THE HAMBALI SCHOOL
OF FIQH - IMAM AHMED BIN HAMBAL (164 A.H. - 241 A.H.)
Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa, Imam Maalik, Imam Shaafi and Imam Ahmed bin Hambal
(radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in)are the leaders of the four schools of Fiqh (Islamic
"FIQH" is the Science of Islamic Law or Jurisprudence.
It refers to the collection and compilation of Islamic laws based on the Holy
Quran and the Sunnah of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
These great Muslims devoted themselves to the task of developing the science
of understanding Islamic Law and its practise.
Although they differed from each other, all the four
great Imams had great respect for each other. They were all teachers and pupils
of each other for the common goal of enhancing their knowledge about Islam.
All of them were unanimous on Aqa'ids (Islamic Beliefs). We, as Muslims, must
respect the different Sunni schools of thought.
Imam Abu Abdullah Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hambal (radi Allahu anhu) was born
in Marw on the 20th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 164 A.H.
His father, Sayyiduna Mohammed (radi Allahu anhu) was a warrior (Mujaahid)
and lived in Basrah, Iraq. Imam Ahmed bin Hambal (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 Hambal (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
- HIS PIETY
Imam Ahmed bin Hambal (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.
Imam Ahmed bin Hambal (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 Hambal (radi
Allahu anhu) forgave all the people except the Mutazalis. He passed away in
the year 241 A.H.