Trial of Imam Ahmad

What is the story of trial of Imam Ahmad?

Here is the story mentioning the trial of Imam Ahmad:

Imam Ahmad faced a serious trial that he bore steadfastly. He refused to make any concessions in the process. The trial began when Caliph Al-Ma’mun declared in AH 218 (833 CE) his call to consider the Qur’an a creature like all creatures. Many jurists were forced under torture to agree. But Ahmad and Muhammad ibn Noah refused to succumb. As a consequence, they were fettered and sent to Baghdad to stand before Caliph Al-Ma’mun. While they were on their way to him, the caliph passed away, so they were returned to Baghdad fettered. On the way back to Baghdad, Muhammad ibn Noah died. But before his death, he advised his companion, Imam Ahmad, saying, “You are a man that people take as a role model. They are now waiting to see how you will act [in this trial]. So, be mindful of Almighty Allah and remain steadfast for His sake.” Imam Ahmad acted upon his companion’s advice and stood up for his beliefs. He was imprisoned for more than two years. Then he was carried to Caliph Al-Mu`tasim, who followed in the footsteps of his late brother, Al-Ma’mun. The carrot-and-stick approach was used with Imam Ahmad in the presence of the caliph and his gathering in an attempt to gain a single word from him in support of their allegation about the Qur’an being a creature. They would ask him, “What do you say about the Qur’an? Is it a creation?” And his only reply was “It is Allah’s word.” With the persistent attempts by the caliph to win him over, the Imam would get more determined. When despair seized them, they hang him from the heels. They would whip him without the least prick of conscience that they were whipping an innocent and guiltless individual, let alone that he was a pious scholar whom people take as a role model. They showed no mercy in lashing his infirm body with turns of their harsh whips. He fainted as a result of the flogging and was released and returned home. During the era of Caliph Al-Wathiq (AH 227–232 [841–847 CE]), Imam Ahmad was forbidden to address people in a gathering. He was allowed to go out only for prayer. Circumstances changed, however, when Al-Mutawakkil assumed the Caliphate. He banned the opinion saying that the Qur’an is a creature and restored to Imam Ahmad his esteem and status. Upon that, Imam Ahmad resumed his teaching circles in the mosque.

Further reading:

  1. http://ahlalhadeeth.wordpress.com/tag/hanbali/
  2. http://ashabulhadeeth.com/tag/hanbali/
  3. The story of Imam Ahmad’s life in a 10 part lecture by Shaykh Safi Khan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWcuREVkAxU

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