Al-Hārithī’s Musnad of Abū Hanīfa: A Source for Abū Hanīfa’s Hadīth?

Zeeshan Chaudri


The recent publication of al-Mawsūʿa al-ḥadīthiyya li-marwiyyāt al-Imām Abī Ḥanīfa (The ḥadīth encyclopaedia of the narrations of Imam Abū Ḥanīfa) by Laṭīf al-Raḥmān al-Bahrāʾijī has rekindled the debate surrounding the status of Abū Ḥanīfa as a narrator of ḥadīth. The encyclopaedia is heavily reliant on the various masānīd of Abū Ḥanīfa and attempts to demonstrate that Abū Ḥanīfa was a major narrator of ḥadīth. Studies surrounding the origins of the masānīd and their impact have been scarce and limited. Likewise, their reception within Ḥanafī circles seems to have taken some time and been of limited utility. This paper will attempt to unravel this topic by focusing on al-Ḥārithī’s Musnad, which was heavily utilised by the popular collection of Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd al-Khwārizmī (d. 665/‌1266). Al-Ḥārithī’s status as a narrator will be analysed, alongside a direct study of a section of the Musnad. This will determine the status of the Musnad as an accurate presentation of Abū Ḥanīfa’s ḥadīth. The study then investigates the reaction to this work within ḥadīth circles, as well as Ḥanafī circles specifically. This article sheds light on important questions surrounding the relationship and impact ḥadīth literature had on the Ḥanafī madhhab. It also explores the utility of the musnads as a source for early Ḥanafism, a topic already touched upon by Christopher Melchert.

Key Words

al-Ḥārithī, Abū Ḥanīfa, ḥadīth, Ḥanafī, musnad