Khaarijah bin Mus‘ab (rahimahullah) mentions the following incident:
On one occasion, I departed for hajj, leaving my slave girl in the care of Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah).
I remained in Makkah Mukarramah for approximately four months, and upon my return, I asked Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), “How did you find the work and character of this slave girl?” He replied, “The person who studies the Quraan Majeed and acquires the knowledge of permissible and impermissible for the (benefit of the) people (i.e. he imparts the injunctions of Deen to the people) needs to safeguard himself from falling into fitnah (sin). By Allah! From the time you left, until the time you returned, I did not look at your slave girl!”
I thereafter asked my slave girl to give me her impression of Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) and to describe his character within the home. She answered, “I have never seen nor heard of a man such as him. From the time I entered his home, I never saw him sleep on the bed, nor did I see him take a fardh bath at any time of the day or night. On the day of Jumu‘ah, he would go out to perform the Fajr Salaah. Thereafter, he would return home and would perform the Dhuha (Chaasht) Salaah. However, he would be brief in this salaah, as he would leave home early and proceed to the masjid. He would have a bath and apply a little ‘itr (perfume) before proceeding to the masjid. I never once saw him eating to his fill, and he would eat towards the end of the night. After eating, he would sleep for a short while, and thereafter, he would proceed for salaah.” (Akhbaaru Abi Haneefah wa As-haabihi pg. 49)
1. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) possessed such taqwa that he ensured that he never looked at the slave girl of Khaarijah bin Mus‘ab (rahimahullah). In other words, he took great precautions and made special arrangements for the slave girl to be kept separately, with the womenfolk of the house, and he gave instructions that she should not come before him. This is the demand of true taqwa – that one not only abstains from sin, but one also makes arrangements to safeguard himself from falling into sin accidentally.
2. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) explained that when a person is entrusted with the responsibility of disseminating Deen to people, and people turn to him for guidance, then he has to be extra cautious and careful regarding sins and fitnahs. The reason is that committing sins clouds and blackens the heart, affecting one’s understanding and impairing one’s ability to give correct guidance. Hence, if a person is openly committing sins, then we should never turn to him for guidance and refer to him in matters of Deen.
3. The day of Jumu‘ah is the most important day of the week for a Muslim, and Jumu‘ah is among the salient symbols of Islam. It is for this reason that Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) ensured that he fulfilled the sunnats of Jumu‘ah and honoured this day by having a bath, applying perfume, proceeding to the masjid early, etc.
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