Imam Abu Abdullah Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hanbal (Rahimahu Allahu Ta’ala) was born in Marw on the 20th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 164 A.H.
EARLY LIFE: His father, Sayyiduna Mohammed (radi Allahu anhu) was a warrior (Mujaahid) and lived in Basrah, Iraq. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (radi Allahu anhu) was a very intelligent child, keenly interested in furthering his Islamic education. At the age of 16, he began studying Hadith literature. It is said that he learnt almost a million Ahadith by heart. He became a famous Jurist.
HIS TEACHERS: Some of his teachers were Imam Shaafa’ee, Sayyiduna Bishar bin Al Mufaddal, Sayyiduna Ismail bin Ulayyah, Sayyiduna Jarir bin Abdul Hamid and Sayyiduna Yahya bin Said (radi Allahu anhumul ajma’in). The great compilers of Ahadith, Imam Bukhaari and Imam Muslim (radi Allahu anhuma), including his teacher, Imam Shaafa’ee (radi Allahu anhu), have also reported Hadith from him. Imam Shaafa’ee (radi Allahu anhu), in spite of being the most learned in his time, used to refer to Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (radi Allahu anhu) about certain Ahadith.
HIS PUPILS: Amongst his pupils, the most famous were Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Al Alhram, Sayyiduna Hambal bin Ishaaq and Sayyiduna Abul Qasim Al Baghwi (radi Allahu anhumul ajma’in).
HIS PIETY: Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (radi Allahu anhu) was a very pious scholar who devoted all his life in the Science of Ahadith and Fiqh. He refused to eat in anyone’s house who held a Governmental post. Being extremely poor with no food to eat at times, he used to still refuse to accept charity saying that he had full faith in Almighty Allah.
HIS WORKS: The most famous among his books are: Kitaabul A’maal, Kitaabut Tafseer, Kitaabul Naasikh wal Mansookh, Kitaabul Zahid, Kitaabul Masaa’il, Kitaabul Fadaa’il and Kitaabul Mansiq. His most famous book is his “MUSNAD”, a kitab in which he collected about 50 000 to 70 000 Ahadith.
IMPRISONMENT: Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (radi Allahu anhu), in the later years of his life, was imprisoned and tortured by the ruthless rulers who went against him due to their un-Islamic beliefs and practises. Caliph Mutasim billah forced the Imam to accept the beliefs of the “Mu’tazalis” (a corrupt sect), but he refused, and was beaten to such a degree that his joints were dislocated. He was kept in heavy chains for 30 months in a prison in Baghdad. He still refused to accept the beliefs of the corrupt Mu’tazali Sect and was again beaten till he fell unconscious.
PASSES AWAY: On the 25th of Ramadaan in the year 221 A.H., Caliph Mutasim, in fear of the sin he committed, repented and set the Imam free. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (radi Allahu anhu) forgave all the people except the Mutazalis. He passed away in the year 241 A.H.
Views and thought
Ibn Hanbal’s principal doctrine is what later came to be known as “traditionalist thought,” which emphasized the acceptance of only the Quran and hadith as the foundations of orthodox belief. He did, however, believe that it was only a select few who were properly authorized to interpret the sacred texts.
Ibn Hanbal understood the perfect definition of God to be that given in the Quran, whence he held that proper belief in God constituted believing in the description which God had given of Himself in the Islamic scripture. To begin with, Ibn Hanbal asserted that God was both Unique and Absolute and absolutely incomparable to anything in the world of His creatures. As for the various divine attributes, Ibn Hanbal believed that all the regular attributes of God, such as hearing, sight, speech, omnipotence, will, wisdom, etc., were to be affirmed as “realities” (ḥaqq), and all the attributes called “ambiguous” (mutas̲h̲ābih), such as those which spoke of God’s hand, throne, omnipresence, and vision by the believers on the day of resurrection, were to be understood in the same manner. Furthermore, Ibn Hanbal “rejected the negative theology (taʿṭīl) of the Jahmiyya and their particular allegorizing exegesis (taʾwīl) of the Quran and of tradition, and no less emphatically criticized the anthropomorphism (tas̲h̲bīh) of the Mus̲h̲abbiha, amongst whom he included, in the scope of his polemics, the Jahmiyya as unconscious anthropomorphists.” Ibn Hanbal was also a critic of overt and unnecessary speculation in matters of theology; he believed that it was fair to worship God “without seeking to know the ‘mode’ of the theologoumena (bilā kayf),” and felt it was wise to leave to God the understanding of His own mystery.
One of Ibn Hanbal’s most famous contributions to Sunni thought was the considerable role he played in bolstering the orthodox doctrine of the Quran being the “uncreated Word of God” (kalām Allāh g̲h̲ayr mak̲h̲lūḳ). By “Quran,” Ibn Hanbal understood “not just an abstract idea but the Quran with its letters, words, expressions, and ideas—the Quran in all its living reality, whose nature in itself,” according to Ibn Hanbal, eluded human comprehension.
