This title is a small book or an epistle by the foremost expert in Hadith; al-Imam al-Dhahabi. In it he clarifies Imam Abi Hanifa's position in Knowledge of Fiqh as well as Hadith. Since the author is an authority in the field of Jarh wal Ta'dil, his conclusion regarding contemporary issues namely that Imam Abu Hanifa was not strong in Hadith or that he was weak in that field will be put to rest.
al-Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, al-Hanafi, who was one of the last 'Ottoman scholars has edited this book along with Abu Wafa al-Afghani. This makes this small title more attractive as it contains ocean of information.
AN EXCELLENT WORK.
About the Author:
The Author Muhammad bin Ahmad bin `Uthman bin Qaymaz at Turkamani, Shams al-Din al-Dimashqi al-Dhahabi al-Shafi`i (673-748 AH), the imam, Shaykh al-Islam, head of hadith masters, critic and expert examiner of the hadith, encyclopedic historian and biographer, and foremost authority in the canonical readings of the Qur'an. Born in Damascus where his family lived from the time of his grandfather `Uthman, he sometimes identified himself as Ibn al-Dhahabi - son of the goldsmith - in reference to his father's profession.
al-Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) is considered one of the foremost authorities in critically scrutinizing the reporters of Hadith (ilm al-asma wa ‘l-rijal). He compiled many works in this regard such as Mizan al-I’tidal fi Naqd al-Rijal (The Scale of Justice in Critically Examining the Reporters), Siyar A’lam al-Nubala (The Lives of Noble Figures), Al-Mughni fi ‘l-Du’afa (an authoritative abridged manual of weak narrators) and Tadhkirat al-Huffaz (The Memoirs of the Hadith Masters). In his work, Mizan al-I’tidal, Imam Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) deals with a large number of reporters, both the authenticated/reliable and the criticized/unreliable, although he does mention in his introduction to the book that he will not include the biographies of the Companions (sahaba) and renowned authorities of Islam. He states:
“Similarly, I will not mention in my book [i.e. Mizan al-I’tidal] any of the followed Imams of Furu’ (Fiqh and other subsidiary matters of religion) due to their loftiness in Islam and prominence in the hearts [of people], such as Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i and Bukhari...” (See: Mizan al-I’tidal 1/3, taken from Shaykh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghudda’s footnotes on Imam Lakhnawi’s Al-Raf’ wa ‘l-Takmil P: 122)
About the Editor:
Muhammad Zahid ibn Hasan al-Kawthari al-Hanafi al-Ash`ari (1296-1371), the adjunct to the last Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman Caliphate and a major Hanafi jurist praised by Imam Muhammad Abu Zahra as a Reviver (mujaddid) of the fourteenth Islamic century. He studied under his father as well as the scholar of Qur'an and hadith Ibrahim Haqqi (d. 1345), Shaykh Zayn al-`Abidin al-Alsuni (d. 1336), Shaykh Muhammad Khalis al-Shirwani, al-Hasan al-Aztuwa'i, and others. When the Caliphate fell he moved to Cairo, then Sham, then Cairo again until his death, where the late Shaykhs `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and `Abd Allah al-Ghumari became his students. Following is his prestigious chain of transmission in fiqh.
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It is the beginning which should be supervised carefully, for a child is a creature whose essence is receptive to both good and evil: it is only its parents who cause it to be disposed to one or the other. As the Prophet said, ‘Every child is born with the sound natural disposition [fitra]: it is only his parents who make of him a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian’.