Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah,
From a biographical account of Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah ‘alayh), there was part of a saying of Imam Ahmad that I had troubles translating as I couldn’t see the link between the first segment of the sentence and the last, the first being “Awwalu maa katabtu al-haditha” and the last “iktalaftu ilaa Abi Yusuf.”
Imam Ahmad said:
اول ما كتبت الحديثَ اختلفت الي ابي يوسف و كان أميل الي المحدثين من ابي حنيفة و محمد
What I was able to understand of the first sentence is: ‘I frequented Abu Yusuf.’
The last sentence I translated as:
‘And he was more inclined to the hadith scholars than [Imam] Abu Hanifah and Muhammad [ibn al-Hasan].’
What did Imam Ahmad (rahmatullah ‘alayh) mean to imply Sheikh by “more inclined to the hadith scholars”?
wa `alaykum salam,
“More inclined to the hadith scholars” means more in line with their methodology of sticking to reporting the letter of the hadiths meticulously and truthfully as distinct from juridical exertion and opinion using one’s own words. Hence, Abu Yusuf is counted among the huffaz of hadith but not Ibn al-Hasan, Allah have mercy on all of them.
Hajj Gibril Haddad