It is narrated by Abū Bakr al-Marwazī in his Mansak that Ibn Hanbal preferred one to make tawassul or “intercession” through the Prophet in every supplication, with the wording: “O God! I am turning to Thee with Thy Prophet, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad! I am turning with you to my Lord for the fulfillment of my need.” This report is repeated in many later Hanbali works, in the context of personal supplication as an issue of jurisprudence.Ibn Qudamah, for example, recommends it for the obtainment of need in his Wasiyya. In the same way, Ibn Taymiyyah cites the Hanbali fatwa on the desirability of the Prophet’s intercession in every personal supplication in his Qāida fil-Tawassul wal-Wasiīla where he attributes it to “Imām Ahmad and a group of the pious ancestors” from the Mansak of al-Marwazī as his source.
As there exist historical sources indicating patently “mystical elements in his personal piety” and documented evidence of his amiable interactions with numerous early Sufi saints, including Maruf Karkhi, it is recognized that Ibn Hanbal’s relationship with many of the Sufis was one of mutual respect and admiration. As such, early sources state: “[Ibn Hanbal] used to greatly respect the Sūfīs and show them kindness and generosity. He was asked about them and was told that they sat in mosques constantly to which he replied, ‘Knowledge made them sit.'” Furthermore, it is in Ibn Hanbal’s Musnad that we find most of the hadith reports concerning the abdal, forty major saints “whose number [according to Islamic mystical doctrine] would remain constant, one always being replaced by some other on his death” and whose key role in the traditional Sufi conception of the celestial hierarchy would be detailed by later mystics such as Hujwiri and Ibn Arabi. It is, in fact, reported that Ibn Hanbal explicitly identified Maruf Karkhi as one of the abdal, saying: “He is one of the Substitute-Saints, and his supplication is answered.” Of the same Sufi, Ibn Hanbal later asked rhetorically: “Is religious knowledge anything else than what Maruf has achieved?” Additionally, there are accounts of Ibn Hanbal extolling the early ascetic saint Bishr the Barefoot and his sister as two exceptional devotees of God, and of his sending people with mystical questions to Bishr for guidance. It is also recorded that Ibn Hanbal said, with regard to the early Sufis, “I do not know of any people better then them.” Moreover, there are accounts of Ibn Hanbal’s son, Sālih, being exhorted by his father to go and study under the Sufis. According to one tradition, Sālih said: “My father would send for me whenever a self-denier or ascetic (zāhid aw mutaqashshif) visited him so I could look at him. He loved for me to become like this.”
As for the Sufis’ reception of Ibn Hanbal, it is evident that he was “held in high regard” by all the major Sufis of the classical and medieval periods, and later Sufi chroniclers often designated the jurist as a saint in their hagiographies, praising him both for his legal work and for his appreciation of Sufi doctrine. Hujwiri, for example, wrote of him: “He was distinguished by devoutness and piety … Sufis of all orders regard him as blessed. He associated with great Shaykhs, such as Dhul-Nun of Egypt, Bishr al-Hafi, Sari al-Saqati, Maruf Karkhi, and others. His miracles were manifest and his intelligence sound … He had a firm belief in the principles of religion, and his creed was approved by all the [theologians].”Both non-Hanbali and Hanbali Sufi hagiographers such as Hujwiri and Ibn al-Jawzi, respectively, also alluded to Ibn Hanbal’s own gifts as a miracle worker and of the blessedness of his grave. For example, Ibn Hanbal’s own body was traditionally held to have been blessed with the miracle of incorruptibility, with Ibn al-Jawzi relating: “When the Prophet’s descendant Abū Ja’far ibn Abī Mūsā was buried next to him, Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s tomb was exposed. His corpse had not putrified and the shroud was still whole and undecayed.”
Although there is a perception that Ibn Hanbal or his school were somehow adverse to Sufism, scholarship has revealed that this opinion is more partial than objective, for there is no proof that the Hanbali school “[attacked] Sufism in itself any more than any other school,” and it is evident that “during the first centuries some major Sufis [such as Ibn Ata Allah, Hallaj, and Abdullah Ansari] … followed the Hanbalite school of law.” By the twelfth-century, the relationship between Hanbalism and Sufism was so close that one of the most prominent Hanbali jurists, Abdul Qadir Jilani, was also simultaneously the most famous Sufi of his era, and the tariqa that he founded, the Qadiriyya, has continued to remain one of the most widespread Sufi orders up till the present day. Even later Hanbali authors who were famous for criticizing some of the “deviances” of certain heterodox Sufi orders of their day, such as Ibn Qudamah, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, all belonged to Abdul Qadir Jilani’s order themselves, and never condemned Sufism outright.
