The Kitab al-Athar was the first book composed in Islam after the generation of the Companions. Al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah Nu’man ibn Thabit wrote it. It comprises Ahadith that connect directly back to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam (marfu’), those which stop short at a Companion or one of the Followers (mawquf) and those which are attributed to the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam directly by one of the Followers or Followers of the Followers without attribution to a Companion (mursal).
His companions Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Zufar, Imam Muhammad, Imam al-Hasan ibn Ziyad, Imam Hammad ibn Abi Hanifah the Imam’s son, Hafs ibn Ghiyath and others narrated it from him. In the version before us, Imam Muhammad, himself a mujtahid, narrated each tradition from Imam Abu Hanifah and then followed each with some explanatory material, sometimes confirming and occasionally differing with his Imam.
Imam Abu Hanifah
Imam Abu Hanifah was from Kufa and was one of the Followers (tabi’un). He was born in 80 AH in a family of Persian ancestry. Imam Abu Hanifah was a trader in fabrics. He studied with the great scholars of Kufa who transmitted the schools of Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib in particular, but he also travelled further afield in search of hadith and fiqh. He was noted for his exceptional grasp of fiqh, and is said to have laid its foundations. He died in 150 AH in Baghdad. His list of teachers is very extensive, and his list of pupils a roll-call of honour. Sahl ibn Muzahim said, “Abu Hanifah’s knowledge was universal knowledge.” Ash-Shafi’ee said, “In fiqh people are the needy dependents of Abu Hanifah.”
He is Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Farqad ash-Shaybani. Muhammad was born in Wasit in 132 AH, and grew up in Kufa. He was a pupil of Abu Hanifah. Ash-Shafi’ee said, “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than him. I used to think when I saw him reciting the Qur’an that it was as if the Qur’an had been revealed in his language.” He also said, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Muhammad ibn al-Hasan.” He died in Ray in 189 AH.
Hafiz Riyad Ahmad al-Multani
The explanatory footnotes to this text are the work of the contemporary scholar Hafiz Riyad Ahmad from Multan in Pakistan.
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