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Fiqhul Akbar by Imam Abu Hanifa

Posted by muhammedm on June 16, 2009

Source: Al-Fiqhul Akbar Ma’ Urdu Tarjuma al-Bayan al-Azhar li Mawlana Sufi ‘Abdul Hamid Sawati

The following is the introduction written by Mawlana Sarfaraz Khan (Allah ta’ala have mercy on him).
“A concise and expansive book of ‘Ilm al-‘Aqaid and Kalam is Fiqh ul Akbar; whose author is Imam Abu Hanifa. Many of the Imams have testified to it being his work, from them are: Hakam bin ‘Abdillah al-Balkhi (199 Hijri) the narrator of Fiqh ul Akbar, Imam Ishaq bin Muhammed Hakim as-Samarqandi (342 Hijri) the student of Imam Abu Mansur Maturidi (333 Hijri), Imam Fakhrul Islam ‘Ali bin Muhammed al-Bazdawi al-Hanafi (482 Hijri), Imam Muhiyuddin Baha ud Din, Mawla Ilyas bin Ibrahim al-Sinubi, Ahmed bin Muhammed al-Maghnisawi, Shaykh Akmal ud Din Babarti, Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyya, Hafidh ibn al-Qayyim, ‘Allama ad-Dhahabi, Imam Kurdi, Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, ‘Allama ‘Abdul’Ali Bahrul ‘Ulum, Mulla Katib Author of Kashf ud Dhunun, ‘Allama ‘AbdulQadir al-Qurashi, Sadrus Shariah ‘Ubaydullah bin Mas’ud, Hafidh Ibn Humam, ‘Allama Ibn ‘Abidin Shami, Mawlana ‘AbdulHay al-Lucknawi, Mawlana ‘Abdil Hakim Siyalkoti, and others (including ‘Allama Mari’ al-Hanbali, and Ibn Nadim).

All of these scholars attest that Fiqhul Akbar is Imam Abu Hanifa’s book, the well recognized Baralwi scholar Mawlvi Ahmed Ridha Khan (1340 Hijri) attested to it as well. Imam Kurdi says, “if someone objects and says that Imam Sahib has no book” I say, “this objection is that of the Mu’tazilites, they say Imam Sahib didn’t author any book in ‘Ilm al-Kalam, and they intend to say that Fiqh ul Akbar and al-‘Alim wal Muta’allim aren’t his work, in reality Imam Sahib has recorded many of the (points) of ‘Aqaid of Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama’ah in his book. This is the (baseless) objection of the Mu’tazilites borne out by their claim that Imam Sahib was a Mu’tazili (We seek Allah ta’ala’s refuge), and according to the Mu’tazilites Fiqh ul Akbar is the authorship of Abu Hanifa Bukhari, but this assertion is completely incorrect because I read ‘Allama Mawlana Shamsul Millat wad Din al-Kurdiri Baratiqini al-‘Imadi’s handwritten work stating that both of the books are that of Imam Abu Hanifa’s, then he says, “upon this is agreement of a many groups of scholars”.

‘Allama Shibli Nu’mani and others were influenced by (the objections) of these people in rejecting Fiqh ul Akbar being Imam’s work. He has given his opinion and the proofs for his stance, but through research and historical evidence his arguments are weak; one of the objections is concerning the narrator Abu Muti’ who has been criticized by the Muhadithin, however this isn’t taken into consideration, and thus (the claim is that) it’s Abu Muti’s work, but this carries no weight. Without a doubt many of the Muhadithin criticized him, but the base argument is that he was jahimi and Murji’ in ‘Aqidah, which is mentioned in the books narrators. But, is the ascription (to the sects) valid? And if it’s true, then in according to what meaning is the term Murji’ applied? And with the application of Murji’ is there a (disgraceful) mark left on him? Wasn’t Imam Abu Hanifa alleged to be a Murji’ without evidence? And if it’s rejected on this basis, then we can reject the ahadith mentioned in the Sahihayn in which are those who ascribed to the Murjites and other sects. Hafidh Ibn Hajar writes regarding Abu Muti’, “he was a man of insight into Ray’ (deriving rulings based on deductions), ‘Allama, with great awesomeness, Ibn al-Mubarak would honor and respect him for his din and knowledge” (Lisan al-Mizan). ‘Allama Dhahabi refers to him as Faqih (‘Abar fi Akhbar man ghabar). ‘Allama AbdulQadir al-Qurashi says, “(He’s the) narrator of Fiqh ul Akbar on the authority of Imam Abi Hanifa” (al-Jawahir al-Madiyyah). The point being, this book is not of Abu Muti’, rather it’s Imam Abu Hanifa’s, Abu Muti’ is just a narrator of the book.