As has been noted by scholars, it is evident that Ibn Hanbal “believed in the power of relics,” and supported the seeking of blessing through them in religious veneration. Indeed, several accounts of Ibn Hanbal’s life relate that he often carried “a purse … in his sleeve containing … hairs from the Prophet.” Furthermore, Ibn al-Jawzi relates a tradition narrated by Ibn Hanbal’s son Abdullah, who recalled his father’s devotion towards relics thus: “I saw my father take one of the Prophet’s hairs, place it over his mouth, and kiss it. I may have seen him place it over his eyes, and dip it in water and then drink the water for a cure.” In the same way, Ibn Hanbal also drunk from the Prophet’s bowl (technically a “second-class” relic) in order to seek blessings from it, and considered touching and kissing the sacred minbar of the Prophet for blessings a permissible and pious act. Ibn Hanbal later ordered that he be buried with the hairs of the Prophet he possessed, “one on each eye and a third on his tongue.”
As for other traditional reports, al-Dhahabi relates that Ibn Hanbal “used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet.” Citing the aforementioned report of Ibn Hanbal’s devotion towards the Prophet’s hair, al-Dhahabī then goes onto staunchly criticize whoever finds fault with the practices of tabarruk or seeking blessings from holy relics, saying: “Where is the quibbling critic of Imām Ahmad now? It is also authentically established that Abd Allāh [Ibn Hanbal’s son] asked his father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet’s pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet’s room, and he said: ‘I do not see any harm in it.’ May God protect us and you from the opinion of the dissenters and from innovations!”
Visitation to the Prophet’s grave
When asked by his son Abdullah about the legitimacy of touching and kissing the grave of the Prophet in Medina, Ibn Hanbal is said to have approved of both these acts as being permissible according to sacred law.
Independent reasoning by muftis
Ibn Hanbal also had a strict criterion for ijtihad or independent reasoning in matters of law by muftis and the ulema. One story narrates that Ibn Hanbal was asked by Zakariyyā ibn Yaḥyā al-Ḍarīr about “how many memorized ḥadīths are sufficient for someone to be a mufti [meaning a mujtahid jurist or one capable of issuing independently-reasoned fatwas].”According to the narrative, Zakariyyā asked: “Are one-hundred thousand sufficient?” to which Ibn Hanbal responded in the negative, with Zakariyyā asking if two-hundred thousand were, to which he received the same response from the jurist. Thus, Zakariyyā kept increasing the number until, at five-hundred thousand, Ibn Hanbal said: “I hope that that should be sufficient.” As a result, it has been argued that Ibn Hanbal disapproved of independent reasoning by those muftis who were not absolute masters in law and jurisprudence.
Ibn Hanbal narrated from Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Qaṭṭān that the latter said: “If someone were to follow every rukhṣa [dispensation] that is in the ḥadīth, he would become a transgressor (fāsiq).” It is believed that he quoted this on account of the vast number of forged traditions of the Prophet.
Ibn Hanbal appears to have been a formidable opponent of “private interpretation,” and actually held that it was only the religious scholars who were qualified to properly interpret the holy texts.One of the creeds attributed to Ibn Hanbal opens with: “Praise be to God, who in every age and interval between prophets (fatra) elevated learned men possessing excellent qualities, who call upon him who goes astray (to return) to the right way.” It has been pointed out that this particular creed “explicitly opposes the use of personal judgement (raʾy) … [as basis] of jurisprudence.”
Differences of Opinion
Ibn Hanbal was praised both in his own life and afterwards for “his serene acceptance of juridicial divergences among the” various schools of Islamic law. According to later notable scholars of the Hanbali school like Ibn Aqil and Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Hanbal “considered every madhhab correct and abhorred that a jurist insist people follow his even if he considered them wrong and even if the truth is one in any given matter.” As such, when Ibn Hanbal’s student Ishāq ibn Bahlūl al-Anbārī had “compiled a book on juridicial differences … which he had named The Core of Divergence (Lubāb al-Ikhtilāf),” Ibn Hanbal advised him to name the work The Book of Leeway (Kitāb al-Sa’a) instead.
