Jafar al Sadiq and the Four Imams

Why Jafar al Sadiq?
September 28, 2023
Formulating the Sunni Stance on the Jafari School
September 29, 2023

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Jafar al Sadiq and the Four Imams

The Ahlus Sunnah and their adherents have no difference in their stance towards Jafar al Sadiq. They revere him[1] and attest to his virtue, nobility and complete devoutness.[2] In fact he is regarded as one of the Sunni rightly guided Imams[3], just as they regard him as a true representation of the close relationship between the Ahlul Bayt and the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and one of the manifestations of this relationship. After all, he was the grandson of two Khalifahs, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.[4] Thence, an informed Sunni will be completely astonished at the allegations directed towards him by the Imamiyyah about his aversion from Jafar al Sadiq’s School, following the Nawasib, or being deceived by those who are lesser in stature and understanding than Jafar al Sadiq (referring to the Imams of the 4 Mazhabs). They should be asked in astonishment, “What makes it compulsory and compels me to follow Jafar al Sadiq from amongst all the Imams and Jurists? What does he possess that the others don’t?”

Is it because of the Imamiyyah’s belief in Ismah (infallibility of the Imams), Ijtiba’ (selection), Nasab (appointment), and Maajiz (miracles)? The Ahlus Sunnah does not hold this view. In fact, they regard this as deviation and exaggeration. They are not surprised by those who give preference to the Imams over the prophets and regard the Imams of the four Mazhabs as nothing compared to their Twelve Imams; however, they are surprised by their persistence and boldness in directing accusations towards them unjustly.

The Din of Allah is protected. Existence or non-existence of any Imam or Jurist does not harm it. The compulsion on every person is to believe, as explained by Ibn Abi al ‘Izz al Hanafi (d. 792 AH):


لو لم يخلق أبو حنيفة و الشافعي أو غيرهما من الأئمة العدول لما ضر دين الإسلام وإنه ليس الى العلماء من أمر الدين إلا التبليغ و إيضاح المشكل و أما أمر التكفير والتفسيق و التحليل و التحريم فإلى الله ورسوله …فإن الدين الذي بعث الله به رسوله ليس مسلما إلى عالم واحد و أصحابه و لو كان كذالك لكان ذالك الشخص نظيرا لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو شبيه بقول الرافضة

If Abu Hanifah, al Shafi’i, and the other upright Imams were not created, then this would not harm the religion of Islam. The responsibility of the scholars—in matters pertaining to Din—is to transmit and clarify the ambiguous areas. Rulings of disbelief and declaring someone to be sinful or making something permissible or impermissible is for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only. The Din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was sent with is not entrusted to a scholar or his followers. If this was the case then that person would be equal to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is similar to the view of the Rafidah[5].[6]


If anyone raises an objection that Jafar al  Sadiq was superior to them in Fiqh and encompassing various sciences then the reply to them would be that his father al Baqir and Abu Hanifah were superior to him in Fiqh. Precedence in time does not necessitate superiority in knowledge and proficiency.

As for what they mention about his encompassing knowledge of chemistry,[7] physics, astronomy, that he was the first to discover oxygen,[8] the first to discover the theory of the origin of the universe[9] and the theory of gravity[10], then this—even though debatable—is out of the framework of Fiqhi discussion.

Thus, when the Imamiyyah could not find any proof to establish the superiority of Jafar al Sadiq over the four Imams in knowledge and him being more entitled to be followed instead of them, they resorted to other tactics to promote the Jafari School, which is their claim that the four Imams learned Fiqh from Jafar al Sadiq. In this way it is claimed that Jafar al Sadiq is the teacher of the four Imams undisputedly.

From this springboard, the Imami Shia promoted —in their propaganda literature —the notion of coming back to follow the original, i.e., the school of Jafar al Sadiq instead of the distorted clone which they, i.e. the four Imams, possess.

Dr Muhammad Hussain al Saghir[11]states:


اذا توقفنا قليلا عند مسيرة المذاهب الأربعة وجدنا الإمام الصادق هو الرافد الأصل لمنا بعها الثرة[12] فقد كان الإمام ابو حنيفة النعمان بن ثابت (١٥٠ﻫ) من رعيل تلامذة الإمام حتى قال لو لا السنتان لهلك النعمان ىشير بذالك الى حضوره عند الإمام لأخذ العلم و التفقه في الدين فتخرج عليه قائلا ما رأيت افقه من جعفر بن محمد وعلى أبي حنيفة أخذ الإمام مالك (١٧٩ﻫ) و على مالك أخذ الإمام الشافعي (٢•٤ﻫ) وعلي الشافعي أخذ شيخ الحنابلة الإمام أحمد بن حنبل (٢٤١ﻫ) وعلى هذا فالإمام الصادق استاذ الأئمة دون منازع

If we ponder little at the journey of the four Mazhabs, we will find that Jafar al Sadiq is the main tributary for their rich source. Imam Abu Hanifah No’man ibn Thabit (d. 150 AH) was from the pioneer students of Jafar al Sadiq, to such an extent that he declared, “Were it not for the two years then No’man would have perished.” This is in reference to him presenting himself before Jafar al Sadiq to study knowledge and fiqh from him. He graduated from there claiming, “I have never seen anyone more knowledgeable in Fiqh than Jafar ibn Muhammad.”

Imam Malik (d. 179 AH) acquired knowledge from Abu Hanifah, Imam al Shafi’i (d. 204 AH) acquired knowledge from Malik, and the leader of the Hanabilah, Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH) acquired from al Shafi’i. In this manner, Jafar al Sadiq is the undisputed teacher of the Imams.[13]


The leading scholar of reference in contemporary times Sheikh Jafar al Subhani[14], while discussing the authority of the Ithna ‘Ashari Imams says:


وخضع لهم أئمة الفقه في مواقف شتى حتى قال الإمام ابو حنيفة بعد تتلمذه علي الإمام الصادق سنتين لو لا السنتان لهلك النعمان

The Imams of Fiqh submitted to him in various instances, to such an extent that Imam Abu Hanifah declared after studying under him for two years, “If it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished.”[15]


Dr. Hamid Hifni Dawood stood behind this claim with full conviction by saying:


وكان أبو حنيفة كثيرا ما يقول لو لا السنتان لهلك النعمان

Abu Hanifah would proclaim very often, “If it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished.”[16]


I do not know—may Allah forgive him—where this abundance comes from. Academic rulings need proofs and evidence, not emotions.

It becomes evident that the competitive heat with regards to Abu Hanifah was much sweltering than being able to be extinguished by few texts which tickle the feelings or promoting the Imami School amongst the Ahlus Sunnah on the pretext that Jafar al Sadiq was the leader of all the four Mazhabs. Hence, some from amongst the Zaidis claim that the statement, “if it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished,” refers to his other teacher, Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain.

Regarding this, ‘Abdul Wahid ibn Yahya al Wasi’i states in his research on Musnad al Imam Zaid ibn Ali:


أبو حنيفة من تلامذة الإمام زيد بن علي قرأ عليه سنتين وكان يقول لو لا السنتان لهلك النعمان

Abu Hanifah is from amongst the students of Zaid ibn ‘Ali. He studied two years by him and he used to say, “If it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished.”[17]


I have, for a long period of time, researched regarding the origin of this statement which the books have continuously quoted and the Imamiyyah have taken advantage of in the worst possible way. I have given special priority to it and searched as many former books as possible during my research. I have not come across any mention of it in the biographies of the former scholars regardless of their Mazhab and background. The first amongst the eminent scholars to mention it is al Jahiz (d. 255 AH), who mentioned using an expression that denotes doubt, which indicates to the condition of this claim. He states:


جعفر بن محمد الذي ملأ الدنياعلمه وفقهه ويقال إن ابا حنيفة من تلامذته

Jafar ibn Muhammad, whose knowledge and Fiqh filled the world. It is said that Abu Hanifah is from amongst his students.[18]


Thereafter, Ibn Abi al Hadid al Mu’tazili (d. 656 AH) appeared and he changed the doubtful expression (Yuqalu, it is said) to a verb denoting conviction (Qara’a, he studied). Thus, he reports:


و أبو حنيفة قرأعلى جعفر بن محمد و قرأ جعفر على أبيه

And Abu Hanifah studied from Jafar ibn Muhammad and Jafar from his father.[19]


Thereafter Shams al Din Muhammad al Jazari changed this broad claim to an established fact which could be used to debate. Thus, he states:


وثبت عندنا أن كلا من الإمام مالك و أبي حنيفة صحب الإمام أبا عبد الله جعفر بن محمد الصادق حتى قال أبو حنيفة ما رأيت أفقه منه وقد دخلني منه من الهيبة ما لم يدخلني للمنصور

It is established, according to us, that both Imam Malik and Abu Hanifah sat in the company of Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar ibn Muhammad al Sadiq, so much so that Abu Hanifah said, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than him. I reserve such awe for him which I do not have for al Mansur.”[20]


Ibn al Jazari’s statement endorses what we have mentioned, not negates it. Because his statement is explicit that what is being alluded to is their first meeting before the Abbasid Khalifah Abu Jafar al Mansur, towards end of the two Imams’ (Abu Hanifah and Jafar) lives. However, an observant person will notice that, in the excerpts mentioned above, no mention has been made, nor any indication, to the popular phrase, ‘if it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished.’ This confirms that this phrase was not known during that period of time. Hence, the first scholar to mention it is ‘Allamat al Hind Shah ‘Abd ‘Aziz Ghulam al Dehlawi (d. 1239 AH) in his book al Tuhfah Ithna Ashariyyah, which was condensed by al ‘Allamah al Sayed Mahmud Shukri al Alusi [21]around the year 1342 AH. Whoever quotes this phrase today is dependent on al Dehlawi.

When al Dehlawi quotes this phrase, he does not attribute it to any earlier origins of the Ahlus Sunnah, nor to any reliable Imam. In fact, he does not attribute it to any opposition either. Therefore, it is not known where he brought it from.

Perhaps it is something he heard, which he wished to document as a statement because of the close relationship which united the two Imams, al Sadiq and al No’man, or it is something which the Imamiyyah quote and he mentioned it condescendingly.[22]

Whoever quotes this statement cannot link it to anyone before al Dehlawi. He is the first to mention it and others quoted it from him. Anyone who denies this should investigate it himself.

To accept that Jafar al Sadiq—despite his virtue and status by us—is the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifah is an obvious error which cannot be concealed to those whose foresight Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has enlightened. This can be summarised by the following observations:


First Observation

Jafar al Sadiq was affiliated to the school of the Ahl al Hadith (people of Hadith)[23] which held a special position with the school of the people of Opinion, who were represented at that time by Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers.

Between the two schools[24], occasionally[25] there was some estrangement, aversion, mutual rebuttals, and academic debates.

None of the Sunni books of narrations or history mention any specific stance of Jafar al Sadiq regarding the school of Ashab al Rai (the people of opinion), except some dialogues which indicate to his extreme stance towards Qiyas and its followers, which will be mentioned in due course.

However, through the general framework of these dialogues and through him being affiliated to the school of Ahl al Hadith, it is understood that his stance is the same as the stance of the other jurists of this school.

The Imami legacy has gathered various narrations from Jafar al Sadiq which reveal his extreme stance against the Ashab al Ra’y and those who are affiliated to them. In some of them, he inclined towards cursing them and attributing innovation, deviation, and at times even disbelief towards them under the pretext of changing the laws of Shari’ah and manipulating the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

Al Mufid reports in al Amali and al Hurr al ‘Amili in Wasa’il al Shia from Jafar al Sadiq this statement:


لعن الله أصحاب القياس فإنهم غيروا كتاب الله و سنة رسول الله واتهموا الصادقين في دين الله

May Allah curse the people of Qiyas (those who deduce rulings using analogy) because they have changed the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and accused the truthful ones in the Din of Allah.[26]


Al Barqi reports in al Mahasin and al Hurr al ‘Amili in Wasa’il al Shia from Muhammad ibn Muslim who narrates from Jafar al Sadiq his statement in the chapter of the respect for Amir al Mu’minin:


لاتقيسوا الدين فإن أمر الله لايقاس وسيأتي قوم يقيسون وهم أعداء الدين

Do not use Qiyas in din because the law of Allah cannot be analysed. Soon a nation will appear who will use Qiyas and they will be the enemies of Din.[27]


Mirza al Nuri al Tabarsi narrates from Muhammad ibn Hakim:


قلت لعبد الله إن قوما من أصحابنا قد تفقهوا و أصابوا علما ورووا أحاديث فيرد عليهم الشيء فيقولون فيه برأيهم فقال لا وهل هلك من مضى إلا بهذا وأشباهه

I said to Abu ‘Abdullah, “Some of our companions have acquired knowledge and fiqh and narrate hadith. Sometimes certain issues crop up. Can they rule on these issues using their opinion?”

He replied, “No. The previous people were destroyed only because of this and similar things.”[28]


Al Himyari al Qummi narrates from Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr who states:


قلت للرضا جعلت فداك إن بعض أصحابنا يقولون نسمع الأثر يُحكى عنك وعن آبائك فنقيس عليه و نعمل به فقال سبحان الله لاوالله ما هذا من دين جعفر هؤلاء قوم لاحاجة بهم إلينا قد خرجوا من طاعتنا وصاروا في موضعنا فأين التقليد الذي كانوا يقلدون جعفرا و ابا جعفر قال جعفر لاتحملوا على القياس فليس من شيء يعدله القياس إلا والقياس يكسره

I said to al Rida, “May I be sacrificed for you! Some of our companions say that we hear transmissions being narrated from you and your forefathers. Should we apply Qiyas and practice upon it?”

