Imam Abu Hanifa wrote his book “Kitabul Aathaar” at a time when even the earliest of canonical books of Hadith such as Muwaata Imam Malik, the Musannaf of Abdur Razzaq and Ibn Abu Shaibah had not yet been compiled. Imam Zaranjari confirmed that Imam Abu Hanifa wrote his book (on the quotations of the Companions) from a collection of 40,000 narrations. Shu’ba ibn Hajjaj was known as the “Commander of the Faithful” in the science of Hadith and he was also the first scholar who specialized in the evaluation of narrators (Jarh wa Ta’deel).
Speaking of Imam Abu Hanifa he said, “He was, by Allah, a person with good understanding and excellent memory.” And when Shu’ba heard the news of Imam Abu Hanifa’s death, he said, “The light of knowledge has been extinguished in Kufa. They [the people of Kufa] may never see the like of him again.”
It should be noted that the word for knowledge (Ilm) in the language of the early scholars referred to the science of Hadith exclusively. Yahya ibn Mu’een an expert in Jarh wa Ta’deel stated, “Imam Abu Hanifa was extremely reliable in Hadith as he never narrated any Hadith which he had not memorized.”
Though the Imam did not leave behind any collection of Hadith, he occupies a high place as a Muhaddith. Imam Abu Hanifa founded a body of intellectuals, of which he was the president, to counsel on the codification of Islamic doctrines and to transform the Islamic Shariah in the form of law. According to Khwarizmi, “The number of sections of Islamic law framed by him is more than 83 thousand of which 38 thousand are related to religious matters and 45 thousand deal with worldly affairs.” Imam Abu Hanifa left behind him three works namely “Fiqh-ul-Akbar,” “Al Alim Wal Mutaam” and “Musnad.”