Ibn Najjar’s Response to Abu Hanifa & Shoe Worship Narration

Here is the response of Al-Imam al-Hafiz Muhibuddin Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Mahmud ibn al-Hasan bin Hibat Allah bin Mahaasin a.k.a. Ibn al-Najjar al-Baghdadi (d. 643 AH) to the Khatib al-Baghdadi’s narration about Abu Hanifa tolerating worship of a shoe.

He writes:

وأما ما نقله عن محمد بن الحسين بن الفضل القطان إلى يحيى بن حمزة أَنَّ أَبَا حنيفة قَالَ: لو أَنَّ رجلا عبده هذه النعل يتقرب بها إلى الله لم أر بذلك بأسا. فَقَالَ سَعِيد: هَذَا الكفر صراحا

فهذا لم ينقله أحد من أصحاب أبى حنيفة واعلم أن أصحاب الإنسان أعرف به من الأجنبى، ثم اعلم أن مذهب أبى حنيفة له أصول وقواعد وشروط لا يخرج عنها، فأما أصول مذهبه رضى الله عنه فإنه يرى الأخذ بالقرآن والآثار ما وجد وقواعده أن لا يفرق بين الخبرين أو الآي والخبر مهما أمكن الجمع بينهما إلا إن ثبت ناسخا أو منسوخا وشروطه أن لا يعدل عنهما إلا أن لا يجد فيهما شيئا فيعدل إلى أقوال الصحابة الملائمة للقرآن والسنة وإن اختلفوا تخير ما كان أقرب إلى الكتاب والسنة. فهذا عليه إجماع أصحاب أبى حنيفة وهو إذا عددت المدرسين منهم في عصر واحد وجدتهم أكثر من إسناد الخطيب منه إلى أبى حنيفة رحمه الله.
واعلم أن أخبار الآحاد المروية عن النبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم توجب العمل لأجل الاحتياط في الدين ولا توجب العلم. وأخبار التواتر توجب العلم والعمل معا فكيف بك عن أخبار الخطيب هذه التي لا تكاد تنفك عن قائل يقول فيها، فإذا نازلنا الأمر وساوينا قلنا أخباره أخبار آحاد وأخبار أصحاب أبى حنيفة متواترة والعمل بالمتواترة أولى؛ وقد ثبت مذهب أبى حنيفة وأصوله وقواعده فإذا ثبت أن هذه أصول أبى حنيفة فكيف يسوغ له أن يقول هذا مع علمه بقوله تعالى: ما نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفى
فهذا لا يصح عن أبى حنيفة

 

“As to what is narrated from Muhammad bin al-Hussain bin al-Fadl al-Qatttan through Yahya bin Hamza that Abu Hanifa said: ‘If a man were to worship this shoe to get closer to Allah I do not find anything objectionable with this.’ Sa’id said: This is clear disbelief.

This is not narrated by any of the companions of Abu Hanifa and know that a person’s companions know him better than the strangers. Further, remember that the madhhab of Abu Hanifa has its rules and principles that it does not divorce with. And the principles of his madhhab is to first seek evidence with whatever one finds in Qur’an and Sunnah. And [his] madhhab‘s principle is not to see variance between two reports or an ayah or a report when reconciliation between the two is possible except when proof of one being abrogated and other the abrogator is established . Their principle in (science of seeking evidence) is not to turn away from Qur’an and Sunnah except when nothing is found in these two sources in which case the sayings of the Companions that are closest to Qur’an and Sunnah are to be referred to and if they differ then the one closest to Qur’an and Sunnah is to be adopted. This is something on which the companions of Abu Hanifa have agreed and when I counted the teachers among them at a given time I found them to be more than the links of al-Khatib back to Abu Hanifa, may Allah have mercy on him.And know that the isolated reports (akhbar al-ahaad) narrated from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, necessitate practice by the way of cautiousness in religion but they do not give certain knowledge whereas continuously reported narrations (akhbaar al-tawatur) lead to certain knowledge and mandate practice as well. Then how can you refer to the narrations of al-Khatib (al-Baghdadi) that you will hardly ever find someone saying. Therefore, when it comes to it we say his narrations are isolated and the reports of the companions of Abu Hanifa are continuously reported (mutawatir) and going by what is continuous is the best, and the principles, rules and essentials of the madhhab of Abu Hanifa are established and when these principles of Abu Hanifa are proven how is it possible for him to say so with his knowledge of the word of Allah, “(the mushrikin say) We worship them for no other reason but because they would bring us near to Allah closely”?
The report, therefore [we say], is not proven from Abu Hanifa.”
In other words the report is one of isolated reports (akhbaar al-ahaad) and simply contradicts what is known through continuous reports (mutawatir) about the creed (aqeedah) of Imam Abu Hanifa, may Allah’s mercy be upon him. Such “munkar” and “shaadh” reports are no evidence for any purpose whatsoever.
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See,
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Ibn an-Najjar al-Baghdadi, Kitab ar-Radd ‘alaa Khatib al-Baghdadi, (included in) Tarikh al-Baghdad wa Zuyulihi, (Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, 1417 AH), vol.22 pp.46-47. Translated by Waqar Akbar Cheema
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See also:
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Zahid al-Kawthari’s Response to Abu Hanifa and Shoe Worship Narration (coming soon)
— Ahmad Shamil
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