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The four Imaams of taqleed

Date published: 6 December 2021
Topic: Male Islamic personalities





Nu’man Ibne Thaabit ibn Zuti is the divine name of Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih). He was born in 80 A.H and passed away in the year 150 A.H in Baghdad. Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) is the visible miracle of Prophet Muhammad and the integral miracle of Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu). Imaam Abu Hanifa’s paternal grandfather, Hazrat Zuti(Radi Allaahu Anhu) was a true lover and was very close to Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu). He came to live in Kufah, the administrative capital of the great khalifa. When his son, Hazrat Thaabit(Radi Allaahu Anhu){Imaam Abu Hanifa’s father} was a baby, Hazrat Zuti(Radi Allaahu Anhu) took Hazrat Thaabit(Radi Allahu Anhu) to Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu) to make dua for him. Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu) made dua and gave glad tidings of much barkaat. Consequently, Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) is the miracle and glad tidings of Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu).

Just as Prophet Muhammadis the greatest Messenger, and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaani(Radi Allaahu Anhu) the greatest Ghaus, Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih), a Tab’iee is the greatest imaam.


Prophet Muhammad told of his birth and spoke of his excellence. Hazrat Abu Hurairah(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet said, ‘If imaam was a bright star, some of the Persian ancestry would retrieve it’.

(Bukhari, Muslim).

Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) was of Persian descent.


In another hadith Prophet said, ‘In the year 150, the decoration of the world will be taken away’. Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) passed away in 150 A.H. His tomb (mazaar) is in Baghdad.


Imaam e Azam(Rahmatullah Alaih) was the first aalim of the deen in the Muslim world to lay the foundation of fiqh and ijtihaad. This is his great favour upon the Muslim ummah. The other imaams built upon on these foundations.


It has been recorded that Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) performed Fajr salaah and Isha salaah with the same ablution (wudu) for forty years. It is also recorded that he completed seven thousand complete recitals of The Holy Quran in his lifetime. He also used to complete a khatam of The Holy Quran every night in one rakaat. Abu Muayyid Khawaarizmi(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Abdullah bin Mubarak(Radi Allaahu Anhu) said, ‘Once a few goats were stolen in Kufah. Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) asked about the average maximum age of a goat. When he was told it was up to seven years, he did not eat goat for seven years’. When he was asked as to how he acquired his high position in deen and the great treasures of Islam, he replied, ‘I never acted miserly with knowledge that Allah Ta’ala blessed me with. I always shared it with the people, and I never regarded it to be below my dignity to seek knowledge from the scholars (Ulama)’.


Noor Al-Jaami reports that Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) said, ‘We surrender ourselves to whatever is reported from Prophet Muhammad and from the companions(Radi Allaahu Anhum). We give preference over the explanations of others and individual logic. We are not bounded to accept anything that is reported from other men. Instead, we will employ our ijtihad in reaching the conclusion’.


A great muhaddith, Imaam Abu Yusuf(Rahmatullah Alaih), who is the teacher of Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal(Rahmatullah Alaih) sums up the knowledge and expertise of Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) in the following words: ‘Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) had much more insight regarding authentic Ahadith than me. I haven’t seen anyone more learned in the field of hadith than Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih)’.

Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) announced that a narrator should only narrate a hadith if he remembered it completely, from the day he heard it till the day he is narrating it.

Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih) said, ‘People are entirely dependent upon Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) in fiqh’.

Yahya Bin Ma’een says that ‘Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) was a very reliable narrator and most trustworthy in explaining the laws of fiqh. He was regarded as the most reliable and reputable in regards to the deen of Allah Ta’ala’.





Imaam Maalik(Rahmatullah Alaih) was born in 90 A.H near Madina and passed away in the year 179 A.H. His tomb (mazaar) is in Madina . Allama Zarqaani states that Imaam Maalik(Rahmatullah Alaih) started teaching hadith at the age of seventeen. He exercised extreme caution in matters of deen. Haitham Ibne Jameel reports that Imaam Maalik(Rahmatullah Alaih) was asked forty-eight questions, thirty-two of which he answered by saying ‘I do not know’.

Imam Maalik(Rahmatullah Alaih) had great love for the land of Madina Munawwarah, and this love was because of the deep love he had for Prophet Muhammad . He only left the Haram of Madina if he really had to.





ImaAm Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih) was born in 150 A.H and passed away in 204 A.H. He was given the title of ‘Naasirus Sunnah’ (the saviour of the sunnah) in Baghdad. Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih) had memorized The Holy Quran when he was only seven years old. Rabi(Radi Allaahu Anhu) said that Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih) used to complete thirty recitals of The Holy Quran every month, but in the month of Ramadhan, he used to complete the recitation of The Holy Quran sixty times. Imaam Rabe’e(Rahmatullah Alaih) has reported that Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih) said, ‘It’s my desire that people learn and take benefit from the knowledge from my books, without attributing it to me’.





Imaam Ahmad Ibne Hanbal(Rahmatullah Alaih) was born in 164 A.H and passed away in 241 A.H. Ebrahim bin Shammaas(Radi Allaahu Anhu) says that he knew Imaam Hanbal as a child staying awake during the night doing ibadat. Abu Zur’ah(Radi Allaahu Anhu) reports that Imaam Hanbal(Rahmatullah Alaih) was a Hafiz of one million hadith. He says that he revised it with him and noted the chapters from him. Imaam Hanbal’s(Rahmatullah Alaih) son Abdullah reports that his father used to perform three hundred rakaats daily but when he became sick, he performed one hundred and fifty rakaats. He was close to eighty years of age at this time.