Download PDF: [S] Debate with Imam Abu Hanifah
It is reported that once there was a group of people who went to Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – to debate the issue of reading Surah Fatiha behind an Imam. Bear in mind that these were not people who came with the intention to clarify but came with the intention to belittle the great Imam.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – asked them to nominate a person among them who would debate with him because it would not be possible with all of them at once. They nominated someone among them who was considered as the most learned among them. The great Imam then asked them, “Whatever this person says, will this be considered as something which is being said by all of you?” The people agreed that yes, this would be so. The great Imam then asked, “If this person is successful or is defeated in this debate, will this be considered your collective defeat and success?” They all replied that yes, they would accept this. Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – then asked them how this was possible. They replied, “The reason is that we have chosen him as our leader and Imam. Hence his success is our success and his defeat is our defeat.”
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – then declared, “If that is the case then the debate is over. This is what I am saying that when a person is nominated as an Imam, then his Qirah is my Qirah and therefore, there would be nothing for me to read.”
When these people heard this reply, they were clearly stunned.
Bear in mind that there were many people who came to the four Imams not with the intention of learning something but with the intention of insulting them or trying to prove them wrong.
There is no doubt that besides been blessed with immense knowledge and acumen, Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – was also blessed with immense intelligence as well. Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Malik – may Allah be pleased with him –has mentioned that, “I had the opportunity of meeting Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him – and he was such a person who if he wanted to prove that the pillar was gold in spite of it being another colour, he had the intelligence of being able to do so. The best part is that he would have been able to prove this point using evidence as well.”