Abu Hanifah. His Life, Legal Method & Legacy by Mohammed Akram Nadwi

By Mohammed Akram Nadwi

Abu Hanifah Nu'man ibn Thabit used to be one of many maximum pioneers within the background of Islamic legislation, rather in criminal reasoning. The Hanafi criminal institution that he based has turn into the main extensively one of the world's Muslims. in line with basic assets, this learn of the existence and legacy of Abu Hanifah additionally surveys the evolution of Hanafi felony reasoning (fiqh) in several areas of the Islamic international and assesses its historic distinctiveness.

Mohammed Akram Nadwi is a examine fellow on the Oxford Centre for Islamic reviews, and is the writer of a number of works together with al-Muhaddithat: the ladies students in Islam (2007).

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Even in later centuries, when senior scholars in some cities did accept salaried appointment to do this work, they did so because it was, at the time, in the greater interest of the society that they served the state than that they did not. The significance of their work whether private or public rested on the high degree of moral authority carried by their opinions. It is important to note that fatwās, typically concerned with the more practical aspects of the law, were diverse in format and content, and reflected the individual style of the muftī and his level of juristic knowledge and proficiency.

The sources tell us that, not long after his death, people in the Islamic world referred to Abū Ḥanīfah as ‘al-imām al-aẓam’, meaning ‘the greatest one worthy to be followed’. In this essay I try to understand how and why he came to deserve that title. It is especially important to do so at this time, for two reasons: First, there are increasingly strident calls for reform of Islamic ways of life (coming from non-Muslims, which is to be expected, and also from Muslims themselves). Even if the call for reform is well-meant, often its rationale neither begins nor ends in the Qurān and Sunnah.

He suffered imprisonment and whipping for refusing to serve in the new Abbāsid administration, to lend his authority to the decisions of the caliph. Power got its hollow victory in that the caliph, unable to break Abū Ḥanīfah’s will, succeeded in having him poisoned. In the event, jailing him only added to the popularity on account of which the recently established Abbāsid imperial dynasty considered Abū Ḥanīfah a threat. People demanded to consult him even while he was in prison, and they were too many to be resisted.

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