He replied, “Subhan Allah! No! This is not the way of Jafar. These are people who we have no need for. They have disobeyed us and taken our position. Where is the Taqlid (to follow a legist in rulings) which they used to make of Jafar and Abu Jafar?”

Jafar stated, “Do not practice Qiyas (analogy). There is nothing that is justified by Qiyas except that Qiyas destroys it.”[29]


Al Kulayni (in al Kafi) and al Hurr al ‘Amili (in Wasa’il al Shia) report from Abu Shaybah al Khurasani that he heard Abu ‘AbdullahJafar al Sadiq—saying:


إن أصحاب المقاييس طلبوا العلم بالمقاييس فلم يزدهم المقاييس من الحق الا بعدا وإن دين الله لايصاب المقاييس

Verily, the people of Qiyas sought knowledge through Qiyas, but Qiyas only took them further from the truth. The Din of Allah cannot be acquired through Qiyas.[30]


Al Himyari narrates from Mas’adah ibn Sadaqah who says that Jafar ibn Muhammad said to me:


من أفتى الناس برأيه فقد دان بما لم يعلم ومن دام بما لم يعلم فقد ضاد الله حيث أحل و حرم فىما لايعلم

Whoever issues rulings to the people through his opinion, he has believed in that which he knows not, and whoever believes in what he does not know, he has opposed Allah as he issued rulings of permissibility or impermissibility in that which he does not know.[31]


Al Nuri al Tabarsi narrates from Sama’ah ibn Mahran who narrates from Jafar al Sadiq saying:


قلت جعلت فداك إن ناسا من أصحابك قد لقوا أباك و جدك وقد سمعوا منهما الحديث وقد يرد عليهم الشيء ليس عندهم فيه شي وعندهم ما يشبهه فيقيسوا على أحسنه فقال جعفر ما لكم و القياس إنما هلك من هلك بالقياس قلت أصلحك الله و لم ذاك قال لأنه ليس من شيء إلا وقد جرى به كتاب و سنة وإنما ذاك شيء إليكم إذا ورد عليكم أن تقولوا قال فقال إنه ليس من شيء إلا وقد جرى به كتاب وسنة ثم قال إن الله قد جعل لكل شيء حدا ولمن تعدى الحد حدا

May I be sacrificed for you! Some of your companions have met your father and grandfather and heard hadith from them. Sometimes such issues arise that they don’t have any narrations about it. However, they have some narrations similar to it. Should they apply Qiyas according the best narrations?

Jafar replied, “What do you know about Qiyas? Those who perished, perished because of Qiyas.”

I said, “May Allah keep you safe. Why is that?”

He replied, “There is nothing except that it is found in the Book and Sunnah. It is necessary that when it arises, you should say that so and so said. There is nothing except that it is found in the Book and Sunnah.”

Then he said, “Allah has stipulated a limit for everything. Whoever trespasses the limit should be punished.”[32]


The narrations that have passed and those which we have not mentioned, demonstrate that Jafar al Sadiq was one of the severest people against Qiyas, contrary to Imam Abu Hanifah who is known for leniency with regards to Qiyas.

Abu Jafar al Barqi of the Imamiyyah created a chapter in his book al Mahasin called ‘the chapter on Qiyas and opinion’. He presented 24 narrations of Jafar al Sadiq, all of them in criticising Qiyas and the people of Qiyas.

Most explicit of them is his reply to Abu Basir when he asked, “Some issues arise regarding which we do not find anything in the Book or Sunnah. Should we ponder in it? He replied:


لا أما إنك إن أصبت لم تؤجر  ، وإن أخطأت كذبت علي الله

No! This is so because if you are correct then you will not be rewarded and if you err then you will be attributing lies to Allah.[33]


Irrespective of whether Jafar al Sadiq rejected Qiyas in general or Qiyas where the reason is not specified, the differences between the two Imam’s (Abu Hanifah and Jafar) views in Jurisprudential principle is sufficient to establish the difference in their fundamentals and ways of deduction.

Books from both sects (the Ahlus Sunnah and Imamiyyah) have reported few academic debates between Imam Abu Hanifah and Jafar which highlight the great fundamental difference between them. Some of them are:

* That which is narrated by al Zubair ibn Bakkar and others (with their chain of narrators) from ‘Abdullah ibn Shubrumah al Kufi—when he arrived in Makkah or Madinah during Hajj—who says:


دخلت أنا وأبو حنيفة على جعفربن محمد بن علي فسلمت وكنت له صديقا ثم أقبلت على جعفر فقلت له أمتع الله بك هذا رجل من أهل العراق له فقة وعلم. فقال لي جعفر لعله الذي يقيس الدين برأيه ثم أقبل عليّ فقال هو النعمان بن ثابت قال أي ابن شُبرمة ولم أعرف اسمه إلا ذلك اليوم. فقال أبو حنيفة نعم أصلحك الله فقال له جعفر اتق الله ولا تقس الدين برأيك فإن أول من قاس إيليس إذ أمره الله تعالى بالسجود لآدم فقال أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ ( الأعراف: ١٦‏) ثم قال له جعفر هل حسن ان تقيس رأسك من جسدك فقال لا فقال اخبرني عن الملوحة في العينين وعن المرارة في الأذنين وعن الماء في المنخرين وعن العذوبة في الشفتين لأي شيء جعل ذلك قال لا أدري قال له جعفر إن الله تبارك وتعالي خلق العينين فجعلهما شحمتين وجعل الملوحة فيهما عنا منه على ابن آدم ولولا ذلك لذابتا فذهبتا وجعل المرارة في الأذنين منا منه عليه ولولا ذلك لهجمت الدواب فأكلت دماغه و جعل الماء في المنخرين ليصعد منه النفس وينزل ويجد منه الريح الطيبة من الريح الردية وجعل العذوبة في الشفتين ليجد ابن آدم لذة مطعمه ومشربه ثم قال لابي حنيفة أخبرني عن كلمة أولها شرك وآخرها إيمان ما هي قال لا أدري قال قول الرجل لا إله إلا الله فلو قال لا إله ثم أمسك كان مشركًا فهذه كلمة أولها شرك وآخرها إيمان ثم قال ويحك أيما أعظم عند الله تعالى قتل النفس التي حرم الله أم الزنا قال لا بل قتل النفس قال له جعفر إنَّ الله تبارك اسمه قد رضي وقبل في قتل النفس بشاهدين ولم يقبل في الزنا إلا أربعة فكيف يقوم لك قياس ثم قال أيما اعظم عند الله الصوم أم الصلاة قال لا بل الصلاة قال فما بال المرأة إذا حاضت تقضي الصيام ولا تقفي الصلاة اتق الله يا عبد الله ولا تقس نقف نحن غدا وأنت ومن خالفنا بين يدي الله فنقول قال رسول الله صل الله عليه وآله وصحبه قال الله وتقول أنت وأصحابك: سمعنا ورأينا فيعمل بنا وبكم ما يشاء

I came to Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali with Abu Hanifah. I greeted his as he was my friend. Then addressing Jafar I said, “May Allah bless you; this is man from Iraq. He possesses much knowledge and Fiqh.”

Jafar said to me, “Maybe he is the one who analyses din through his opinion.” He then said, “Is he No’man ibn Thabit?”

Ibn Shubrumah says, “I did not know his name till that day.”

Abu Hanifah replied, “Yes, may Allah keep you safe.”

Then Jafar said to him, “Fear Allah and do not analyse din through your opinion. The first person to apply Qiyas was Iblis, when Allah ordered him to prostrate, he said:


أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِيْ مِن نَّارٍ وَّخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِيْنٍ

(Shaitan) said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay (i.e. earth).”[34]

Thereafter Jafar said to him, “Would you like to apply Qiyas on your head from your body?”

He replied, “No.”

Jafar said, “Inform me about the saltiness in the eyes, bitterness in the ears, the water in the nostrils and the sweetness in the lips. Why were these created?”

He replied, “I do not know.”

Jafar said, “Allah created the eyes and made them two flaps and placed saltiness in them as a favour to the human being. If it was not for this, the eyes would have melted and perished. Allah created the bitterness in the ears as a favour for human being. If it was not for that, insects would have attacked and devoured his brains. He created the water in the nostrils so that he breathes in and out and differentiates between pure and impure air. He created sweetness in the lips so that man can experience the taste of his food and drink.”

Thereafter he said to Abu Hanifah, “Tell me about a statement, the beginning of it is Shirk (apostasy) and the end of it is iman (faith).”

He replied, “I do not know.”

Jafar said, “It is person’s utterance of La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is no god but Allah). If he uttered La Ilaha (there is no god) only and stopped, then this would be Shirk (apostasy). Thus, this is such a statement, that the beginning of it is Shirk and the end is iman.”

He then said, “Woe to you, which is a greater sin in the court of Allah? Killing a soul which is forbidden by Allah or adultery?”

He replied, “Killing a soul.”

Jafar said to him, “Allah is satisfied and accepts the testimony of two witnesses with regards to killing; however, he requires four witnesses in the case of adultery. How do you apply Qiyas?”

He then said, “Which is a greater virtue? Fasting or Salah?”

He replied, “It is Salah.”

Jafar said, “Then why is it that when a woman gets her menses, she makes Qada’ (compensate by another fast) of the fast and not the Salah? Fear Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, O servant of Allah, and do not apply Qiyas. Tomorrow you, we, and those who opposed us will have to stand before Allah. We will say that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said so and so, whereas you and your companions will say, “We heard and we opined such and such.” Then Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will deal with us and you as he wishes.”[35]

*That which is reported by Abu Nuaim al Asbahani (d. 430 AH) with his chain from Muhammad ibn Sulaiman ibn Salit[36] who says:

Jafar ibn Muhammad said to Abu Hanifah, “O No’man, which is greater, Salah or Fast?”

He replied, “It is Salah.”

Jafar asked, “Then why is it that a menstruating woman has to compensate when she did not fast whereas she does not have to compensate for missed Salah? Verily the Din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is not based on Qiyas. It is based on adherence only.”[37]


The Imami narrations are:

*That which al Barqi (d. 274 AH) reported in al Mahasin from Muhammad ibn Muslim who says:


كنت عند أبي عبد الله بمنى إذا أقبل ابو حنيفة على حمار له  فاستاذن على أبي عبد الله فاذن له فلما جلس قال لابي عبد الله إني أريد أن أقايسك فقال أبو عبد الله ليس في دين الله قياس ولكن أسألك عن حمارك هذا فيم أمره قال عن أي أمره تسأل قال أخبرني عن هاتين النكتتين اللتين بين يديه ما هما فقال أبو حنيفة خلق في الدواب كخلق أذنيك وأنقك في رأسك فقال له جعفر خلق الله اذني لأسمع بهما وخلق عيني لأبصر بهما وخلق أنفي لاجد به الرائحة الطيبة والمنتنة ففيما خلق هذان وكيف نبت الشعر على جميع جسده ما خلا هذا الموضع فقال أبو حنيفة سبحان الله أتيتك أسألك عن دين الله وتسألني عن مسائل الصبيان فقام وخرج

I was with Abu ‘Abdullah in Mina when Abu Hanifah arrived on his donkey. He sought permission from Abu ‘Abdullah, who granted him permission. As he sat down, he said to Abu ‘Abdullah, “I would like to discuss Qiyas with you.”

Abu ‘Abdullah replied, “There is no Qiyas in the Din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. However, I would like to ask you about matters of this donkey.”

“Which aspect of the donkey would you like to discuss?” asked Abu Hanifah.

He replied, “Inform me about these two spots in the front (referring to the nostrils).”

Abu Hanifah replied, “It is created in the animal just as your ears and nose are created in your head.”

Then Jafar said to him, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala created my ears to hear, my eyes to see, and my nose to differentiate between good and bad smell. What are these created for? And how is it that the hair grows on the entire body except this place?”

Abu Hanifah retorted, “I came to ask you about the Din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and you are asking me about children’s matters.”

Thereafter he stood up and departed.[38]


*That which al Himyari al Qummi (d. 304 AH) narrated from al Bazanti who narrates from Abu al Hassan ‘Ali al Rida’, who says:


قال أبو حنيفة لابي عبد الله تجتزئون بشاهد واحد ويمين قال نعم قضي به رسول الله و قضى به علي بين أظهركم بشاهد و يمين فتعجب أبو حنيفة فقال جعفر الصادق أعجب من هذا أنكم تقضون بشاهد واحد في مائة شاهد وتجتزؤون بشهادتهم بقوله فقال له لا نفعل فقال بل تبعثون رجلا واحدا فيسأل عن مائة شاهدا فتجيزون شهاداتهم بقوله وإنما هو رجل واحد…فقال أبو حنيفة ايش فرق ما بين ظلال المحرم والخباء فقال له أبو عبد الله إن السنة الله لا تقاس

Abu Hanifah said to Abu ‘Abdullah, “You suffice with one witness and an oath?”

He replied, “Yes. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed judgement with it and similarly ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed judgement by means of one witness and an oath, which is before you.”

Abu Hanifah was astonished.

Thereafter Jafar al Sadiq said, “More astonishing is that you pass judgement with one witness regarding a hundred witnesses. You accept their testimony through his word.”

Abu Hanifah replied, “We do not do this.”

Jafar said, “Definitely you do. You send one person. He inquires about a hundred witnesses. Then you accept their testimony because of him, whereas he is one person.”

Then Abu Hanifah asked, “What is the difference between the shade of a person in Ihram and a tent?”

