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Abu Hanifa
Arabic: abū hanīfa

(700-767) Sunni Muslim jurist of Iraq, founder of the Hanafi school of Sharia. Also he may also be considered one of the indirect founders of the conservative Maturidiya school of theology. His real name was an-Numan ibn Thabit. He is often referred to as "imam".
Abu Hanifa was trained in Muslim jurisprudence by the prominent Iraqi jurist Hammad, but also learned much from the Meccan traditionalist Ata' and the Shi'i jurist Jafar as-Sadiq.
At the time of his training, there were innumerable juridical theories in Iraq alone, causing much confusion in the implementation of the law.
Abu Hanifa's collaborated with some of his most outstanding students in evaluating contemporary doctrines. Every legal issue was discussed in order to form a legal doctrine.
Among his main concerns, were possible problems in the future. He aimed at creating a law system which could deal with new problems as society changed. Among his favoured thechniques to achieve this was the use of reason based on the Koran and the Sunna (hadith).
Abu Hanifa's fiqh was probably the most flexible and adaptable of the 4 law schools of Sunni Islam. Still it was the most systematic of Muslim jurisprudence until that time.
There are no sources indicating that Abu Hanifa ever composed any scriptures. His teachings were collected by his disciples.
Abu Hanifa never accepted any judgeships, thereby opposing the ruling Caliphates of his time. His sympathy rested with the Alids, the leading personalities of Shi'ism. His opposition to the contemporary regimes, caused him much problem and he even died while in prison.

700: Born in Kufa. His father was a Persian merchant.
— Works as a silk merchant.
Around 720: Becomes a disciple of the prominent Iraqi jurist Hammad.
738: Hammad dies, and Abu Hanifa becomes his successor.
763: Is offered the position of Chief Judge of the State, by Caliph al-Mansur, but refuses.
— al-Mansur has Abu Hanifa imprisoned.
767: Dies while still in prison in Baghdad. A great crowd attends his funeral.

By Tore Kjeilen