Mawlana Shibli objected that the manner of presentation and summarization is in the specific manner of the later scholars, however this argument has no life (worth), because Imam Tahawi (321 Hijri) wrote his Aqidah Tahawiya in a condense manner and presentation, while he has only two (men) linking him to Imam Abu Hanifa, and so, his book should be denied as well. Other than this, Imam Abu Yusuf’s (182 Hijri) and Imam Muhammed’s (189 Hijri), who are the immediate students of Imam Sahib, work isn’t much different than Imam Sahib’s (Fiqh ul Akbar).

Mawlana Shibli also raised the objection that the teriminology of the philosophers, such as ‘Arad and Jawhar, didn’t enter the Muslim community during his time, without a doubt the books of the Greeks were translated into Arabic during the time of Mansur ‘Abbasi, however this time was during the end of Imam Sahib’s life. But this objection is also extremely weak, because someone like him, who was endowed with great memory, piercing intellect and great understanding and who studied with hundreds of teachers from different countries, and whose students comprised of those from the Greek lands and Persia, and who debated the misguided sects, for him to know Jawhar and ‘arad and put it into his book, why is it a strange matter? When, predominantly, refuting the philosophers or their students was his real intent. Only the general terminology of the Greeks was used, and ‘Allama Ibn Khuldun writes that the full translation of Icledius was completed in the time of Abu Ja’far Mansur. When the translation of the Greek work was done in the time of Mansur, then how distinguishing is it when some terminology was definitely present in the beginning of the era, so many times the Islamic Khilafa went to the land of the philosophers and Greeks to get wealth and power.

Mawlana also mentioned that Fiqh ul Akbar isn’t mentioned in Sahaif, Sharh Maqasid, Sharh Muwaqif, Milal wa Nihl, and other books, however this objection has no merit either, because the lack of mention doesn’t necessitate the lack of existence. When many of these books don’t even mention Aqidah at-Tahawiya, so would its existence (authenticity) be denied?”


It should be noted that there are reports about Imam Abu Hanifa stating that he was into disputing the people of innovation before taking the path of studying fiqh as mentioned by Saymiri in his Akhbar Abi Hanifa, Tarikh Baghdad, Manaqib Abi Hanifa li Makki, Athmar al-Janiyya li Mulla Ali Qari, ‘Uqud al-Jaman li Salihi, Khayratul Hisan li Haytami and others, though Hafidh Dhahabi doubts it due to it spreading after the time of Imam Abu Hanifa.

It seems that the work that is narrated by Abu Muti’ is known as Fiqhul Absat, while the text that Mawlana Sawati wrote the introduction to is Fiqhul Akbar (not narrated by Abu Muti’ as Shaykh Abul Hasan explains. In any case, the following is what Shaykh Abul Hasan wrote on Sunniforum about the various works attributed to Imam Sahib.

Courtesy of Shaykh Abul Hasan:

I will try to answer from my reading of the Sharh to Fiqh al-Akbar by Mullah Ali al-Qari, with the notes by our Shaykh: Wahbi ibn Sulayman Ghawiji (Hafidhahullah) and other points – Insha’Allah.

There are actually 2 works going by the title Fiqh al-Akbar – both attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa. One is short the other is more lengthier. Let us call the shorter one: Fiqh al-Akbar (I) and the longer one: Fiqh al-Akbar (II).

There is a third and small statement of aqeeda attributed again to Imam Abu Hanifa, and this is the one that comes from Abu Muti’i al-Balkhi. It is commonly known as: Fiqh al-Absat

Fiqh al-Akbar (I) is the shorter text which has a Sharh to it by Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (ra). It has been published by Da’iratul Ma’arif, Hyderabad, India. Imam Abul Layth al-Samarqandi also wrote a Sharh to this edition of the Fiqh al-Akbar.

Fiqh al-Akbar (II) – the longer text – is the one that Br. Faqir has posted here with the notes of Shaykh Ninowy. This is the one that Mullah Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi has utilised in his Sharh – hence it seems correct to say that this is the one that is most likely the true and attributable work of Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifa. There is also a commentary to it by a certain Shaykh Abul Muntaha Ahmed ibn Muhammad al-Maghnisawi (this is the one I understand Mufti Abdur Rahman is going to publish in English).