Abu ‘Abdullah said to him, “Indeed the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cannot be based on Qiyas.”[39]


*That which al Kulayni (d. 329 AH) reports in al Kafi from ‘Isa ibn ‘Abdullah al Qurashi who says:


 دخل أبو حنيفة على جعفر الصادق فقال له يا أبا حنيفة بلغني أنك تقيس قال نعم قال لا تقس فإن أول من قاس إبليس حين قال خلقتني من نار وخلقته من طين فقاس ما بين النار والطين ولو قاس نورية آدم بنورية النار عرف فضل ما بين النورين وصفاء أحدهما عل الآخر

Abu Hanifah came to Jafar al Sadiq who said to him, “O Abu Hanifah, I have been informed that you practice upon Qiyas.”

He replied, “Yes.”

Jafar said, “Do not apply Qiyas because the first one to apply Qiyas was Iblis when he said, ‘You created me from fire and created him (Adam ‘alayh al Salam) from sand.’ Thus, he applied Qiyas between fire and sand. If he had applied Qiyas between the radiance of Adam ‘alayh al Salam and the radiance of the fire, he would have recognised the virtuous one and the purity of one over the other.”


*That which is narrated by Ibn Babawayh al Qummi (d. 329 AH) from Shabib ibn Anas who narrates from some of the companions of Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar al Sadiq—in a lengthy report—wherein Jafar said to Abu Hanifah:


أن جعفرًا قال لابي حنيفة أنت فقيه أهل العراق قال نعم قال بما تفتيهم قال بكتاب الله وسنة نبيه قال يا أبا حنيفة تعرف كتاب الله حق معرفته وتعرف الناسخ والمنسوخ قال نعم قال يا أبا حنيفة لقد ادعيت علمًا ويلك ما جعل الله ذلك إلا عند أهل الكتاب الذين أنزل عليهم ويلك ولا هو إلا عند الخاص من ذرية نينا محمد و ما ورّثك الله من كتابه حرفا… إلى آخر الرواية

“Are you the jurist of the people of Iraq?”

He replied, “Yes.”

Jafar asked, “How do you issue rulings?”

He replied, “By means of the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

Jafar asked, “O Abu Hanifah, do you know the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala as it ought to be known? Do you know about al Nasikh wa al Mansukh (abrogating and abrogated verses)?”

He replied, “Yes.”

Jafar said, “O Abu Hanifah, you claim to have knowledge. Woe to you! Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala bestows that only to the people of the Book on whom it was revealed. Woe to you! It is possessed only by the special people from the progeny of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has not conferred a single letter of His Book to you.” (Till the end of the narration).[40]


*That which al Majlisi (d. 1111 AH) said that:


وجدت بخط بعض الأفاضل نقلا من خط الشهيد رفع الله درجته قال قال أبو حنيفة النعمان بن ثابت جئت إلى حجام بمنى ليحلق رأسي فقال ادن ميامنك واستقبل القبلة سمّ الله فتعلمت منه ثلاث خصال لم تكن عندي فقلت له مملوك انت أم حر فقال مملوك قلت لمن قال لجعفر بن محمد العلوي قلت أشاهد هو أم غائب قال شاهد فصرت إلي بابه واستأذنت عليه فحجبني وجاء قوم من أهل الكوفة فاستاذنوا فاذن لهم فدخلت معهم فلما صرت عنده قلت له يا ابن رسول الله لو أرسلت إلى أهل الكوفة فنهيتهم أن يشتموا أصحاب محمد فإني تركت بها أكثر من عشرة آلاف يشتمونهم فقال لا يقبلون مني فقلت ومن لا يقبل منك وأنت ابن رسول الله فقال انت ممن لم تقبل مني دخلت داري بغير إذني وجلست بغير أمري وتكلمت بغير رأيي وقد بلغني أنك تقول بالقياس قلت نعم به أقول قال ويحك يا نعمان أول من قاس الله تعالى إبليس حين أمره بالسجود لآدم وقال خلقتني من ناز وخلقته من طين… الي آخر ما ذكره من نقاشهما

I found in some of the luminaries’ script, who quote from the script of al Shahid who says that Abu Hanifah No’man ibn Thabit states:

I came to a barber in Mina to shave my head. He said to me, ‘Bring closer your right side, face the Qiblah, and recite Bismillah.” Thus, I learnt 3 traits which I did not know.

I asked him, “Are you a slave or a free person?”

He replied, “I am a slave.”

I asked, “Whose slave are you?”

He replied, “Jafar ibn Muhammad al ‘Alawi.”

I asked, “Is he present at the moment or absent?”

He replied, “He is present.”

Thus, I went to his door and sought permission to enter. He stopped me. Thereafter some people came from Kufah. They sought permission to enter. He granted them permission. I also entered with them.

When I got close to him, I said to him, “O son of the Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, if only you could send a message to the people of Kufah and forbid them from abusing the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I have left behind ten thousand of them in Kufah who abuse the Companions.”

He said, “They will not accept my message.”

I said, “Who would not accept your message whereas you are the son of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

He replied, “You are from amongst those who do not accept. You entered my house without my permission, sat down without my instruction, and you speak against my opinion. The news has reached me that you practice on Qiyas.”

I replied, “Yes, I do practice Qiyas.”

He said, “Woe to you, O No’man! The first to apply Qiyas against Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala was Iblis[41] when Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala instructed him to prostrate to Adam ‘alayh al Salam and he said that you have created me from fire and him from sand…” till the end of the dialogue.[42]


*That which al Kulayni (in al Kafi) and al Hurr al ‘Amili (in Wasa’il al Shia) reported from Muhammad ibn Muslim who said:


دخل أبو حنيفة على جعفر الصادق فقال له رأيت ابنك موسى يصلي والناس يمرون بين يديه فلا ينهاهم وفيه ما فيه فقال أبوعبد الله ادعوا لي موسى فدعي فقال له يا بني إن أبا حنيفة يذكر أنك كنت صليت والناس يمرون بين يديك فلم تنههم فقال نعم يا أبت إن الذي كنت أصلي له كان أقرب إلي منهم يقول الله وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ [سورة ق: ١١٦] قال فضمه أبو عبد الله إلى نفسه ثم قال يا بني بأبي أنت وأمي يا مستودع الأسرار

Abu Hanifah came to Jafar al Sadiq and said to him, “I saw your son Musa performing Salah while people are passing in front of him and he did not prevent them from doing so and whereas there is (harm) in it.”

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “Call Musa to me.”

Subsequently he was summoned and Abu ‘Abdullah said to him, “Abu Hanifah mentions that you perform Salah while people are passing in front of you and you do not prevent them.”

He replied, “Yes, my dear father! The being for whom I was performing Salah is closer to me than them.[43] Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.

Thereafter Abu ‘Abdullah hugged him and said, “O my dear son, may my parents be sacrificed, O guardian of secrets.”[44]


Al Kulayni added after Jafar al Sadiq’s action by saying, “This is disciplining from Abu ‘Abdullah. This was not done because he left out any virtuous act.”[45]

Al Majlisi became confused with the explanation of al Kulayni’s clear statement regarding the disciplining of the Infallible Imam, Jafar al Sadiq, of his son, the infallible Imam Musa al Kazim. Thus, he states:

The statement ‘this is disciplining’ is a statement of al Kulayni which can have various meanings.

First: It can be that this disciplining from Jafar al Sadiq was of Imam Abu Hanifah. That is why he summoned his son to teach this accursed person[46] that he did not leave out any virtuous act. Either because of the lack of need of a Sutrah[47] for someone who does not get distracted from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala by anything, as passed above, or because he did not leave out the Sutrah as there is no mention of this in the narration.

Second: It can be that this disciplining was of Musa. In this case, ‘virtuous act’ will refer to emphasised Sunnah act and the disciplining is in the actual summoning. This does not contradict his praise because of the reason mentioned that it was not an emphasised Sunnah. Some scripts have it as ‘because he left out’. The second meaning is more obvious and the first is possible with formality.

Third: That the pronoun refers to Musa, i.e. his Salah. Then also it will be disciplining of Abu Hanifah that he did not leave out any virtuous act because to leave out a Sunnah act for this reason is in reality not leaving out a virtuous act. In fact, it is the actual virtue.[48]


The Imami Shia report in their sources, that Musa al Kazim was enraged with Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah for practicing upon Qiyas. Is there any link between Abu Hanifah’s rahimahu Llah disapproval and his angry stance?

Al Kulayni reports in al Kafi from Muhammad ibn Hakim who says:


قلت لابي الحسن مرسى الكاظم جعلت فداك فقهنا في الدين وأغنانا الله بكم عن الناس حتي أن الجماعة منا لتكون في المجلس مايسال رجل صاحبه تحضره المسألة ويحضره جوابها فيما من الله علينا بكم فربما ورد علينا الشيء لم يأتنا فيه عنك ولا عن آباتك شيء فنظرنا إلى أحسن ما يحضرنا وأوفق الأشياء لما جاءنا عنكم فتأخذ به فقالهيهات هيهات في ذلك والله هلك من هلك يا ابن حكيم قال ثم قال لعن الله أبا حنيفة كان يقول قال علي وقلت قال محمد بن حكيم لهشام بن الحكم والله ما أردت إلا أن يرخص لي في القياس

I said to Abu Al Hassan Musa al Kazim, “May I be sacrificed for you! We have understood din and Allah has made us independent of people through you. Sometimes a group from amongst us sit in gatherings where we ask each other questions. An issue arises and we find the answer to it in that which Allah has favoured us through you. Sometimes an issue arises and we do not find the answer in that which we have acquired from you and your forefathers. Should we ponder in the best that we come across or the most suitable that we acquired from you and practice upon it?”

He said, “No, stay away from that. By Allah! Those who perished have perished because of that O Ibn Hakim.”

Thereafter he said, “May the curse of Allah be on Abu Hanifah. He used to say, “‘Ali said and I say.”

Muhammad ibn Hakim said to Hisham ibn al Hakam, “By Allah! I only intended that he grants me permission to apply Qiyas.”[49]


After observing what al Mufid (in al Ikhtisar) and al Mirza al Nuri (in al Mustadrak) have reported concerning Abu Hanifah’s meeting with Jafar and his disapproval of his son Musa, we realised that there is more text which al Kulayni and al Hurr al ‘Amili have not mentioned.[50] Thus, the conclusion of the previous narration is as follows:


فقال أبو عبد الله يا أبا حنيفة القتل عندكم أشد أم الزنى فقال بل القتل قال فكيف أمر الله في القتل بشاهدين وفي الزنى بأربعة كيف يدرك هذا بالقياس يا أبا حنيفة ترك الصلاة أشد أم ترك الصيام فقال بل ترك الصلاة قال فكيف تقضي المرأة صيامها ولا تقضي صلاتها كيف يدرك هذا بالقياس ويحك يا أبا حنيفة النساء أضعف علي المكاسب أم الرجال قال بل النساء قال فكيف جعل الله للمرأة سهما وللرجل سهمين كيف يدرك هذا بالقياس يا أبا حنيفة الغاتط أقذر أم المني قال بل الغائط قال فكيف يستنجئ من الغائط ويغتسل من المني كيف يدرك هذا بالقياس ويحك يا أبا حنيفة تقول سأنزل مثل ما أنزل الله قال أعوذ بالله أن أقوله قال بل تقوله أنت وأصحابك من حيث لا تعلمون

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “O Abu Hanifah is murder a greater sin according to you or adultery?”

He replied, “Murder.”

Abu ‘Abdullah retorted, “Then how is it that Allah instructed to bring two witnesses in the case murder and 4 in the case of adultery? How can this be understood through Qiyas? O Abu Hanifah! Is it a greater sin to leave out Salah or Fast?”

He replied, “Leaving out Salah.”

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “Then why does a woman compensate for her missed fast and not for missed Salah? How can this be understood through Qiyas? Woe to you, O Abu Hanifah! Are women weaker with regards to earning livelihood or the men?”

He replied, “The women.”

Abu ‘Abdullah asked, “Then why did Allah stipulate one share for the women and two shares for the men? How can this be understood through Qiyas? O Abu Hanifah! Is stool more impure or sperm?”

He replied, “Stool is more impure.”

Abu ‘Abdullah asked, “How is it that one makes Istinja (wash after passing urine or stool) after stool but has to take a bath after discharging sperm? How can this be understood through Qiyas? Woe to you O Abu Hanifah! Do you say that soon I will reveal as Allah has revealed?”

He replied, “I seek protection from Allah from making such a claim.”

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “In fact you and your followers say that in such a way that you do not know.”[51]


However, this difference in the academic methods did not prevent each one them from acknowledging the knowledge and virtue of the other.

Abu Hanifah has clearly shown his admiration for Jafar by saying, “I have not seen anyone for intelligent than Jafar ibn Muhammad.”[52]

And Jafar has displayed his admiration for Abu Hanifah by saying, “This is Abu Hanifah, the most intelligent person of his country.”[53]

These dialogues—assuming they are authentic—reinforce what we have mentioned before about the different principles of the two Imams in deducing rulings. Leniency in Qiyas is a general feature in the methodology of Abu Hanifah and his followers, contrary to Jafar, who prohibited Qiyas and criticised those who practiced it.

Regarding this, the contemporary scholar of reference of the Shia Sheikh Nasir Makarim al Shirazi states:


ولهذا السبب منع أئمتنا (عليهم السلام) من القياس بشدة استلهاما من كلام النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و أبطلوه لأنّ فتح باب القياس يتسبب في أن يعمد کل أحد بالاعتماد علی دراسته المحدودة وفکره القاصر وبمجرد أن يعتبر موضوعين متساويين من بعض الجهات… أن يعمد إلی إجراء حکم الأول علی الثاني وبهذا تتعرض قوانين وأحکام الدين إلی الهرج والمرج

For this reason, our leaders have strongly prohibited Qiyas, taking inspiration from the speech of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They have abolished it because opening the door of Qiyas leads a person to rely on his limited studies and restricted thoughts, by merely considering two similar subjects from a few different viewpoints, and relying on applying the principle one on the other. In this manner, the principles of Shari’ah and the rulings of din are exposed to pandemonium.[54]


What is certain is that Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah did not stop practicing on Qiyas or showed leniency in it because of Jafar or anyone else. He was steadfast on this principle, which he selected for his Fiqh, till his death.

