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Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was born in 164 Hijri and his full name is Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hanbal Ibn Hilal Ibn Asad Asy-Syaibani. He was born in Baghdad and was raised by his mother alone as his father died while he was very young.
His mother had a great influence on him. She raised him under the influence of Islam and her husband was an Islamic preacher. They belonged to the family of Dzuhli Ibn Syaiban: the ones who hail from the tribe of Bakr Ibn Wail.
Teachers of Imam Ahmad
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was able to study under the influence of a great many teachers. In his book, Al Musnad, he writes down the names of more than 280 teachers. The ones who taught him the hadith are Imam Ash Shafi’i, Hushaim, Ibrahim Ibn Sa’d, Sufyan Ibn Uyaina, Abbad Ibn Abbad, and Yahya Ibn Abi Zaidah.
Students of Imam Ahmad
Among his prominent students, a few are Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Abu Zur’ah, Mathin, Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, and Abul Qasim Al Baghawi.
How was Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal?
There are a series of books available relating to his life and personality. He was a high-positioned Muslim of his time and forever.
Abu Zur’ah reports that he was such an intelligent man that he had memorized one million hadith.
Ibrahim Al Harbi praised him saying that he was a man who possessed knowledge of people, both past and present.
Imam Ash Shafi’i says that there was no one more humble, noble, and clever than Imam Ahmad.
The untold story of Imam Ahmad
When the Caliph Al Makmun came to power, he forced the Muslims to proclaim that the Quran is a creature. He forcefully imposed the ideology of Mu’tazila. Those who refused to say so would be killed, poisoned, or imprisoned.
4 men stood not to say and they were: Imam Ahmad, Muhammad Ibn Nuh, Al Qawariry, and Al Hasan Ibn Hammad.
Due to this very reason, they were imprisoned for days. However, when Al Mutawakkil became a caliph, Muslims again gained power. It was then that Imam Ahmad was given respect by the kingdom itself and none could be appointed to the jury until Imam Ahmad gave the approval.
The contribution of Imam Ahmad
Imam Ahmad greatly contributed to Islam. One of the most famous books is Al Musnad which is a collection of Hadith. In this book, he has compiled as many as 30,000 hadith.
Resala Shalat is another book that highlights the common mistakes that are made during prayers that take place in the mosque.
Al Masail is a book on fatwas that have been compiled after hearing the questions of his son and students.
Another book named Fadhail Ash Shahabah throws a light on the life of companions of the Prophet PBUH. This book was written as an answer to Rafidha who said that most of the companions of the Prophet PBUH were disbelievers.
The death of Imam Ahmad
Imam Ahmad died at the age of 77 on Friday, the 12th of Rabi’ul Awwal, 241 Hijri. People, students, and his followers from far away came to attend his funeral.
It is reported by Adz Dzahabi, from Bunan Ibn Ahmad Al Qashbani that there were as many as 800,000 men and 60,000 women at his funeral.
When Caliph Al Mutawakkil issued orders to count the footprints to know the number of people at the funeral they were recorded to be more than 2,500,000 people at his funeral.