Shaykh Wahbi Ghawiji said that the Fiqh al-Akbar (may be the longer version) was ascribed to the Imam al-A’zam by Ibn Nadim in his al-Fihrist (p. 285) – along with the attribution of the following titles to the Imam: Risala ila al-Batti, Kitab al-Alim wal Muta-allim riwâya Muqatil, Kitab radd alal-Qadariyya.

It is clear to me that Shaykh Wahbi accepts Fiqh al-Akbar (II) to be by Imam Abu Hanifa – meaning from his dictation (Imla).

Now, let me add that the Fiqh al-Akbar (II) does have an Isnad going back to Imam al-A’zam, and Shaykuna Wahbi Ghawiji said that he saw a good manuscript (Makhtuta Jayyida) in the Maktaba of Shaykh al-Islam Arif Hikmat in Madina al-Munawwara from the narration of:

Ali ibn Ahmed al-Farisi from Nasr ibn Yahya from Abu Muqatil (Hafs ibn Muslim al-Samarqandi) from Isam ibn Yusuf from Hammad the son of Imam Abu Hanifa – from his father

The work which contains the controversial point is found in Fiqh al-Absat and a variant of it is found in Fiqh al-Akbar (I) as you quoted from Dr GF Haddad:
Abu Haneefah (RH) said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says, ‘I do not know whether Allaah is above the heavens or on the earth.’ – “He has disbelieved, because Allaah says, “The Most Merciful rose above the Throne.” , and His Throne is above His seven heavens.’ He was then asked , ‘what if he said that Allaah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ He said, ‘He has disbelieved, because He has denied that He is above the heavens, And whosoever denied that He is above the heavens has disbelieved.” [‘al-Uluww’ of adh- Dhahabee, also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee]”>>

Mawdu` and a lie in its attribution to the Imam. Al-Dhahabi himself states [Mukhtasar p. 136 #118; al-`Uluw p. 391 #327] that everything above was reported from the Imam by Abu Muti` al-Hakam ibn `Abd Allah al-Balkhi who is DISCARDED as a narrator according to Imam Ahmad, Ibn `Adi, Abu Dawud, a liar according to Abu Hatim, and a forger according to al-Dhahabi himself as reported by Ibn Hajar in Lisan al-Mizan (2:407)!.

Therefore, what is questionable is what Abu Muti’i al-Balkhi spread in the name of Imam Abu Hanifa. Al-Balkhi was a pupil of Imam Abu Hanifa’s and he was criticized by a number of Imams, though Imam ibn al Mubarak held him in esteem, he seems to have been regarded as a Faqih by some – but his narration that the Hashwiyya love to quote to bolster their aqeeda is a unique report of his alone – and no one from the major students of Imam Abu Hanifa has attributed this same point like Abu Muti’i, not even the later Hanafi Mujtahid Imam: Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi in his famous Aqeeda known as Bayan al-Sunna wal Jama’a – to Imam Abu Hanifa. Hence, it is discarded.

Imam ibn Hajar in his Lisan al-Mizan (2/no. 1369) mentioned the following about Abu Muti’i Hakam ibn Abdullah ibn Muslim al-Balkhi al-Khurasani