The following books are found in Ibn al-Nadim’s Fihrist:
Usool as-Sunnah : “Foundations of the Prophetic Tradition (in Belief)”
asSunnah : “The Prophet Tradition (in Belief)”
Kitab al-`Ilal wa Ma‘rifat al-Rijal: “The Book of Narrations Containing Hidden Flaws and of Knowledge of the Men (of Hadeeth)” Riyad: Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah
Kitab al-Manasik: “The Book of the Rites of Hajj”
Kitab al-Zuhd: “The Book of Abstinence” ed. Muhammad Zaghlul, Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1994
Kitab al-Iman: “The Book of Faith”
Kitab al-Masa’il “Issues in Fiqh”
Kitab al-Ashribah: “The Book of Drinks”
Kitab al-Fada’il Sahaba: “Virtues of the Companions”
Kitab Tha’ah al-Rasul : “The Book of Obedience to the Messenger”
Kitab Mansukh: “The Book of Abrogation”
Kitab al-Fara’id: “The Book of Obligatory Duties”
Kitab al-Radd `ala al-Zanadiqa wa’l-Jahmiyya “Refutations of the Heretics and the Jahmites” (Cairo: 1973)
Tafsir : “Exegesis”
Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ibn Hanbal has been extensively praised for both his work in the field of prophetic tradition and his defense of orthodox Sunni dogma. Abdul-Qadir Gilani stated that a Muslim could not truly be a wali of Allah except that they were upon Ibn Hanbal’s creed; despite praise from his contemporaries as well, Yahya ibn Ma’in noted that Ibn Hanbal never boasted about his achievements.
His juristic views were not always accepted. Qur’anic exegete Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, who at one time had sought to study under Ibn Hanbal, later stated that he did not consider Ibn Hanbal a jurist and gave his views in the field no weight, describing him as an expert in prophetic tradition only. Likewise, Andalusian scholar Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr did not include Ibn Hanbal or his views in his book The Hand-Picked Excellent Merits of the Three Great Jurisprudent Imâms about the main representatives of Sunni jurisprudence. Thus, while Ibn Hanbal’s prowess in the field of tradition appears to be undisputed, his status as a jurist has not enjoyed the same reception.
IMAM Ahmed Bin Hanbal
His status in the worship and in the fear of Allah is very great. He was wise and very intelligent and his prayers were always accepted by Allah. Some of his enemies filed accusations against him, which were found false and baseless later.
Once his son was explaining the tradition that Allah kneads Adam’s leaven by His hands and while explaining this he spread out his hands. So Hanbal prohibited him to do so and asked him that while explaining about the hands of Allah, not to spread out his own hands. Hanbal met many leading pious personalities of his time like Zun- noon, Bishr Hafi, Sari Saqti, Ma’ruf Karkhi. Bishr Hafi told ” He was better than me because I tried for right food for myself but he struggled for his entrie family. Sari Saqti told, ” At the time of his death, he was free from all the false accusations of Mu’tazala.”
It was reported that when Mu’tazala of Baghdad became very powerful he then created a big problem for him and asked him to accept that Qur’an is a creature. For not accepting this he was given severe punishments by the caliph’s court.
When he was taken to the caliph’s court he saw a policeman standing at the gate who told him, “Oh! leader! Do not say Qur’an is a creature, be brave like me. When I did robbery and was caught by them, they flogged me with cane for 1,000 times and I was forced to accept the crime. But I was firm and not accepted my crime and was left free from there. I was successful even for my falsehood due to my patience. But you are on the right path so you must be successful in this matter due to patience. Hanbal told him, “He will be remembered for his advice.” When he was being whipped 1,000 times by the court’s men, all of a sudden his waist belt opened and was about to fall but at the same time two hands appeared there, tied his belt and disappeared suddenly. When the court’s men saw this miracle they freed him immediately. After few days, he died. In spite of hard punishments and hardships he never accepted that Qur’an is a creature. When he was freed from the royal court some persons asked him, “What is your opinion about those enemies who gave you such severe punishments?” He replied, “They think that I am not on the right path. So all the hardships were given to me for the sake of Allah. On the Day of Judgement I will not ask any revenge for those enemies.”
It was reported that one young man approached him and told him that his mother’s hand and legs were paralysed. He requested him to do his prayers for his mother’s recovery and health. When he heard the details, he started prayers for her after ablution. When the boy reached back his home, he saw his mother was all right and she herself opened the door for her son.
Once he was doing ablution and saw another person was also sitting there for ablution. He was on the height and to pay respect he came down from there. On that person’s death someone asked him how he was? He replied, “Allah has blessed him because in his life he paid respect to Imam Hanbal.”
He used to say that once he lost the way in the jungle and he asked one Bedouin to show the way. Then he started weeping loudly. Hanbal thought that he was hungry and wanted to give some food to him but he was very angry with him.
He told, “Oh! Imam Hanbal! You have no faith in Allah. So you are giving me food like Allah. But actually you are away from the way.” Thereupon Imam Hanbal thought that Allah always keep hidden the pious persons everywhere. The Bedouin realised his thought and told him that the pious persons are those who are blessed by Allah and whatever they say is immediate done.
If they order the whole world to become gold then the world will have to change into the gold. After this when he looked there he saw that the entire desert was converted into the gold and there was divine call in which it was heard that, “He is our dear friend but if he wants to ruin the entire world then I can do the same. So you should be grateful for meeting such a great friend of mine. But after this you will not see him again.”
