The Birthdate of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah

By Mawlana Zeeshan Chaudri

He was born in the year 80AH which was during the time of the young companions.[1] Other scholars like Zāhid al-Kawtharī have argued for an earlier date, which would have made it more acceptable for him to have narrated and learnt from the companions.[2] He presents the narration from Tarīkh Bahgdād, where Muzāḥim Ibn Dhawwād Ibn ‘Ulbah[3] narrates from his father (or possibly someone else) that Abū Ḥanīfah was born in the year 61AH[4]. Al-Khatīb al-Baghdādī follows this narration up with the words ‘I do not know of any support for the person holding this opinion’[5].

The problem with the narration is apparent, and that is we are not sure who the actual narrator is. Is it Dhawwād Ibn ‘Ulbah or someone else?[6] If the narrator is Dhawwād Ibn ‘Ulbah, then he has been weakened by many Ḥadīth scholars[7] and if it is other than him, then an unknown authority narrates the date. This would then hold no weight.

As for al-Kawtharī’s evidences for an earlier date, he begins by citing from Abū Ḥātim Ibn Ḥibbān’s (d.354/965)[8] biography of Abū Ḥanīfah in his ‘al-Majrūḥīn min al-Muḥaddithīn wa al-Dhu’afā’ wa al-Matrūkīn’[9], which mentions the birthdate of Abū Ḥanīfah as 70AH, without mentioning any other date. This was read by al-Kawtharī in al-Azhar Library, Egypt. Although he does mention that there has been a correction in the margin of the manuscript which places the date at 80AH.[10]

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Why do we refer to ourselves as Māturīdīs?

By Rustam Mahdi
Translated by Mawlānā Suhail Akubat

The following is a translation of a short and basic Arabic article by Rustam Mahdi entitled “Why do we call ourselves Maturidis?”[1] A brief footnote has been added to clarify one particular issue which Salafis commonly use to claim that Hanafi ‘aqida is different from Maturidi ‘aqida.[2] – The Translator

It saddens us that a statement has begun to circulate amongst people, especially the salafis, that: ‘Why do you call yourselves Maturidis? Is the creed of Abu Hanifah not convincing enough for you that you have turned away from it and have turned towards that which Abu Mansur al-Maturidi was inclined to?’

The problem with many Salafis is that they assume that whatever they present is clear binding proof, and do not notice doors that have been opened which they have no ability to close. It saddens us that we observe attempts at denigration using questions such as these, which are cheap in the marketplace of academia, by those ascribed to learning; although we do not find it surprising that they are widespread on the tongues of uneducated laymen.

Hence I would like to mention – and Tawfiq is from Allah – that it is from a person’s academic character to evaluate substances and not mere terminologies. This is because variation and divergence in terminologies is of no consequence when they point to the same reality. Hence it is fine for a person who believes in the Din of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to refer to himself as “Muhammadi”, in attribution to him (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), or “Bakri”, in attribution to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, or “‘Umari” in attribution to ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, or ‘Uthmani in attribution to ‘Uthman b. Affan, or “‘Alawi” in attribution to ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with them). All of these terminologies indicate that the one being attributed is on the Din of these very individuals.

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Editorial: Disassociate from Deoband at your own peril

By The Editor

Recently it has become uncomfortable and disconcerting for myself while taking a hiatus away from the doldrums of online Deobandiyyat. However, with the arrival of one of the greatest Deobandi scholars in the world – if not the greatest – to the shores of South Africa, ‘Allamah Khalid Mahmood (hafizahullah), there has been a need to pen a few words on the feelings and thoughts being experienced in light of recent developments that have come to light.

There has been disuccsions in some quarters of our local scholarship who traditionally have been known to associate themselves with Deobandiyyat – due to the virtue of being graduates of Deobandi Dar al-‘Ulums both locally and from the subcontinent – to advocate towards a disassociation from Hanafiyyat generally and Deobandiyyat specifically. To understand further it should be borne in mind that the concept of Deobandiyyat in simple terms is the understanding of all aspects of the Shari’ah as per the the scholars of Deoband starting with Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahimahullah). The maslak, manhaj and mizaj of these scholars and their long line of students spanning a century and a quarter is what defines DeobandiyyatDeobandiyyat is by no means a homogeneous school of thought, it is in reality an understanding of the Shari’ah according to the 13 centuries of scholarship of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah, in particular adhering to the Hanafi school of thought in fiqh, the Ashari and Maturidi schools of thought in ‘aqidah as well as accepting in suluk the Chisti, Naqshbandi, Suharwadi and Qadiri schools.

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