الحكم بن عبد الله بن مسلم أبو مطيع البلخي الخراساني الفقيه صاحب أبي حنيفة رحمه الله تعالى عن بن عون وهشام بن حسان وعنه أحمد بن منيع وخلاد بن أسلم الصفار وجماعة تفقه به أهل تلك الديار وكان بصيرا بالرأي علامة كبير الشأن ولكنه واه في ضبط الأثر وكان بن المبارك يعظمه ويجله لدينه وعلمه قال بن معين ليس بشيء وقال مرة ضعيف وقال البخاري ضعيف صاحب رأي وقال النسائي ضعيف وقال بن الجوزي في الضعفاء الحكم بن عبد الله بن سلمة أبو مطيع الخراساني القاضي يروي عن إبراهيم بن طهمان وأبي حنيفة ومالك قال أحمد لا ينبغي أن يروي عنه بشيء وقال أبو داود تركوا حديثه وكان جهميا وقال بن عدي هو بين الضعف عامة ما يرويه لا يتابع عليه قال بن حبان كان من رؤساء المرجية ممن يبغض السنن ومنتحليها وقال العقيلي حدثنا عبد الله بن أحمد سألت أبي عن أبي مطيع البلخي فقال لا ينبغي أن يروى عنه حكوا عنه أنه يقول الجنة والنار خلقتا فستفنيان وهذا كلام جهم وقال محمد بن الفضل البلخي سمعت عبد الله بن محمد العابدي يقول جاءه كتاب يعني من الخليفة وفيه لولي العهد وآتيناه الحكم صبيا ليقرأ فسمع أبو مطيع فدخل على الوالي فقال بلغ من خطر الدنيا أنا نكفر بسببها فكرر مرارا حتى بكى الأمير وقال إني معك ولكني لا أجتري بالكلام فتكلم وكن مني آمنا فذهب يوم الجمعة فارتقى المنبر ثم قال يا معشر المسلمين وأخذ بلحيته وبكى وقال قد بلغ من خطر الدنيا أن نجر إلى الكفر من قال وآتيناه الحكم صبيا غير يحيى فهو كافر قال فرج أهل المسجد بالبكاء وهربا اللذان قدما بالكتاب قال بن عدي حدثنا عبيد بن محمد السرخسي ثنا محمد بن القاسم البلخي ثنا أبو مطيع ثنا عمر بن ذر عن مجاهد عن بن عمر رضى الله تعالى عنهما مرفوعا إذا جلست المرأة في الصلاة وضعت فخذها على فخذها الأخرى وإذا سجدت ألصقت بطنها على فخذيها كأستر ما يكون لها فإن الله ينظر إليها ويقول يا ملائكتي أشهدكم أني قد غفرت لها وبه عن مجاهد عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضى الله تعالى عنهما مرفوعا ليأتين على الناس زمان يجتمعون في المساجد ويصلون وما فيهم مؤمن وإذا أكلوا الربو وشرفوا البناء الحديث وله عن حماد بن سلمة عن أبي المهزم عن أبي هريرة رضى الله تعالى عنه أن وفد ثقيف سألوا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الإيمان هل يزيد وينقص فقال لا زيادته كفر ونقصانه شرك ولي أبو مطيع قضاء بلخ ومات سنة تسع وتسعين ومائة عن أربع وثمانين سنة انتهى وقال أبو حاتم الرازي كان مرجئا كذابا وقال بن سعد كان مرجئا وهو ضعيف عندهم في الحديث وكان مكفوفا وقال الساجي ترك لرأيه واتهمه قال العقيلي كان مرجئا صالحا في الحديث إلا أن أهل السنة أمسكوا عن الرواية عنه وقال الجوزقاني كان أبو مطيع من رؤساء المرجئة ممن يضع الحديث ويبغض السنن وقال محمود بن غيلان ضرب بن معين وأبو خيثمة على اسمه وأسقطوه وهو كبير المحل عند الحنفية روى عنه محمد بن مقاتل وموسى بن نصر وكانا يجلانه وقال الخليلي في الإرشاد كان على قضاء بلخ وكان الحفاظ من أهل العراق وبلخ لا يرضونه وقد جزم الذهبي بأنه وضع حديثا فينظر من ترجمة عثمان بن عبد الله الأموي

The alternative and controversial version found in Fiqh al-Akbar (I) was briefly discussed by Dr Haddad in the second link you gave. Dr Haddad said (with reference to Fiqh al-Akbar (I) to my comprehension)
Even so, the text mentioned by the Hanafi authorities is: “Whoever says, ‘I do not know whether my Lord is in the heaven or on earth’ is a disbeliever and, similarly, whoever says, ‘He is on the Throne and I do not know whether the Throne is in the heaven or on earth ‘ is a disbeliever.”

As to its meaning: al-Bayadi said in Ishaaraat al-Maraam: “This is because he implies that the Creator has a direction and a boundary, and anything that possesses direction and boundary is necessarily created. So this statement explicitly attributes imperfection to Allah Most High. The believer in [divine] corporeality and direction is someone who denies the existence of anything other than objects that can be pointed to with the senses. They deny the Essence of the Deity that is transcendent beyond that. This makes them positively guilty of disbelief.” As quoted in al-Kawthari, “Khuturat al-Qawl bi al-Jiha” (“The Gravity of the Doctrine That Attributes Direction [to Allah Most High]”) in his _Maqalat_ (p. 368-369). Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi states something similar in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, and others.

Most of the contents of Fiqh al-Akbar (I) and Fiqh al-Absat would not be in contradiction to major Sunni Ulama’s understanding of what was the most likely aqeeda of Imam Abu Hanifah, except the point discussed above.