How can it be possible to say that he acquired fiqh from those who regarded practicing upon Qiyas, manipulation of din?


Second Observation

Imam Abu Hanifah became famous for his fiqh and din. His travels for seeking knowledge became well known. He acquired knowledge from some of the most distinguished luminaries like ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah, al Sha’bi, Qatadah, ‘Amr ibn Dinar, Nafi’—the freed slave of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘Adi ibn Thabit, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Hurmuz al A’raj, Ibn Shihab al Zuhri, Muhammad ibn al Munkadir, Abu Ishaq al Sabi’i, and others whose names will be difficult to encompass due to their large number.[55]

The person who had the greatest impact on him from the jurists was his teacher Imam Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman. He was attached to him for 18 years, acquiring knowledge of fiqh from him.[56]

Due to his love and reverence for his teacher Hammad, he named his son after this great Imam through whose grace (after divine ability and favour from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala) he became one of the greatest jurists of Iraq.

Regarding his engrossment in fiqh, al Hafiz al Dhahabi states in his biography:


وعنى بطلب الآثار وارتحل في ذالك وأما الفقه والتدقيق في الرأي وغوامضه فإليه المنتهى والناس عليه عيال في ذالك

He paid attention to seeking narrations and travelled for it. As for fiqh, scrutinising and its intricacies, his is the final limit. People are indebted to him for that.[57]


He also states:


فأفقه أهل الكوفة علي وابن مسعود و أفقه أصحابهما علقمة و أفقه أصحابه إبراهيم وأفقه أصحاب إبراهيم حماد وأفقه أصحاب حماد أبو حنيفة

The most knowledgeable of the people of Kufah in fiqh are ‘Ali and Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and the most knowledgeable of their students is ‘Alqamah, and the most knowledgeable of his students is Ibrahim, and the most knowledgeable of Ibrahim’s students is Hammad, and the most knowledgeable of Hammad’s students is Abu Hanifah.[58]


It has been narrated that Abu Jafar al Mansur asked, “O Abu Hanifah! From whom did you acquire knowledge?”

He replied, “From Hammad, (and he) from Ibrahim, (and he) from ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas.”

Thereafter Abu Jafar said, “Excellent, excellent! You have secured all that you could, O Abu Hanifah! These are pure, good, and blessed people.[59] May the blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be upon them.”[60]

As for Jafar al Sadiq, he is not known for travelling for acquiring knowledge. He stayed in the city of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam all his life. He was born there, studied, taught and is buried there.

All his teachers are distinguished personalities of Madinah like his maternal grandfather—al Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al Siddiq, his father—Abu Jafar al Baqir, ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’, ‘Urwah ibn al Zubair, Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah, Nafi’ al ‘Umari, Muhammad ibn al Munkadir, Ibn Shihab al Zuhri, and Muslim ibn Abi Maryam, etc.[61]

The narrations that we have mentioned before (in the first observation) about Jafar al Sadiq’s objection to Abu Hanifah regarding Qiyas indicate that, at that time, Abu Hanifah was not unknown or in his initial stages of studies. In fact, he was already a scholar and jurist of Iraq before meeting Jafar al Sadiq. Jafar al Sadiq himself, acknowledged this.

Indicating to this also is what al Zubair ibn Bakkar (256 AH) and others narrated from Ibn Shubrumah wherein he says:


I came to Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali with Abu Hanifah. I greeted him as he was my friend. Then addressing Jafar I said, “May Allah bless you! This is man from Iraq. He possesses much knowledge and Fiqh.”

Jafar said to me, “Maybe he is the one who analyses din through his opinion.”

He then said, “Is he No’man ibn Thabit?” (Till the end of the narration)[62]


This narration denotes that Ibn Shubrumah and Abu Hanifah came to Madinah or Makkah and met Jafar al Sadiq. His introduction of Abu Hanifah by saying, “This is a man from Iraq,” indicates to this.

Ibn Shubrumah was astonished that Jafar al Sadiq already had knowledge of the fact that Abu Hanifah used to apply Qiyas. In fact, he even knew that his name was al Numan ibn Thabit, which Ibn Shubrumah was unaware of.

The Imamiyyah narrate from Muhammad ibn Muslim that he said:


I was with Abu ‘Abdullah in Mina when Abu Hanifah arrived on his donkey. He sought permission from Abu ‘Abdullah, who granted him permission. As he sat down, he said to Abu ‘Abdullah, “I would like to discuss Qiyas with you.”

Abu ‘Abdullah replied, “There is no Qiyas in the Din of Allah Ta’ala. However, I would like to ask you about matters of this donkey.”

“Which aspect of the donkey would you like to discuss?” asked Abu Hanifah.

He replied, “Inform me about these two spots in the front.” (Referring to the nostrils)

Abu Hanifah replied, “It is created in the animal just as your ears and nose are created in your head.”

Then Jafar said to him, “Allah Ta’ala created my ears to hear, my eyes to see and my nose to differentiate between good and bad smell. What are these created for? And how is it that the hair grows on the entire body except this place?”

Abu Hanifah retorted, “I came to ask you about the din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and you are asking me about children’s matters.”

Thereafter he stood up and departed.[63]


This narration is a proof that Abu Hanifah was known for fiqh and leniency in Qiyas before he met Jafar al Sadiq. Hence, the discussion was based on Qiyas. In fact, the strain on Abu Hanifah, due to Jafar al Sadiq’ s manner of dialogue with regards to worldly matters which have no place in din, affirms that he did not learn fiqh from him. Similarly, this narration confirms that their first meeting was in Makkah and specifically in Mina.

When Taqiyy al Din ibn Taymiyyah embarked on refuting Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli for his claim that Abu Hanifah is the student of Jafar, he said rebuking:


إن هذا من الكذب الذي يعرفه من له أدنى علم فإن أبا حنيفة من أقران جعفر الصادق توفي الصادق سنة ثمان و أربعين وتوفي أبو حنيفة سنة خمسين و مائة وكان أبي حنيفة كان يفتي في حياة ابي جعفر والد الصادق وما عرف أن أبا حنيفة أخذ عن جعفر الصادق ولا عن أبيه مسألة واحدة بل أخذ عمن كان أسن منهما كعطاء بن أبي رباح وشيخه الأصلي حماد بن أبي سليمان و جعفر بن محمد كان بالمدينة وبالجملة فهؤلاء الأئمة الأربعة ليس فيهم من أخذ عن جعفر شيأ من قواعد الفقه ولكن رووا عنه أحاديث كما رووا عن غيره وأحاديث غيره أضعاف أحاديثه وليس بين حديث الزهري وحديثه نسبة لا في القوة ولا في الكثرة

This is a lie which anyone with least amount of knowledge will realize, because Abu Hanifah is a contemporary of Jafar al Sadiq. Jafar al Sadiq passed away in 148 AH, whereas Abu Hanifah passed away in 150 AH. Abu Hanifah used to issue fatwa during the era of Abu Jafar, father of Jafar al Sadiq. It has not been established that Abu Hanifah studied a single ruling from Jafar or his father.[64] In fact, he studied from those who were elder than them, like ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah and his main teacher, Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman. Jafar ibn Muhammad was in Madinah. [65]

In general, none of these four Imams studied any principle of fiqh from Jafar. Yes, they narrate hadith from him as they narrate from others. The ahadith of others are much more than his. There is no link between his and al Zuhri’s hadith, neither in strength nor in quantity.[66]


Third Observation

The claim that Imam Malik studied fiqh from Jafar al Sadiq is also incorrect. He met Jafar al Sadiq, praised him, and narrated few narrations from him; however, he did not sit in his company as a student would with his teacher and he did not obtain any principles of fiqh from him.


Teachers of Imam Malik

From amongst his teachers—although there were plenty—the ones that had influenced Imam Malik the most are:


1. Imam Rabiat al Ra’y

Rabi’ah rahimahu Llah was an Imam, preserver of Hadith, a Mujtahid[67], and had deep insight in formulating opinion. He was one of the first jurists that Imam Malik accompanied and was influenced by him. Imam Malik rahimahu Llah went into his company to learn from childhood. His mother recommended him to join Rabi’ah’s company to learn etiquettes from him before knowledge.[68]

Imam Malik rahimahu Llah said about him, “The sweetness of fiqh disappeared since Rabi’ah ibn Abi ‘Abdur Rahman passed away.”[69]

Imam Malik rahimahu Llah had extreme reverence for him. He would not speak in his company and would not hasten to answer when asked about anything. He used to consult with him in many of his matters.

He stated, “I did not issue fatwa until I asked if I was in a position to issue fatwa.” When he was asked as to whom he asked, he replied, “Al Zuhri and Rabi’at al Ra’y.”[70]

Rabi’at al Ra’y rahimahu Llah passed away in 136 AH. He passed away when Malik rahimahu Llah was 43 years old.[71]

Rabi’at al Ra’y’s influence becomes very clear through the statement of Muhammad ibn Fulayh who said, “I was by Rabi’ah and Malik used to sit by him. Then Malik became noble and he was sought after.”[72]


2. Imam Ibn Hurmuz al Makhzumi

It is narrated that Imam Malik stayed exclusively in his company in the initial stages of his studies for 7 or 8 years.[73] His attachment to him reached such a level that he says, “I used to come to him early in the morning and I would not leave his house till nightfall.”[74]

He said, “I loved to follow him. He seldom issued fatwa and he was very conservative.”[75]

He said, “I heard Ibn Hurmuz saying, ‘It is important for a scholar to bequeath the statement ‘I don’t know’ to his companions, so that it can be the main principal in their possession which they resort to. Whenever they are asked about something that they do not know, they must say ‘I don’t know.’”[76]

I say: Imam Malik learned fiqh, caution in issuing fatwa, and prudence in recording Masa’il (rulings),[77] to such an extent that Ibn Wahab states regarding this, “In most of the questions that Malik was asked, he would say ‘I do not know’.”[78]


3. Imam Ibn Shihab al Zuhri

Imam Malik accompanied him for long periods and learnt from him, so much so that he would go to him during his resting time and days of Eid. Regarding this he says, “This knowledge is din. Hence, see who you acquire your din from. I have met 70 people who narrate saying, ‘so and so said that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,’ by these pillars and he pointed at the Masjid of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but I did not take anything from them. If anyone of them were entrusted on the public treasury they would be trustworthy. However, they were not people of this field. Then Ibn Shihab arrived and we used to crowd his doorway.”[79]


4. Imam Nafi Mawla Ibn Umar

Imam Malik rahimahu Llah stayed in his company for long time and acquired from his knowledge. He used to say, “When I used to hear Nafi’ narrating from Ibn ‘Umar, then I would not bother if I did not hear it from anyone else.”

Imam Malik rahimahu Llah used to go to him during his childhood and undergo difficulties, as he used to go in the midday heat and trick him to ask questions. He recounts about himself saying:


كنت آتي نافعا مولى ابن عمر نصف النهار ما يظلني شيء من الشمس وكان منزله بالنقيع بالصُورين وكان حَدا فاتحين خروجه فيخرج فأدعه ساعة وأريه أني لم أرده ثم أعرض له فأسلم عليه ثم أدعه حتي إذا دخل البلاط أقول كيف قال ابن عمر في كذ وكذا فيقول قال كذا وكذا فأخنس عنه

I used to go to Nafi’ Mawla Ibn ‘Umar at midday. There was nothing to shade me from the sun. His residence was in the Sawran[80] area of al Naqi’[81]. He was very hot tempered. I used to wait for him to come out. When he used to come out, I would wait a while, to show him that I do not intend seeing him. After a while I would present myself and greet him. Then I would leave him till he enters Bilat.[82]

Then I would ask him, “What did Ibn ‘Umar say regarding such and such?”

He would say, “He said so and so.”

Then I would sneak away from him.[83]


Eventually he used to guide him from his house to the Masjid when he lost his eyesight.[84]

Scholars say that the most knowledgeable person about Ibn ‘Umar is Nafi’ and the most knowledgeable about Nafi’ is Malik. This chain (of narration) is known as the ‘golden chain’. This is the most authentic chain according to al Bukhari and others.

These are the most distinguished teachers from whom Imam Malik rahimahu Llah acquired knowledge. He was greatly influenced by them and would mention them excessively. Many authors who wrote biographies of Imam Malik rahimahu Llah make mention of them specifically.


Fourth Observation

Malik rahimahu Llah did not study anything from Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah. In fact, the opposite is the correct view, even though Abu Hanifah was 13 to 15 years older than Malik.[85] Some experts have established that Abu Hanifah narrated two ahadith from Malik. The issue of Abu Hanifah narrating from Malik is an area of debate amongst the Muhaddithin (scholars of Hadith). However, no one has mentioned that Malik narrated from Abu Hanifah or was his student.

Thereafter, Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Shaybani—the companion of Abu Hanifah and custodian of his fiqh—was a student of Malik and a narrator of his book, the Muwatta’. This affirms that the influence of Malik upon the Hanafi fiqh is much greater than the influence of Abu Hanifah upon the Maliki fiqh. (Assuming this influence exists.)

Thus, the claim that the Four Imams reverted to Jafar al Sadiq is clearly false. None of the Four Imams or any other jurists reverted to the fiqh of Jafar. Malik rahimahu Llah acquired his knowledge from the people of Madinah, they from the Seven Jurists[86] and they from ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Umar etc.

