A short biography in the English language, of the great Hanafi Jurist and Imam, Ibn ‘Abidin Shami (may Allah sanctify his secret). Translated by Sheikh Abu Hasan (SunniPort), (may Allah preserve him).
Abu’l-Fayd Dhu’l-Nun al-Misri radiyAllāhu ‘anh
His name is Thawban b. Ibrahim. He was also called Abu’l-Fayd b. Ibrahim. His father was a Nubian. He [Dhu’l-Nun] died in 245. He excelled in this affair and was unique in his age in respect of knowledge, pious scrupulosity, [spiritual] state, and good manners. Some people denounced him [as a heretic] to [the caliph] al-Mutawakkil and the latter commanded that he be brought before him from Egypt. When [Dhu’l-Nun] appeared before him and admonished him, al-Mutawakkil began to cry and [ordered] that he be taken back to Egypt with honour. [Since then] each time someone mentioned pious people to al-Mutawakkil, he would cry and say: “Whenever one speaks of the pious, let them first mention Dhu’l-Nun!” He was a slim man with a light skin, whose beard was not white.
I heard Ahmad b. Muhammad say: I heard Sa’id b. ‘Uthman say: I heard that Dhu’l-Nun said: “Everything hinges on four things: the love of the Glorious One, the hatred of the insufficient, the observance of the revealed and the fear of changing from one state to another.”
I heard Muhammad b. al-Husayn – may God have mercy on him – say: I heard Sa’id b. Ahmad b. Ja’far say: I heard Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Sahl say: I heard Sa’id b. ‘Uthman say: I heard Dhu’l-Nun say: “One of the signs of the lover of God is his following in the footsteps of God’s beloved – may God bless and greet him – in his character traits, his deeds, his precepts and his customs.”
Someone asked Dhu’l-Nun about ignoble people. He answered: “Those who neither know the way to God, nor try to know it.” I heard Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami – may God have mercy on him – say: I heard Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah b. Shadhan say: I heard Yusuf b. al-Husayn say: “One day I was at Dhu’l-Nun’s teaching session. There came to him Salim al-Maghribi and asked him: ‘Abu’l-Fayd, what was the cause of your repentance?’ He answered: ‘It was something really wonderful that you cannot imitate.’ [Salim] said: ‘For the sake of God, tell me about it!’ Dhu’l-Nun said: ‘I wanted to go from [old] Cairo to a village in the countryside. I fell asleep in the desert, and when I opened my eyes I saw a small blind fledgling that fell from its nest onto the ground. [Suddenly] the earth cleft and there appeared [from the crack] two food bowls, one silver and the other gold. In one there were sesame seeds, in the other water. The fledgling ate from one bowl and drank from the other. I cried out: “This is enough for me. I have repented!” And I was waiting at God’s door until He [agreed to] receive me.’”
I heard Muhammad b. al-Husayn say: I heard ‘Ali b. al-Hafiz say: I heard Ibn Rashiq say: I heard Abu Dujana say: I heard Dhu’l-Nun say: “Wisdom does not live in a stomach filled with food.” Someone asked Dhu’l-Nun about repentance. He answered: “The common people repent from [their] sins, whereas [God’s] elect people repent from neglectfulness.”
 That is, he came from Nubia, Upper Egypt.
 That is in 859 or 860 C.E.
 That is, in Sufism.
 A caliph of the ‘Abbasid dynasty from 232/847 to 247/861.
 According to some commentators, the insufficient here refers to “this life and its attractions’’.
 That is, the Divine Law.
 According to commentators, this means change from a virtuous state to a less perfect one.
 That is, the beloved Prophet Muhammad sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
 The Sufi path usually begins with repentance.
 At that time the city of Cairo did not yet exist. It was founded in 359/970 by the Fatimid ruler al-Mu’izz. In Dhu’l-Nun’s time the capital of Egypt was located at Fustat (old Cairo).
The best biography written on Hudur Mufassir al-Aazam Hind ash-Shaykh Ibrahim Rida rahimahullah (the father of Taaj al-Islam Imam Akhtar Rida Azhari hafidhullah ta’ala) was authored by Mufti ‘Abd al-Wajid al-Qadri hafidhullah ta’ala entitled, Hayat e Mufassir e Aazam (the Life of the Great Mufassir).
A scan of the front cover in Urdu has been attached as well as the blessed lineage of Mufassir al-Aazam.
Imām al-Aázam Abu Hanīfa raĎiyAllāhu ánhu:
Sayyid Ghulām al-Jīlānī al-Merthī, Nizām al-Shariá (Islamic Laws and Ettiquettes), pp. 56 – 57, Maktab Qadriyyah. Bolton
(Much more can be written on the greatness of this Imam, refer to the preface of Nizām al-Shariá, English translation)
Many years ago, during the time of the Tabi’īn (the generation of Muslims after the Sahâba), Baghdâd was a great city of Islam. In fact, it was the capital of the Islamic Empire and, because of the great number of scholars who lived there; it was the center of Islamic knowledge.
One day, the ruler of Rome at the time sent an envoy to Baghdad with three challenges for the Muslims. When the messenger reached the city, he informed the Khalīfah that he had three questions which he challenged the Muslims to answer.
The Khalīfah gathered together all the scholars of the city and the Roman messenger climbed upon a high platform and said, “I have come with three questions. If you answer them, then I will leave with you a great amount of wealth which I have brought from the king of Rome.” As for the questions, they were: “What was there before Allâh?, In which direction does Allâh face? [and] What is Allâh engaged in at this moment?