There are also works like the Wasiyya attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa (printed in Hyderabad, India in the year 1321 AH – with the Sharh of Mullah Hussain ibn Iskandar al-Hanafi).

I have attached scans in the next thread from the words of the Hanafi Hujja: Mullah Ali al-Qari, with the notes of our Shaykh: Wahbi – showing the problem with Abu Muti’i al-Balkhi, why his narration is rejected, and how the quote from him is understood by the likes of the Ash’ari Imam: al-Izz ibn Abdas Salam.

And Allahu a’lam.


Abul Hasan

Shaykh Abul Hasan posting a scan of ‘Allama al-Kardari’s work:

Imam Hafizud-Din ibn al Bazzaz al-Kardari (d. 827 AH) testified to the work known as Fiqh al-Akbar in his Manaqib al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifa. The scans are taken from the first printed edition, Hyderabad Deccan, India, dated 1321 AH.

Read from the second line from the bottom of the pdf file (bottom half after the central line on both pages is from Imam al-Kardari)

May be the rejectors of this work can expound on the verdict in the scans.

Attached Images

Imam al Kardari on Fiqh al Akbar.pdf (3.31 MB, 42 views)

Courtesy of Faqir from Sunniforum:
The Ash’arî Shaykh Ab al-Muzaffar al-Isfarâyînî [d.471] said in his book al-Tabsîr fîl-Dîn:

“Al-Fiqh al-Akbar was narrated to us by the trustworthy through a reliable way and a sound chain of transmission from Nasîr ibn Yahyâ [up to] Abu Hanîfa.”

[In al-Tabsïr (p. 113) as cited by al-Kawtharï in his introduction to al-Bayàdï’s Ishàràt al-Maràm (p. 5).

The complete chain is:

‘Alï ibn Ahmad al-Fàrisï < Nasïr [not Nusayr nor Nasr] ibn Yahyà [al-Balkhï (d. 268)] < Abu Muqàtil < ‘Isàm ibn Yusuf [ibn Maymun al-Balkhï (d. 210 or 215)] < Hammàd ibn Abï Hanïfa < Abu Hanïfa. (Ibid. p. 6.)

Shaykh Wahbï Sulaymàn Ghàwijï said in his edition of al-Qàrï’s Sharh. al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 13) that he saw in Maktabat Shaykh al-Islàm ‘Àrif Hikmat in Madïna (Compendium #226 or #234) a manuscript of the Fiqh al-Akbar with the same chain.

Sadr al-Islam Imam al-Pazdawi [d.482] says in his book ‘Usul ad-Din’ pg. 15 under the first article:

“The knowledge of Kalam is one in which scholars have differed on its learning, teaching and writing books regarding it. [Kalam] is the science which describes the articles of faith and the fundamentals of the religion which is obligatory on every muslim. Imam Abu Hanifah [rahimahullah] learnt this science and would debate with the mu’tazilites and other bidyis; and he used to teach this science to his students in his early days. He also wrote a few books in this discipline – some which have reached us and many were obliterated [maHaaha wa ghasalaha] by the ahl al-bid’ah.

Among his books which have reached us are: ‘kitab al-`alim wa’l mut`allim’ and ‘kitab fiqh al-akbar’.”

[translation by abu hasan of sunni port]

Imam al-Maghnisawi [RH]:

“verily the book al-Fiqh al-akbar written by Imam al-A`zam, is a sound and widely accepted book”

Commentary by Imam al-Maghnisawi

Discussion by an Orientalist on Fiqh ul Akbar

Conclusion: Whatever problem the sanad might have, doesn’t detract anything from it being a work of AhlusSunnah wal Jama’ah since many scholars have used it and have written commentary and recommendation.

Wal Hamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alamin


2 Responses to “Fiqhul Akbar by Imam Abu Hanifa”

  1. saad khan said

    Assalam o alaykum,

    What you have translated above from “Al-Fiqh al-Akbar Ma’ Urdu Tarjuma al-Bayan al-Azhar” is actually the preface written by Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar. Mawlana Abdul Hamid Khan Sawati, his younger brother, has translated Fiqh al-Akbar into Urdu.


    • muhammedm said

      Wa ‘alaykumus Salam

      You’re right, i didn’t even notice it, his name is under the ‘Muqaddimah’ but on the cover, or the very first page it doesn’t even mention his name, JazkakAllahu Khayr

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