As salamu Alaykum,
What did Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A) say on:
1) having a shaykh, and
2) on esaale sawab and
3) calling upon the pious,
wa `alaykum salam,
1) On having a shaykh:
Imam Abu Hanifa said: “Stories about the learned (al-`ulama’) and sitting with them are dearer to me than much of jurisprudence (fiqh) because they are the manners (Aadaab) and ethics (Akhlaq) of the Folk (al-Qawm).” Cited by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (1:117), al-Qadi `Iyad in Tartib al-Madarik (1:23), al-Sakhawi in al-I`lan
wal-Tawbikh (p. 20), and al-Maqarri in Azhar al-Riyad (1:21-22).
He also said to his foremost student Dawud al-Ta’i: “You will eventually quit fiqh and devote yourself to worship” as cited by al-Salihi in `Uqud al-Juman. Ibn al-Jawzi in Sifat al-Safwa narrates that Abu Hanifa one day said to Dawud regarding studying advanced fiqh: “Abu Sulayman! As for the instrument, we have now mastered it.” Dawud said: “What is left?” Abu Hanifa said: “What is left is to put it into practice!” Dawud said: “When I heard this, my soul stirred me to seclusion and solitariness, but I told her: Sit with them (the jurists) for a year and do not raise a peep during that time.” During that year, he said, “A question would come up which made me crave to answer more than someone parched craves water, but I would not answer.” After one year, he went into seclusion.
2) On Isal al-Thawab (the conveyance of reward for one’s worship to someone else):
“Ahl al-Sunnah agree that the dead benefit from the striving of the living in two matters: the first is what the dead one himself caused to take place during his life, and the second is the invocation of Muslims on behalf of the dead, their asking forgiveness for them, giving charity, and performing pilgrimage…. As for the reward of such bodily worship as fasting, reciting Qur’an, and dhikr reaching the dead, Abu Hanifa, Ahmad, and the vast majority of the Salaf agree that it reaches the dead.” Ibn Abi al-`Izz, Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (1995 ed. 2:664-673).
3) On calling upon the pious:
It is permissible in the Hanafi School to say “by the sanctity/honor of so-and-so in Your presence” (bi-hurmati/bi-jahi fulaan). This is stated in the Fatawa Bazzaziyya (6:351 in the margin of the Fatawa Hindiyya) and is also the position of Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi and Ibn `Abidin in his Hashiya (6:396-397), the latter citing the ruling of permissibility from Imam Abu Hanifa: “In the Tatarkhaaniyya: The Aathaar also report what shows permissibility.” Then he cites – from al-Qari’s Sharh al-Niqaya, al-Munawi quoting Ibn `Abd al-Salam (cf. the very first of his Fatawa in the printed Risala edition), and Shaykh al-Islam al-Subki – further explanations that it is permitted, then he cites the fatwa by Ibn Amir al-Hajj al-Hanafi in the thirteenth chapter of Sharh al-Munya that permissibility is not limited to tawassul through the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) but extends to the Righteous.
Hajj Gibril Haddad