In the history of Islam there have been many outstandingscholars who have benefited the development of Fiqh as we know it today. Inthis assignment I will be discussing one of these individuals, namely Imaam AbuHaneefah. Imaam Abu Haneefah was named Nu’man Ibn Thabit and he was bornin the year 702 CE in the city of Kufah, Iraq. The name ‘Abu Haneefah’ isderived from one of his daughters who, according to http://islamichistory.org/imam-abu-hanifa/,was extremely pious, scholarly and had her own halaqat(religious circle) whereshe instructed students in matters of religion. Abu Hannefah’s birth coincidedwith the reign of the Umayyad caliph, Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan. His father,Thabit Ibn Zuta , was said to be a merchant and was of Persian descent. It isvery important for me to note that Imaam Abu Haneefah was born during thelifetime of another giant of Islamic Fiqh, Imaam Malik.
His early education wasin philosophy and dialects/language which is also known as Iim al-Kalam.However after reaching proficiency in these subjects, he pursued the study ofFiqh and Hadith under Hammad Ibn Zayd, one of the greatest Muhaditheen(scholarof hadith) of that era . The death of Imaam Abu Haneefah came in the year 767CEwhile incarcerated due to objecting to being a judge of the royal court. Imaam Abu Haneefah’s method of teaching was unique incomparison with the other 3 major Fiqh scholars in that he used to consultrather than instruct his students. This method is known in Islam as Shoora (agroup discussion). The strategy he would use is that he would split thestudents into two groups like a debate style setting and present the studentswith a problem. Sometimes when his students reach a conclusion, he would playthe antagonist, constantly revising and challenging there rulings in order toensure precision.
So the student would revise the Quran, Hadiths, as well asthe conclusions made by the Sahaabah until they finally came to a conclusion. The debates would often be based onhypothetical issues, according to Dr.Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips book; The EvolutionOf Fiqh, leading them to use phrases such as “what if so and so happened?”and they became know as the “What-iffers” or “Ahl Ar-Ra’i”. Imaam Abu Haneefah’s approach to the individual opinions ofthe Sahaabah was unique in that if the Sahaabah differed on a particularsubject, Abu Haneefah would select the opinion which would be closest inrelation to the particular case in question.
This stance that the Imaam took in choosing the opinion of the Sahaabah overhis own would prove to be a pivotal step in a Madh-hab that would later becomeone of the main schools of thoughts in the modern world. As any good teacher, Imaam Abu Haneefah had many students butof those student, three personalities stood out. Firstly was Abu Yoosuf Ya’qoobIbn Ibraheem who was born in 735 and died in 795 CE. As stated by https://iloveimamrabbani.wordpress.com/tag/imam-bukhari-the-student-of-abu-hanifa/” ibn Jarir At-Tabari counted him(Abu Yoosuf) among HUFFAZDH of Hadith ,scholar of Fiqh, chief judge and more.”