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Piety of Imam Abu Hanifa

`Abu Hanifah', Nu'man ibn Thabit was born in the city of Kufa (modern day Iraq) in the year 80 A.H (689 A.D).

Source : Agencies / 02 May 2014

Better known as `Imam-e-`Adham' (The Greatest Imam), or by his kunyah `Abu Hanifah', Nu'man ibn Thabit was born in the city of Kufa (modern day Iraq) in the year 80 A.H (689 A.D). Born into a family of tradesmen, the Imam's family were of Persian origin as well as descending from the noble Prophet's (saw) Companion Salman al-Farsi (ra). Imam Abu Hanifah's father, Thabit, had met in Kufa Imam `Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) who made dua for him and his progeny, and some say that Abu Hanifah was a result of this dua.

A hadith given by al-Bukhari and Muslim states that Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated Allah's Messenger (saw) as saying:"If the Religion were at the Pleiades, even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it, or one amongst the Persian descent would surely have found it." Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) also narrates:"We were sitting in the company of Allah's Apostle (saw) when Surat al-Jum`a was revealed to him and when he recited amongst them, (those who were sitting there) said `Allah's Messenger?' but Allah's Apostle (saw) made no reply, until he was questioned once, twice or thrice, and there was amongst us Salman the Persian. Allah's Apostle (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) placed his hand on Salman and then said:"Even if faith were near the Pleiades, a man from amongst these would surely find it."

Imam as-Suyuti a Shafi'i alim (rh) remarked:"It has been communicated unanimously that this hadith refers to Imam Abu Hanifah."

 Kufa at the time of the Imam's birth was a great center of knowledge and learning, with many of the noble Prophet's (saw) Companions (ra) having taken residence there. Due to the presence of these venerable people who had engendered so much interest in hadith and riwayat that practically every house in Kufa had become a center of these disciples and their disciplines.

His piety and devotion knew no bounds. Praying was a delight to him and he used to engage in it with great gusto and sincerity, and he was famous for this. Dhahabi writes: "Accounts of his piety and devotion have reached a degree of tawatur (i.e. an unbroken chain of uncontradicted narrations)." While saying his prayers or reading the Qur'an, he would be so overcome with feeling that he would start weeping and go on doing so for hours. Ibrahim Basri relates that one morning while he was saying his prayers together with the Imam, the latter recited the ayat: "I do not think that God is forgetful of the conduct of the iniquitous" and in reciting it wept so much that his whole body shook with sobs. Za'idah relates that having an important question to consult the Imam about he joined the 'isha' prayers with him and waited for him to finish his nafls. But the Imam, when in reciting from the Qur'an he reached the ayat: "Waqana 'adhab al-samum" (Save us from the torture of Hell's hot wind), went on repeating it until the morning. On another occasion he spent the whole night repeating the ayat: "Judgment Day is the sinners' promised hour and it is a difficult and unpleasant hour," and weeping while he repeated it.

Yazid b. Kumait, a contemporary of the Imam and famous for his piety, relates that he joined the Imam in an 'isha' prayer during which the Imam leading the prayers recited the ayat 'idhazulzilat ."After the other people had departed, he found the Inam still sitting and heaving deep sighs. Yazid did not want to disturb the Imam, so he also went away, leaving the Imam sitting. When he went to the mosque on the following morning, he found the Imam sitting, looking very sad, holding his beard in his hands and saying tearfully, 'O Thou Who wilt reward even the smallest virtue and punish even the smallest sin, save Thy slave Nu'man from Hell-fire."

One day while walking in the street, the Imam inadvertently stepped on a small boy's foot. The boy cried,'You don't seem to fear God."On hearing these words the Imam fainted. Mus'ir b. Kudam, who was with him, stopped him from falling and attended to him. As soon as he came to, Mus'ir said, "Why were you so perturbed by a small boy's casual remark?" The Imam replied: "Who knows this was not an admonition from the Unknown!"


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