Abu Ja'far Aḥmad al-Ṭaḥāwī
|Born||843 CE / 229 AH|
|Died||5 November 933 CE / 14 Dhul Qa’ada 321 AH|
Taḥawi was born in the village of Taha in upper Egypt in 843 CE/229 AH to an affluent family. He began his studies with his maternal uncle Isma`il ibn Yahya al-Muzani, a leading disciple of Shafi`i. In 863 CE/249 AH, when Tahawi was about 20 years old he abandoned the Shafi'i school and transferred to the Hanafi school due to personal reason. Different versions are given by his biographers of his conversion to the Hanafi school, but the most probable reason seems to be that the system of Abu Hanifa appealed to his critical insight more than that of Shafi'i.
Tahawi then studied under the head of the Hanafis in Egypt, Ahmed ibn Abi 'Imran Moosā, who had himself studied under the two primary students of Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani. Tahawi next went to Syria in 882 CE/268 AH for further studies in Hanafi Law and became the pupil of Qazi Abu Haazim Abdul Hamid bin Ja’afar, the chief judge of Damascus.
Tahawi gained an extraordinary knowledge of hadith in addition to Hanafi jurisprudence  and consequently his study circles attracted many scholars who related hadith from him and transmitted his works. Among them were al-Da'udi, the head of the Zahiris in Khurasan and al-Tabarani well known for his biographical dictionaries of hadith transmitters.
Tahawi's extraordinary knowledge of hadith in addition to Hanafi jurisprudence is evident from his significant book Kitab ma'ani al-athar and his concise creed (aqida) has also achieved a prominent place among most Sunni scholars to this day.
The scholars of his time praised him and mentioned him as being a scholar of Hadith (Muhaddith), one whose report was reliable and an established narrator. He was viewed as a distinguished and highly proficient writer and became known as the most knowledgeable of fiqh amongst the Hanafis in Egypt. This was even though he had a share in the fiqh of all of the madhabs of fiqh and hadith, and he knew of the various sciences of Islam. Ibn Yoonus said of him, "At-Tahaawee was reliable, trustworthy, a Faqeeh, intelligent, the likes of whom did not come afterward."
In his introduction to Sharh Aqida al-Tahaweyah (pages 17–19) the editor Zuhayr Shawish describes Tahawi:
He was the Imam, the Muhaddith, the Faqeeh, the Haafidh, the noble Scholar, Abu Ja'far Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Salaamah Ibn Salama 'Abdil-Malik Ibn Salama Al-Azdee At-Tahawi. He was educated under many shuyookh, whom he took knowledge and benefited from. He had more than three hundred teachers. He would spend lots of time with those scholars that came to visit Egypt from different parts of the world, such that he would add to his knowledge what knowledge they had. This shows you the extent of the concern he had for benefiting from the scholars, as well as the intense eagerness he had for acquiring knowledge. Many scholars praised him and described him as being reliable, trustworthy, a Faqeeh, intelligent, a good memorizer and a pious worshipper. He had a high proficiency in fiqh and Hadeeth.
He left behind many other works, close to forty different books, some of which are still available today. His works include:
- Ma'ani al-Athar
- Aqida al-Tahaweyah
- Sharh Mushkil Al-Athar
- Sharh Al-Jaam'i-ul-Kabeer
- Sharh Al-Jaam'i-us-Sagheer
- Nawaadir al-Fiqhiyyah
- Ikhtilaf al-‘Ulama
- Manāqib Abi Hanīfah
- Tārīkh al‑Kabīr
- al‑Radd ala Kitāb al‑Mudallisīn
- Hukm `Aradi Makkah
He died on 5 November 933 CE/14 Dhul Qa’ada 321 AH & buried in Qarafah, Cairo (Egypt).
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