Category Archives: Fuqaha

Imam Shafi’ee

Imam Muhammad Ibn Idress Shafi’ee was born in Ghazah, Palestine in the year 150 AH. Imam Shafi’ee was a descendent from the Hashimi family of the Quaraish tribe to which the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) belonged. His father died around the time of his birth and his mother migrated to Makkah with Imam Shafi’ee when he was 2 years of age.

During his youth Imam Shafi’ee excelled in 2 activities: acquisition of deeni ilm and archery. By the age of 7 Imam Shafi’ee had memorised the Qur’an and at ten years of age he had committed the Mu’atta of Imam Malik to memory.

At the age of 13 with his mother’s permission Imam Shafi’ee departed Makkah arrived in Madinah at the door of Imam Malik.

Teachers

His uncle, Muhammed Ibn Ali Ibn Shafi’ee
Imam Malik
Imam Muhammad ibnul Hassan Shaybanee
Imam Waqee’
Imam Sufyan ibn Uyaynah

Imam Shafi’ee is reported to have written over 150 books.

Imam Shafi’ee was an expert in both Hanafi and Maliki fiqh. From which came about the Shafi’ee fiqh, which was spread by his students.

Imam Shafi’ee is a great role model, for both men and women. Never did he speak a lie, and his hands reached out to the poor generously.

Imam Muhammad said about him: The door of Fiqh was shut to the people, Allah opened it because of Imam Shafi’ee.

Imam Shafi’ee died in Cairo, Egypt, on FRIDAY evening after Maghrib, in RAJAB, 204 A.H. after a short illness at the age of 54 years.

Imam Malik

Imam Malik’s Early Years

Abu Abdullah, Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Amer al-Asbahee was born in Madinah in the year 93 A.H. (714 CE). His ancestral home was in Yemen, but his grandfather settled in Madinah after embracing Islam.

Born into a well-to-do family, Imam Malik did not need to work for a living. He was highly attracted to the study of Islam, and ended up devoting his entire life to the study of Fiqh. Imam Malik received his education in what was the most important seat of Islamic learning, Madinah, and lived where the immediate descendants and the followers of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, were living.

It is said that Imam Malik sought out over three hundred Tabi’een or those who saw and followed the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Imam Malik held the hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, in such reverence that he never narrated, taught any hadeeth or gave a fatwa without being in a state of ritual purity, Ghusl. Ismael ibn abi Uwaiss said, “I asked my uncle Imam Malik – about something. He had me sit, made ablution, then said, ‘Laa hawla wala quwata illa billah.’ He did not give any fatwa without saying it first.”

Also, Imam Malik saw fatwa as a sensitive, precise, and important action that can have far reaching results, and used to be extremely careful about giving it to the extent that if he was not sure about a matter, he would not dare to talk. Al-Haytham said, “I once was with Imam Malik when he was asked more than forty questions and I heard him reply, ‘I do not know,’ to thirty two of them.”

Yet, he was the man about whom ash-Shafi’ee said, ‘When scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them.’ Malik said that he did not sit to give fatwa, before seventy of the Madinah scholars first witnessed to his competence in doing so.

Imam Malik became the Imam of the Madinah, and one of the most renowned Imams of Islam.

Imam Malik’s Famous Muwatta

He is the author of al-Muwatta’ (“The Approved”), formed of the sound narrations from the Prophet together with the sayings of his companions, their followers, and those after them. Malik said, “I showed my book to seventy scholars of Madinah, and every single one of them approved it for me (kulluhum wata-ani alayh), so I named it ‘The Approved’.”

Imam Bukhari said that the soundest of all chains of transmission was “Malik, from Nafi, from Ibn Umar.” The scholars of hadeeth call it the Golden Chain, and there are eighty narrations with this chain in the Muwatta. Malik composed al-Muwatta in the course of forty years, having started with ten thousand narrations until he reduced them to their present number of fewer than 2,000.

Like all scholars of Islam, Imam Malik was famous for his piety and integrity. He courageously stood up, and was prepared to suffer, for his convictions. When the governor of Madinah demanded and forced people to take the oath of allegiance to Khalifah al-Mansour, Imam Malik issued a fatwa that such an oath was not binding because it was given under coercion. He based this opinion of the hadeeth, “The divorce of the coerced does not take effect” (laysa ala mustakrahin talag). This resulted in many people finding courage to express their opposition, but Imam Malik was arrested, found guilty of defiance, and publicly flogged.

Imam Malik’s followers and disciples developed a Fiqh school, Madh-hab, based on his Ijtihad which came to be known as the Maliki Madh-hab. This Madh-hab spread in North Africa, al-Andalus, much of Egypt, and some of al-Sham, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, and Khurasan. Today, Malikis are mostly found in North and West Africa, Egypt, Sudan and the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula.

On Monday 14th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 179 A H., Imaam Malik (R.A) took leave from this world in the city of Madinah and is buried in the famous al-Baqie cemetery.

Source: Madrassah In’amiyyah

Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Early Years

Imam Abu Hanifah was born in Kufa, Iraq in the year 80A.H. He was the son of a Persian merchant and his full name is Nu’man bin Thabit ibn Zauti (more famously known in Islamic History as ‘Imam Abu Hanifah’ and ‘Imam A’zam’).

