Qadi Abu Yusuf was a descendent of the Ansar and Sahaba Hadrat Sa'd b.
Sibat. Born in Kufah in 113 or 117 H and passed away on the 5th of
Rabi' al-Awwal 182 H. Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaibani was born in 135
passed away in 189 H. He attended for about 2 yrs the lectures of Imam
Abu Hanifah (RA), and upon the latter's death, he completed his
education under Abu Yusuf. He also studied for 3 yrs the Muwatta of
Imam Malik (RA) under the great Imam himself, in Medina.
Qadi Abu Yusuf As long as Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) lived he regularly
attended his court. Imam Abu Hanifah acknowledge his mastery in Fiqh.
Returning once from a visit to Abu Yusuf during the latter's sickness,
Abu Hanifah (RA) said to his companions: "If, Allah forbid, this man
(Abu Yusuf) dies, the world will lose one of its great scholars."
Abu Yusuf attended the lectures of many other doctors. He heard
Traditions from A'mash, Hisham b. 'Urwah, Sulaiman Taimi, Abu Ishaq
Shaibani, Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari and others, learned maghazi
(military history) and siyar (biography) from Muhammad b. Ishaq and
knowledge of Fiqh from Muhammad b. Abi Laila. Allah endowed him with so
much intelligence and such a good memory that he learned all these
disciplines simultaneously! Other Imams in other sciences ackowledged
his quick intelligence and penertration.
Although he is known mostly in Fiqh, he was unrivalled in other
sciences.The historian Ibn Khallikan quotes Hilal b. Yahya as having
said: "Abu Yusuf was a hafiz of tafsir (exegesis), maghazi and ayyam
(history of Arabia), Fiqh was one of his minor accomplishments."
Abu Yusuf was ranked so high in Hadith so as to be counted huffaz in
it, the famous and strict muhhadith Dhahabi included an account of Abu
Yusuf in his Tadhkirat al-Huffaz.
2. Ahmad Hanbal (RA)said "When I was first attracted to Hadith, I went
to Abu Yusuf."
3. Muzni, a famous disciple of Shafi (RA) used to say: "Abu Yusuf
follows more Hadith than anybody else. 'Abd al-Barr, a well-known
Muhaddith, writes that Abu Yusuf used to visit different Muhaddithin
and at one sitting learn 50 to 60 Traditions, all of which he would
retain in his memory!
A'mash the famous muhaddith having consulted Abu Yusuf on a question,
said on hearing his reply: "Have you any authority for this?". "Yes",
replied Abu Yusuf, and he reminded A'mash of a Tradition which the
latter had narrated to him on a certain occasion. "Ya'qub", said
A'mash, "I first heard this Tradition when your parents had yet not got
married, but I have understood its meaning only today" (Ibn Khallikan,
Ta'rikh, note on Abu Yusuf).
The great Imam, Imam Shafi (RA) said: "Whenever Imam Muhammad expounded
a point of law, it seemed as if the revealing Angel had descended upon
"I acquired from Imam Muhammad a camel-load of learning" Ibn Hajar
quotes Imam Shafi as having said: "....I used to visit him (Muhammad b.
Hasan). I told myself that he was of high rank in Fiqh too.
Therefore, I made it a point to attend upon him, and I used to take
down his lectures."
[note: In his early days Ibn Tayimmah denied that Shafi was a pupil of
Imam Muhammad, but hundreds of historical books and rijal bear witness
that Imam Shafi associated with Imam Muhammad]
On somebody asking the great Imam, Imam Ahmad Hanbal where he had
learnt all the subtle points of law he used to make, he replied, "From
the books of Muhammad b. Hasan." (Tahdhib al- Asma' wa'l-Lughat byImam
Again, similar to his teachers, most of his fame rests with his work in
Fiqh but he had the rank of Mujtahis in exegesis, Tradition and
literature also. Imam Shafi (RA) is reported to have said: I have not
come across a man
more learned in the Quran than Imam Muhammad." (Al- Jawahir al-
Mudiyyah). His complete grasp on literature and Arabic linguistics is
seen questions of fiqh based upon grammatical points in his Jami'
Kabir. Jami Kabir is a
voluminous work where the dicta of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), Imam Abu
Yusuf and Imam Zufar are quoted with the questions and arguments. Later
Hanafi scholars used this book as the basis of the methodological
employed by the Hanafi school.
Shaykh al-Kadi, a latter day scholar said in a talk (Fiqh and Fuqaha)
that Fiqh is the fruition of all the other Islamic sciences such as
Hadith, Exegesis, Grammer, History and so forth. These two great Imams
were recognized Mujtahids in all the sciences making them Mujtahid
Mutalaqs of the Mathab. The same holds true for the other
Mathabs. Many scholars consider some of Imam Shafi students to be
Mujtahid Mutlaqs also. The genius of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) in
operationalizing the Quran and Sunnah was nurtured and matured under
the genius of his
time went by, scholars who were masters in the Hanafi Mathab
methodology and its basis became the Mathabs custodians, such as Imam
Abideen. We lay Muslims are indebted to these great Scholars for
allowing creating and maintaining a vehicle for us to traverse and
protect us on the "Straight Path" to our Lord and Creator, based on the
teachings of Allah's beloved, our Prophet and leader in this world and
the next, Muhammad, Peace and choisest blessings be upon Him and the
This information has been obtained and adapted from the english
translation of "Sirat-i-Numan" by Allamah Shibli Nu'mani translated by
M. Hadi Hussain.