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More of Abu Hanifah’s Genius

October 30, 2007

kr’s note: I love this story because it’s an example of how people think they know something, are set in their ways, and even take it levels of imposition on others… and then realize they know nothing when they meet people with real knowledge.

Once Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him) was visiting a small town on the invitation of its people. As he was giving his lessons in the town’s mosque, the town was attacked by the Kharijites (an extremist group that historically created many problems and possibly is the inspiration for such groups today). After besieging the city, they ransacked it and approached the mosque where Abu Hanifah had continued to teach.

The Kharijites were well known for their intolerance of any groups who did not agree with their ideology. For example, they believed that major sins would take one out of the faith, with no hopes of redemption in this world or the hereafter. Even worse, they viewed as enemies those who held the majority view of allowing for such redemption.

As the army approached the mosque, the students inside were afraid, for they knew their fate if the Kharijites learned who they were. When the leader of the Kharijites approached the Imam, he asked him, “What do you say of someone who has committed a major sin? Is he still in the faith and is he worthy of salvation?”

To this, the Imam calmly replied: “Why are you asking us this? We are polytheists (mushrikeen), so such discussions don’t even concern us.”

The leader of the army replied back: “Then if you are polytheists, surely we will kill all of you.”

Abu Hanifah said: “That is fine, but we are seeking asylum from you with you.”

The leader said: “What! How can you seek refuge from us through us? What foolishness is this?”

And to this, the Imam replied: “Have you not read your own Qur’an? Have you not read the verse, If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to
him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he
can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge (9:6)
. So we are seeking asylum with you, please read to us some of your Qur’an on the way, and convey us back to Baghdad.”

The leader, realizing he had been duped by none other than the great Imam Abu Hanifah, told his lieutenants with a disgusted tone to convey the Imam and his students to their town and to read Qur’an to them along the way. A few days later, the Caliph sent an army to liberate the town and drive off the invaders.

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One Comment
  1. “and then realize they know nothing when they meet people with real knowledge.”SubhanAllah, so true.

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