Response to Atabek on ‘Ikrimah the Mawlā of Ibn ‘Abbās Jul 13, 2016 5:58:27 GMT
Post by Zameel on Jul 13, 2016 5:58:27 GMT
Response to Atabek Shukurov on ‘Ikrimah the Mawlā of Ibn ‘Abbās
‘Ikrimah Abū ‘Abdillāh (25 – 105 H), the slave of the great ṣaḥābī ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās (d. 68 H), was an accepted transmitter of the knowledge of his master. ‘Ikrimah was of African descent, and a man of great learning. Apart from his master Ibn ‘Abbās, he was a student of a number of prominent ṣaḥāba, including: Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Amr, ‘Ā’ishah, Abū Hurayrah and Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhum). Like Ibn ‘Abbās, he is an authority in a number of fields: ḥadīth, maghāzī/sīrah (history), tafsīr and fiqh. He is regarded by some as the main inheritor of the knowledge of Ibn ‘Abbās. His narrations are found in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and the four famous Sunans.
Atabek Shukurov, who we encountered earlier distorting and misrepresenting the Ḥanafī madhhab – which he has yet to reply to  –, has recently gone on a rampage attacking this immense personality of the salaf. Although later Ḥanafīs have unequivocally accepted ‘Ikrimah as an imām, Atabek clearly implies that the early Ḥanafīs rejected him, and that this is the authentic Ḥanafī position. According to Atabek, although early Ḥanafīs narrated from him and quoted narrations from him, there is no proof that they considered him reliable or regarded his narrations as proof. These claims are demonstrably false.
We will demonstrate below that:
1. The early Ḥanafīs accepted his transmissions as authentic. Four examples will be given from four different personalities from amongst the great early Ḥanafī imāms.
2. Ironically, Atabek adopts a late Ḥanafī/Shāfi‘ī stance when it comes to the issue of an imām from the salaf narrating from a ḥadīth-transmitter:
a) According to the early Ḥanafī scholars, if an imām from the salaf, e.g. Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, narrates from an individual, then this automatically entails that the imām believes him to be trustworthy, unless the imām explicitly clarifies that the individual he is narrating from is unreliable according to him.
b) However, according to a later Ḥanafī view (and the view of many of the muḥaddithīn), it will only entail that the narrator is reliable according to the imām, if it is known from the imām’s normal practice to narrate only from those he believes to be reliable.
Atabek adopts the latter view while discarding the principle of the early Ḥanafī school, although he castigates others for doing the same!
3. There are double-standards in Atabek’s dismissal of a report from Abū Ḥanīfah that is not in his favour, as compared to his ready acceptance of a report from Abū Ḥanīfah that is in his favour. For the first, he uses the established apparatuses of critically testing a ḥadīth to rule it inauthentic and spurious. On the latter, however, he didn’t even bother to scrutinize it! We will show that while he rejects a quote from Abū Ḥanīfah primarily on the grounds that there is an unreliable informant in the chain, he quotes a narration of Abū Ḥanīfah to support his case that contains one, if not two, established liars in the chain!
4. The following claim by Atabek is clearly untrue: ‘We know that he is “fine” according to later scholars who never met him, but the Salaf who actually met him do not consider him authentic at all’. This statement is also demonstrably false, as several of those who interacted with him including his greatest teacher and master, Ibn ‘Abbās, considered him reliable and trustworthy.
We will demonstrate these four issues in turn, followed by a brief defence of ‘Ikrimah (raḥimahullāh) from the words of the salaf and the early scholars.
The early Ḥanafīs Accepted his Transmissions as Authentic
Imām Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī (132 – 189 H)
Imām Muḥammad states in al-Aṣl:
محمد قال: أخبرنا وكيع عن سفيان الثوري عن سماك بن حرب عن عكرمة أن أعرابياً شهد عند النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - في رؤية الهلال، فقال: "تشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأني رسول الله؟ " فقال: نعم، فأمر الناس فصاموا. فهذا مما يدلك على أن شهادة الواحد في الدين جائزة
‘Wakī‘ reported to us from Sufyān al-Thawrī from Simāk ibn Ḥarb from ‘Ikrimah that a Bedouin gave testimony to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) of having seen the crescent moon. He said: ‘Do you bear testimony that there is no deity but Allāh and I am the Messenger of Allāh?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ So he instructed the people to fast. This is of that which proves to you that the testimony of one individual in religious affairs is valid.’ (al-Aṣl, Dār Ibn Ḥazm, 2:248)
The ‘Ikrimah here is ‘Ikrimah the freed-slave of Ibn ‘Abbās, as clarified in other places of al-Aṣl itself. Hence, Imām Muḥammad quotes a narration from ‘Ikrima and presents it as proof. And it is well-known that when a mujtahid presents a ḥadīth as proof, this is tantamount to him grading it ṣaḥīḥ. (For evidences of this principle from the speech of Ibn al-Humām, Ibn Ḥajar, Ibn al-Jawzī and others, see Qawā‘id fī ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth, Maktab al-Maṭbū‘āt al-Islāmiyyah, p. 57 – 59)
Imām Ṭaḥāwī (239 – 321 H)
Al-Ṭaḥāwī quotes a narration with an authentic chain to ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbās (without presenting any supporting chains), and then says: ‘Hence, this is Ibn ‘Abbās conveying that…’ (Sharḥ Ma‘ānī al-Āthār, 1:116-7), his positive assertion (jazm) of it showing that he believes it is authentic.