As for Imam al Shafi’i, he first studied fiqh from the Makkans, the companions of Ibn Jurayj, like Sa’id ibn Salim al Qaddah and Muslim ibn Khalid al Zanji. Ibn Jurayj acquired from the companions of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu like ‘Ata’ and others and Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was an independent Mujtahid. Then al Shafi’i studied from Malik, then the scribes of the people of Iraq. He learnt the Mazhabs of the people of Hadith and selected it for himself.

As for Abu Hanifah, his special teacher was Hammad ibn Sulaiman, who studied from Ibrahim, Ibrahim from ‘Alqamah, and ‘Alqamah from Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu Hanifah studied from ‘Ata’ and others also.

As for Imam Ahmed, he followed the Mazhab of the people of Hadith. He studied from Ibn ‘Uyaynah, Ibn ‘Uyaynah from ‘Amr ibn Dinar and he from Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He also studied from Hisham ibn Bashir, Hisham from the companions of al Hassan and Ibrahim al Nakha’i. He also studied from ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Mahdi, Waki’ ibn al Jarrah etc. He accompanied al Shafi’i and studied from Abu Yusuf. He selected a view for himself.[87]


Fifth Observation

The jurists and the distinguished scholars of the Jafari School are perplexed in the views of the two Imams al Baqir and al Sadiq. Some divert it to Taqiyyah, courtesy towards the opposition, and practicing contrary to the majority of Muslims. Some advocate permissibility of practicing on all the views of the Imam, even though they may differ with the pretext that the Infallible Imam intended contradiction in the fatwa in defence of the Shia against their opposition.

Al Kulayni has reported in al Kafi from Zurarah ibn A’yan from Abu Jafar al Baqir saying:


سألته عن مسألة فأجابني ثم جائه رجل فسأله عنها فأجابه بخلاف ما أجابني ثم جاء رجل آخر فأجابه بخلاف ما أجابني وأجاب صاحبي فلما خرج الرجلان قلت يا ابن رسول الله رجلان من أهل العراق من شيعتكم قدما يسألان فأجبت كل واحد منهما بغير ما أجبت به صاحبه فقال يا زرارة إن هذا خير لنا وأبقى لنا ولكم ولو اجتمعتم علئ أمر واحد لصدقكم الناس علينا ولكان أقل لبقائنا وبقائكم

I asked him about a Mas’alah (ruling) and he answered me. Then another person came and asked the same question. He answered him contrary to what he answered me. Then another person came and he gave him an answer contrary to what he answered me and my companion.

I said to him, “O son of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, two men of your Shia, from Iraq, came and asked you a question. You answered each one contrary to the other?”

He replied, “O Zurarah, this is better for us and more lasting for us and for you. If you agree on one ruling, people will accept you over us and this would be detrimental to yours and our survival.”[88]


Muhammad Salih al Mazindarani states:


وتلك الأجوبة المختلفة عن مسألة واحدة يحتمل أن يكون بعضها أو كلها من باب التقية لعلمه (عليه السلام) بأن السائل قد يضطر إليها، ويحتمل أن يكون كلها حكم الله تعالى في الواقع إذ ما من شئ إلا وله ذات وصفات متعددة متغايرة يترتب عليها أحكام مختلفة فلو سئل العالم النحرير عنه مرارا وأجاب في كل مرة بجواب مخالف للجواب السابق كانت الأجوبة كلها صادقة في نفس الأمر وإن لم يعلم السائل وجه صحتها ولا يقدح عدم علمه في صحتها لأن الواجب عليه بعد معرفة علو شأن المسؤول وتبحره في العلوم والمعارف هو التسليم واعتقاد أنها صدرت منه لمصلحة قطعا

It is possible that the different answers to one question, some of them or all of them, are a form of Taqiyyah because the Imam knew that the questioner was compelled to it. It is possible that all the answers are, in reality, the orders of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, because everything has an original being as well as a variable, multiple traits, whereupon different rules formed. Therefore, if a skilled scholar is asked multiple times and he answers each time with a different answer, then, in reality, all the answers will be correct, even though the questioner does not know the reason for its validity. Not knowing the reason for its validity cannot be criticized because, after recognising the high status of the Imam and his deep insight in knowledge and sciences, it is incumbent on him to accept and believe that the answer was issued due to some definite benefit.[89]


Yusuf al Bahrani, explaining the situation of the Imams in issuing fatwa, states:


فصاروا (صلوات الله عليهم) محافظة على أنفسهم و شيعتهم يخالفون بين الأحكام و ان لم يحضرهم أحد من أولئك الأنام فتراهم يجيبون في المسألة الواحدة بأجوبة متعددة و ان لم يكن بها قائل من المخالفين كما هو ظاهر لمن تتبع قصصهم و اخبارهم و تحدى سيرهم و آثارهم

They sought thus to protect themselves and their sect by contradicting their rulings, even though none of those people came to them. You will see them giving different answers to one question even though none of the opposition advocate it, as it is apparent to those who pursue their stories and incidents, and investigate their transmissions.[90]


Hussain ibn ‘Abdul Samad al ‘Amili has enumerated the reasons for differences in hadith according to the Imamiyyah. From amongst them he mentions:


ما كان يخرج عن أئمتنا عليهم السلام على وجه التقية كما اشتهر بل تواتر النقل عنهم (ع) بأنهم كانوا ربما يجيبون السائل على وفق معتقده أو معتقده بعض الحاضرين أو بعض من عساه يصل إليه الحديث من أعدائهم المناوئين

That which our Imams issue as Taqiyyah, as it is famous, in fact it has been consecutively transmitted from them that, at times, they would answer the questioner according to his belief or the belief of those who were present, or the belief of the hostile enemies to who these narrations would reach.


Then he cited two reports from al Kafi with his chain and thereafter comments:


ومثل ذلك ما ورد عنهم عليهم السلام كثيروهو مما لا شبهة فيه بين شيعتهم

Numerous similar narrations have been reported from them. This is something that their group has no doubt about.[91]


If the jurists of the school are perplexed about their Imam and his school, then is it possible to imagine that matters straightened out for Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah to such an extent that he achieved this high status, knowledge and fiqh in din because of him.


Sixth Observation

The Imamiyyah narrate in their Hadith compilations that which confirms that Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah was not a student of Jafar al Sadiq and not even his father, al Baqir, for a single day also. In fact, he is regarded by them as one who prevents others from the din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, who should be avoided and not accompanied.

It is reported in al Kafi from Sudayr who says:


سمعت أبا جعفر (عليه السلام) وهو داخل وأنا خارج وأخذ بيدي ثم استقبل البيت فقال يا سدير إنما أمر الناس أن يأتوا هذه الأحجار فيطوفوا بها ثم يأتونا فيعلمونا ولايتهم لنا وهو قول الله وإني لغفار لمن تاب وآمن وعمل صالحا ثم اهتدى ثم أومأ بيده إلى صدره إلى ولايتنا ثم قال يا سدير فأريك الصادين عن دين الله ثم نظر إلى أبي حنيفة وسفيان الثوري في ذلك الزمان وهم حلق في المسجد فقال هؤلاء الصادون عن دين الله بلا هدى من الله ولا كتاب مبين إن هؤلاء الأخابث لو جلسوا في بيوتهم فجال الناس فلم يجدوا أحدا يخبرهم عن الله تبارك وتعالى وعن رسوله (صلى الله عليه وآله) حتى يأتونا فنخبرهم عن الله تبارك وتعالى وعن رسوله (صلى الله عليه وآله)

I heard Abu Jafar, he was inside while I was outside, he held my hands, faced the Qiblah and said, “O Sudayr, the people are only instructed to come to these stones, circumambulate around it, and then come to us and acknowledge guardianship for us. That is what Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:


وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.[92]


He pointed with his hands to his chest and said, “That is, (guided) to our guardianship.” Thereafter he said, “O Sudayr, I will show you those who obstruct from the din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.”

He looked at Abu Hanifah and Sufyan al Thawri, who were with groups of students in the Masjid and said, “These are the people who prevent others from the din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. They have no guidance from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and no clear Book. If these evil people stayed in their homes and the people start to roam around, they would not find anyone who can inform them about Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam till they come to us and we inform them about Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”[93]


Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Saffar reports in Basa’ir al Darajat from Muhamad ibn Hakim from Abu al Hassan Musa al Kazim that he said:

إن أبا حنيفة لعنه الله ممن يقول قال علي وقلت

May the curse of Allah Ta’ala be upon Abu Hanifah. He used to say, “‘Ali said and I say.”[94]


Al Kulayni reports (in al Kafi) from Muhammad ibn Muslim who says:


قال دخلت علي أبي عبد الله وعنده أبو حنيفة فقلت له جعلت فداك رأيت رؤيا عجيية ففال لي يا ابن مسلم هاتها فإن العالم بها جالس واوما بيده إلى أبي حيفة قال فقلت رأيت كاني دخلت داري وإذا أهلي قد خرجت علي فكسرت جوزا كثيرار ونثرنه علي فتعجبت من هذه الرؤياء فقال أبو حبفة رجل تخاصم وتجادل لئاما في مواريث أهلك فبعد نصب شديد تنال حاجتك منها إن شاء الله فقال أبو عبد الله أصبت والله يا أبا حنيفة قال: ثم خرج أبو حنيفة من عنده فقلت جعلت فداك إني كرهت تعبير هذا الناصب فقال يا ابن مسلم لا يسؤك الله فما يواطي تعيرهم تعبيرنا ولا تعبيرنا تعبيرهم وليس التعبير كما عبّره قال فقلت له جعلت فداك فقولك أصبت وتحلف عليه وهو مخطئ قال نعم حلفت عليه أنه أصاب الخطاء قال فقلت له فما تأويلها قال يا ابن مسلم إنك تتمتع بامرأة فتعلم بها أهلك فتمزق عليك ثيابا جددّا فإن القشر كسوة اللب قال ابن مسلم فوالله ما كان بين تعبيره وتصحيح الرؤيا إلا صبيحة الجمعة فلما كان غداة الجمعة أنا جالس بالباب إذ مرت بي جارية فأعجبتني فأمرت غلامي فردها ثم أدخلها داري فتمتعت بها فأحست بي وبها أهلي فدخلت علينا البيت فبادرت الجارية نحو الباب وبقيت أناء فمزقت علي ثيابا جدا كنت البسها في الأعياد

I came to Abu ‘Abdullah and Abu Hanifah was by him.

I said to him, “May I be sacrificed for you. I have seen a strange dream.”

He said to me pointing with his hands toward Abu Hanifah,[95] “Mention it. We have a scholar sitting here who has knowledge about it.”

I said, “I saw that I entered my house and my wife came to me angry. She broke a lot of walnuts and threw them on me. I was very astonished with this vision.”

Abu Hanifah said, “You will argue and fight wretchedly for the inheritance of your wife. After a lot of exertion, you will achieve your quest from her, if Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala wills.”

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “By Allah, you are correct O Abu Hanifah.”

Then Abu Hanifah went away. I said to Abu ‘Abdullah, “May I be sacrificed for you. I dislike the interpretation of this Nasib (one who harbours enmity for the Ahlul Bayt).”

He said, “O Abu Muslim, may Allah save you from harm. Neither does their interpretation conform with ours nor vice versa. The interpretation is not as he mentioned.”

I said to him, “May I be sacrificed for you, you told him that he was correct and you took an oath whereas he was wrong?”

He said, “Yes, I took an oath that he was correct in being wrong.”

I asked, “Then what is the interpretation?”

He replied, “O Ibn Muslim, you will perform Mutah (temporary marriage) with a woman and your wife will come to know about it. She will tear your new clothes in anger, because the shell is the clothing of the nut.”

Ibn Muslim states, “I only had to wait till the morning of Friday to see this dream come true. In the morning of Friday, I was sitting by the door when a girl passed by. I liked her so I instructed my slave to call her. He brought her to the house and I performed Mut’ah with her. My wife became aware of this and entered the house. The girl ran to the door and I was left alone. She tore apart my new clothes which I used to wear on the day Eid.”[96]


In justification of Jafar al Sadiq’s stance regarding Abu Hanifah in the above mentioned narration, Abu Talib al Tajlil al Tabrizi states:


أبو حنيفة هو قائد مذهب الحنفية أحد مذاهب أهل السنة الأربعة وكان أشد تعصبا من قادة المذاهب الثلاثة الأخرى وآكد هم خلاًفا للأئمة المعصومين وكانت له سلطة ونفوذ كلمة في الحنفيين وكان يحذر من بثه وتحريكه لبعض تبعته علي إيذاء أبي عبد الله وشيعته

This is Abu Hanifah, the leader of the Hanafi Mazhab which is one of the four Mazhabs of the Ahlus Sunnah. He was more fanatical than the leaders of the other three Mazhabs. He was severest of them against the infallible Imams.  He had authority and influence amongst the Hanafis. He was warned for inciting and mobilising some of his followers to harm Abu ‘Abdullah and his sect.[97]


Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri (d. 1112 AH) confirms that according to the Imams and the elite of the Ahlul Bayt, Abu Hanifah is regarded as one of the Nawasib, even though he displayed affection and dedication towards them. He says, “This is confirmed by the fact that the Imams and their elite use the word ‘Nasibi’ on Abu Hanifah and others like him, despite the fact that Abu Hanifah did not display enmity to the Ahlul Bayt. In fact, he was dedicated to them and would display affection towards them. Yes, he used to contradict their opinions and say, “‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said and I say.”[98]

A person whose condition is this, how is it possible to assume that he is a student of Jafar al Sadiq, or to assume that Jafar taught him anything about Fiqh? At the same time the Imamiyyah narrate from Jafar al Sadiq that he used to differ in his fatwa amongst his special students and use his concern for them to justify it.

