Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Hazrat Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was a great Muslim Imam. His full name is Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu Abdullah Al-Shaybani. He was born 164 AH (780 CE) in Baghdad. He belonged to the tribe of Shayban from both parents. He was still an infant when his father died.

He studied fiqh (jurisprudence) under the Hazrat Abu Yusuf (a student and companion of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa). He was also a student of Hazrat Imam Al-Shafi.

When he was about 15 years old he started to study hadith (sayings/actions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him). He travelled the Muslim ruled lands to seek knowledge from the great Muslim scholars of his time. Musnad is a book of hadith compiled by him, this is the most important of his works. About 40,000 ahadith (plural of hadith) have been recorded in this book.

His faith in Allah subhanahu wata'ala and his understanding of Deen (religion) was tested when he took a stance against the Khalifa (Caliph) at the time, Mamoon. The Khalifa declared that even though the Quran is the speech of Allah subhanahu wata'ala, Allah subhanahu wata'ala created the Quran as a physical entity like any other living being. Many scholars of the time were punished and forced to agree. But Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and his companion Muhammad ibn Nuh stood firm in their belief against the ruler.

After Mamoon's death, Muttasim took over and continued the reign of torture, he had Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal flogged in public. When Muttasim died, Wathiq became the Khalifa and banished Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal from Baghdad. After Wathiq's death, his brother Mutawakkil became the Khalifa and circumstances started to change. He ordered to stop all discussions regarding the creation of the Quran and restored Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal's status.

He had eight children and many disciples. He went for Hajj five times during his lifetime, twice on foot. He died in Baghdad in 241 AH (855 CE).

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