[في جزم كل مجتهد بحديث دليل على صحته عنده]
Imām Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ (305 – 370 H)
Imām Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ quotes the same narration as Imām Muḥammad mentioned earlier, clearly presenting it as proof:
والدليل على قبول خبر الواحد فيه: ما رواه سماك بن حرب عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: جاء أعرابي إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إني رأيت هلال شهر رمضان، فقال: أتشهد أن لا إله إلا الله؟ قال: نعم. قال: أتشهد أن محمدًا رسول الله؟ قال: نعم. قال: يا بلال! أذن في الناس أن صوموا غدًا"، فدل هذا الخبر على معنيين:
‘The proof of accepting Khabar al-Wāḥid in this is what Simāk ibn Ḥarb narrated from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allāh be pleased with him): A Bedouin came to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and said: “I saw the crescent of Ramaḍān.” He said: “Do you bear testimony that there is no deity but Allāh.” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Do you bear testimony that Muḥammad is the messenger of Allāh?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Bilāl, announce to the people to fast tomorrow.” This report proves two things…’ (Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar al-Ṭaḥāwī, 2:453)
Imām al-Qudūrī (362 – 428 H)
Imām al-Qudūrī states in his work al-Tajrīd:
قال أبو أويس: وحدثني ثور بن يزيد مولى بني الديل بن بكر بن كنانة، عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس مثله، وهذا طريق صحيح، لكن أبا أويس ضعيف
‘Abū Uways said: Thawr ibn Yazīd…narrated to me from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbās the like of it. This [i.e. the chain that Abū Uways mentioned] is a ṣaḥīḥ route, although Abū Uways [himself] is weak.’ (Tajrīd, 3:1371)
Besides the four imāms quoted above, there are other early Ḥanafī imāms who also presented his narrations as proof, like al-Sarakhsī and al-Mawṣilī. We will also see in the next section that based on the principles of the early Ḥanafī school, Imām Abū Ḥanīfah himself has accepted him to be reliable.
According to the Early Ḥanafī School an Imām of the Salaf’s Transmission from a Narrator Amounts to Declaring Him Reliable Unless Stated Otherwise
Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ said in al-Fuṣūl fi l-Uṣūl:
أما من تقدم ممن لم نشاهدهم فإن نقل العلماء عنهم من غير طعن منهم تعديل منهم
‘As for those we have not seen, the transmission of the scholars from them without criticism from them [of them] amounts to an accreditation from them [of them].’ (Quoted and referenced in Dirāsāt fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ḥanafiyyah, p. 159)
Al-Jaṣṣaṣ quotes this position from the pioneer of Ḥanafi uṣūl al-ḥadīth, ‘Īsā ibn Abān (d. 221), a student of Imām Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī. (al-Fuṣūl fi l-Uṣūl, 3:134) It is also clear from al-Jaṣṣāṣ’s discussion that this principle is limited to the first three generations. (ibid. 3:136)
Imām al-Qudūrī said in Tajrīd:
رواية الأئمة تعديل
‘The transmission of the imāms [from an individual] amounts to accreditation [of him].’ (Quoted and referenced in Dirāsāt fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ḥanafiyyah, 159)
He also said:
قد روى أصحابنا عن الحجاج بن أرطاة، وهذا تعديل منهم
‘Our imāms [i.e. Abū Ḥanīfah and his students] narrated from Ḥajjāj ibn Arṭāt, which is an accreditation from them [of him].’ (ibid.)
Qudūrī suffices on the mere transmission of our imāms from an individual to determine that the imāms consider him reliable.
Note: This is despite the fact that Ḥajjāj ibn Arṭāt was criticised by others. In other words, Imām al-Qudūrī rejects the criticism of him on only the grounds that our imāms narrated from him! He mentions this explicitly elsewhere.
