The four Imam's - Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam
Ahmed bin Hanbal and Imam Shafi - are the main figures who's interpretation
of the Hadith and Qur'an are followed by the majority of Sunni Muslims all
over the world. They are therefore of great importance to the correct
practice of Islam.
From the book ‘Qamus Al-A'lam':
Al- Imam Al Azam Abu Hanifa's name was Numan. His father's name was Thabit.
His grandfather's name was Numan, too. He was the first of the four great
imams of the Ahl as-Sunnah.
Imam Abu Hanifa was a descendant of a Persian notable, he was born in Kufa
in 80 (698 A.D.). He learned Fiqh with the help of Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman.
He enjoyed the companionship of many notables of the Tabiin, and of Imam
Jafar as-Sadiq. He memorized innumerable Hadiths. He was brought up so as to
become a great judge, but he became an imam Al-madhhab. He had a superior,
and amazingly keen intellect. In Al fiqh, he attained an unequalled grade in
a short time. He then became very popular all over the world.
Yazid ibn 'Amr, Governor of Iraq during the time of Marwan ibn Muhammad, the
fourteenth and last Umayyad Khalifah, asked Abu Hanifa to become a judge for
the law-court of Kufa. But, since he had he refused his offer, for he wanted
to devote his time and effort serving Islam, and had not interest in worldly
pleasures. He was afraid of not being able to safeguard human rights because
of human weaknesses. With a command from Yazid, he was given a whipping,
hundred and ten blows to the head. His blessed face and head swelled. The
next day, Yazid took the Imam out and oppressed him by repeating his offer.
The Imam said, "Let me consult," and obtained permission to leave. He left
to Mecca and remained there for five or six years.
The 'Abbasid Khalifah Abu Jafar Mansur offered Imam Abu Hanifa to be the
chief of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 150 A.H. [767 A.D.]. Again the Imam
refused, and was put into jail. He was subjected to whipping, ten blows more
every following day. When the number of whipping reached one hundred, he
attained martyrdom. Abu Sad Muhammad ibn Mansur al-Harizmi, the third
Saljuqi Sultan and the son of Sultan Alparslan), had a wonderful dome built
over his grave. Afterwards, Ottoman emperors embellished and had his tomb
restored several times.
Imam Abu Hanifa was the first to compile and classify the Fiqh science, he
collected information for each branch of knowledge. He wrote the books
Fara'id and Shurut (Obligations and Conditions). There are a lot of books
describing his wide knowledge on fiqh, and his amazing superiority in piety,
God consciousness, mildness and righteousness.
The Hanafi Madhhab (approach) spread far and wide during the time of the
Ottoman Empire. It almost became the official Islamic approach of the State.
Today, more than half of the Muslims all over the world follow this
Syria like many other countries around the world
witnessed, during this period, the flood of refugees
from war troubled nations like Somalia, arrival of
people from Algeria during the brutal struggling between
the Mujahidun and the government, resettlement of the
Palestinians fleeing from sophisticated guns of the
Israelis as well as adventure of African migrants for