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Abu Abdullah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, leader of “Hanbalites” (one of the four Sunni sects) and great Iskamic traditionist and jurisconsult. He was born in 780 in Baghdad. His family was from Khorasan –Iran, his great grand father was governor of “Sarakhs” (city in Iran) and his father was commander of army and died at the age of 30. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal went to school at the age of 14 and studied in the presence of great scholars. He also travelled to Cufa and Basra and studied ynder great traditionists. Soon he was able to teach jurisprudence & #### Hadith. He had many students and narrators (narrator is a person who narrates Hadiths). One of the most important events in his life was “Mehnat event”: In 832, “Ma’moon” (Abbasside caliph) wrote a letter to the policeman of Baghdad and ordered him to ask the judges and traditionists of this city about “Creating the Quran”; he also ordered to threaten them if they do not give evidence, they will be killed. Therefore all the judges and traditionists accpted “Creating the Quran” but Ahmad Ibn Hanbal did not give evidence and just said that: “the Quran is speech od God” and some others also confirmed him. Eventually all accepted but Ahmad Ibn Hanbal fought against this belief bravely. So he was imprisoned for 28 months.
The scientific and social position
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal had a high position and the related sciences, he was also expert at reading the Quran (Qara’at). Hanbalite is the fourth Sunni sect which is attributed to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, but he was more a traditinist than a jurisconsult. “Shafeyi” (the leader of one of the Sunni sects called “Shafeyi” ) said about him: “Hanbal was the most virtuous and learned person in Baghdad.” Hanbal was a patient, generous and modest man. It is said that he had many miracles; the book “Virtues of Imam Ahmad” (written by Ibn Jowzi) has been written about him.
Ahmad followed the method of traditionists, it means that he was against interpreting the Quranic verses and also the Prophet’s Hadiths. Therefore he was strongly opposed to some of the Islamic sects, he was also against theologians. He belived that, respecting traditionists is the same as respecting the Holy Prophet. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal believed that, “Abu Bakr”, “Omar” and “Othman” are the best companions of the Holy Prophet and we should keep quiet about the superiority of Imam Aali (p.b.u.h), because in the Prophet’s Hadiths, only the superiority of those threes has been noticed and there is nothing about Ali (p.b.u.h).
Religious fanaticism, strictness and harshness were his moral features which are considered in all his works.
It is said that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was not interested in writing books but he has some books on Hadith, beliefs and Quranic sciences; also many persons have collected his ideas and fatwas. The following are some of his works:
1- Mosnad (including 30000 Hadiths which are quoted from himself and is his most important work).
2- Women’s commandments
3- Names and nicknames
6- Virtues of companions
7- Self-restraint, etc.
Some of his books which have been collected by his students:
1- Questions of Imam Ahmad (Davoud Sajestani)
2- Questions of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (Abdullah Ibn Ahmad)
3- Questions of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (Isaac Neishabouri)
Ahmad had many students and narrators, but some of them as the transmitters of his works and thoughts to the next generation, are more important than the rest. Some of them are as following:
1- Abu Hatam Razi
2- Muhammad Ibn Ismail Bokhari
3- Abu Davoud Sajestani
4- Muslem Ibn Hajjaj
5- Abu Isaac Jowzi, etc.
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal died in 854 in Baghdad.
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