He is Hamzah bn Habeeb bn Ammaarah. Often referred to as Aboo ‘Ammaarah. He was nicknamed ‘Az-Zayyaat’ – Oil Merchant because he used to trade in consumable oil; he would transport oil from Kufah to Hulwan, and brought some other goods from the latter to the former. He was born at Kufah.
He learnt the Qur’aan from Sulaymaan al-‘A’mash, Amr as-Sabee’, Ja’far As-Saadiq bn Muhammad al-Baaqir, among many other teachers. From among his students were Sulaym bn Eesa, Ibraheem bn Ad’ham, Sufyaan Ath-Thauree, ‘Alee bn Hamzah al-Kisaa’ee. Allaah’s mercy on all.
Al-‘A’mash (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) would say about him: ‘This is a scholar of Qur’aan.’
He became the leading scholar teaching the people the Qur’aan after the demise of ‘Aasim (the teacher of Hafs; the narrator of the commonest recitation today in the world). He was trustworthy, obedient to the Book of Allaah, knowledgeable about the laws of inheritance and Arabic, so also a memorizer of the hadith. An epitome of truthfulness, piety and abstinence.
He would not take any price for teaching the Qur’aan.
Sufyaan ath-Thauree (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: ‘Hamzah would not recite a letter from the Book of Allaah except with an athar [a proof back to the Prophet – sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam.’
Al-Imaam Aboo Haneefah (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) once said to him: ‘You have surpassed us with two things, we would continue to trail you about them: al-Qur’aan and laws of inheritance.’
Al-Imaam Hamzah az-Zayyaat died 156 Hijrah at Hulwan, Iraq.
Among his sub-students were Khalaf bn Hishaam and Khallaad bn Khaalid who learnt his qiraa’ah via Sulaym bn Eesa. Today in the circle of Qur’aan learning, we hear, riwaayah Khalaf ‘an Hamzah or riwaayah Khallaad ‘an Hamzah.
That is the Qiraa’ah with those marvelous pauses on letter hamza.
Al-Imaaam Ash-Shaatibee (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said:
‘And hamzah, a noble and careful person/a patient Imaam always reciting the Qur’aan.
May Allaah bestow mercy on Imaam Hamzah.
Partly adapted from Usool Qiraa’aat of Tawfeeq Damrah and other sources.
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