Imam Abu Hanifah, al-Nu’man bin Thaabit was born in 80H according to the strongest
opinion, making him the earliest of the four Imams. He was born and raised in Kufaa, which
for many years remained a major centre of knowledge. He was of Persian origin, which is
why some link the following Hadith to him.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لَوْ كَانَ الدِّينُ عِنْدَ الثُّرَيَّا، لَذَهَبَ بِهِ رَجُلٌ مِنْ فَارِسَ

– أَوْ قَالَ – مِنْ أَبْنَاءِ فَارِسَ حَتَّى يَتَنَاوَلَهُ

Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "If the religion were at the Pleiades,
even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it, or someone from the
descendants the Persians would surely have attained it." (Muslim, 2546 – 230).

Imam Ibn Abideen said that Abu Hanifah was alive at the same time as 20 Sahabah and met
some of them, not all of them. Ibn Hajr al-Haytami said he met Anas bin Malik but narrating
Hadith from him is not authentic.

Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani and Imam al-Dhahabi both said he is definitely a Tabi and his
contemporaries like Malik, al-Owzaai and al-Layth were not from the Tabieen. As for him
narrating Hadith from Sahabah, this is disputed even by Hanafi scholars. Imam al-Ayni said it
is the case, but Ibn Qutlubughaa said it is not established.

He had over 1000 students around him, amongst them 40 Mujtahids. He would sometimes
discuss a Masalah for a month or more before deciding on it, and he would ask students to
present all the narrations they had.

He was imprisoned and lashed for refusing the position of Qadi al-Qudaa by the Abbasid
Khaleefah Abu Ja’far al-Mansoor. Imam Abu Hanifah passed away in the year 150H.