Imam Tahawi - How he became Hanafi

Discussion in 'Siyar an-Nubala' started by Unbeknown, Apr 14, 2019.

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  1. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Yes, please! Their stupidities are truly endless.

    And it was my stupidity to quote from a Deobandi so quickly. I should have asked instead of told. A lesson for next time.
    I read that it was alaHazrat who gave him the title of Sadrush Shari'at. There are a few taqareez also by alaHazrat in the opening chapters of Bahar.e.Shari'at.

    I also read in the book called AlaHazrat bazabaane Sadre Shari'at that alaHazrat would not listen to the wa'z (speech) of anyone apart from Sadrush Shari'at and one or two others.

    Also, when alaHazrat became ill during one of his speeches, he ordered Sadrush Shari'at to finish off the speech.

    Muhaddith.e.Kabir 'Allama Zia.ul.Mustafa is the son of Sadrush Shari'at, right?
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  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    oh, dear! if i had known, i would not have missed a swipe at deo-bandi learning. alright then, some other time... :wink:

    as for my source, i left out the name deliberately.

    the blessed shaykh is mawlana wasiy ahmed surati also known as muhaddith surati; who was the teacher of mawlana amjad ali ansari al-a'azmi, the author of bahar-e-shariat. mawlana muhaddith surati was among the greatest sunni muhaddithes of his time (he was senior to alaHazrat even). alaHazrat met him in a majlis and mentioned the need of a teacher for his newly started school, 'manzar e islam' in bareilly. mawlana wasiy ahmed surati recommended mawlana amjad ali a'azmi for the post and the rest is history.

    mawlana amjad ali arrived at 'manzar e islam' as a teacher and soon recognized the genius of imam ahmed riDa khan and subsequently became his admirer, a disciple and a favorite student. he was instrumental in urging alaHazrat to translate the qur'an in urdu and also wrote it down on alaHazrat's dictation. infact, no less than alaHazrat praised the juridical abilities (tafaqquh) of mawlana amjad ali and since alaHazrat was himself a master and peerless in that discipline, this remains an outstanding attestation.

    mawlana amjad ali also led the funeral prayer of alaHazrat according to alaHazrat's own will. [update: thus it was said in the will, (and i had heard from someone) but it alahazrat's son mawlana Hamid raza led the funeral prayer. i had mixed it up back then when it was first posted in 2005. brother qasim had corrected it in a follow up post above]

    mawlana wasiy ahmed surati rahimahullah made a very important contribution to both hanafi fiqh and hadith - he tried to publish a corrected version of the error-filled manuscript of imam tahawi's 'sharh ma'ani al-athar', a compendium of hadith and certainly those hadith that are the source of hanafi fiqh. it was an arduous task but typos persisted which mawlana amjad ali wished to correct after completing 'bahar e shariat'. he also expressed his desire to annotate both 'ma'ani al-athar' and 'mushkil al-athar' (imam tahawi's other masterpiece).

    sadly, mawlana amjad ali suffered many personal tragedies - lost his many children and grandchildren - and eventually lost his sight. even his 'bahar-e-shariat' went incomplete. may Allah grant the mawlana loftiest of paradises for his great gift to the sunni muslims of the subcontinent.

    raDiyallahu `anhu wa arDah.

    ps: oh, yes i forgot: the above excerpt is from an accompanying biography of imam tahawi in the 'ma'ani al-athar', edited by mawlana muhaddith surati.