Al Mirza Fath Allah ibn Muhammad Jawad al Asbahani expresses astonishment at the claim of attestation and happiness from Abu Hanifah towards Jafar al Sadiq and the Ahlul Bayt out of love for them.

He says:


ومما يقضى منه العجب أن بعضهم ذكر أن ابا حنيفة استشهد في طريق محبة مولانا الصادق قال محمود القادري في كتاب حياة الذاكرين قيل إن رجلا اتى ابا حنيفة رحمة الله عليه وقال اخي توفي وأوصى بثلث ماله لإمام المسلمين إلى من أدفع فقال له ابو حنيفة أمرك بهذا السوال ابو جعفرالدوانيقي وكان ييغض أبا حنيفة كبغض جماعة من أشقياء بلدنا الإمام الشافعي فحلف السائل كذبا أنه ما أوفى بهذا السؤال فقال أبو حنيفة ادفع الثلث إليى جعفربن محمد الصادق فإنه هو الإمام الحق، انتهى

وذكر صاحب كتاب غرة الراشدين أن هذه الفتوى صارت سببا لحبه أقول ولا أدري كيف جمع أبو حيفة يين هذا التصديق والاعتراف وذاك التخلف والانحراف وبين هذا الإقرار والالتزام وذاك الإعراض في جمع العقائد والأحكام وما قصده من الإفحام والإلزام. اللهم إلا أن يقال لا غرو فقد جمع بين الإذعان بنبوة سيد المرسلين والمخالفة في أربعمائة مسألة من مسائل الدين وقد ثبت بحمد الله زندقته وكفره باعترافه حيث أنه إذا كان من جال في قلب أنه خير من صبي من اهل بيت النبي زنديقا بمقتضى صريح ما حكى من كلامه فكيف حال من قصد الإلزام والإفحام لأئمة الأعلام من أهل اليت وبالجملة فشنائعه أكثر من أن تسطر وأشهر من أن تذكر

What is surprising is that some of them mention that Abu Hanifah attested, in a loving way, to Jafar al Sadiq. Mahmud al Qari states in Kitab Hayat al Dhakirin:

It has been narrated that a person came to Abu Hanifah and said, “My brother passed away and he bequeathed one third of his wealth to the Imam of the Muslims. Who should I give it to?

Abu Hanifah asked him if Abu Jafar al Dawaniqi sent him to ask this question. He used to hate Abu Hanifah like how some wrenched people of our country hate Imam al Shafi’i. The questioner took a false oath that he did not instruct him to ask this question. Thereafter Abu Hanifah said, “Give the one third to Jafar in Muhammad al Sadiq as he is the rightful Imam.”

The author of Ghurrat al Rashidin states that this fatwa became the means for his love.

I say: I do not know how Abu Hanifah combined between this certification and confession and those differences and deviations, between this acknowledgement and commitment and the aversion in all beliefs and rulings and the intended defiance and accusations. The only way is to say that, it is not surprising that he combined between compliance with the prophethood of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and violation of 400 rulings of din. By the praise of Allah, his infidelity and disbelief has been established through his own acknowledgement, because if person who has this thought is his heart that he is better than any child of the Ahlul Bayt, then he is an infidel according to what he clearly stated, then what will be the condition of the one who intended accusing and impeaching the distinguished Imams of the Ahlul Bayt? In brief, his slanders are too many to pen and too common to mention.[99]


Because of all this, al Mirza Muhammad Taqi al Mamqani (d. 1312 AH) displays intense resentment towards this popular claim of tutelage. Thus, he uses regrettable words by saying:


قد اشتهر بين الناس ان أبا حنيفة كان من تلامذة أيي عبد الله ولم اجد له إلى الآن ماخذا صحيحا بل هذا الخبر وما في سوقه من سائر اخبار العامة والخاصة يعطي أن ذلك من الشهرات التي لا أصل لها يظهر ذلك لمن تتبع السير والأخبار (إلى أن قال) والذي يتلجلج في خاطري أن هذا الشيخ ابن أبي الحديد المعتزلي واخوانه من العامة قصدوا بذكر هذا التفصيل تصحيح طريقتهم بانتهائها إلى باب مدينة العلم الذي لم يختلف احد من أهل الاسلام في حقية طريقته لانتهائها إلي رسول الله بغير نكير وانما أخرجره في صورة إثبات الفضل لأمير المؤمنين ليغتر به الشيعة فيتلقوه بالقبول فإذا نالوا من ذلك ما يريدون اعترضوا عليهم في رد مذاهب العامة وإبطالها كما اغتر بذلك بعض علمائنا عقله عن حقيقة الحال فذكروا ما يقرب من هذا التفصيل من كتبهم وزعموا أنهم أقاموا به الحجة علي العامة ولم يعرفوا أنه لو صح ذلك فالحجة للعامة عليهم لا العكس … واما انتهاء علوم المذكورين إليه فحاشا وكلا فإن الله ورسوله وأمير المؤمنين وعترته الطاهرين برآء من طريقة هؤلاء أصولا وفروعًا

وقد فرغ علماء الشيعة شكر الله مساعيهم الجميلة عن إثبات ذلك في كتبهم الموضوعة لهذا الشأن ولم يدعوا شكا في مخالفة أصحاب هذه الطرق لله ورسوله وأوصياء رسوله لا سيما أبو حنيفة فإن فقهه كان بين قدماء العامة من أشنع المذاهب فكيف الخاصة فنسبة أبي حنيفة إلى صحبة الصادق لعله من فلتات هؤلاء وإنما تبعهم بعض أصحابنا من غير تبين وإلا فالأخبار التي وردت من طرقنا في محاورات الرجل للصادق ومجالسته معه كثير منها صريح في تكذيب هذه النسبة وإنه ما كان معروفا عند الصادق في الظاهر وهو في ذلك الوقت مفت بالعراق طاعن في السن ولو أغمضنا عن جميع ذلك فهو ممن عق معلمه لأنه يقول في فتياه بالرأي والقياس وأهل البيت برآء من ذلك فلا ينفعه انتسابه إليه شيئا

It has become famous amongst the people that Abu Hanifah was a student of Abu ‘Abdullah. Till now, I have not come across any authentic source regarding this. This information as well as other specific and general information amongst the masses indicates that this a rumour which has no origin, which is clear to those who explore history and news. (He continues till he says:)

What is shimmering in my mind is that this sheikh, Ibn Abi al Hadid al Mu’tazili and his followers amongst the masses intend authenticating their ways through this explanation by attributing it to the door of the city of knowledge whose authentic way is doubtless amongst all Muslims because of its undeniable link to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They merely present it in the form of establishing virtue of Amir al Mu’minin to deceive the Shia to accept it. When they achieve what they intended, they raise objections against them to refute and falsify the schools of the masses, as some of our scholars got deceived in understanding the reality of the matter. Thus, they mention virtues like these from their books and think that they have established evidence against the masses. They do not realise that if it is correct then the masses have evidence against them and not vice versa. As for attributing the knowledge of the above-mentioned people to him, Allah forbid this can never be possible as Allah, His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Amir al Mu’minin, and his pure family are free of these peoples’ ways, in fundamental and subsidiary rulings.

The Shia scholars have already substantiated this—may Allah accept their beautiful effort—in their books that were set for this topic, and did not leave any doubt in opposing the people of these ways—for the sake Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the guardians of his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—especially Abu Hanifah, because his fiqh was the worst amongst the former masses. Then what about the elite?… Thus, attributing Abu Hanifah to the company of Jafar is perhaps these people’s mistake. Some of our followers followed them without clarification. Otherwise, narrations regarding this man’s debates and association with Jafar al Sadiq are plenty, many are explicit in refuting this attribution. In reality he was not known to al Sadiq. During that time, he was an old aged mufti in Iraq. If we turn a blind eye to all of this, then he is one of those who disobeyed his teacher as he issued fatwa using opinion and Qiyas, and the Ahlul Bayt are free of that. Thus, his attribution to al Sadiq will not benefit him in any way.[100]


After the above quotation, is there anything left to say? If this is the condition of a person according to the view of Jafar al Sadiq and the seniors of the school attributed to him, then how can that person be a student of Jafar?


Seventh Observation

If, for argument’s sake, we accept that the four Mazhabs are taken from Jafar al Sadiq, then the proof will be established against the claimant of that. Because that which the four Imams narrate from Jafar is, then, completely in contrast to what the fanatics attribute to him. The four Imams are, undoubtedly, more reliable, higher in rank and more intelligent than these fanatics who narrate heinous lies from Jafar, like distorting the Qur’an, rulings of disbelief against the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, cursing the Muslim Ummah, etc. Taking this into consideration, if a person wants to be attributed to Jafar al Sadiq, then he will have no option but to follow one of the four Mazhabs as they are all taken from Jafar, even though they differ in subsidiary rulings.


NEXT⇒ Formulating the Sunni Stance on the Jafari School

[1] Many of the masses are ignorant of this reality. Hence, they regard him to be one of the Imami Shia leaders and not of the Ahlus Sunnah. This is their illusion and corrupt opinion which should not be given any consideration. Opinions of the masses are not proof and the scholars don’t give any consideration to it at all. Man, naturally, is an enemy of what he does not know.

[2] Some scholars have mentioned that Yahya ibn Sa’id al Qattan was apprehensive in narrating hadith from Jafar al Sadiq. This does not mean that he doubted his piety and truthfulness, as some weak hearted people try to promote. Because he expelled this notion by saying, “Jafar was not a liar.” From this it is apparent he was referring to something else, i.e. weakness in capturing narrations. That is why he joined him with Mujalid ibn Sa’id, amongst the narrators. In spite of this, Yahya’s opinion will not be taken into consideration as expressed by al Dhahabi in al Siyar, wherein he says:

هذه من زلقات يحى القطان بل أجمع أئمة هذا الشأن على أن جعفرا أوثق من مجالد فلم يلتفتوا الى قول يحى

This is one of the errors of Yahya al Qattan. The leaders in this field are unanimous that Jafar was more reliable than Mujalid and did not pay attention to his opinion. (Siyar al A’lam al Nubala’, 6/256)


  • Ibn Hibban (d. 354 AH) states, “He was one of the leader of the Ahlul Bayt in Fiqh, knowledge and virtue.” (al Thiqat, 6/131)
  • Al Nawawi (d. 676 AH) states, “They are unanimous upon his leadership, loftiness and mastery.” (Tahdhib al Asma’ wa al Lughat, 1/150)
  • Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728 AH) states, “Jafar al Sadiq is from the best of the people of knowledge and Din.” (Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 4/52)
  • Al Dhahabi (d. 748 AH) states, “The virtues of Jafar are abundant. He was worthy of Caliphate due to his nobility, virtue, knowledge, and dignity.” (Tarikh al Islam, 3/828)

[4] His lineage to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib is obvious. As for Abu Bakr al Siddiq, he is the grandfather of Jafar al Sadiq’s mother. He used to boast of his lineage to Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu by saying, “Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was my father twice.” This is because his lineage reaches Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu through two chains. Firstly, through his mother Umm Farwah (Qaribah) bint al Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum and secondly through her mother (i.e. his maternal grandmother) Asma’ bint ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr. Regarding this, ‘Ali Muhammad al Tabrizi al Ansari (d. 1310 AH) states, “It used to be said to al Sadiq quiet often, ‘You re the son of al Siddiq.’ Because his mother was Umm Farwah (Qaribah) bint al Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the wife of al Qasim was the daughter of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He used to say, ‘Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was my father twice.’ (al Lumat al Bayda’, pg. 41) He would get angry at those who would raise objections against his grandfather Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu openly and secretly and detest them intensely. (Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 6/255)

He used to be astonished with those who discussed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and hurl insults at him through actions or speech. Hence, he would say to Salim ibn Abi Hafsah, “O Salim, can a person swear his grandfather? Abu Bakr is my grandfather. I will not attain the intercession of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the Day of Judgement if I do not befriend them and absolve myself from their enemies.” (‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad: Al Sunnah, 1303; Al Ajurri: al Shariah, 1708)

[5] Rafd is a term used in opposition to al Nasb. Thus, Rafd is hatred and enmity for al Sheikhayn, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and turning away from them. The first person to give this name to those who exaggerated about Abu al Sibtayn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum when some people betrayed him because of his support for Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He said to them, “You have deserted me,” and named them al Rafidah (deserters). Thereafter this term stuck to all those who exaggerate about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and insult Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. This is the popular reason for this name. However, there are other views also.

[6] Al Atba, pg. 80 with some editing.

[7] Dr. Muhammad Yahya al Hashimi wrote a book regarding this and named it al Imam al Sadiq Mulhim al Kimiya’. People have attributed aspects of the science of chemistry to Jafar al Sadiq which is exclusive to Jabir ibn Hayyan on the grounds that he (Jabir) was from his sect. They claim that he resided in Kufah and met Jafar therein. There are issues concerning this which require observation. As for the claim that he was from Jafar al Sadiq’s sect, there is no evidence for this. What is apparent—as mentioned in his biography—is that he was close to the minister Jafar ibn Yahya al Barmaki during the rule of the Abbasid Khalifah Harun al Rashid. In fact, it is mentioned that he passed away when he was over 80 years old in Kufah after fleeing from the Abbasids, after the catastrophe of Baramakah. He was imprisoned in Kufah till his death in the year 197 AH. This confirms his connection with Jafar al Barmaki and not with Jafar al Sadiq.

It is mentioned that his father was one of the Abbasid supporters in their revolt against the Umayyads. Thus, his patronage was with the Abbasids and not the Alawis, let alone with Jafar al Sadiq. Similarly, it is mentioned that he resided in Kufah and we have mentioned before that Jafar al Sadiq lived in al Madinah al Munawwarah throughout his life and is buried there. It is debatable whether he entered Iraq or not, let alone him leaving Madinah and relocating to Kufah. Above all this, for Jabir to be from Jafar’s sect or close to him, does not give anyone the right to attribute his science to Jafar in this strange manner.

