Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Discussion in 'Muslims of the Past' started by MUHAMM7D, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. MUHAMM7D
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    MUHAMM7D Muslim

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    Abu Abdullah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani, was born in the city of Baghdad in the year 780 CE (164 AH). He studied various subjects in his hometown and traveled extensively in quest of knowledge.

    In his great book, ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, Imam ath-Dhahabi described Ibn Hanbal as, “The true Shaikh of Islam and leader of the Muslims in his time, the hadith master and proof of the religion”.

    He was chiefly interested in acquiring knowledge of Ahadeeth and traveled extensively through Iraq, Syria, Arabia and other places in the Middle East studying religion and collecting the ahadeeth of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. His travels occupied several years of his early life.

    After returning home, he became a student of Imam Shafi’ee who taught him the subject of Islamic Fiqh and its fundamentals. This and the fact that he was a scholar of hadith, were responsible for his deep devotion to the textual views on Islam, and his opposition to innovation of any kind.

    The strength of his faith in Allah and the steadfastness on his understanding of the Deen were tested when under Khalifah al-Mamum and the Khalifah al-Mu’tasim, a Fitnah or a kind of ‘inquisition court’ was created to deal with people among whom were many acknowledged scholars who would not profess the doctrine of “the creation of the Qur’an”. Imam ibn Hanbal too, suffered as a result when he was arrested and brought in chains before the court. But he patiently submitted to corporal punishment and imprisonment and resolutely refused to deviate from his beliefs.

    His trial, and the Ummah’s for that matter, were to come to an end on the hands of the Khalifah al-Mutawakkil who did not believe in the doctrine of ‘the creation of the Qur’an’. From then onwards the Imam was accorded honour befitting his greatness. His steadfastness helped preserve the correct Islamic belief regarding the Book of Allah. His fame spread far and wide. His learning, piety and unswerving faithfulness to traditions gathered the Ummah and its scholars around his understanding and teachings. He died in Baghdad in the year 855 CE (241 AH).

    Among the works of Imam ibn Hanbal is the great encyclopedia of ahadeeth called al-Musnad, compiled during his life time, completed by his son Abdullah, and amplified by supplements. Al-Musnad contains more than thirty thousand ahadeeh. His other works include ”Kitab-us-Salah”, on the discipline of making salah and “Kitab-us-Sunnah”, on matters of aqueedah as they are understood from the hadith of the prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and the sayings and commentaries of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam.

    Imam ath-Dhahabi related many of the praises stated by the scholars who knew Ibn Hanbal personally. The biography of Ibn Hanbal spread over at least 113 pages of ath-Thahabi’s, “Siyar A’lam an-Nubala”.

    Abdullah ibn Ahmad, the Imam’s son, said: “I heard Abu Zur’ata Rrazi say: ‘Your father had memorised a million hadith, which I rehearsed with him according to the topic,’”

    Ali ibnul-Madini, the great Imam of Hadeeth said: “Truly, Allah reinforced this religion with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq the day of the great apostasy (ar-Riddah), and He reinforced it with Ahmad ibn Hanbal the day of the Inquisition (al-Mihnah).”

    Harmala said: “I heard ash-Shafi’ee say: ‘I left Baghdad and did not leave behind me anyone more virtuous, more learned, more knowledgeable than Ahmad ibn Hanbal.’”
  2. alkathiri
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    alkathiri As-Shafaa'i(Brother)

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    Imaam ash-Shafee - rahimahullah - said:
    “I left Baghdad and I did not leave behind me a man better, having more knowledge, or greater Fiqh (understanding), nor having greater taqwa (piety) than Ahmad ibn Hanbal

    As Abu Ilyas said, he was not only a contemporary to Imam al-Shafi'i, he was in fact one of his beloved students. It is commonly known amongst Shafi'is that when Imam al-Shafi'i said: حدثني ثقة (a reliable sourse narrated to me), intending by that Imam Ahmad. He would say to Imam Ahmad: Tell us of a Hadeeth which is authentic and we would act on it.

    Imam Ahmad would likewise have much respect for him. On one occasion, Imam Ahmad was sitting with either Ishaq ibn Rahwaih or 'Ali ibn al-Madini, and he saw Imam al-Shafi'i pass by them riding a donkey. So Imam Ahmad began to follow al-Shafi'i behind his donkey asking him about Fiqh issues. He then came back to his companion (either Ishaq or Ali), and the companion said: Why were you following asl-Shafi'i like that in a degrading manner? Imam Ahmad replied: This is how knowledge is sought!

    It is interesting that brother Abu Ilyas brought up the relationship between Shafi'i and Ahmad, because the Madhabs of these two are strikingly similarly to each other.

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