The great assembly of people were silent. (Can you think of answers to these questions?) In the midst of these brilliant scholars and students of Islam was a man looking on with his young son. “O my dear father! I will answer him and silence him!” said the youth. So the boy sought the permission of the Khalīfah to give the answers and he was given the permission to do so.
The Roman addressed the young Muslim and repeated his first question, “What was there before Allâh?”
The boy asked, “Do you know how to count?”
“Yes,” said the man.
“Then count down from ten!” So the Roman counted down, “ten, nine, eight …” until he reached “one” and he stopped counting
“But what comes before ‘one’?” asked the boy.
“There is nothing before one – that is it!” said the man.
“Well then, if there obviously is nothing before the arithmetic ‘one’, then how do you expect that there should be anything before the ‘One’ who is Absolute Truth, All-Eternal, Everlasting the First, the Last, the Manifest, the Hidden?”
Now the man was surprised by this direct answer which he could not dispute. So he asked, “Then tell me, in which direction is Allâh facing?”
“Bring a candle and light it,” said the boy, “and tell me in which direction the flame is facing.”
“But the flame is just light – it spreads in each of the four directions, North, South, East and West. It does not face any one direction only,” said the man in wonderment.
The boy cried, “Then if this physical light spreads in all four directions such that you cannot tell me which way it faces, then what do you expect of the Nûr-us-Samâwâti-wal-‘Ard: Allâh – the Light of the Heavens and the Earth!? Light upon Light, Allâh faces all directions at all times.”
The Roman was stupefied and astounded that here was a young child answering his challenges in such a way that he could not argue against the proofs. So, he desperately wanted to try his final question. But before doing so, the boy said,
“Wait! You are the one who is asking the questions and I am the one who is giving the answer to these challenges. It is only fair that you should come down to where I am standing and that I should go up where you are right now, in order that the answers may be heard as clearly as the questions.”
This seemed reasonable to the Roman, so he came down from where he was standing and the boy ascended the platform. Then the man repeated his final challenge, “Tell me, what is Allâh doing at this moment?”
The boy proudly answered, “At this moment, when Allâh found upon this high platform a liar and mocker of Islam, He caused him to descend and brought him low. And as for the one who believed in the Oneness of Allâh, He raised him up and established the Truth. Every day He exercises (universal) power [Sūrah 55 ar-Rahmân, Verse 29].”
The Roman had nothing to say except to leave and return back to his country, defeated.
Meanwhile, this young boy grew up to become one of the most famous scholars of Islam. Allâh, the Exalted, blessed him with special wisdom and knowledge of the deen. His name was Abū Hanīfa raĥimahullah and he is known today as Imâm-e-A’zam, the Great Imâm and scholar of Islam.
[Adapted into English from Manâqib Abî Hanīfa written by Imâm Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad al-Makkī (d. 568 Hijri). Dar al – Kitâb al-Arabī, Beirut, 1981/1401H.]
sultān ul-ârifīn sayyidī abul ĥusain Aĥmad noorī raĥimahullah is the spiritual guide [pir, murshid] of hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah and one of the grandmasters of the silsila barkātiya. he was the personality that informed sayyidī aala hadrat raĥimahullah about the birth of hudūr muftī al-aazam hind.
six months after the birth of hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah, sayyidī noorī miyāN (sultān ul-ârifīn) went to the blessed city of bareilly.
on arrival, he asked to see hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah. sayyidī aala hadrat raĥimahullah was carrying his blessed son in his arms, bringing him to sayyidī noorī miyāN raĥimahullah. he did not wait to be offered to hold the young hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah. he stretched out his blessed hands and took hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah from sayyidī aala hadrat raĥimahullah. for quite some time, he kissed the forehead of hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah, and congratulated sayyidī aala hadrat raĥimahullah. He then said,
this child is born a walī. he is very blessed. he will be blessed with a long life. this child will do great service to the deen of islam. The servants of Allah Almighty will attain immense benefit through him. this child is the shaykh ul-ma’shaykh (the grandmaster of grandmasters).
after saying this, he placed his fingers in the mouth of hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah and initiated him into the spiritual order. He even blessed hudūr muftī al-aazam hind raĥimahullah with khilâfah at the tender age of six months.
Ahsan al-‘Ulamā are one of the grand Sheikhs of the blessed Barkātiya spiritual order, and the father of the present custodian of Marehra mutāhira, Amīn al-Millah as-Sayyid Amīn Miyān Barkātī (may Allah Almighty preserve him). As-Sayyid Mustafa Haydar (may Allah sanctify his secret),
I saw the spiritual son and sign of my forefather (noorī miyān), Sayyidī Muftī al-‘āzam Hind in every way possible. I saw him whilst he ate, as he issued decrees, and as a true successor of his blessed father. I saw him in the eyes of the public and in the privacy of his home. According to me, in everything he did, there was piety, knowledge, wisdom and strict adherence of the Sunnah. He was a very great ābid, zāhid, leader and a mujāhid in deen. In the present era, I have not seen any person more pious and possessing more knowledge of Islam than him. His services to revive Islam are clear and evident. There is no doubt, that he is the mujaddid of the 15th century.
On his arrival in Damascus from Egypt he was subjected to pressure from the Umayyad administration and was martyred as the result of this horrid torture. His tomb is said to lie between the hills of Safa and Marwah, although this is not an established fact by any means.
His work al-Mujtaba is considered a more delicate and intricate collection than others on the subject of the Hadīths; it is the third volume in the al-Kutub as-Sitta [six books of Hadīth].