His father – Thabit – was privileged to meet Hazrat Ali (R.A.) who had at the time, made Kufa his capital. Kufa, at the time of Imam Abu Hanifah was one the most important learning centres in the Islamic world and was blessed with the presence of over a thousand sahabah at one stage in its history.

Imam Abu Hanifah is himself also a Tabi’ee (One who saw and benefited from at least one Sahabi).

At the age of 20, Imam Abu Hanifah turned his attention towards the pursuit of advancing his Islamic knowledge.

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Teachers

Imam Abu Hanifah benefited from nearly 4,000 Sheikhs. Among his 1st and the most important tutors was Imam Hammad (Died 120 A.H.) whose educational lineage is linked with Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (R.A.). Such was his respect for his tutor, Imam Hammad that Imam Abu Hanifah says; whilst in my home I never even stretched my legs towards the house of my tutor, despite living 7 streets away.

Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) had joined his father’s business wherein he showed scrupulous honesty and fairness. Once his agent had sold a consignment of silk cloth on his behalf but forgot to mention a slight defect to the customers. When Imam Abu Hanifah learnt of this, he was greatly distressed because he had no means of the refunding the customers; so he immediately ordered the entire proceeds of the sale (30,000 Dirhams ) to be given in charity.

Imam Abu Hanifah was also keenly interested in education. He established a school at Kufa, which later became a famous College of Theology. Here he delivered lectures on Islamic Law and related subjects.

Fiqah or Islamic Law was systematically studied by his students under his expert guidance. A large number of his devoted and highly intelligent students worked under him for 30 years, and it is the labour of these students that gave us the Hanafi School of thought.

Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) was the 1st of the Imams to advocate the use of “reason” in the consideration of religious questions based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. He was also the 1st Imam to arrange all the subjects of Islamic Law systematically.

His most important work is the Kitab-ul-Aasaar which was compiled by his students – Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad.

In {146 A.H.} 763 A.C. Al-Mansoor – the Banu Abbas Khalifa of the Muslim Empire at Baghdad whose capital was Baghdad – offered Imam Sahib the post of Chief Qadhi of the state, but Imam Abu Hanifah declined to accept the post and chose to remain independent. In his reply to Al-Mansoor, Imam Abu Hanifah excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post offered. Al-Mansoor, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Imam Abu Hanifah of lying.

“If I am lying,” the Imam said, “then my statement is doubly correct. “How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qazi?”

Incensed by this reply, Al-Mansoor charged the Imam with contempt, had him arrested and locked in prison.

Even in prison, Imam Abu Hanifah continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.

It was here in prison that Imam Abu Hanifah was administered a dose of poison in 150 A.H. Realizing that the end was near, the Imam prostrated in prayer and passed away in this condition in the month of Rajab, 150 A.H.

The news of his death soon spread throughout Baghdad. The whole town came out to pay their last homage to the greatest Imam of Islamic Law. More than 50,000 people participated in the first Janaza Salaat. People continued to flock and before the Janaza could be finally taken for burial, the Salaatul Janaza was offered 6 times in all. For days, people came in large numbers to pay their respects at the grave side.

Adapted from Domain of Islam‘s article on Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was born in the city of Baghdad during the month of Rabi-ul Awwal 164 A.H.  His father passed away either before he was born or shortly afterwards, and it was his mother who diligently brought up the Imam.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s Education

He acquired his childhood education through the Maktab but even there his piety and scholarly character were recognised.  Abu Afeef (r.a) has reported, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (r.a) was within our learning group at the Maktab. At that time he was very young, and we, as students were aware of his piety.  Having completed his basic education at the age of 16, the Imam went on to study ahadith by attending the study circles of Qazi Imam Abu Yusuf (r.a).

Having acquired knowledge from the scholars of Baghdad, his zeal for learning took him to different parts of the world including Kufa, Basra, Yemen, Makkah, Madinah and Syria, to benefit from their great scholars.  Sometimes, during long and difficult journies to acquire ahadith, the Imam had to resort to manual work in order to cover his expenses.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s Teachers

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal had many teachers, amongst the most prominent was Imam Shafiee (r.a) whom he met on several separate occasions and each time he took full benefit of the opportunity.  Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal commented, ‘Only after sitting in the Majlis of Imam Shafiee (r.a) did I understand and comprehend nasikh and mansukh hadith.’  One should remember, the Imam was an accomplished scholar even before he met Imam Shafiee.

It was only at the age of forty, in 204 A.H., the Imam began formally teaching hadith.  Whilst his teachers were still alive he refused to teach and narrate hadith out of humility and respect for them.  Imam Ahmad was acknowledged by the Ulama of his time as the Imam ul Hadith.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s books

Amongst his publications, the more famous are Kitab ul Musnad (based upon 30,000 ahadith), Kitab ul Tafseer, Kitab us Salaah, Kitab us Sunnah, Kitab un Nasikh and Mansukh and others.

The Imam dressed very simply and disliked clothes which created a false awe.  He wore a turban, white clothes and a shawl.  He never accepted gifts offered by rulers and the affluent out of caution.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal died on the blessed day of Friday in Rabi ul Awwal 241 A.H at the age 77, after a period of illness which lasted nine days.  The news of the Imams death soon spread and after Jumuah more than 850,000 people performed his janazah prayer with the rows formed in the city, streets, bazaars and even on boats on the river Tigris.  Even the non-Muslims mourned the passing away of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.