During his stay in Baghdad, he never ate bread there and he told, “This land was given for trust of Muslim soldiers”. He used to bring flour from Mosil and ate the bread made of that flour. His son Saleh was qazi (judge) of Isfahan for a period of one year. He used to observe fasting during the day and was busy in worship during the nights. He never slept more than two hours during the nights. He constructed a room before his house and he used to live in that room for any needy person who should visit the door of the house and should not return back from there without approaching him. He was very pious judge.
Once Imam Hanbal’s servant prepared some breads by taking some yeast from his son’s kitchen and presented the breads to Imam Hanbal. He asked him why it is so soft, then the servant explained him the details that the yeast was from his son’s kitchen. Imam Hanbal asked the servant that why he took yeast from the kitchen of qazi of Isfahan.
So that bread was not good for him to eat. Give these breads to any beggar and tell them that the breads were made from yeast of qazi’s kitchen and flour of Hanbal is included in it. If they need then they could take it. But even after 40 days no beggar collected those breads. There was bad odour in them and for this reason the servant threw the breads in the river Tigris. Imam Hanbal’s fear of Allah was so great that he did not eat even the fish of Tigris from that day. Imam Hanbal used to say, “Do not sit with a person even if he possesses a silver collyrium.” Once Imam Hanbal went to Makkah to see Sufyan Thauri to hear traditions (sayings of holy Prophet) from him. He used to visit him daily to hear the traditions. But one day, he was absent in his meeting. Sufyan Thauri sent his servant to his house to know the reason of his being absent. When the servant reached his house, he saw that he was naked as he had given his dress to the washerman.
The servant told him to take some money from him and purchase a new dress, but he did not accept his offer. He told him to sell his handwritten book and to bring ten yards of jute so that he can prepare one dress for himself. The servant asked whether he can accept silk but Imam Hanbal did not accept this and asked him to bring the jute only. It was reported that one of his disciples came to his house as guest. So he brought a pot of water before him. But it was kept in the same condition till morning. In the morning, he asked him why it was kept in the same condition. The man replied him and asked that what he was supposed to do with the water pot. He told him that it was kept before him for ablution and praying during the night. So why has he not used it? One labourer used to work for him. At the time of Maghrib prayer (prayer after sun set) when he was leaving his house, he asked his disciple to give him some more money than what he was getting as his daily wages. The disciple gave more money to the labourer but he refused to take it and accepted only his daily wages amount. So Imam Hanbal told his disciple to follow him and give him again on his way so that he may accept it. He was not greedy for more money but he may accept more amount outside.
It was reported that one of his old disciples took some soil from the high way and used that on the house wall. That high way belonged to Muslims, so for this mistake he dismissed him from his circle of disciples.
Once he kept mortgage his basin with the shopkeeper. At the time of release the shopkeeper kept before him two basins and asked him to take any one whichever he liked as he forgot which was his basin. Upon hearing this, Imam Hanbal kept silent and left the place without collecting his basin even though he cleared the dues of the shopkeeper. This was due to his fear of Allah that he did not collect the basin from the shopkeeper as he (shopkeeper) had forgotten that which basin was his. Imam Hanbal was anxious to see Abdullah Bin Mubarak and one day he visited his house. Upon his arrival there his son Saleh informed him about his arrival but Imam Hanbal became silent and did not come out of his house to see him. When his son asked him the reason that why he did not meet him as since long he had desire to see him. He replied him, “Because I thought that after meeting him it will be difficult for me to get apart from him due to his politeness, so I decided to meet him at a place from where I may not be separated from him.”
He tried to explain the Islamic laws for the matters related to mystic knowledge. He used to send the persons to see Bishr Hafi. He always said “I asked Allah for His fear so Allah gave me too much fear and for this reason there was fear for the loss of wisdom.”
He told, “Allah told me that I can come near Him due to the reading of Qur’an.” People asked him, “What is sincerity?” and he replied, “To keep away from the difficulties of action is called sincerity.” And “The trust is to keep firm confidence in Allah”. When people asked him, “What is pleasure?” He replied, “To hand over all the affairs to Allah is called pleasure.”
When the persons asked him that what is the meaning of love, then he told them to ask this to Bishr Hafi. During his life he did not reply this question.
He was asked “What is asceticism?” Imam Hanbal
explained, “For the general person’s asceticism is to keep away from haram (illegal) things and for the pious person’s asceticism is to desire for more and more halal (legal) things. To keep themselves away from all the things, which keeps away a man from Allah. This is asceticism of mystic persons.”
