The Kitab al-Athar of Imam Abu Hanifah

The Kitab al-Athar of Imam Abu Hanifah

The Kitab al-Athar was the first book composed in Islam after the generation of the Companions. Al-Imam al-Aazam Abu Hanifah Numan ibn Thabit wrote it. It comprises Ahadith that connect directly back to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam (marfu'), those which stop short at a Companion or one of the Followers (mawquf) and those which are attributed to the Messenger  sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam  directly by one of the Followers or Followers of the Followers without attribution to a Companion (mursal).

His companions Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Zufar, Imam Muhammad, Imam al-Hasan ibn Ziyad,  Imam Hammad ibn Abi Hanifah the Imam's son,  Hafs ibn Ghiyath and others narrated it from him.

In the version before us, Imam Muhammad, himself a mujtahid, narrated each tradition from Imam Abu Hanifah and then followed each with some  explanatory material, sometimes confirming and occasionally differing with his Imam.


Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Abu Hanifah was from Kufa and was one of the  Followers (taabi'oon). He was born in 80 AH in a family of Persian ancestry. Imam Abu Hanifah was a trader  in fabrics. He studied with the great scholars of Kufa  who transmitted the schools of Ibn Mas'ud and Ali  ibn Abi Talib in particular, but he also travelled  further afield in search of hadith and fiqh. He was  noted for his exceptional grasp of fiqh, and is said to have laid its foundations. He died in 150 AH in Baghdad.

His list of teachers is very extensive, and his list of pupils a roll-call of honour.

Sahl ibn Muzahim said, "Abu Hanifahs knowledge  was universal knowledge.'' Ash-Shafiee said, "In fiqh people are the needy dependents of Abu Hanifah.''


Imam Muhammad

He is Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn  Farqad ash-Shaybani. Muhammad was born in Wasit in 132 AH, and grew up in Kufa. He was a pupil of Abu Hanifah. Ash-Shafiee said, "I have not seen anyone more eloquent than him. I used to think when I saw him reciting the Quran that it was as if the Quran had been revealed in his language.'' He also said, "I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Muhammad ibn al-Hasan.'' He died in Ray in 189 AH.

Hafiz Riyad Ahmad al-Multani

The explanatory footnotes to this text are the  work of the contemporary scholar  Hafiz Riyad Ahmad from Multan in Pakistan.

Edited by: Mufti 'Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf, Shaykh Muhammad Akram (Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies), Safira Batha (English editing)



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