Know that the great honourable Imam and a righteous scholar, Imam Abu Hanifah, an-Nu^man Ibn Thabit who was born in the city of Kufa in the year 80H., is one of the great scholars of AHlus-Sunnah and the head of the Hanafi school. His family was of Persian origin. Imam Abu Hanifah's father, Thabit, had met Imam ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib in Kufa who made du^a’ for him and his descendants. Imam Abu Hanifah was blessed with the du^a’ of Imam ^Aliyy.
Al-Bukhariyy and Muslim narrated through the route of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: "If the knowledge of the Religion were to be as far as the Pleiades (a constellation of stars), then surely a person from Persia would be able to reach it." Imam as-Suyutiyy said: "It has been agreed unanimously that this hadith refers to Imam Abu Hanifah."Imam Abu Hanifah acquired the knowledge from hundreds of prestigious men of his time including a number of Companions such as: Anas Ibn Malik, ^Abdullah Ibn Awfa, Wathilah Ibn Al-Asqa^, and Ma^qil Ibn Yasar. So Abu Hanifah gained the honour of being amongst at-Tabi^in (Successor to the Companions). Among his teachers were the great and famous tabi^in, ^Ata’ Ibn Abi Rabah, Hammad Ibn Sulayman, and Az-Zuhriyy.
Many well-known Sheikhs acquired the hadith from Imam Abu Hanifah including: ath-Thawriyy, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hammad Ibn Zayd and ^Abdur-Razzaq.
Imam ash-Shafi^iyy said: “All men of fiqh rely on Abu Hanifah”. He also said: “I perform tabarruk by Abu Hanifah and visit his grave every day. Whenever I had a need, I used to pray two rak^ahs, come to his grave and supplicate to Allah by Imam Abu Hanifah. It would not be too long before my need is fulfilled”.
Imam Abu Hanifah used to perform the Fajr prayer with his wudu’ of the Isha’ prayers for forty years as he used to pray 400 rak^ahs every night in between. Also it was reported that for thirty years he used to recite the whole Qur'an in one rak^ah.
Imam Abu Hanifah, explained the belief of the Muslim nation in many of his books. In one of his books, titled Al-Fiqh al-Absat, he said: << Allah existed eternally and there was no place. He existed before creating the creations and He is the Creator of everything.>>
Imam Abu Hanifah was sent to prison by Al-Mansur, the caliph at the time, for rejecting the position of chief executive of the judges. While in prison, Imam Abu Hanifah was tortured severely. Al-Mansur ordered the prison guards to whiplash Abu Hanifah ten times daily. Not surprisingly, this did not weaken the imam’s quest in performing his acts of worship and supplication to Allah. Abu Hanifah died in prison due to the torture he encountered in addition to a tense pain he suffered in his stomach. The Great Imam died in Baghdad in the year 150 A.H at the age of seventy. The news of the Imam's death reached far and wide, and fifty thousand people attended his funeral, may Allah raise his rank.
We ask Allah to make us among those who follow the guidance of the Prophet and make our end in the state of piety. Ameen