Was Abû Hanîfah a Successor (someone who met a Companion)? Did he relate any hadîth directly from any Companions? What can you tell me about the hadith literature attributed to Abû Hanîfah? Does he have a particular "golden chain" of transmission that is exceptionally authentic, like Mâlik has?
Sheikh Muhammad al-Qannâs
Abu Hanîfah was born in the year 80 AH, during the lifetimes of four of the younger Companions:
- Anas b. Mâlik in Basrah
- `Abd Allah b. Abî Awfâ in Kufah
- Sahl b. Sa`d al-Sâ`idî in Madinah
- Abû al-Tufayl `Amir b. Wâ’lah in Mecca
However, there is disagreement whether or not he ever met any of them.
Al-Dhahabî relates from al-Khatîb, as stipulated in Târîkh Baghdâd, that Abû Hanîfah saw Anas b. Mâlik when Anas came to visit Kûfah. However, al-Dhahabî says: “It is a fact that Abu Hanîfah did not narrate any word from the Companions [Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ (6/390)]
Some of the followers of Abû Hanîfah have forwarded the claim that he met a number of Companions so he should be counted as a Successor. However, this claim has never been properly substantiated.
The strongest opinion is that he never met any Companion in person, so this would make him from the generation that came after the first generation of Successors.
There are many hadîth related from Abû Hanîfah by his student Muhammad b. al-Hasan in his books, especially in his work al-Athâr. Other narrations from Abû Hanîfah can be found in the works of his student Abû Yûsuf.
A number of scholars have attempted to compile the hadîth narration of Abû Hanîfah together. Among them were:
1. Muhammad b. Mahmûd al-Khawârizmî who collected a Musnad of Abû Hanifâh’s hadîth which was printed in Egypt in 1326 A.H.
2. Abu Muhammad al-Hârithî who compiled Abu Hanifah’s hadîth together in a volume and arranged them according to the alphabetical order of the narrartors from whom Abû Hanîfah heard the hadîth. The hadîth in this volume that were attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) were later classified by al-Hâfiz Abu Bakr b. al-Muqrî, as mentioned by al-Hâfiz Ibn Hajr in Muqadimah Ta`jîl al-Manfa`ah.
3. Al-Husayn b. Muhammad b. Khasrû, who died on 522 A.H, also compiled a book of Abû Hanîfah’s hadîth narrations. This is mentioned by al-Dhahabî in Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ (19/592).
There is no single chain of transmission for Abû Hanîfah that can be described as exceptionally authentic, similar to what we have for Mâlik.
Abu Hanîfah has narrations from Ibn Mas`ûd through Hammâd b. Abu Sulaymân, through al-Nakh`î and then through `Alqamah. Also, there is a chain of transmission through al-Nakh`î, then `Alqamah and then through Ibn Mas`ûd. Al-Nakh`î’s direct narrations from Ibn Mas`ûd are not continuous, since there is no evidence for his hearing hadith directly from any of the Companions. Nevertheless, scholars deem his non-continuous hadîth from Ibn Mas`ûd to be authentic.
Sheikh al-Husaynî investigated the biographies of the men from whom Abû Hanîfah related hadith in his book entitled al-Tadhkirah bi al-Rijâl al-`Asharah. In this work, he relied on the Musnad of Ibn Khasrû mentioned above.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital