Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H/855 AD), renowned for his profound knowledge of hadith—the reports of the Prophet’s sayings and deeds—is a major figure in the history of Islam. Ibn Hanbal’s piety and austerity made him a folk hero, especially after his principled resistance to the attempts of two Abbasid caliphs to force him to accept rationalist doctrine. His subsequent imprisonment and flogging became one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval Islamic history. Ibn Hanbal’s resistance influenced the course of Islamic law, the rise of Sunnism, and the legislative authority of the caliphate.
Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is a translation of the biography of Ibn Hanbal penned by the Baghdad preacher, scholar, and storyteller, Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H/1201 AD). It includes insights into Ibn Hanbal’s childhood, travels, and teachings, as well as descriptions of his way of life. This second and final volume gives a vivid account of Ibn Hanbal’s legendary confrontation with the caliphal Inquisition, including his imprisonment, trial, and flogging. Ultimately, it recounts how the people of Baghdad came to admire him as a symbol of Sunni Islam.
Table of Contents Chapter 51: His Love of Poverty and His Affection for the Poor 2 Chapter 52: His Humility 4 Chapter 53: His Accepting Invitations and His Withdrawal upon Seeing Things He Disapproved Of 12 Chapter 54: His Preference for Solitude 14 Chapter 55: His Wish to Live in Obscurity and His Efforts to Remain Unnoticed 20 Chapter 56: His Fear of God 22 Chapter 57: His Preoccupation and Absentmindedness 26 Chapter 58: His Devotions 28 Chapter 59: His Performances of the Pilgrimage 36 Chapter 60: His Extemporaneous Prayers and Supplications 40 Chapter 61: His Manifestations of Grace and the Effectiveness of His Prayers 46 Chapter 62: The Number of Wives He Had 52 Chapter 63: His Concubines 58 Chapter 64: The Number of His Children 62 Chapter 65: The Lives of His Children and Descendants 64 Chapter 66: How and Why the Inquisition Began 72 Chapter 67: His Experience with al-Ma ?mun 76 Chapter 68: What Happened after the Death of al-Ma ?mun 86
"Cooperson’s translation is uncommonly deft… On the whole, this translation is a grand success. It will be valuable for teachers to illustrate early Islamic piety, early Islamic law, early Sunni theology, and everyday life in Baghdad."-Christopher Melchert, Journal of Islamic Studies
“Michael Cooperson’s fluid translation is accompanied by substantial notes and a glossary of names and terms.”-Banipal Magazine