When he was asked about the ignorant mystic persons who were sitting in the mosques in trust of Allah, he explained them, “They are mistaken because the knowledge caused them to sit in the mosques.” When the persons told him further that were they sitting in the mosques for the sake of getting livelihood for them, he replied, “There is no group in the world which is not seeking for the livelihood.”
At the time of his death, his son asked him, “How are you?” He replied, “There is no time to reply so pray for me to end my life with faith in Allah because the Satan is telling me that anybody who leaves the world with faith is most sorrowful thing for him. So I am not confident till my last moment of life that I will leave this world with faith in Allah. Oh Allah! bless me,” and by saying this he left this world.
When his funeral procession started then many birds came over there, fell on it and died. By seeing this 2,000 persons of fire worshippers and many other accepted
Islamic religion. This happened due to his prayers in favour of nonbelievers. One pious person told that Imam Hanbal prayed for two things during his life, which are as follows: “Oh! Allah! Give faith to the nonbelievers.” “Oh! Allah! Do not take back faith from the believers.” The effect of his second prayer was seen during his lifetime as Allah did not take back faith from believers and effect of first prayer was seen upon his death.
Muhammad Bin Khuzema explained that has seen him in his dream when he was crippling, so he asked him that where he was going. He replied that he was going to Darus-Salam. Then he asked him further that how Allah blessed him? He told him, “In his lifetime he has faced many hardships and punishments for not saying Qur’an as creature. Due to this reason Allah blessed him and Allah gave him great rewards. Allah asked me to recite the prayer which Sufyan Thauri taught me and I recited that prayer there”. The meaning of the prayer is as follows: “Oh! Allah! Every thing is in your control and you are having command of all the things with you, so allow me these things and do not ask what I need.” Then Allah told me, “Oh! Ahmed! This is heaven now enter into it.” Thus he entered into the heaven.
Hazrat Imaam Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hambal rahmatullāhi alaihi :
Aap ki wilaadat Rabi’ ul awwal 164 Hijri (780 A.D.) ko Baghdad (Iraq) me hui.
Aap ke waalid ka naam Muhammad bin Hanbal al-Shaybani aur waalida ka naam Safia bint Maymunah al-Shaybania hai.
Aap Arab ke Banu Shaybaan qabeele se ta’alluq rakhte hain.
Aap ke waalid Basra ke the aur Khorasan me Abbaasi lashkar me sipaahi the aur phir Baghdad me rehne lage.
10 saal ki umr me aap Haafiz e Qur’an hue.
Aap ke waalid ke wisaal ke baad Ilm e deen sikhne ke saath aap ne daak-khaane me kaam karna shuru kiya.
Aap ne Baghdad me Imaam Abu Haneefa ke shaagird Imaam Abu Yousuf rahmatullāhi alaihi se ke paas Fiqh ki taaleem haasil ki.
Aur Hazrat Haisam ibn Bishr se Hadees ki taaleem haasil ki.
Aap ne Bishr bin al-Mufaddal, Ismāeel bin Ulayyah, Jarir bin Abdul Hamid aur Yahyā bin Saeed se bhi taaaleem haasil ki.
Phir Hadees ke ilm ke liye aur jama karne ke liye aap Iraq (Kufa, Basra), Shaam (Syria) aur Arab (Makka, Madeena) mulko ka safar karte rahe.
Kuchh saal baad aap Baghdad waapis aaye aur Imaam Shaafi’i rahmatullāhi alaihi se Hadees aur Fiqh ki taleem haasil ki.
Phir Shaafi mazhab ki majeed taaleem haasil ki.
Imaam Shaafi’i ne aap ke baare me farmaaya ki ‘Main Baghdad ko chhod raha hu aur mere baad Ahmad bin Hambal se zyada afzal Aalim aur koi nai hai.’
204 Hijri (820 A.D.) me aap ne logo ko taaleem dena shuru kiya.
Aap ke shaagirdo me Ibrāheem ibn Ya’aqoob al-Juzajani, Yahyā ibn Ma’een, Abu Bakr al-Alhram, Hambal bin Is’hāq aur Abul Qaasim al-Baghwi mash’hoor hain.
Aap hamesha saadgi ko apnaate. Aur kisi se koi tohfa nahi lete the.
Aap ne 5 baar Hajj ki sa’adat haasil ki, jin me 3 martaba paidal Hajj ada kiye.
Aap Hazrat Bishr al-Haafi rahmatullāhi alaihi ke mureed hain.
Aap teesri sadi ke Mujaddid hain.
212 Hijri (827 A.D.) me Abbaasi Khalifa al-Ma’amoon ne Baghdad ke Qaazi Is’hāq bin Ibrāheem ko paigaam bheja ke ‘Tum Baghdaad ke tamaam ulama aur muqtadir logo ko jama’a karo aur un par ye Aqeeda pesh karo ke Qur’an Makhlooq hai, jo maan le us ko amaan do aur jo na maane un ke jawaab likhkar mujhe bhej do.’
