- Was born in 164H@778CE (Umayyad period) in Baghdad.
- Pure Arab and his family joints the Prophet’s family in hierarchy through Adanani Syaibani.
- His grandfather Hanbal bin Hilal was a governor under the Umayyad at Khurasan.
- His father Muhammad bin Hanbal was a commander of the Abbasid.
- His father died (at the age of thirty) when he was a child and being brought up in poverty.
- He was brought up by his mother, Safiyah binti Maimunah binti Malik as-Syaibani
- He died in 241H@885CE in Baghdad
- Upon his journey, his passion for hadeeth had encouraged him to collect the Prophet’s hadeeth.
- His piety made him led a simple, poverty, austerity and virtue life and devoted his life in the service of hadeeth and fiqh.
- At the age of thirty, Imam ash-Syafi’ee appointed him to become a Qadi for the Umayyad but he refused and replied, “I came to your place in search of knowledge and not that you thrust upon me a delicate person of a Qadi”.
- He did not like to pray behind his son and uncle or even come to their house to eat because both of them were working under the government.
- He refused to accept sadaqah or any present from the authorities.
- He had being tortured Caliph Ma’mun (rule 813-842CE), Caliph al-Wathiq(842-846CE) as a result to his rejection to Mu’tazilities doctrines which had great influence at that time.
- He was released by Caliph al-Mutawakkil which had rejected Mu’tazilities doctrines and expelled Mu’tazilities scholars.
- Main students of Imam Ahmad:
o Saalih bin Ahmad
o Abdullah bin Ahmad
o Imam Bukharee
o Imam Muslim Majority of Hambalee Madh-hab can be found in Palestine and Saudi Arabia and even become the basis of Saudi Arabia’s legal system.
Early age = Al-Qur’an
14 years old =Linguistic and writing
16 years old = Hadeeth (for 5 years from Hafiz Hashim b Bashir b Abi Hazim)
- During his adolescent years and beyond:
Hadeeth and fiqh
§ Hafiz Hashim b Bashir b Abi Hazim
§ Imam Abu Yusoof (famous student of Imam Hanafi)
§ Imam as-Syafi’ee
§ Other muhaddithin and noted personalities
§ Iraqi jurist
§ Imam as-Syafi’ee
- Was an inspired follower of Sufyan Thauri and ibn Mubarak, though he did not have an opportunity to study under them.
- Imam Ahmad’s teacher:
o Sufyan b ‘Ayniyyah
o Abu Bakr b ‘Ayyash
o Waki’ b Jarrah
o Abdur-Rahman b Muhammad
o Yahya b Sa’id al-Qatan
Methodology:- Sources of law:
3. Ijmaa’ of the sahabah
4. Individual opinion of the sahabah
5. Hadeeth Da’eef
- He started to work with a process of research for the sunnah and he abstained from issuing a verdict until he found a hadeeth.
- Considered the Sunnah as an explanation of the Qur’an
- In the cases of difference of opinion among sahabah, he preferred the opinion of Khulafa ur-Rashidun (the rightly-guided Caliphs)
- Also accepted masolih al-mursalah (the principle of public welfare) and istishab as the other sources of law.
Practicalities and Contributions:- Compilation of over 300 000 hadeeths in a book called Musnad Imam Ahmad.
- Well-known as a great narrator of hadeeth which has narrated more than 700 000 hadeeths
- Rejected the theory of the ‘creation’ of al-Qur’an
- Similar to the views of Imam Malik in the field of politcs
- Accepted all types of political authorities of the caliph but refrained from making any critics and opposition
- His living methodology was a model for the factual setting of his principle of research.
- Has written many books:
o Kitab al-‘Amal
o Kitab at-Tafsir
o Kitab an-Nasikh wal-Mansukh
o Kitab az-Zahid