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Passion Islam I July 2008 SPECIAL FEATURE I 21
Imam Abu Yusuf’s
The Life and works of
rahmatullahi alaihi
humble beginnings in
the path of knowledge
Imam Abu Yusuf (RA)
mirror what many
young Muslims suffer
today from parental
displeasure at occupying
oneself in acquiring the
sacred knowledge of
Islam, at the detriment of
one’s secular studies or
in pursuing a career.
strange to us today, but in reality it is the her.” This Masalah applies equally to even with all his duties, offer two hundred
hallmark of the true seeker of knowledge. men and the only person we find the text Rakaas in Tahajjud every night.
It is recorded in several books that after amiting it to women is because these are
thirty years had passed in the circle of Imam the exact words relayed to Imam Abu Final moments of a grand living:
Abu Hanifah rahmatullahi alaihi without Yusuf rahmatullahi alaihi from his teacher The Imam’s rahmatullahi alaihi last
being absent for a single day. Then one Abu Hanifah rahmatullahi alaihi when moments before departing from this
early morning disaster struck the house of he asked him the Masalah (which had World were spent in pain and restricted
Imam Abu Yusuf rahmatullahi alaihi when arisen concerning women). So precious to his bed. It is narrated that once, during
the Imam’s young son became severely were these words to the Imam he did not his time, a visitor entered upon him and
ill and died. That morning the funeral even adjust the words to suit the general noticed the Imam was in a distressed
prayer was to be held and burial was to applicability of the ruling. state, the visitor questioned him, “Is it
take place. The problem was that it meant In another place in al Hidayah we find the pangs of death? The Imam replied:
that the Imam would, after thirty years the rare phase “… and accordingly to “It is not that, the reason for my unease
of diligent attendance have to miss his Yaqub,” the explanation for this that Imam is my fear about what Allah (SWT) will
Imam’s lecture. It bore too heavily on the Abu Yusuf rahmatullahi alaihi stipulated do to me because of a case I judged
Imam, that he should be deprived of even out of deference for his teacher, that between a Muslim and a Jew. Though al-
a moment of learning, compelling him “whenever my opinion conflict with the Hamdulillah, I judged in the end correctly-
to arrange for his neighbours to conduct Imam’s relay it from Yaqub” and not from in favour of the Jew I cannot forget that
the funeral prayers and see to the burial Abu Yusuf. in the court the Muslim was seated in a
whilst he could take his place in the circle As for Imam Abu Yusuf’s rahmatullahi higher position than the Jew (showing
of the great Imam. Amazing! Especially alaihi recognition of his colleagues Imam inequality).” Allahu Akhbar!, can there be
for those students amongst us who due Muhammad rahmatullahi alaihi in term a more strictly example of Taqwa? May
to a minor cold or headache nonchalantly of his immense erudition as shown, for Allah bestow upon us the Taqwa of our
absent ourselves for hours and even days example by the fact that the Imam reduced Predecessors-Ameen.
from our ustadh’s lectures. the Najasah of the urine of such animals There are several other Hadiths related
that can be eaten from being ghalizah about the Imam during his final illness,
True knowledge inherits love, respect to khafifah because Imam Muhammad such as him discussing Figh issues
and humbleness: rahmatullahi alaihi held contrary to the with his visitors in between bouts of
One can fully gorge the depth of Imam majority of scholars, that their urine is unconsciousness. It is recorded that just
Abu Yusuf’s rahmatullahi alaihi knowledge pure. before he died he said: “O Allah! You know
by a study of the famous Hanafi fiqh book that I never intentionally judged against
al-Hidayah. The arguments and proofs On the seat of Chief Justice: the apparent. I have always gave your
that he gives to bolster his positions often Later on in life Imam Abu Yusuf Book and the Sunnah of your Messenger
time leaving the reader mesmerised and rahmatullahi alaihi was given the highest predence over all else. And whenever a
in awe. On many occasions he takes a legal post in the entire Khilafah; that of complex issue would arise I would use
position against the other Imams, but this qadi ul Qudat, the modern equivalent Imam Abu Hanifah rahmatullahi alaihi
in no way indicates that any sort of rivalry of a Chief Justice. During the day he’d as my source, and to my knowledge
or enmity existed between them. In fact listen to the cases and give Fatawa. The he used to understand your laws fully,
Imam Abu Yusuf rahmatullahi alaihi had visitors to his court were amazed at his never leaving the bounds of the Truth on
indescribable awe and each and every skill, the most complicated legal issues purpose. I thank Allah (SWT) and it is His
word that would leave his mouth, which would be put before him and in a matter blessing upon me that I never knowingly
is shown by the fact that in the text of al- of moments he would have them solved. opposed anyone nor ever favoured any
Hidayah in one issue related to Hajj we find The night would be given over to teaching side, whether king or subject. O Allah! You
the words: “Were a woman to do Tamattu; Hadith and Fiqh. One would imagine one are aware that I never intentionally partook
and then sacrifice a sheep it would not who is so occupied in these affairs would of anything forbidden nor consumed any
suffice her for the Dam of Tamattu as have little time for the worship of his lord, unlawful dirhams…” -
she performed what was not wajib upon but on the contrary the Imam was able to
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