    Allah knows best.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  3. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    It is in a book by a Deobandi called Bayan al-Fawa'id hal Sharh al-'Aqaid. It's his commentary on the Sharh 'Aqaid of Imam Taftazani.
  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    may i ask for a reference?

    this story accuses imam tahawi of 'choosing' a madh'hab because it was favorable to him? and quotes a shafiyi position which i don't think is true. even common sense would not allow such an unjust thing (as to leave a child die in the womb) let alone the noble madh'hab of imam shafiyi.

    imam tahawi was a shafiyi and a student of imam muzani who was also his maternal uncle (*) . imam tahawi adopted the Hanafi madh'hab because he considered that to be more correct than others. ibn abidin classifies him as (rasm al-mufti) belonging to the third in the seven grade of mujtahids - arbab at-tarjih. and an absolute mujtahid in those matters which have not been reported by the imams of madh'hab.

    here is a translation from a biographical note by a student of ahmad ali saharanpuri:

    he was an imam of the Hanafi scholars. he was born in the year 229 AH and passed away in 321 AH. he accompanied muzani who was also his maternal uncle. he learnt fiqh from him and eventually left him and adopted the hanafi madh'hab and was an outstanding scholar (imam), a trustworthy narrator (thiqah) and exceptionally intelligent (aqilan). there is none who can compare to him among those who came after him. this is how as-sam'ani and others have reported.

    he was also an authority in the field of Hadith (1) and a mountain of knowledge (2). suyuti has included him in his compilation of the Huffadh (3) and he said: "he was a trustworthy narrator, a faqih and nobody like him came after him. he is the greatest Hanafi faqih in egypt."

    he was exceptional scholar and had a mastery of fiqh and Hadith and he has written outstanding treatises and very useful books.

    shaykh abu is'haq says: 'he is the greatest Hanafi faqih in egypt'.

    others have mentioned that he followed the shafiyi madh'hab in the beginning, and was studying under muzani. one day, muzani told him: 'by Allah, you are hopeless'. abu ja'afar (at-tahawi) was angry and went to study under ibn abu `imran.(4) when he wrote his famous 'al-mukhtaSar', he said: 'may Allah have mercy on abu ibrahim (al-muzani), if he were alive today, he would have recompensed for his oath'

    abu ya'ala al-khalili has said in his book 'al-irshad' in the biographical note on al-muzani: 'at-tahawi was the son of al-muzani's sister. muhammad ibn ahmad as-shuruTi asked tahawi 'why did you forsake the madh'hab of your uncle?', he replied: 'because he would refer to imam abu Hanifah's books (5) constantly'. this is how it is reported in 'mir'at al-jinan' and 'tarikh ibn khallikan'.


    1. marj'a al-khalayiq fi `ilm al-Hadith

    2. wi'a li ulumi'd din literally means 'a great container of knowledge' but i have used a similar expression to convey the meaning.

    3. Hafiz is an outstanding scholar of Hadith who has memorized some hundred thousand hadith along with the knowledge of each of its narrators.

    4. abu ja'afar ahmed ibn abu imran was a student of imam abu yusuf who was imam abu Hanifah's most prominent student. though he is considered as the seniormost, in truth it is dawud at-Ta'i who became a recluse instead. it is said that if he had chosen to write and teach like other students of imam al-a'aDHam, he would have outshone everyone amongst them - but he took zuhd from imam al-a'aDHam more than anything else. rahimahuma'Allah wa raDiya `anhum wa `anna bi sababihim.

    5. he might have meant that 'what has been reported from imam abu Hanifah' because that is what imam muhammad did - convey the opinion of imam abu Hanifah in his six books known as zahir ar-riwayah.

    Allah knows best.

    * edited: i had written that imam shafiyi was imam al-muzani's uncle; i remember having read that somewhere but i may be wrong. hence i have removed that line from above.
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  5. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Imam Tahawi's birth was not a conventional one. His mother died during her pregnancy so her stomach had to be opened in order for the child (Imam Tahawi) to live.

    Due to his relatives, Imam Tahawi was initially a Shafi'i. In this madhab, if a pregnant mother dies, the child is not retrieved, that is, it is also left to die in her womb. In the Hanafi madhab, the child is saved.

    When older, Imam Tahawi learnt of the two positions of Shafi'i and Abu Hanifa and changed his madhab to Hanafi saying that he would not follow a madhab of one who was happy to let him die.

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