In the face of power

In 763, al-Mansur, the Abbasid monarch offered Imaam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) the post of Chief Judge of the State, but he declined to accept the offer, choosing to remain independent. His student Abu Yusuf (Rahimahullah) was appointed Qadi Al-Qadat (Chief Judge of the State) of al-Mansur regime instead of himself.

In his reply to al-Mansur, Imaam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) recused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post. Al-Mansur, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Imaam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) of lying.

If I am lying,” Imaam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) said, “then my statement is doubly correct. How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qadi (Judge)?

Incensed by this reply, the ruler had Imaam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) arrested, locked in prison and tortured. He was never fed nor cared for.

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Despite his reluctance to render religious verdicts, Imaam Maalik (Rahimahullah) was outspoken. He issued fatwas against being forced to pledge allegiance to the Caliph Al-Mansur, and received a flogging for his stance. Because the flogging had not been ordered by Al-Mansur, he did apologize to Imaam Malik (Rahimahullah), and offered him money and residence in Baghdad, but Imaam Maalik (Rahimahullah) refused to leave the city of Madeenah an Nabawi. Later, Harun al-Rashid asked Imaam Maalik (Rahimahullah) to visit him while Harun was performing the hajj. The Imaam refused, and instead he invited the new caliph to his class.

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It is said that, when told that it was religiously permissible to say what pleases his persecutors without believing in it at the time of mihna, Imaam Ahmad (Rahimahullah) said

If I remained silent and you remained silent, then who will teach the ignorant?

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It is written that Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf once entered a city. There was an elder cleric whose prayers were widely believed to bring blessings. He asked the cleric to recite a prayer for him.

The cleric prayed: “O Allah, take his life away!
Al-Ḥajjāj, startled, burst out: “Old man, what kind of prayer is this that you recite for me?!
The old man replied: “It is for your own good and the benefit of the people.

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You claim that you are Muslim and you have with you Mu’adhdhins, Muftis, Imams and Shaykhs but you invaded us and reached our country for what? While your father and your grandfather, Hulagu were non-believers, they did not attack and they kept their promise. But you promised and broke your promise.

-Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah)


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