Besides this, there is skepticism about the type of chemistry which is attributed to Jabir. It is reported from distinguished personalities like Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728 AH) in Majmu al Fatawa, 29/374, al Safdi (d. 764 AH) in al Wafi bi al Wafayat, 11/27, and Ibn Khaldun (d. 808 AH) in al Tarikh, pg. 633-726 that the science which was prevalent at that time by the name of chemistry or semiotics, was not from natural skills or something that ends up to an industrial matter which can be attributed to a skill like what is known today as chemistry. It is a science which is a mixture of witchcraft, fantasy, and black magic, known as hieroglyphics or the secrets of words and numbers or magic of stars and fantasies.  Ibn Khaldun states:

 علم أسرار الحروف وهو المسمّى لهذا العهد بالسيمياء نقل وضعه من الطلسمات إليه في اصطلاح أهل التصرّف من المتصوّفة فاستعمل استعمال العام في الخاص وحدث هذا العلم في الملة بعد صدر منها وعند ظهور الغلاة من المتصوفة وجنوحهم إلى كشف حجاب الحسّ وظهور الخوارق على أيديهم والتصرفات في عالم العناصر وتدوين الكتب والاصطلاحات ومزاعمهم في تنزّل الوجود عن الواحد وترتيبه إلي أن يقول  فأما سر التناسب الذي بين هذه الحروف وأمزجة الطبائع أو بين الحروف والأعداد  فامر عسير على الفهم إذ ليس من قبيل العلوم والقياسات وإنما مستندهم فيه الذوق والكشف

The science of the secrets of letters is what is known today as semiotics. Its foundation was transferred from amulets in the terminology of those Sufis who perform supernatural acts. Thus, it used in a general manner in a specific field. This science was introduced into the religion after it was formed and at the emergence of extremist Sufis and their inclination to uncover the veil of senses, produce supernatural acts, divulge in elementology, compile books, and terminologies, and their claim that existence descends from One Being and His disposition… till he says, “As for the secrets of the symmetry between these letters and temperament of nature or between the letters and numbers, this is a very difficult matter to understand, because it is not any type of science or analogy. It is dependent on a person’s inclination and exploration.” (Muqaddamah Ibn Khaldun, chapter 29 and 30, science of the secrets of letters)

Hence, Ibn Khaldun states regarding Jabir:

 ثم ظهر بالمشرق جابر بن حيان كبير السحرة في هذه الملة فتصقح كتب القوم واستخرج الصّناعة وغاص في زبدتها واستخرجها ووضع فيها غيرها من التآليف وأكثر الكلام فيها وفي صناعة السيمياء لأنّها من توابعها لأن إحالة الأجسام النوعية من صورة إلى أخري إتما يكون بالقوة التفسية لا بالصناعة العملية فهو من قبيل السحر

Then Jabir ibn Hayyan emerged in the west. He browsed through the people’s books and extracted the skill. He delved into its essence and extracted it and introduced other literatures to it. He expounded this field and semiotics as it is one of its off shoots. The transformation of any specific object, from one form to another, can only be achieved thorough psychological strength and not through scientific skill. Thus, this is a form of black magic.

Then he says:

 إمام المدونين جابربن حيان  حتى إنهم يخصونها به فيُسمونها علم جابر وله فيها سبعون رسالة كلها شبيهة بالألغاز وزعموا أنه لا يفتح مقفلها إلا من أحاط علما بجميع ما فيها

The leader of the compilers is Jabir ibn Hayyan, to such an extent that they attribute it exclusively to him and call it the ‘science of Jabir’. He authored 70 treatises in this field, all resembling riddles. They claim that only those people can expose its secrets that have encompassing knowledge of all its contents.

Al Safdi states:

وأنا أنزه الإمام جعفر الصادق عن الكلام في الكيمياء وإنما هذا الشيطان أراد الإغواء بكونه عزا ذلك إلى أن يقوله مثل جعفر الصادق لتتلقاه النفوس بالقبول  ورأيته إذا ذكر الحجر يقول بعد ما يرمزه وقد أوضحته في الكتاب الفلاني فيتعب الطالب حتى يظفر بذلك المصنف المشؤوم فيجده قد قال: وقد بينته في الكتاب الفلاني  فلا يزال يحيل علي شيء بعد شي

I exonerate Jafar al Sadiq from any discussions regarding chemistry. It is only this devil that intends luring others by attributing it to statements of people like Jafar al Sadiq so that people accept it. One would see that he mentions a stone and what it symbolises. Then he would say that I have expounded about it in so and so book. A fervent researcher would tire himself till he finds that ill-fated literature wherein he would again say that I have explained it in so and so book. He would continuously refer to one thing after another.

Muhammad ibn Makki al Amili (d. 786 AH) , while discussing the chemistry prevalent during his time, states:

ومن التخيل السيمياء وهي إحداث خيالات لا وجود لها في الحس للتأثير في شيء آخرء وربما ظهر إلى الحسّ. ويلحق به الشعبذة وهي الأفعال العجيبة المترتبة علي سرعة اليد بالحركة فيلتبس علي الحس  وقيل: الطلسمات كانت معجزات لبعض الأنبياء. أما الكيمياء  فيحرم المسمي بالتكليس بالزئبق والكبريت والزاج والتصدية والشعر والبيض والمرارة والأدهان  كما يفعله متحشفو الجهال. أما سلب الجواهر خواصها وإفادتها خواص أخرى بالدواء المسمي بالإكسير أو بالنار الليّنة الموقدة على أصل الفلزات أو لمراعاة نسبتها في الحجم والوزن فهذا مما لا يعلم صحّته ، وتجنب ذلك كله أولى وأخري.

And from amongst the visualisations is semiotics, which is to create imaginations that have no existence in the senses, to create effect in something else. Sometimes it becomes apparent to the senses. Linked to that is sleight of hand, which is strange actions done by the speed of the hand which mesmerises the senses. It is said that talismans were miracles of some Prophets. As for chemistry, then that which is known as calcification through mercury, sulphur, sulphate, hand clapping, hair, eggs, gall bladder and other oils, which some conservative ignorant people practice is forbidden. As for gems whose properties are removed and it produces other properties through treatment by chemical called elixir, or a soft fire which is ignited on original metals or because of some adherence to volume and weight, then this is something whose authenticity is not known. The best option would be to abstain from both of them. (al Durus al Shariyyah fi Fiqh al Imamiyyah, 3/163)

Ibn Miskawayh has presented an important discussion regarding chemistry and its reality in his book al Hawamil wa al Shawamil, pg. 364 – 368. One can revert to it if one desires.

I say, in brief, to say with certainty that the chemistry of Jabir was sorcery or black magic is debatable. I am inclined towards doubt as mentioned by Ibn Miskawayh. What we have mentioned is sufficient rebuttal to those strange extreme exaggerations which have no end.

[8] That means before Joseph Priestley (1804 CE), as mentioned by Dr. Nur al Din Al ‘Ali in his book al Imam al Sadiq kama Arafahu Ulama’ al Gharb, pg. 123.

[9] That is before Fred Hoyle (2001 CE) in his Big Bang Theory. See al Imam Jafar al Sadiq Zaim Madrasat Ahlul Bayt, pg. 384; and al Imam al Sadiq kama Arafahu Ulama’ al Gharb, pg. 177.

[10] That is before Isaac Newton (1727 CE). See al Imam al Sadiq kama Arafahu Ulama’ al Gharb, pg. 177.

[11]Dr. Muhammad Hussain al Saghir: he is a professor in the University of Kufah. He was born in Najaf in 1940 CE and joined al Hawzah al ‘Ilmiyyah (Shia seminary) in Najaf in 1952 CE. He completed his academic studies in higher external research by al Marja’ al  Dini al Rahil Abu Qasim al Khu’i in 1975 CE. He founded the department of post graduates in the University of Kufah in the year 1988 CE.

[12] Tharah with a Fatha on the Tha means excessive milk. The term is used as follows Naqah Tharrah, i.e. a camel with broad laden udders. Dr. Saghir intends to indicate towards the great amount of good work achieved by Jafar al Sadiq.

[13] Al Imam Jafar al Sadiq Zaim Madrasat Ahlul Bayt, pg. 30.

[14] Jafar Muhammad Hussain al Khayabani al Subhani is the contemporary authority of Taqlid. He was born in Tabrez in1928 CE. He authored various books like al Insaf fi Masa’il Dama Fiha al Khilaf, al Bidah Mafhumuha Wahdaha wa Atharuha wa Mawariduha maa al Shia al Imamiyyah fi Aqa’idhim, and many other books.

[15] Al Itisam bi al Kitab wa al Sunnah, pg. 348.

[16] Nazarat fi al Kutub al Khalidah, pg. 182.

[17] Musnad Zaid ibn Ali, pg. 103.

[18] Al Risalah al Siyasiyyah (Risalat Fadl Hashim ala Abd Shams), pg. 450.

[19] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 1/18.

[20] Manaqib al Asad al Ghalib (Asna al Matalib), pg. 83.

[21] It is apparent that Abu al Ma’ali Muhammad Shukri al Alusi was touched by this treatise on a personal level, as he deduced from it in his book Sabb al Athab ala Man Sabba al Ashab, pg. 157-158, by saying, “Here is Abu Hanifah, who is from the Ahlus Sunnah. He used to boast and say eloquently that ‘if it were not for the two years then No’man would have perished.’ He refers to the two years in which he accompanied Jafar al Sadiq to acquire knowledge. Many distinguished scholars have stated that he acquired knowledge and spritualism from Jafar, his father Muhammad al Baqir and his uncle Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain. Malik ibn Anas used to boast also about acquiring knowledge from them and from those who studied by them.”

This is a strange statement from a person of Abu al Ma’ali’s calibre, despite the condemnation by senior scholars.

[22] The researcher Muhibb al Din al Khatib, in his forward of the condensed version of al Tuhfah, has quoted the statement of al Tuhfah’s author, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Shah al Dehlawi about his method in his book. In it he says, “In this treatise, I have committed not to mention anything about the Shia school, their principles or allegations directed towards them except from their popular reliable books or in accordance to what they contain, so that I encourage them that those allegations which they claim to direct against the Ahlus Sunnah, should also be in accordance to the reliable books of the Ahlus Sunnah and their authentic narrations. This will dispel any allegation of sectarianism.”

The translator from Persian to Arabic, al Sheikh Ghulam Muhammad al Aslami states, “When the author speaks generally, then it is according to the method and school of the Shia. Whatever he mentions from the Ahlus Sunnah, he stipulates and attributes it to them. Example of this is what he mentioned in the chapter of Imamah (pg. 124) about the Ijtihad (independent judgement) of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He mentioned it in accordance to their speech and manner, so that it can be a proof against them in the future. Thus, the original writing in this treatise is according to the rules, principles, and narrations of the Shia; so that it can be a proof against them.”

[23] We mention this according to historical fact, far from religious ideology. Otherwise, according to the Imamiyyah, he was alienated from both, the schools of the people of logic and Hadith, angry with all those who did not profess Imamah to him.

Regarding this, al Shahrastani writes, “Indeed the schools of Iraq and Madinah, as you will see, were schools in opposition to the school of the Ahlul Bayt. Some of them would issue fatwa in accordance to narrations while others according to logic. They were not in opposition to the state. In fact, we see them always submitting to them and advocating compliance to them. They regarded obedience to the ruler as compulsory, whether he is pious or a sinner and they permit performing Salah, which is a pillar of Din, behind him. (Wudu’ al Nabi, 1/351)

[24]  The Mujtahid (legist) Imams of Fiqh and Din are divided into two types. There is no third type. People of Hadith and the People of opinion.

٠People of Hadith: They are; people of Hijaz, Jafar ibn Muhammad al Sadiq (d. 148 AH), Imam Muhammad ibn Idris al Shafi’i (d. 204 AH), Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal al Shaybani (d. 241 AH), and Imam Dawood ibn ‘Ali al Baghdadi (d. 240 AH) the leader of the Ahl al Zahir. They are called ‘the people of Hadith’ because their attention is directed towards collecting Ahadith, narrating transmissions and basing rulings upon text. They do not resort to apparent or hidden analogy as long as they find any Hadith or narration.

٠People of Opinion: This is mostly attributed to the people of Iraq, despite its diversity. They are called ‘the people of opinion’ because their attention is mostly on collecting rulings according to Qiyas(analogy), and meanings deduced from rulings and judging new incidents according to that. Sometimes they give preference to apparent analogy over single narrations. They are:

1) From the people of Iraq: Imam Ibn Abi Layla al Ansari (d. 148 AH), Imam Abu Hanifah (d. 150 AH), his followers Muhammad ibn al Hassan, Abu Yusuf, Zufar ibn Hudhayl, Hassan ibn Ziyad al Lu’lu’i, and Abu Muti’ al Balkhi, and Sufyan al Thawri.

Because Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers are flag bearers of this school, the term Ashab al Ra’i (people of opinion) is mostly attributed to the Hanafis as reported by al Nawawi (d. 676 AH) in Rawdat al Talibin (5/330) where he says, “Ashab al Ra’i are the Hanafi Jurists. This is the custom of the people of Khurasan.”

2) From the people of Sham: Imam al Awza’i (d. 157 AH)

3) From the people of Madinah: Imam Rabi’ah ibn Abi ‘Abdur Rahman (d. 136 AH). He is called Rabi’at al Ra’i because of this; Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 197 AH). This is a fact that many people are unaware of concerning his Mazhab. Researchers mention him from amongst the Ashab al Ra’i and not the Ahl al Hadith.

