AHMAD BIN HANBAL
Abmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Ash-Shaibani, known by the name Ibn Hanbal. He studied the Hadeeth and Fiqh together with other Islaamic disciplines in Baghdad, then travelled to Ash-Sham and Hijaz for further studies. He was persecuted during the rule of Al-Ma’mun bin Harun Ar-Rashid for refusing to acknowledge the Bid‘aa (innovation) of claiming that the Qur'aan was the creation of Allaah.
Imam Ahmad was born at Baghdad in Rabi’-ul-Awwal, 164 H/ 780 CE in the city of Basra, Iraq.
Imam Ahmad commenced his journey in the pursuit of Hadith in AH 186 (802 CE) at the age of 22. He was chiefly interested in acquiring knowledge of ahadith and traveled extensively to Basra, Kufa, Ar-Riqqa, Yemen, and Al-Hijaz (i.e., Makkah and Madinah) where he met a number of prominent and great scholars and jurists of the Ummah, such as Yahya ibn Sa`id Al-Qattan, Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Waki` ibn Al-Jarraah, Abu Mu`awiyah Ad-Darir, Sufyan ibn `Uyainah, and Ash-Shafe`i.
After returning home, he became a student of Imam ash-Shafi'i who taught him the subject of Islamic Fiqh and its fundamentals. This and the fact that he was a scholar of hadith, were responsible for his deep devotion to the textual views on Islam, and his opposition to innovation of any kind.
A number of keen students who studied at Imam Ahmad’s circles for a good and long time spread his knowledge and jurisprudence everywhere. Most eminent among them was Abu Bakr Al-Maruzy, who was close to the imam and most liked by him on account of his knowledge, superior morality, truthfulness, and integrity. Imam Ahmad said about him, “Whatever he [Al-Maruzy] reports me as saying is truly said by me.” Also, among the students of Imam Ahmad were Abu Bakr Al-Athram, Ishaq ibn Mansur At-Tamimi, Ibrahim ibn Ishaq Al-Harbi, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Baqi ibn Makhlad.
Among the works of Imam Ibn Hanbal is the great encyclopedia of ahadith called Al-Musnad, compiled during his life time, completed by his son 'Abdullah, and amplified by supplements. Al-Musnad contains more than thirty thousand ahadith out of 750 thousand hadiths that Imam Ahmad had knowledge about. Imam Ahmad began writing this book after the age of 36.. His other works include Kitab as-Salah, on the discipline of making salah and Kitab as-Sunnah, on matters of 'aqidah as they are understood from the hadith of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and the sayings and commentaries of the Companions of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Al-Wara` wa Al-Iman (Arabic for Piety and Faith) focuses on the hadiths and narrations tackling piety and awareness of Almighty Allah. Fada’il As-Sahabah (Arabic for Virtues of the Companions) contains almost 2000 narrations about the virtues of the Prophet’s Companions.
After a life full of great achievements, Imam Ahmad passed away in Rabi` Thani 12, AH 241 (August 30, 855 CE) at the age of 77. He was buried in Baghdad.