At the age of 22 years much spare time was spent in debating. In this period of time Imam Sha’bee advised Imam Abu Hanifah to associate himself with a scholar.
Imaam Abu Hanifah began to join the gatherings of lmam Hammad (student of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him)), disposing of his works as a debater. For the next ten consecutive years he remained the student of Imam Hammad. After two years, for a period of two months Imam Hammad took a sudden leave to Basra (due to his relative’s death) leaving Imam Abu Hanifah to continue his works in Kufa. Imam Abu Hanifah (R. A.) remained Imaam Hammad’s student for a further 8 years.
Imam Abu Hanifa’s Teachers
Aamir Ibn Shurahbeel, Sha’abi Kufi, Alqama Ibn Marthad, Ziyaad Ibn Ilaqa, Adi Ibn Thabit, Qataada Basri, Muhammed Ibn Munkadir Madni, Simaak Ibn Harb, Qays Ibn Muslim Kufi, Mansoor Ibn Umar etc.
From Nau’man bin Thabit to the Greatest Imam of Jurisprudence
"Imam Abu Hanifah was the first to analyze Islamic jurisprudence, divide it into subjects, distinguish its issues and determine the range and criteria for analytical reasoning (qiyas)."
Al-Hafiz al-Kabir Abu Bakr Ahmad al-Harizmi wrote in his book"Musnad":
`Saif al-Aimma' reports that when Imam Abu Hanifah derived a matter from the Qur'an and Hadith, he would not give the answer to the inquirer unless all of them [his students] confirmed it. One thousand of Abu Hanifah's disciples attended all his classes when he taught in the Mosque of Kufa City.? Forty of them were mujtahids. When he would find an answer for a matter, he would suggest to his students who would study it together, and when they reached an agreement of it being consistent with the Qur'an and Hadith, and with the words of the Sahabah (ra), he would be delighted and say, "Al-hamdu li'llah wallahu Akbar," and all those who were present would repeat his words. Then he would tell them to write it down.
Ibn `Abd al-Barr relates in"Al-Intiqa'":
`Abd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Dawraqi said:"Ibn Ma'inn was asked about Abu Hanifah as I was listening, so he said "He is trustworthy (thiqatun), I never heard that anyone had weakened him." No less than Shu'ba wrote to him [for narrations], and ordered him to narrate hadith.'
Ibn Hajar said in Kharija ibn al-Salt's notice in "Tahdhib al-Tahdhib":
Ibn Abi Khaythama said:"If al-Shu'bi narrates from someone and names him, that man is trustworthy (thiqa) and his narration is used as proof(yuhtajju bi hadithihi)".
Many well-known Shuyukh narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah, to name but a few: al-Thawri, ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad ibn Zayd and `Abd al-Razzaq (one of Imam al-Bukhari's shaykhs.) Al-Mizzi in"Tahdhib al-Kamal" names about one hundred names of those who narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah.
Imam as-Shafi'iis recorded to have stated:"All men of fiqh are Abu Hanifah's children" and"I would not have acquired anything of knowledge had it not been for my teacher. All men of knowledge are children of the ulema of Iraq, who were the disciples of the ulema of Kufa, and they were the disciples of Abu Hanifah."
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