That is why when Ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari (d. 276 AH) wrote the biography of Imam Malik in al Maarif (pg. 498), he mentioned him amongst the Ashab al Ra’i and not the Ahl al Hadith.

The Hanafi Jurist, Abu al Layth al  Samarqandi (d. 373 AH) states in Ta’sis al Naza’ir that if there is no verdict in the Hanafi Mazhab regarding any ruling, the one must resort to the Mazhab of Imam Malik because his Mazhab is the closest to Abu Hanifah’s. (See Radd al Muhtar of Ibn ‘Abidin, 3/411.)

[25] Abu al Fath al Shahrastani states, “Know well that there is great differences between the two groups in subsidiary rulings. There are books written about it and they held debates about it. The end reached their methods of conjecture also, as if they are on the brink of conviction and certainty.” (al Milal wa al Nihal, 1/205-206)

Al Imam Ahmed used to condemn the people of opinion a lot. He used to say (like his rulings regarding narrating from Abu Dawood al Sijistani (1778), “Malik’s opinion does not please me, or anyone else’s opinion.”

Once he was asked about Imam Malik. He replied, “His Hadith is correct but his opinion is weak.” He was asked about Imam al Awza’i. He replied, “His Hadith is weak and his opinion is weak.” He was asked about Imam Abu Hanifah. He replied, “He doesn’t have any opinion or Hadith.” (See Tarikh Baghdad, 15/573)

[26] Al Amali, pg. 52 Hadith 13; Wasa’il al Shia, 27/59, chapter of the impermissibility of passing judgement and ruling according to opinion, Hadith 44.

[27] Al Mahasin, 1/315; Wasa’il al Shia, 27/52, Kitab al Qada’, chapter of the impermissibility of passing judgement and ruling according to opinion, Hadith: 36.

[28] Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 17/263-264.

[29] Qurb al Isnad, pg. 356.

[30] Al Kafi, 1/56, book on the virtues of knowledge, chapter on innovations and opinion, Hadith: 7; Wasa’il al Shia, 27/43, chapter on the impermissibility of passing judgement and ruling according to opinion, Hadith: 18.

[31] Qurb al Isnad, pg. 16.

[32] Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 17/265.

[33] Al Mahasin, 1/2113; al Kulayni: al Kafi, 1/65

[34] Surah al A’raf: 12.

[35] Al Zubair ibn Bakkar: al Akhbar al Muwaffiqiyyat, pg. 75-76; Waki’: Akhbar al Qudat, 3/77-78; Abu al Sheikh: al Azmah, 5/1626; al Khatib al Baghdadi: al Faqih wa al Mutafaqqih, 1/464. It is mentioned in Fawa’id Tamam, 1/110, that that person that entered with Abu Hanifah by Jafar was not Ibn Shubrumah. They were Kharijah and Ibn Abi Layla. The chain of this narration is Gharib (strange) [i.e. weak]. It is mentioned in Hilyat al Auliya’, 3/196, that it was ‘Amr ibn Jami’—the judge of Hulwan—and Ibn Abi Layla that entered with Abu Hanifah. ‘Amr ibn Jami’ is accused of fabrication.

[36] Al ‘Uqayli states in al Duafa’ al Kabir, 4/74, “He is Majhul (Unknown) in his status in narration.”

[37] Musnad Abi Hanifah, pg. 66.

[38] Al Mahasin, 2/304; Wasa’il al Shia, 27/52, book on Judiciary, chapter on the impermissibility of passing judgement and ruling according to opinion, Hadith: 37.

[39] Qurb al Isnad, pg. 359.

[40]Ilal al Shra’i, pg. 89-90; Wasa’l al Shia, 27/47, chapter on the impermissibility of passing judgement and ruling according to opinion, Hadith: 27.

[41] This is how it is in al Bihar. In Sharh al Akhbar of al No’man al Maghribi, 3/300, it is as follows: Woe to you O No’man! The first to apply Qiyas was Iblis.

[42] Bihar al Anwar, 10/220-221.

[43] If this incident is true then this indicates that he applied Qiyas, in fact a retracted Qiyas, because authentic explicit narrations instruct a person performing Salah to prevent people from passing in front of him as Imam Abu Hanifah indicated to that. In this way, Musa was applying a method of deducing and a stance about Qiyas which is contrary to that of his father. The strange fact is Jafar al Sadiq’s approval of his action.

[44] Al Kafi, 3/297, book on Salah, chapter on what a person performing Salah should use to prevent those who pass in front of him, Hadith: 4; Wasa’l al Shia, 5/135, chapter on the non-invalidity of Salah if something passes in front of a person performing Salah, Hadith: 11.

[45] Ibid.

[46] He intends Imam Abu Hanifah, Allah forbid. Perhaps he is indicating to the narrations in the Imami sources from Musa al Kazim—may Allah absolve him of it—wherein he states:

لعن الله أبا حنيفة كان يقول قال علي وقلت

May the curse of Allah Ta’ala be upon Abu Hanifah. He used to say, “‘Ali said and I say.”

[47] Object placed in front of a person performing Salah so others can pass.

[48] Bihar al Anwar, 80/300-301.

[49] Al Kafi, book on the virtue of knowledge, chapter on innovations and opinion, Hadith: 9.

[50] According to the different chains. Thus, al Kulayni narrates from ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim who narrates directly from Muhammad ibn Muslim, whereas al Mufid narrates from Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaid who narrates from Hammad who narrates from Muhammad ibn Muslim.

[51] Al Ikhtisas, pg. 189; Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 17/266, Hadith 21300.

[52] Tadhkirat al Huffaz, 1/166. This is the habit of the scholars when viewing people of virtue. It has been narrated from al Khuraybi that he said regarding Sufyan al Thawri, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Sufyan.” It has been narrated from al Shafi’i that he said, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah and more silent in issuing fatwa than him.” It is narrated from Maymun ibn Mahran that he said, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Ibn ‘Umar and no one more knowledgeable than Ibn ‘Abbas.”

[53] Al Kurdi: Manaqib Abi Hanifah, pg. 103; al Makki: Manaqib Abi Hanifah, pg. 287.

[54] Al Amthal fi Tafsir Kitab Allah al Munazzal, 4/582.

[55] Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 6/391. After enumerating some of the names Imam al Dhahabi says, “And a group besides them.”

[56] Al Hafiz al Dhahabi quotes (in al Siyar, 6/398) from Ahmed ibn ‘Abdullah al ‘Ijli who says that my father narrated to me that Abu Hanifah said, “I came to Basrah. I thought I will be able to answer any question posed to me. They asked me about many things to which I had no answer. Hence, I made it incumbent upon myself that I will not separate from Hammad till death. Thus, I accompanied him for 18 years.”

[57] Ibid.

[58] Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 5/236, biography of Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman.

[59] However, this approval did not intercede for Abu Hanifah in front of Abu Jafar al Mansur. He passed away oppressed, in his prison.

[60] Al Saymari: Akhbar Abi Hanifa wa Ashabihi, pg. 68; Tarikh Baghdad, 15/444.

[61] Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 6/255.

[62] Reference of this narration has passed in the first observation.

[63] Reference of this narration has passed in the first observation.

[64] It is important to note that Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement here refers to fiqh, principles, and rulings of fiqh and not narrations. What Ibn Taymiyyah is refuting—as it will come in due course— is the acquisition of any fiqhi ruling by Abu Hanifah or any of the other Imams from al Baqir or al Sadiq, which is derived through their Ijtihad (diligent research). This has not been proven at all. However, al Baqir being one of his teachers in narrations is something that cannot be denied. In fact, there is evidence of good relationship between the two Imams, contrary to the dissention and hatred which the Imamiyyah usually portray. Knowledge is a mercy amongst its people. As for Jafar al Sadiq, al Hafiz al Dhahabi mentions that Abu Hanifah narrated from him. See Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 6/256.

[65] Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 7/532.

[66] Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 7/533.

[67] A legist formulating independent decisions in legal and theological matters.

[68] Tartib al Madarik, 1/130; al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/98.

[69] Al Tabaqat al Kubra 5/416, al ‘Ilmiyyah print; Tarikh Baghdad, 9/414, al Muntazim fi Tarikh al Muluk wa al Umam, 7/351.

[70] Tartib al Madarik, 1/142; al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/102.

[71] Because Imam Malik was born in 93 AH. See Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 8/49.

[72] Tartib al Madarik, 1/140.

[73] Tartib al Madarik, 1/131; al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/99.

[74] Al Tabaqat al Kubra 5/466, al ‘Ilmiyyah print; Tartib al Madarik, 1/132; al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/99.

[75] Al Marifah wa al Tarikh, 1/652; Siyar Alam al Nubala’, 6/379.

[76] Al Qadi ‘Iyad: Tartib al Madarik, 1/182; Ibn Farhun: al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/112.

[77] Scholars have mentioned regarding his caution and prudence in issuing fatwa which would astonish a person. Some are:

  • The statement of his student Ibn al Qasim who says, “I heard Malik saying, ‘I am reflecting on a Mas’alah (ruling) for more than 10 years. I have not come to a conclusion till now.’”
  • The statement of Ibn Mahdi who says, “I heard Malik saying, ‘Sometimes a Mas’alah arises, then I stay awake for most of the night.’”
  • The statement of Ibn ‘Abdul Hakam, “Whenever Malik was asked a question, he would say to the questioner, ‘Go away till I reflect on it.’ He would go away and hesitate about it. We asked him regarding this. He cried and said, ‘I fear that I will be answerable to the questioner one day, and what a day that will be.’” See Qadi ‘Iyad: Tartib al Madarik, 1/178; Ibn Farhun: al Dibaj al Mazhab, 1/111.

This caution has caused Imam Malik rahimahu Llah to be elevated amongst the other scholars and brought blessings to his Mazhab. The former scholars treaded this path and reached the pinnacle of knowledge and nobility because of this. It has been narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he said, “When a scholar stops saying, ‘I do not know,’ then know that his proficiency has been compromised.” The Khalifah ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz rahimahu Llah is reported to have said, “Whoever says, ‘I do not know,’ he has secured half of knowledge.” Al Jahiz has commented on this statement by saying, “Because anyone who possesses this ability on himself, proves to us the quality of his comprehension, extreme desire, and potent capability.” (al Bayan wa al Tabyin, 1/314)

[78] Al Qadi ‘Iyad: Tartib al Madarik, 1/182.

[79] Al Tamhid lima fi al Muwatta’ min al Maani wa al Asanid, 1/67; al Masalik fi Sharh Muwatta’ Malik, 1/335.

[80] Al Sawran is the dual form of Sawr. These are two places in al Naqi’. See Wafa’ al Wafa’, 4/107.

[81] Al Naqi’ received this name due to water gathering there. It is place close to Madinah on the south western side towards Wadi al ‘Aqiq, at a distance of 4 Burd (approximately 88 Km). See Wafa’ al Wafa’, 3/218.

[82] Al Bilat and al Balat is a place between the market place of Madinah and Masjid al Nabawi on the eastern side. It was later extended till its various areas were surrounded, from side to side, by the Haram, forked between some houses. See Wafa’ al Wafa’, 2/249.

[83]Al Marifah wa al Tarikh, 1/646; Tartib al Madarik, 1/132.

[84] Tartib al Madarik, 1/132.

[85] Imam Abu Hanifah was born in 80 AH and passed away in 150 AH. Imam Malik was born in 93 AH or 95 AH and passed away in 179 AH.

[86] Ibn al Qayyim has mentioned them in Ilam al Muwaqqiin, 2/41-42 (Ibn al Jawzi print). He says, “The Muftis (those who issue fatwa) of Madinah amongst the Tabi’in are: Sa’id ibn al Musayyab, ‘Urwah ibn al Zubair, al Qasim ibn Muhammad, Kharijah ibn Zaid, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn al Harith ibn Hisham, Sulaiman ibn al Yasar, and ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas’ud. These are the 7 Jurists. Someone composed their names in a poem:

روايتهم ليست من العلم خارجة

اذا قيل من في العلم سبعة ابحر

سعيد أبو بكر سليمان خارجة

فقل هم عبد الله عروة ، قاسم

If you are asked, who are the 7 oceans of knowledge,

Whose narrations are not devoid of knowledge?

Then say: They are ‘Abdullah, ‘Urwah, Qasim,

Sa’id, Abu Bakr, Sulaiman and Kharijah.

[87] Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 7/529-530, with some adaptations.

[88] Al Kafi, 1/65.

[89] Sharh Usul al Kafi, 2/330.

[90] Al Hada’iq al Nadirah, 1/4.

[91] Wusul al Akhyar ila Usul al Akhbar, pg. 170.

[92] Surah Taha: 82.

[93] Al Kafi, 1/392, book on evidence, chapter: it is incumbent on the people that after completing their rituals they must come to the Imam and inquire about the salient features of their din and learn about their guardianship and love for the Imam, Hadith: 3.

[94] Basa’ir al Darajat, pg. 167; al Kafi, book on the virtues of knowledge, chapter on innovations, opinion and analogies, Hadith: 9 & 13.

[95]Al Mazindarani states (in Sharh Usul al Kafi, 12/408), commenting on this text, “He brought him forward and called him a scholar practicing Taqiyyah or to expose his ignorance before some of the companions.”

[96] Al Kafi, 8/292-293, Hadith: 447.

[97] Tanzih al  Shia al Ithna Ashariyyah an al Shubuhat al Wahiyyah, pg. 357.

[98] Al Anwar al No’maniyyah, 2/307.

[99] Al Qawl al Sarah fi al Bukhari wa Sahihihi al Jami’, pg. 64-65.

[100] Sahifat al Abrar, pg. 205-107, al A’lami print.