Fatwa ID: 02963
Answered by: Maulana Tahsin Alam
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
1. What is the isnad that reaches Al-Fiqh al-Akbar and Wasiyah al Imaam Abu Hanifa fi Al Tawheed to Abu Hanifah?
2. Can you give a court list of salaf who attributed these books to Abu Hanifa (RA)?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
1. “Shaykh Wahbi Ghawji, after quoting Isfirayini's statement, says, "I saw an excellent manuscript of AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar in the library of Shaykh al-Islam Arif Hikmat (collection 226) in the illuminated city of Madina (may there be a thousand blessings and peace upon its inhabitants), which was from the transmission of Ali ibn Aḥmad al-Farisi from Nusayr ibn Yahya from Abu Muqatil from ʿIṣām ibn Yusuf from Ḥammād, the son of Abu Ḥanīfa. This confirms the attribution of AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar to the Imam (may Allah have mercy on him)" (At-Ta'liq al-Muyassar 12-13).”
2. The Authorship of Al-Fiqh aI-Akbar
“There is some difference of opinion regarding the attribution of Al-Fiqh al Akbar to Abu Hanifa. The nineteenth-century Indian scholar and biographer,'Allama Shibli Nu’mani (d. 1368/1949), writes that no extant book could be rightly attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa (Sirat al-Nuʿmān 84). The Dutch Orientalist A.J. Wensinck makes a similar statement: "The Fiqh Akbar (II), it is true, opens in the singular, probably because by doing so, it seeks to uphold the fiction of Abu Hanifa’s authorship; but later the singular is dropped in favor of the plural" (The Muslim Creed 102). On the other hand, the famous seventeenth-century Ottoman scholar Haji Khalifa (or Katib Celebi, Kashf al-Dhunun 5:162) as well as other renowned biographers such as Zirikli (Al-Aʿlām 234) and Kaḥḥālā (Muʿjam al-Mu'allifīn 103) consider it to be the work of the Imam.
The commentators of Al-Fiqh aI-Akbar are also in agreement that the text was indeed that of the noble Imam himself. The Ottoman scholar Maghnisawi writes, "The treatise AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar; which the Great Imam authored, is a reliable and accepted work" (Sharh al-Fiqh aI-Akbar 2.). Ali al-Qari, the hadith scholar, theologian, and jurist, writes in his commentary, "The Great Imam, the Magnanimous, the Great Honourable Exemplar of Mankind, Abu Hanifa of Kufa (may Allah have mercy on him) states in his work called AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar…." (Minab al-Rawr al-Azhar 43). Furthermore, the indexer and bookseller of the fourth century, Ibn al-Nadim, states in his Kitab al-Fihrist, which was compiled in 377/987: "His Abu Ḥanifa’s works are the books AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar; AI-Risala (The Epistle) to [Uthman] al-Batti, and AI-'Alim wa 'I-Mutallim (The Scholar and the Pupil)" (156).
This fourth-century record is sufficient to invalidate the opinion of Wensinck, who writes that "after the first half of the tenth century AD [fourth CE], in which the Fiqh Akbar (II) probably originated, several doctors composed creeds of a more or less varying structure." Imam ʿAbd al-Qahir aI-Baghdadi (d. 42.9/1037) writes, "The first of the theologians from among the jurists and leaders of the schools were Abu Ḥanifa and Shafi for indeed Abu Ḥanifa composed a treatise in the rebuttal of the Qadariyya called AI-Fiqh aI-Akbar."
If you want to read more, please consult Mufti Abdur Rahman Mangera’s work (in English) “Imam Abu Hanifa’s al-Fiqh al-Akbar Explained.”
Also please keep in mind, we are an institute which issues fatāwā, suited for issues of a more practical nature. If you would like to discuss academic issues, we would encourage you to visit your local scholars for maximum benefit.
 Mufti Abdur Rahman Mangera, Imam Abu Hanifa’s al-Fiqh al-Akbar Explained, pg. 24-25.
 Ibid, pg. 25.