[Many thanks to the brother for the following contributions] 
Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal [Rahimahullah] 
All praise is for Allah Lord of the worlds. Peace and 
blessings be upon Muhammad (Salallahu-a'laihi 
wassallam), his pure family, his companions and all 
those who strive to follow in their footsteps till the 
last day. To proceed : 
Abu `Abdullah Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, 
Al-Shaybani Al-Baghdadi (d. 241). Al-Dhahabi says of 
him: "The true Shaikh of Islam and leader of the 
Muslims in his time, the hadith master and proof of 
the Religion. He took hadith from Hushaym, Ibrahim ibn 
Sa`d, Sufyan ibn `Uyayna, `Abbad ibn `Abbad, Yahya ibn 
Abi Za'ida, and their layer. From him narrated Imaam 
Al-Bukhari, Imaam Muslim, Abu Dawud, Abu Zur`a, 
Mutayyan, `Abdullah bin Ahmad, Al-Baghawi, and a huge 
array of scholars. His father was a soldier one of 
those who called to Islam and he died young." 
He was chiefly interested in acquiring knowledge of 
ahadith and traveled extensively through Iraq, Syria, 
Arabia and other places in the Middle East studying 
religion and collecting the ahadith of Prophet 
Muhammad (Salallahu-a'laihi wassallam).  His travels 
occupied several years of his early life. 
After returning home, he became a student of Imam 
Shafi'ee who taught him the subject of Islamic Fiqh 
and its fundamentals.  This and the fact that he was a 
scholar of hadith, were responsible for his deep 
devotion to the textual views on Islam, and his 
opposition to innovation of any kind. 
The strength of his faith in Allah and the 
steadfastness on his understanding of the Deen were 
tested when under Khalifah al-Mamum and the Khalifah 
al-Mu'tasim, a Fitnah or a kind of 'inquisition court' 
was created to deal with people among whom were many 
acknowledged scholars who would not profess the 
doctrine of "the creation of the Quran".  Imaam bin 
Hanbal too, suffered as a result when he was arrested 
and brought in chains before the court.  But he 
patiently submitted to corporal punishment and 
imprisonment and resolutely refused to deviate from 
his beliefs. 
His trial, and the Ummah's for that matter, were to 
come to an end on the hands of the Khalifah 
al-Mutawakkil who did not believe in the doctrine of 
'the creation of the Quran'.  From then onwards the 
Imam was accorded honor befitting his greatness.  His 
steadfastness helped preserve the correct Islamic 
belief regarding the Book of Allah.  His fame spread 
far and wide.  His learning, piety and unswerving 
faithfulness to traditions gathered the Ummah and its 
scholars around his understanding and teachings.  He 
died in Baghdad in the year 855 CE (241 AH). 
Among the works of Imam bin Hanbal is the great 
encyclopedia of ahadith called al-Musnad, compiled 
during his life time, completed by his son Abdullah, 
and amplified by supplements.  Al-Musnad contains more 
than thirty thousand ahadih.  His other works include 
"Kitab-us-Salah", on the discipline of making salah 
and "Kitab-us-Sunnah", on matters of aqeedah as they 
are understood from the hadith of the prophet, 
(Salallahu-a'laihi wassallam) and the sayings and 
commentaries of the companions of the Prophet, 
(Salallahu-a'laihi wassallam). 
Imaam Adh-Dhahabi related many of the praises stated 
by the scholars who knew Ibn Hanbal personally.  The 
biography of Ibn Hanbal spread over at least 113 pages 
of Adh-Dhahabi's, "Siyar A'lam an-Nubala". 
Abdullah bin Ahmad, the Imam's son, said: "I heard Abu 
Zur'ata Rrazi say: 'Your father had memorized a 
million hadith, which I rehearsed with him according 
to the topic,'" 
Harmala said: "I heard ash-Shafi'ee say: 'I left 
Baghdad and did not leave behind me anyone more 
virtuous, more learned, more knowledgeable than Ahmad 
bin Hanbal.'" 
Imaam Ibn Al-Jawzi relates in al-Manaaqib (p. 192) 
"Imaam Ahmad was the foremost among the Imaams in 
collecting the Sunnah and sticking to it." 
Ibrahim al-Harbi said: "I held Imaam Ahmad as one for 
whom Allah had gathered up the combined knowledge of 
the first and the last." 
Imaam Ash-Shafi`ee said "You (addressing Imaam Ahmad 
bin Hanbal) are more knowledgeable about Hadith than 
I, so when a hadith is Sahih, inform me of it, whether 
it is from Kufah, Basrah or Syria, so that I may take 
the view of the hadith, as long as it is Sahih. 
Related by Ibn Abi Haatim in Aadaab ash-Shaafi'i (pp. 
Abu `Ubayd said: "The Science at its peak is in the 
custody of four men, of whom Ahmad bin Hanbal is the 
most knowledgeable." 
Some great scholars who followed the madhab of Imaam 
Ahmad Bin Hanbal. 
Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah reported in his book Imaam 
Al-Bukhari, Imaam Muslim and Imaam Abu Dawood were 
strong followers of Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal. Other 
great Imaams who followed the teachings of Imaam Ahmad 
include Shaikh-ul-Islam Taqi ad-Deen Ibn Taymiyyah, 
AbdulQadir Jillaani, Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, 
Al-Haafidh Zaynud-Deen Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Imam 
Muhammed Bin Abdul Wahab and Imam Ibn ul Jawzi. 
Imaam Ahmad was imprisoned and tortured for 
twenty-eight months under the Abbasid caliph 
al-Mu`tasim in an effort to force him to publicly 
espouse the [Mu`tazila] position that the Holy [Quran] 
was created, but the Imam bore up unflinchingly under 
the persecution and refused to renounce the belief of 
Ahl- us-Sunna that the [Quran] is the uncreated word 
of Allah, after which Allah delivered and vindicated 
him. When Ahmad died in 241/855, he was accompanied to 
his resting place by a funeral procession of eight 
hundred thousand men and sixty thousand women, marking 
the departure of the last of the four great mujtahid 
Imams of Islam."