name is al-Haytham ibn Habib al-Kufi al-Sayrafi. He was declared trustworthy by Ibn Ma‘in, Abu Zur‘ah and Abu Hatim. He was recommended by Shu‘bah ibn al-Hajjaj for those wishing to narrate from Kufan scholars. His narrations are found in the Marasil of Abu Dawud. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 30:369-70)
6. ‘Ammar ibn ‘Imran al-Hamdani (no. 18841)
He is probably ‘Ammar ibn ‘Imran al-Ju‘fi who was declared thiqah by al-‘Ijli (Misbah al-Arib 2:410)
7. Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn al-Muntashir (no. 26182)
He is a narrator found in the six collections of hadith. He narrated from Anas ibn Malik, and this particular report of Abu Hanifah from him is from Anas ibn Malik (see below). Ja‘far al-Ahmar said: “He was from the most virtuous of those we saw at Kufa in his time.” He was declared thiqah by a number of authorities, including al-Nasa’i, Ahmad, Abu Hatim, Ibn Hibban, al-‘Ijli and others. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 2:183-4)
8. ‘Asim ibn Bahdalah (no. 29599/33443)
‘Asim ibn Bahdalah or ‘Asim ibn Abi al-Najud al-Kufi is the famous founder of one of the seven readings of the Qur’an, and the commonest reading known as “Hafs from ‘Asim” is from the narration of his student from him. He is a narrator of hadith found in the six collections. He acquired his knowledge of Qur’an recitation from Zirr ibn Hubaysh who acquired it from ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud who said: “I took more than seventy chapters [of the Qur’an directly] from the mouth of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace)” (Sahih al-Bukhari) and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever it pleases to recited the Qur’an freshly as it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm ‘Abd [i.e. ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud].” (Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Ibn Majah) (Tahdhib al-Kamal 13:473-80)
9. ‘Awn ibn ‘Abd Allah (no. 35688)
‘Awn ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas‘ud al-Kufi al-Zahid (ca. 50 – ca. 115) was the grandson of the Sahabi ‘Utbah ibn Mas‘ud, and he is a narrator found in the six collections of hadith besides Sahih al-Bukhari. He was a Tabi‘i who narrated from a number of the younger companions. Al-‘Ijli, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma‘in, Ibn Sa‘d and al-Nasa’i said he is thiqah. ‘Awn ibn ‘Abd Allah said he prayed behind Abu Hurayrah (d. 59) situating his birth around the middle of the first century. He was known as an ascetic who would frequently remember the afterlife and weep. Musa ibn Abi ‘Isa narrated that when ‘Awn would narrate to them, his beard would become wet with tears. Maslamah ibn Ja‘far narrated that ‘Awn would say: “May I be destroyed! How can I become heedless of my soul while the Angel of Death is not heedless of my soul?! May I be destroyed! How can I claim I have my intellect while I put to waste my share of the afterlife?! May I be destroyed! May I be destroyed! Nay, woe to me! Woe to me! Destruction is inevitable for me if I die proceeding upon the disobedience of my Lord.” Then he would cry until his beard became wet with tears. At his death, he distributed all his properties to the poor. It was reported from ‘Awn that he said: “Those before us would assign for their worldly life whatever was left over from their afterlife, while you assign for your afterlife whatever is left over from your worldly life.” He also said: “I don’t think a person looks at the faults of men but from a heedlessness which has made him to forget himself.” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 22:453-61)
The Marfu‘ Narrations of Abu Hanifah from the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah
1. Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates: ‘Abbad ibn al-‘Awwam narrated to us from Abu Hanifah from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn al-Muntashir from Anas ibn Malik: He said: “No one ever sat with Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and then stood up until he stood up.” (no. 26182, vol. 13:169-70)
2. Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates: Abu Mu‘awiyah narrated to us from Abu Hanifah from ‘Alqamah ibn Marthad from Ibn Buraydah from his father, he said: When Ma‘iz was stoned, they said: “O Messenger of Allah! What shall we do with him?” He said: “Do with him as you do with your dead, of bathing, shrouding, perfuming and praying over him.” (no. 11124, vol. 7:115)