Al-Bayhaqî reported via Nuh bn Abî Maryam that he said: ‘We were with Abu Hanîfah when he started teaching, a woman came to him from Trimidh who used to sit with Jahm [bn Safwân], so she entered Kûfah and was told about Abu Hanîfah [may Allaah bestow mercy on him], thus she came to him and said: ‘You are the person teaching the people matters [of Islam] while you have forsaken your Deen. Where is the Lord you worship?’ Abu Hanîfah [may Allaah bestow mercy on him] kept mute and did not answer her for seven days. After that he came out one day with a book he had just written. The book contained the following: ‘Verily Allâh the Most High is in the Heaven not on the earth.’ A man said: What will you say about the statement of Allâh: ‘...He is with you...’? He replied: ‘It is like when a man wrote a letter to you that he is with you while he is away.’
Al-Bayhaqî [may Allâh bestow mercy on him] said: Abu Hanîfah was correct in what he removed from Allâh [about the ascription ] that He is on earth, and [he was correct] in the explanation he gave to the Verse [‘He is with you’]...
Shaykhul Islâm [Ibn Taymiyyah] [may Allâh bestow mercy on him] said: The book, Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar that is popular with the followers of Abu Hanîfah which was reported from Abu Hanîfah via Abû Mutee’ Al-Balkhee Al-Hakam bn ‘Abdillâh who said I asked Abu Hanîfah about the greatest jurisprudence and he said as thus: That you do not declare anybody as a Kâfir due to sin [that is, do not be a Khaarijee], do not remove Eemaan from anybody, command good and forbid evil, know that whatever afflicts you is not meant to miss you, and whatever misses you is not meant to afflict you, do not free yourself from any of the Companions of the Messenger of Allâh [salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam], do not hold friendship with anybody against the other [who is also righteous], and that you leave the matter of ‘Uthmân and ‘Alee to Allâh the Most High.
He also said: The Greatest Jurisprudence in the Deen [which is Tauheed and ‘Aqeedah] is better than jurisprudence of knowledge. That a man should learn how to worship his Lord is better for him than amassing a lot of knowledge.
Abu Mutee’ said: I asked him, ‘Tell me about the best jurisprudence?’ He said: That a person learns the matters of Eemaan, issues of the Sharî’ah, reports from the Prophet [salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam], the limits...
Then he mentioned issues in Eemaan and Qadar. I said: What will you say about someone who commands good and forbids evil and whom some people begin to follow and thereafter leave the Jamâ’ah [the Community of the Muslims]? Do you think that is correct? He said: No. I asked him but Allah and His Messenger [salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam] have commanded that we command what is good and forbid what is evil, this is an obligation? He said: ‘Yes, but what they would destroy is more than what they would build in terms of shedding blood and making what is permissible to be forbidden...’ Then he said things about killing the Khawaarij and the rebels until he said: ‘Whoever says I do not know if my Lord is in the heaven or on earth has become a Kâfir because Allâh said: ‘The Most Beneficent is on the Throne sitting [Ta-Ha: 5];’ His Throne is above the Seven Heavens.
I said: If the person says He is on the Throne but adds: ‘I do not know if the Throne is in the heaven or on earth?’ Abu Hanîfah replied: ‘He is a Kâfir because He has opposed His being in the heaven; Allâh the Most High is in the Highest of the Highest Places. He is called upon from the Highest not from the lowest. ’
Shaykul-Islaam Abû Al-Abbâs Ahmad [bn Taymiyyah] [may Allâh bestow mercy on him] said: There is in these words of Abu Hanîfah that have popularly come from him a clarity that Abu Hanîfah declared Al-Waaqif [a person who refuses to say if Allâh is above the heavens or on earth] as a Kâfir, what then will become the lot of a person who says: Allâh is neither above the heavens nor on the earth?
Ibn Abî Hâtim reported about Hishâm bn ‘Ubaydillaah Ar-Razî, one of the pupils of Abu Hanîfah, that a person close to Muhammad bn Al-Hasan, the Judge of Ray [at the time] ordered a man to be imprisoned because of the traits of Jahmiyyah in him. The man later claimed to have repented so he was taken to Hishâm to be tested. The man said: ‘Praise to Allâh that I have repented.’ Hishâm then tested him saying: ‘Testify that Allâh is on His Throne separate from His creation.’ The man said: ‘I testify that Allâh is on His Throne but I do not know if He is separate from His creation or not.’ Hishâm said: ‘Take him back to the prison, he has not repented.’
Adapted from Ibn Qayyim’s Ijtimaa Juyoosh Islaamiyyah ‘Alaa Ghazw Al-Mu’attilah Wal Jahmiyyah vol.1 pp.33-35
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