Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
Hadith-collector, legalist and leading figure of the ahl a-hadith.
Ibn Hanbal having studied various subjects in his hometown travelled extensively in quest of knowledge. He was chiefly interested in acquiring knowledge of ahadith and travelled extensively, several years in his early life, through Iraq, Arabia and other places in the Middle East studying religion and collecting the traditions of Hazrat Muhammad, peace be upon him.
After returning home, Ibn Hanbal became a student of Imam Shafi who taught him the subject of Islamic fiqh and its fundamentals.
In the year 835, when Khalifa al-Motasim Billah asked him to declare that the Qur'an was created, he refused to do so despite torture and imprisonment. He strongly believed in the doctrine that Qur'an was the word of Allah and not a created object. Imam Hanbal became a folk hero.
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's spirit is enshrined in the Hanabali School of Islamic jurisprudence. There are four recognised law schools, each regarded with Muslim egalitarianism as equally valid - the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali schools, the later preserving the ideals of Ibn Hanbal and the Hadith People. In practice, these four madhhabs did not differ markedly from one another. Each Muslim could choose the one he or she would follow, though most tended towards the one that was prevalent locally.
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was born Abu Ahmad Ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani in Baghdad.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin