Who was Imam Sarahsi

The central mosque of Imam Sarahsi was named after the famous Hanafi faqih, who lived in the XI century and played a huge role in establishing the Hanafi madhhab in Central Asia. You can read about who Imam Sarahsi was and what he had in common with Kyrgyzstan in our article.

Imam Sarahsi Complex in Uzgen

The Life of Imam Sarahsi

Abu Bakr bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Abi Sahl Al Sarahsi was born in 1009 between the cities of Merv and Mashhad on the border of Turkmenistan and Iran. This place used to be called Sarahsi, therefore he got his famous name Imam Sarahsi. For a long time, Imam studied in the city of Bukhara under Abdul Aziz Al Halvani. He was considered one of his best disciples. Moreover, he received knowledge from scholars such as Sheikhul Islam Abul Hussein Ali bin Al Hussein bin Muhammadis Suudi Al Hanafi and Abul Hafs Umar bin Mansurul Buzzaz. If you look at the Imam Sarahsi’s ijazah (a document that includes a chain of continuity in one or more sciences), his chain of knowledge transfer reaches Imam Muhammad Ash Shaibani, one of the best disciples of Imam Abu Hanifa.

Imam Sarahsi became one of the strongest scholars of the Hanafi madhhab. He was even called "Shamsu al-Aimma", which means "Sun of Imams". His book “Al-Mabsut”, which consists of thirty volumes, is one of the main books of the Hanafi madhhab. By the way, the imam wrote this book for 15 years without any paper, ink, or books. He wrote it while in prison, isolated from everything. Those who put him there hoped that while in prison he would abandon science and drown in the darkness of the pit. However, Imam Sarahsi, who put science and knowledge above all else, on the contrary, wrote his best works in prison. In his book Al-Mabsut, he wrote: “Truly, after believing in Allah Almighty, the most powerful of duties is to seek knowledge, as is given in the hadith, which is transmitted from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “The search for knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim”. Knowledge is the legacy of prophecy, as is given in the hadith: “The prophets, may blessings and peace be upon them, do not leave a dinar or dirham, but they do leave knowledge, and whoever takes it will truly take a blessed share".

So who and why put Imam Sarahsi in prison?

Imam Sarahsi lived during the time of the Karakhanid Khaganate. It was a difficult time, a time when more and more trials fell on Muslims. On the one hand, the Islamic world faced an external threat in the person of the crusaders, and on the other hand, it underwent internecine strife, which led to the division of the Islamic world. At that time, the rulers of the Karakhanid Khaganate constantly exerted pressure on their scientists, and some were thrown into prisons. Taxes were growing day by day, which placed a heavy burden on the people, people were constantly suffering from the pressure of the state. Imam Sarahsi opposed the tyranny of the state, he criticized some excesses of state policy and issued fatwas about the refusal to pay taxes. Imam Sarahsi had haters and miserable hypocrites who reported to the ruler Hakan Amir Hassan that Imam Sarahsi was allegedly preparing a coup. The ruler, despite the venerable age of the imam (he was already 64 years old) and his achievements in the path of knowledge, began to persecute the imam and imprisoned him in the city of Uzgen for 15 years. Prison did not break the strong spirit and persistent faith and conviction of the imam. On the contrary, it became the place where imam Sarahsi wrote his best works. For 15 years, he wrote such books as “Al Mabsut”, “Usuulul Fikh”, “Sharhus Siyarul Kabiir”, “Ziyadatuz Ziyadat”, “Sharhu Zhamiis Sagiir”, “Sharhu Zhamiil Kabiir”.

Since he had neither paper nor a pen in prison, he dictated all his thoughts to his disciples, who were listening attentively to their teacher, standing on top of the pit in which their teacher was imprisoned. He brought up a number of outstanding scholars. Among his best disciples were such scholars as Usman bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Ali Abu Umar al Baikandiy al Bukhariy, Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Hasariy, Shamsul Aimma Mahmoud bin Abdil Aziz Al Uzgandiy, Burhanul Aimma Abdul Aziz bin Maaza, Masood bin Al Husayn Ibnil Hassan bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Kashtaniy, Abu Hafsis Sagir Umar bin Habib, Ruknud Din Masood bin Al Hasan al Kashaniy.

Imam Sarahsi died in the city of Uzgen. His grave is also located there.

The books that Imam Sarahsi left behind, if put in a pile, will line up above human growth. He lived a noble life and never complained. Even in the most difficult moments of his life, he, along with his disciples, did not abandon the service of religion. All days in prison he spent in fasting, and nights in namaz. The loyalty of Imam Sarahsi to the laws of Allah, his devotion to truth and justice, his hatred of lies and hypocrisy, is a great example for all scholars and Muslims. In 1087, he was released and spent the last three years of his life on the outside finishing his books. He died in the city of Uzgen, which is located in the Osh region. His mausoleum is also located there.

The book “Imam Sarahsi” was used as a source, Eratov Ravshan azhy and Mamatov Kushtarbek, Bishkek, 2013 

Magazine "Ummah"