Imaam-e-Azam Hazrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) once travelled to Madinatul Munawwarah to present himself in the exalted court of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). When he reached the sacred Rauza Mubarak he said, “Peace be upon you, O leader of the Prophets.” A voice was then heard from the Rauza Mubarak saying, “And peace be upon you, O leader of the Muslims.” From this we can understand that Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) being the leader of the Muslims, is a title not self-bestowed, but one given to him by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself. [Tazkiratul Awliya]
Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) was once walking in the market place when a small amount of dirt (the size of the fingernail) fell onto his clothes. He immediately proceeded to the edge of the Tigris River and began to wash it off. People saw this and asked, “O Imaam! You are the one who told us that, that much dirt on one’s clothes is permissible, but now you are the one that is washing it off.” He replied, “True, but that was Fatwa (verdict), and this is Taqwa (piety).” [Tazkiratul Awliya]
Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) once went somewhere to perform a Janaazah Salaah. The day was blistering hot and there was no shade anywhere except beside a house nearby. Seeing the great Imaam standing under direct sunlight, some people then said to him, “O Imaam, why don’t you stand in the shade?” He replied, “No. The person who owns that house has taken a loan from me, and I fear that if I benefit by standing in his shade, I will be included amongst those who dealt in interest, because the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whatever is gained from a loan is interest.” Thus he continued to stand under direct sunlight. SubhanAllah, this was the level of immense piety that Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) possessed. [Tazkiratul Awliya]
There was a man who once buried a portion of his wealth somewhere and later forgot where he put it. He decided to ask Hazrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) for advice and was told, “Do nothing but read Nafl Salaah tonight and you will recall where you left it.” Thus the man went home and decided to carry out this instruction. After only a few rakaats, he remembered where he had left the money and decided there was no reason to continue; so he abandoned reading any more Nafl Salaah and went to sleep. The next morning, he went to Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and said in happiness, “O Imaam! How did you know Nafl Salaah was the answer?” The great Imaam replied, “I knew Shaitaan was going to remind you where you put it because he would not want you to spend your entire night reading Nafl Salaah. It is only unfortunate that you did not continue reading Salaah in gratitude to Allah Ta’ala.” [Jawaahirul Bayaan]
Hazrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and an atheist (one who denied the existence of Allah Ta’ala) were to meet and debate on the issue of the existence of Allah Ta’ala. On the stipulated day, everyone gathered to witness the event, including the atheist, but the great Imaam was nowhere to be seen. After some time, he finally arrived and was asked by the atheist, “What took you so long?” He replied, “If I told you that on the way here, I saw something amazing and stood in awe of it; that there was a tree on the edge of a river which got cut, fell to the ground, assembled itself into planks, from planks became a ship and thereafter sailed on the river while taking passengers and dropping them off after accepting their fares, all without the help of anyone, would you believe me?” The atheist laughed and replied, “Such a leader yet you speak such crazy things, that all of this could have happened without someone to carry these tasks out.” Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) then said, “If that is ridiculous, isn’t it even more ridiculous to think that the entire universe has been assembled without the help of anyone? That this earth, this sky, this sun, these stars, these gardens, these flowers, these fruits, these mountains, and all humans and animals just came into being without the work of a Creator? If according to you only a tree turning into a ship without a coordinator is a lie, would it not be an even bigger lie to say that the entire universe came into being without a coordinator?” Astonished upon hearing this, the atheist repented and immediately embraced Islam. [Tafseer Kabeer]
There was a man in the time of Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) who used to harbour great animosity towards Hazrat Uthman Ghani (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), going as far as calling him a Jew, Ma’azAllah! Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) called the man and said to him, “I have found a very nice boy to marry your daughter. He has all the good qualities one can imagine, but the only problem is he is a Jew.” The man replied, “You are such a prominent Imaam yet you think that it is permissible for a Jew to marry a Muslim! How can this be correct?!” Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) then said, “SubhanAllah! Why would it be wrong? You consider Hazrat Uthman Ghani (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) to be a Jew, yet Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) gave two of his daughters in marriage to him!” The man immediately realized his mistake, repented for having such evil thoughts against Hazrat Uthman Ghani (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and later became very wealthy due to the blessings he attained from the great Imaam. [Tazkiratul Awliya]
A group of thieves once broke into a house at night and woke up the family within. In desperation, one of the robbers grabbed hold of the father and forced him to swear the following oath, “I give my wife three Talaaqs if I tell anyone who the thieves are.” After that, they looted the entire house and ran away. The next morning, the father saw the thieves walking around the city numerous times but did not say anything due to not wanting to be separated from his wife. He eventually decided to go to Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in hope of finding a solution to the problem. In response, the great Imaam announced to the rich and prominent people of the community, “Help this poor man by gathering all the immoral and accused people of the city into one mansion.” He then turned to the father and said, “Now stand with me at the mansion door. As each one leaves, I will ask you if he was one of the thieves or not. If he was not, say, ‘No,’ but if he was, do not say anything, because remember you will be giving your wife three Talaaqs if you tell me who they are.” Thus, one by one everyone inside was then told to leave the house and in time, all the thieves were seized without the man having to divorce his wife. [Lataaif-e-Ilmiyya]
The Khalifa of his time, Mansoor, once summoned Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) to his court and said, “I want you to accept the position of being my chief judge.” The Imaam replied, “I am incapable of such a position.” The Khalifa then said, “Liar! If not you, who else can do it?!” The great Imaam answered, “If I truly am a liar as you say, then the decision has been made. I cannot be your chief judge because liars are not fit to be judges.” He then turned around and walked away. [Tazkiratul Awliya]
From just these few anecdotes we can see what an ocean of knowledge and wisdom Imaam-e-Azam Hazrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) was.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to have sincere love for all the Imaams and to learn from their teachings and wisdom, Allahumma Ameen.