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Offline Wakas

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Imam Abu Hanifa's views on hadith
« on: July 24, 2021, 04:10:33 PM »
The following was taken from the book called "Hanafi principles of testing hadith" by Shaykh Atabek Shukurov. It deals with classical hanafi principles, not modern hanafi version which is significantly influenced by Shafi principles.

You can see some of his interviews here:

The purpose of this post is just to show what was apparently done in the past. It seems pretty obvious from Traditional Islamic and historical sources that the elevated status of hadith took a while to establish itself and became dominant post-Shafi.


Imam Abu Hanifa apparently had a much stricter criteria for ahadith/traditions, and made much more limited/cautious use of them in his rulings. Especially in comparison to later scholars and Imams of other madhabs e.g. Malik, Shafi, Hanbal.

In fact he rejected so many hadith that he was apparently accused in his lifetime of being a "hadith rejecter". He apparently clarified by saying he does not reject hadith but rejects incorrectly attributed hadith.

As such there was somewhat of a rivalry between him and muhadithin (scholars of hadith). For example, Bukhari (who came much later) famously does not take hadith from Abu Hanifa, or only does so indirectly.

His criteria for testing hadith, in brief:
1) does it go against Quran
2) does it go against established sunnah (precedent of prophet and companions)
3) if it is only one person narrating the hadith AND it affects everybody (i.e. a hadith that affects everybody should be much more well known than having one common narrator)
4) was the hadith ignored by the companions or following generation
5) does it go against the intellect
6) does it go against the senses/experience (empirical evidence)
7) if it relates to matters of theology (e.g. God and His attributes)
8] does it go against agreed upon principles of Islam

This is after having checked each narrator in the chain/isnad passes their narrator criteria (righteous, maturity, intellect, memory, Muslim, not known for innovation, acts upon their own narration etc).

Thought some might find this interesting.