Question 098: What is the Shia, or specifically Ithna Ashari, view on Abu Hanifa?

Answer 098: Nuʿmān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā ibn Marzubān, also known as Imam Abū Ḥanīfah was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). He is also considered a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Zaydi Shia Muslims.

Abu Hanifah lived during the time of changing power from Bani Umayah to Bani Abbas and that’s why he perceived the two systems. The Umayyad and Abbasian persistently requested him to cooperate with them, but he refused cooperation with both, rather he was known as an opponent of their system. Due to his cooperation with the Alawiyan and because he loved the Ahlul Bayt (pbuth), he was imprisoned by Manssor Abbasi and finally killed in the jail by poison.

His devotion and love for the Ahlul bayt (pbuth) was more than a Shia lover. He had the same approaches in regards to Imamat and Islamic system as the Zaidyah approach. This means, while accepting the Rashidun Caliphate (al- Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidūn), he believed that Imam Ali (as) was prior to Uthman and believe in the Caliphate of Imam Hasan (as) after the Imam (as). He also believed that after Imam Hasan (as) the Caliphate belonged to Imam Ali’ (as) children.

He believed that the Imam must be selected through free election between Imam Ali’ (as) children. He didn’t believe in appointing the Imam by the text expressly stated by the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Abu Hanifah didn’t accept the justice of the Sahabah (companions) entirely. In one hand, he tried to restrain exaggerators from cursing Rashidun Caliphate (al- Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidūn) and on the other hand, he suggested they have a moderate method, instead. In general, he wanted the Shiite and Sunni to modify their approaches concerning Caliphates, Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) and some other religious issues.

Due to the weak text and chain of transmission of those narrations that have been mentioned in some Shia and Sunni sources concerning the strained relationship between Abu Hanifah and Imams Baqir and Sadiq’ (pbuth) we cannot accept them. It seems these argument have been manipulated by some of the followers of the Imamiya and Hanafi sects. They have prejudicially bolded the scientific arguments between the Imams (pbuth) and Abu Hanifah and expressed it in an untrue way.

Thus, the approaches of contemporary Shia has been obtained by such manipulated stories, especially the Hanafiyan of Ahlul Sunna and Jimaat’ approach have been influenced by Bukhari’s method and approach mentioned in his Sahih.

In the end, his efforts of making compromise between Shia and Sunni proved the opposite of this case. This kind of effort exasperated those Hadithic Sunnis and then it caused a negative approach among the Shia society.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following:

References: Khatib Baqdadi, History of Baqdad, Vol. 13, Pg. 330; Ibn Bazazi, Manaqib Abi Hanifah, Vol. 2, Pgs. 121-316 and 399; The Great Islamic encyclopedia, Vol. 5, Chapter “Abu Hanifah”, Pg. 381; Dahabi, Mizan al-Itedal, Vol. 2, Pg. 18; Yaqout Baghdadi, Mojam al-Odaba, Vol. 5, Pg. 242; Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Tahdib al-Tahdib, Vol. 3, Pg. 343; Ibid, Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 6, Pg. 249; Rasool Jaafariyan, history of Shiite in Iran, Vol. 1, Pgs, 28-29; Muhammad Hussain Solaiman Alami Hayeri, encyclopedia, Vol. 8, Pg. 9; Abu Bakarr, Khilal, Al-Sunnah, Vol. 1, Pgs. 394-395; Dahabi, Mizan al-Itedal, Vol. 3, Pg. 352; Nashi Akbar, Masael al-Imamah, Pg. 66; Rasool Jafariyan, Ibid, Pg. 22; Rijal alKashi, Vol. 2, Pgs. 426-433; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, Pg. 74, Taghi al-Din Abdul Jaqader Hanafi, Tabaghat al-Suniyat Fi Tarajem al-Hanafiyah, Vol. 1, Pg. 139; Sheikh Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, Pg. 203; Ibid, al-Irshad, Pg. 160; Ibid, al-Amali, Pg. 73, Muvafaq Mekki, Manaqib Abi Hanifah, Vol. 2, Pg. 18;…/جایگا

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