Sabit was the real name of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A.
He was the pioneer and torch-bearer of the Hanfi School
of thought, which is the largest group among the Sunnis.
He was born in 80 A.H during the era of Bane Ummaya and
breathed his last during the regime of Bani Abbas.
Firstly, he got Quranic education and after that he
concentrated on Islamic Jurisprudence. He was a devoted
student of Hazrat Imam Jaffar Sadiq R.A. He had also
attended the thought-provoking and informative lectures
of Hamad R.A. He was blessed with extraordinary
intelligence and quickness of perception. He was
amazingly proficient in distinguishing different
religious sects. His power of reasoning and
ratiocination was out-standing and it won him a high
status among the scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence.
Students from every walk of life thronged around him and
attended his lectures.
Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A was man whose opinion was
strong in religious and worldly matters. His outstanding
ability and preaching had won for him the title of 'Man
of Opinion'. He is still known and ranked as 'Imam-e-Azam'
R.A by the majority of the Muslims. He was very strict
in the observance of Hadith for which he was unduly
criticised by some scholars and Ulemas of his time .
There is no gainsaying the fact that his standard of
weighing Hadith was very strict and inflexible. He is
reckoned to be the best interpreter of Hadith by all and
The greatest achievement of his life was that he
formulated the principles and rules of Islamic
Jurisprudence. In fact, he was the unique personality
who laid down the foundation of Islamic 'Fiqqah'. He
declared Ijma (consensus of opinion) suitable and
practicable for all ages and times to come. His
contemporaries had an opinion that Ijma (consensus of
opinion) should be confined and restricted to the
Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallalaho Alyhe Wasalam.
Some other scholars wanted to restrict Ijma (consensus
of opinion) to the successors of the Companions of the
Holy Prophet Sallalaho Alyhe Wasalam But the broad
vision of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A declared it
suitable for all times to come.
Imam Abu Hanifa R.A also interpreted the principles of
analogy (Qiyas). It is needless to say that the doctrine
of Qiyas (analogy) was in practice and vogue before he
interpreted it. He introduced the guiding principle of 'Istehsan',
which mean to give priority to one thing over the other.
Istehsan (Priority) is quite comparable to the English
law of equity.
Hazrat Imam Azam R.A gave a great importance to customs
also. According to him a large number of Islamic
principles had been adopted on the basis of customs.
Furthermore, there were many positive practice in
customs which had been approved by him.
Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A in collaboration with his
students, formulated and compiled the principles of
Islamic Jurisprudence. He had formed a society of forty
students for the purpose of compiling Islamic laws. His
prominent students, who worked for the compilation of
Islamic 'Fiqqah', were Yahya bin Zaida, Hafs ibn Hiyas,
Abu Yousuf Daood Altaai, Habaan, Mandal and Imam
Muhammad. This society discussed and reflected over all
those social and legal problems, which in the ordinary
course of nature were being faced by the society at
large. After a careful discussion and debate, the
unanimously approved principles were taken down. This
part of the compilation, which was approved by the
society, was published generally. But unfortunately the
complete work of the society was wasted, thereby causing
a great loss to the Islamic Jurisprudence.
The complete works of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A are not
available except a small booklet on Hadith, which is
famous as 'Masnad-i-Imam-e-Azam'. His another work is
that famous letter which he wrote to his student Abu
Yousuf, for guidance and instruction, when he was
appointed as Qazi-ul-Qazza (Chief Justice) at that time.
Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A was in prison when he wrote
this letter to Imam Abu Yousuf R.A Hazrat Imam Abu
Hanifa R.A had a great respect for his disciple, Abu
Yousuf, because of his intelligence and awareness of
worldly affairs. Abu Yousuf's command over Islamic Laws
was due to the influence of Fiqqah Hanfia on him. Imam
Muhammad R.A was another famous disciple of Hazrat Imam
Abu Hanifa R.A He wrote numerous books but few are
The office of Qazi-ul-Qazza (Chief Justice) was first
offered to Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A but he refused to
accept it. For this reason Abu Mansoor ordered for his
arrest and put him into the prison. Ibn-e-Habeera the
'Sobedar' of Kufa awarded him the punishment of
whipping. It is also said that he was given poison at
the orders of the caliph of that time. He breathed his
last in the jail. His funeral prayers were offered for
ten days consecutively, and about fifty thousand people
offered the prayers every day.
Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa rendered marvelous services
for the reconstruction, organization and compilation of
Islamic Jurisprudence. Though his complete book and work
is not available yet his personality proved to be a
source and fountainhead of law education, wisdom and
knowledge for his disciples and devotees. He was the
pioneer of the Hanfi School of thought. The Muslims, all
over the world, follow the Fiqqah' set and preached by
him because he preached and practiced what the Holy
Prophet Sallaallaho Alyhe Wasalam and his four Caliphs
had preached and practiced in the light of the Holy
The followers of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa R.A are mostly
living in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey,
Afghanistan, Central Asian States etc. etc. They are
called 'Hanfis'. The successors of Hazrat Imam Abu
Hanifa R.A and his companions are settled in Egypt,
Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China.