Even while maintaining the rigor of his principles, Hazrat al Imaam al A’zam, Abu Haneefah was very human and had a keen sense of humor. Once a man asked him about taking a swim in the river. “Should I face the Qiblaa when I bathe in the river”, asked the man. “No”, replied the Imaam, “You should face the bank of the river and watch your clothes”.
His success and his greatness made the political establishment of the times jealous of him. In 766 CE Caliph al Mansoor asked Hazrat Imaam Abu Haneefah [Rahmatul Laah Alaieh]to be the chief Qaazi (judge) of Baghdad. The Caliph had hoped that by offering him a high post he could bring the Imaam under his control. But the great Ulamaah’s and sages and Auliyaa Allaah have through the ages refused the favors of kings, ministers and noblemen to maintain their independence. Hazrat Imaam e Azam Abuu Haneefah
[Rahmatul Laahi Alaieh] declined. The Caliph, furious that his invitation was rejected, had the Imaam flogged and put in jail. Even in the prison, the Imaam continued to teach and train his disciples. And it was in prison that this great mujtahid breathed his last in the year 767 CE.
Hazrat Imaam e Azam Abuu Haneefah
[Rahmatul Laahi Alaieh]- passed away while in Salaah. He had been poisoned by the orders of Caliph Mansoor. His Naamaaz e Janazaa was performed six times and each time 50 000 people took part. People continued to come and pray for him for 20 days after he was buried. He was 70 years old. In 459 A.H.
The tribute to this giant among scholars is that a large majority of Muslims around the world, from Istanbul to Dhakaa, from Samarqand to Cairo, use the Fiqh named after him.