Bahot se log is fitne me mubtila ho gaye aur jaan bachaane ki khaatir Qur’an Makhlooq hone ka baatil aqeeda qubool kar liya. Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal se jab puchha gaya to aap ne kaha ke ‘Main sirf ye kehta hu ke Qur’an ALLĀH ka kalaam hai.’ Is’hāq bin Ibrāheem ne aap ka jawaab Ma’amoon Rasheed ko likhkar bheja. Ma’moon Rasheed ne paigaam bheja ‘Jo shakhs is aqeede se muwaafiqat na kare us ko Dars aur iftaa se rok do.’
218 Hijri (833 A.D.) me al-Ma’amoon ne Mihna (Inquisition) shuru kiya aur Qaazi e Baghdaad ko likha ke ‘Jo Log is aqeeda se muwaafiqat na kare un ko qaid kar lo. Agar Khalq e Qur’an ka iqraar kar le to theek hai warna un ko qatl kar diya jaaye.’
Hazrat Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal, Hazrat Mohammad bin Nooh aur Hazrat Qawaareri ke siwa Baghdaad ke tamaam ulama ne khauf ke sabab Khalq e Qur’an ka iqraar kar liya. Qaazi ke hukm se Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal wagairah ko qaid kar ke Ma’moon ki taraf bhijwa diya gaya. Lekin us se pehle ke Ma’moon in buzurgo par talwaar uthaata Saif e Qaza ne khud us ka kaam tamaam kar diya.
Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ke shaagird Ahmad bin Gassan bayaan karte hain ke Khalifa ke hukm par mujhe aur Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal rahmatullāhi alaihi ko giraftaar kar ke khalifa ke paas le jaaya jaa raha tha. Raaste me Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ko ye khabar mili ke Khalifa Ma’amoon Rasheed ne qasam khai he ke agar Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ne Khalq e Qur’an ka qaul na kiya to wo unko aur unke shagird ko maar kar Halaak kar dega. Us Waqt Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ne aasmaan ki taraf sar utha kar kaha ‘Aye ALLĀH! Aaj us faajir ki itni jur’at ho gai ke ye tere Auliya ko lalkaarta hai. Agar tera Qur’an ghair makhlooq hai to hum se us ki mashakkat ko door farma.’
Abhi raat ka ek tihaai hissa bhi nahi guzra tha ke Sipaahi daudte hue aaye aur kaha ke ‘Aye Abu Abdullāh! Tum waaqai sache ho aur Qur’an ghair makhlooq hai. qasam bakhuda Khalifa halaak ho gaya.’
218 Hijri (833 A.D.) me Ma’amoon Rasheed halaak hua aur us ka bhai Moatasim billāh bin Hāroon Rasheed Khalifa bana. Ma’moon ki tarah al-Moatasim billāh bhi Aitezaal ka haami tha. Us ne hukoomat sambhaalne ke baad Aqeeda e Aitezaal ki tarwij ki. Pehle mukhtalif heelo se Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ko Aitezaal ki taraf maa’il karne ki koshish karta raha. Aakhir me 220 Hijri (835 A.D.) me us ne Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ko darbaar e khilaafat me talab kiya.
Us waqt Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ki umr 56 saal ki ho chuki thi aur jism jaeef ho chuka tha. Lekin aisaab folaad ki tarah mazboot aur iraade chattaan se zyada raasikh the. Khalifa ke saamne ek taweel munaazara hua. Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ka buniyaadi nukta ye tha ke Qur’an ALLĀH ka kalaam hai aur ALLĀH ta’ala ki sifat hai. Agar ye Haadis ho to ALLĀH ta’ala ki zaat mahal e hawaadis ban jaayegi aur ye Muhaal hai.’ Khalifa Imaam Ahmad ki is daleel ka koi jawaab na de saka.
Bil aakhir Mo’atazili qaazi aur Mo’atazili ulama ke mashware par Khalifa ne aap ko saza dene ka faisla kiya. Khalifa ne jallaad ko bulaaya aur us se Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ke jism par kode maarne ka hukm diya. Ek jallaad jab kode maarte maarte thak jaata to dusra jallaad aata. Is tarah baar baar jallaad badalte rahe aur Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal sabr o isteqaamat se kode khaate rahe.
Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal ko jab kode maare jaa rahe the to usi ashna me zarb e shadeed ki wajah se aap ka izaarband toot gaya. Qareeb tha ke be-satari ho jaati. Aap ne ALLĀH se dua ki ‘Ya Ilāhal aalameen! Tu khoob jaanta hai. Agar main haq par hu to meri pardaposhi farma.’ Foran aap ka paajaama apni jagah rook gaya jaise kisi ne aap ke tehband ko khulne se rok liye.
