But before I write more about him, it would be better to peruse the sayings of some of his followers in his defense, regarding the fact that he has not written any book on jurisprudence. If he had written such a book and mentioned such matters, he would have been liable for condemnation; but since he did not write anything and did not produce any such book, he is immune from all blame and condemnation.
The reply is that with this statement, the Imamate of Abu Hanifah, itself vanishes. That is since there is no documents written by him on any controversial matter, his jurisprudence does not have any value.
Hence, according to whatever records of Hanafite religion that are available today they are actually attributed to Abu Hanifah, as he himself had not written any book on the field of knowledge; then how could all the verdicts be said to be his? In that case, the complete religion of Abu Hanifah disappears.
All books of the Hanafite religion, such as Hidaya, Sharhe Waqaya, Fatawa Qadi Khan and Fatawa Alamgiri etc. have been written in vain, and the fact is that Imam Muhammad, Imam Abu Yusuf and all their elders fall into a great trouble. In short, with the dismissal of Hanafite religion, the Imamate of Imam Abu Hanifah and his saintly status also departs. What a wonderful friendship to the Imam! That in trying to save him from previous blame, they foolishly destroy his status as the Imam also!
Abu Hanifah was born in the year 80 A.H. or two or three years prior to it, which is also the year of the birth of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.); and he died two or three years after the passing away of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.). Accordingly, he was a proper contemporary of the Holy Imam (a.s.); and he used to visit Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in a customary way without in any way agreeing to him in any of the matters. Rather, because of his status as an opponent, he even challenged Imam Sadiq (a.s.) sometimes and this was not hidden from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.). It is a wrong notion that Abu Hanifah obtained the honor to be a student of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.).
Research shows that neither Abu Hanifah loved Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) nor considered his love to be beneficial for his salvation. The greatest benefit for Abu Hanifah was in it that he should continue opposing the Imam of the time and use it as a tool to gain popularity. By chance, Abu Hanifah got nice opportunities to oppose the Imam of the time. It was due to the fact that Caliph Mansoor had deep enmity with Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and he was a mortal enemy of the Imam (a.s.).
Finally, he had the Imam poisoned he passed away from the mortal to the heavenly world. Mansoor did not want the people to follow the jurisprudence of the Holy Imam (a.s.); that is why he used to assist in popularizing the verdicts of Abu Hanifah. It was the common custom of this irreligious Caliph that he used to impose a fine of a gold coin on one who made an inquiry about the verdict of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and rewarded with a gold coin whoever asked about a verdict of Abu Hanifah.
Obviously, the religion of Abu Hanifah progressed greatly through royal patronage. Therefore, why he should have lost the opportunity; such chances do not come always in ones life? Thus, his constant opposition to the Imam (a.s.) was not unexpected. It is a fact that Abu Hanifah could not derive any benefit from following the rightful Imam (a.s.), especially when the Caliph of the time was inimical to the Imam (a.s.). Abu Hanifah was an unexpected gift for Mansoor. He also, as opposed to the Imam, used to gladden the heart of the Caliph.
The details regarding Abu Hanifah’s contact with the court of Mansoor is that when he entered, the Caliph asked him from whom he had obtained his knowledge. Abu Hanifah replied: “From Umar bin Khattab, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and Abdullah bin Abbas, from their narrators; and lastly he said that during the reign of Ibn Abbas no one was alike him.” Since Mansoor himself was also from Bani Abbas, he greatly appreciated the last sentence. From that day onwards, they became very friendly and the religion of Abu Hanifah advanced by the day.
This story shows that Abu Hanifah was a very clever man and what was wrong in his mention about Abdullah Ibn Abbas? To make the Caliph his disciple in the first attempt, informs of his wisdom; no doubt, he possessed great acumen. He says that at first he wanted to obtain the knowledge of the Holy Quran and to learn the Holy Book by heart, but it did not seem beneficial, so he decided to learn the traditions, but this also seemed useless. After that he decided to become a grammarian but could not stand being a tutor.
Later he decided to become a poet, but this profession was also unprofitable. At last he preferred becoming an expert in Islamic law, as one can gain most status in the world due to it and one can also be appointed as a judge; nobles and kings also become dependent on him. This statement shows that Abu Hanifah was a really sharp guy. He selected a profession that was very beneficial for him and such a profession was very beneficial during the time of Arab Caliphs, like barristers in the present era. A man can become very rich through it.
