Very often the following question is posed to many people: “Do you follow the Deen of Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) or the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)?” “Obviously the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam),” comes the instant reply. The second question is then posed: “Why then do you call yourself a Hanafi?” The person not well versed is perplexed by this question. Doubts are then created in his mind. He soon starts gradually drifting towards the abandoning of taqleed i.e. following one of the four illustrious Imams viz. Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imam Shafiee (R.A.), Imam Malik (R.A.) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (R.A.).
By means of the type of questions that have been mentioned above, a deliberate attempt is made to create a misconception in the minds of the unwary — that if you are a Hanafi, you are following the Deen of Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), NOT the Deen of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This is an absolute fallacy. Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imam Shafi’i (R.A.) and the other Imams did not invent any Deen of their own. They strictly followed the one and only Deen — the Deen of Islam brought by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Their followers are hence also following the same Deen — the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).