Qaidkhaane me jab aap be-hosh ho gaye aur logo ko is baat ka pata chala to Baghdad me inqalaab ka maahol ho gaya. Is liye al-Mu’tasim ko aap ko riha karna pada.
Daar ul Khilaafat se Qaazi Is’hāq bin Ibrāheem Mo’atazali ke makaan par laaye gaye. Aap Rozedaar the. Kamzori bahot thi, lihaaza khaane ke liye sattoo wagairah laaye gaye lekin aap ne roza mukammal farmaaya.
Zohar ki namaaz wahi adaa farmaai. Qaazi Ibne Sama’a ne kaha ke ‘Aap ne namaaz khoon aalooda jism wa kapdo me padh li?’ Aap ne farmaaya ke ‘Hazrat Umar Faarooq radiy-Allāhu anhu ne bhi isi haalat me namaaz padhi thi.’ Ye sunkar Qaazi khaamosh ho gaye.
Mo’atzila ke is fitne me 5 ulama saabit qadam rahe aur aap sab ke sardaar the. In me se Mohammad bin Nooh ka inteqaal raaste hi me ho gaya, Naeem bin Hammaad Khazaai aur Abu Ya’aqoob ka wisaal qaid khaane me hua, Aur chauthe Ahmad bin Nasr Khazaai.
Is mauqe par kisi ne aap se kaha ki ‘Jab bahot zyada zulm hone ka khatra ho to us ki baat maan leni chaahiye aur dil me hume apna aqeeda sahi rakhna chaahiye, shariat me is ki ijaazat hai.’ To aap ne farmaaya ‘Agar main khaamosh rahunga aur tum bhi khaamosh rahoge to jaahilo ko sahi baat kaun samjhayega?’
Is ke baad 227 Hijri (841 A.D.) me al-Moatasim billāh ke baad us ka beta al-Waasiq billāh khalifa bana. Us ne aap ko Baghdad se baahar bhej diya aur Baghdad me aane par rok laga di.
233 Hijri (848 A.D.) me al-Waasiq ka bhai al-Mutawakkil Khalifa bana, jo Sunni aqeede par tha. Us ne aap ko phir se ba-izzat Baghdad waapas bulaaya.
Aap ki likhi hui mash’hoor kitaaben :
(1) Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
(2) Kitaab-ul-Ilal wa Ma’arifat al-Rijaal
(8) Kitaab-ul-Fazaa’il al-Sahaaba
(9) Kitaab Sa’ah-ul-Rasool
(11) Kitaab al-Radd ala al-Zanadiqa wal-Jahmiyya
Aap Aa’imma e Araba me se hain.
Aap ka mazhab e fiqh (School of law or Islamic jurisprudence) ‘Hanbali’ naam se mashhoor hai.
Aap ke 2 biwiya aur 7 saahabzaade aur 1 saahbzaadi hain.
(1) Abbaasah bint Fazl (Nikaah 204 Hijri /819 A.D.) se
1 saahabzaada : Saalih.
(2) Raihanah bint Umar se
1 saahabzaada : Abdullāh.
(3) Ummul walad
5 saahabzaade : Hasan aur Husain (jin ks bachpan me hi inteqaal hua), Hasan aur Muhammad, Saeed.
1 saahabzaadi : Zainab.
Aap ke paas Huzoor Rasool-Allāh sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ke 3 baal mubarak the. Aap ne apne saahabzaade ko wasiyat farmaai ke ‘Mere wisaal ke baad ek baal mubarak meri daayi aankh par, ek baal mubarak baayi aankh par aur ek baal mubarak mere munh me rakh dena.’
Aap ka wisaal 12 Rabi’ ul aakhir 241 Hijri (855 A.D.) ko 77 saal ki umr me hua.
Aap ke janaaza me taqreeban 800000 saamil hue.
Aap ki namaaz e janaaza ke waqt 40000 ghair- muslim kalma padhkar Islaam me daakhil hue.
Aap ka mazaar Baghdad (Iraq) me hai.
Aap ke wisaal ke 230 saal baad aap ke mazaar ke pehlu me ek dusri qabr khodi gai to aap ki qabr ka ek taraf ka hissa khul gaya. Jab logo ne dekha to aap ka jism aur kafan dono mehfooz the.
ALLĀH ta’ala us ke Habeeb sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ke sadqe me
Aur Hazrat Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal rahmatullāhi alaihi ke aur tamaam Auliya Allāh ke waseele se
Sab ko mukammal ishq e Rasool ata farmae aur Sab ke Eimaan ki hifaazat farmae. aur Sab ko nek amal karne ki taufiq ata farmae.
Aur Sab ko dunya wa aakhirat me kaamyaabi ata farmae aur Sab ki nek jaa’iz muraado ko puri farmae.