Thus, Abu Hanifah took up the profession of an Islamic jurisprudent and scaled the peak of success. Such was the level of his acumen that he did not even follow the jurisprudence of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.). If he had shown even the slightest bent to the jurisprudence of the Imam (a.s.), he would not have achieved the glory, success, power and fame that he obtained because of opposing the Imam.
Fact is that Abu Hanifah was a very sharp man of his time, so why he should have acted according to foolish men’s advice and adopted the discipleship of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), or why he should have started following the Holy Imam (a.s.)? If he had done thus, there would have been a quarrel between Mansoor and Abu Hanifah and he would be considered guilty. He had no sympathy with Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), due to his own profession. If he had any sympathy with Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), he would not said to Momin Taq in a taunting way: “Your Imam has died!” Upon which Momin Taq replied:
“But your Imam is given respite till Judgment Day.” There is no need to mention the ‘Imam’ implied Momin Taq, it is only sufficient to recite Laa Hawla Wa laa Quwwata illaa billaah… (There is no power and might, except by Allah…).
Besides Abu Hanifah also did not have much attachment to Imam Ali Murtadha’ (a.s.), according to the report of Muhammad Ibn Naufal, who says that “a few of us were sitting when Abu Hanifah arrived.” A topic of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) was being discussed. Abu Hanifah said: “One must not talk about the Ghadeer tradition; I have forbidden my followers from it.”
Hashim bin Habib Sairafi became angry and said: “Don’t you know that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) himself has asked the companions to testify for it?” Abu Hanifah replied: “There is doubt about the authenticity of this report, Shia people think deeply upon it and harass the non-Shias.”
This shows Abu Hanifah had no sympathy for His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) also. It is surprising that Abu Hanifah should not allow his followers to accept a tradition regarding which Ali (a.s.) made the companions testify and the Holy Prophet (S) announced it from the pulpit! In spite of his opposition to Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam Ali Murtadha’ (a.s.), followers of Abu Hanifah claim that he was devoted to Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)!
Now I shall mention another point related to Abu Hanifah that I learnt through research. Abdul Qadir Jilani (Piranepir) the most important saint of Ahlul Sunnat, in his book, Ghaniyatu Talibeen, declares Abu Hanifah to be expelled from the religion Ahlul Sunnat.
A Sunni writer, Mehboob Subhani states that according to the tradition of the Prophet: “My community shall divide into seventy-three sects,” but the fact is that these 73 sects are actually ten sects: (1) Sunni (2) Khariji (3) Shia (4) Motazela (5) Murjia (6) Mushabbiha (7) Jehmia (8) Haruriya (9) Bukhariya and (10) Kalabiya. Then writing about the branches of these sects, he mentions 12 branches of the Murjia sect and shows Hanafite to be a sub-sect of Murjia; not including it among the Sunni sects.
Now the readers may note that according to Piranepir, only Sunni religion is worthy of salvation, hence he considers Abu Hanifah and his followers as hellish. Since Abu Hanifah and his followers do not exactly have the same faith as that of Piranepir, and when only Ahlul Sunnat are delivered of sins, how can Abu Hanifah or any of his followers be delivered? We should know that only Piranepir has not stated Abu Hanifah to be a Murjia, other religious leaders have also included Abu Hanifah among Murjia.
Ibn Qutaibah Dinawari has also mentioned in Ma’rif that Abu Hanifah and his teacher Hammad bin Abu Sulaiman and his two disciples Qadi Abu Yusuf and Muhammad bin Hasan were Murjia. Besides, his own disciple, Imam Abu Yusuf seems to be convinced of his being a Murjia. Rather, on one occasion Qadi Abu Yusuf has also referred to Abu Hanifah to be a Jehmi and even accused him to be a Khariji! This statement of Imam Abu Yusuf is recorded in Tarikh Baghdad.
Undoubtedly, the author found all this extremely astounding during his research and more astounding are the people of Hanafite religion today, who can neither relinquish Piranepir nor remain aloof of Abu Hanifah! I really pity those who present offerings on the eleventh of Rabi II (death anniversary of Abdul Qadir Jilani), but in spite of it, according to the statement of Piranepir, they are expelled from Ahlul Sunnat group and have no right to enter Paradise. The writer was in much perplexity during his period of research, but Allah the Almighty soon removed his difficulty, as will be explained in the following pages.