Imām al-Dabūsī (d. 430) said in Taqwīm al-Adillah:
رواية المشهور بالعدالة من غير رد عليه تعديل إياه
‘The transmission of one recognised for his integrity [from an individual] – without refuting him – amounts to accreditation of him.’ (Quoted and referenced in Dirāsāt fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ḥanafiyyah, 160)
It is clear from some of the above quotes that if the imām reporting from an individual expressly rejects the narrations of that individual, that will be excluded from the above-mentioned principle. With respect to the fact that Abū Ḥanīfah narrated from Jābir al-Ju‘fī, despite Jābir being weak according to him, al-Kardarī (d. 827) says:
ونقل الخبر الكذب إنما لا يصح بلا بيان أنه كذب لأن رواية العدل تعديل له، فيكون موهما، أما مع البيان فلا مانع منه
‘Quoting a false report is only unacceptable when it has not been explained that it is false, since the transmission of a reliable person is accreditation of (the one he transmitted from), so it will create suspicion. But when there is an explanation, there is no obstacle [to a reliable individual narrating from someone unreliable according to him].’ (Quoted and referenced in Dirāsāt fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ḥanafiyyah, p. 160)
Some later Ḥanafī scholars adopted the view that it only amounts to accreditation if it is known from his normal practice that he narrates from those he believes to be reliable. But the view of the early Ḥanafī imāms, like ‘Īsā ibn Abān, al-Jaṣṣāṣ and Qudūrī, is what we have demonstrated above. Mawlānā Ẓafar ‘Uthmānī, who Atabek attacks for apparently not following the early Ḥanafī scholars on some points, states that according to him the first view – the view of the early Ḥanafī imāms – is stronger. (Qawā‘id fī ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth, p. 215) The irony here is that Atabek is the one following a later principle, while Mawlānā Ẓafar, who he lambasts for supposedly leaving the early Ḥanafī imāms, is following the early one! For a fuller treatment of this principle, see: Dirāsāt fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ḥanafiyyah (p. 159 – 161)
Imām Abū Ḥanīfah heard directly from ‘Ikrimah and even went on to transmit ḥadīths from him. (Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, 29:419) Based on the principle of the early Ḥanafī imāms mentioned above, therefore, this amounts to Abū Ḥanīfah accrediting him and regarding him as reliable, as there is no report from Abū Ḥanīfah stating that he regarded him as weak (unlike Jābir al-Ju‘fī, who he clearly discredited).
Hence, it seems Atabek will only follow the principles of the “early Ḥanafī imāms” when it suits him. But otherwise, if it doesn’t fit his agenda, he will discard them for an opposing view.
Atabek’s Double Standards in Assessing Reports from Abū Ḥanīfah
Regarding a particular report from Abū Ḥanīfah that he regarded ‘Ikrimah as being from the ‘seniors/great ones’ (kubarā’), Atabek rejected it primarily on account of a problematic narrator in its chain of transmission. But at the same time he quotes the following with full confidence:
“Imam Abu Hanifa said; “Do not take knowledge from the scholars of Royal Palace. I do not say they lie, but they do not always tell the truth, how it really is.””
“But, just to underline the dishonesty and poor level of Islamic knowledge on display, Abu Hanifa said; ”Take the knowledge from everyone except the following” and he listed the ones who are around the royals and rulers (as Ikrima most certainly was and as his erstwhile interlocutors accept). He said; ”But don’t take from the ones who are around the royals! I don’t say they lie, but they don’t say the truth as it is!””
He did not give a source for this quote. (My guess is he got it from the footnotes to Qawā‘id fī ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth).
The original source for this quote is al-Kifāyah fī ‘Ilm al-Riwāyah of al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī as follows:
أخبرني أبو بشر محمد بن عمر الوكيل قال: ثنا عمر بن أحمد بن عثمان الواعظ: قال: ثنا محمد بن الحسن المقري قال: ثنا عبد الله بن محمود المروزي قال: ثنا أحمد بن مصعب قال: ثنا عمر بن إبراهيم قال: سمعت ابن المبارك يقول: سأل أبو عصمة أبا حنيفة: ممن تأمرني أن أسمع الآثار؟ قال: من كل عدل في هواه، إلا الشيعة، فإن أصل عقدهم تضليل أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، ومن أتى السلطان طائعا، أما إني لا أقول إنهم يكذبونهم أو يأمرونهم بما لا ينبغي، ولكن وطأوا لهم حتى انقادت العامة بهم، فهذان لا ينبغي أن يكونا من أئمة المسلمين
‘Abū Bishr Muḥammad ibn ‘Umar al-Wakīl (350 – 438 H) reported to me, he said: ‘Umar ibn Aḥmad ibn ‘Uthmān al-Wā‘iẓ [Ibn Shāhīn] (297 – 385) narrated to us, he said: Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Muqri’ [al-Naqqāsh] (266 – 351) narrated to us, he said: ‘Abdullāh ibn Maḥmūd al-Marwazī (d. 311) narrated to us: Aḥmad ibn Muṣ‘ab narrated to us, he said: ‘Umar ibn Ibrāhīm (d. ca. 220 H) narrated to us, he said: I heard Ibn al-Mubārak say:
‘Abū ‘Iṣmah asked Abū Ḥanīfah: “From whom do you order me to listen to narrations?” He said: “From every moderate one in his deviation, besides the Shī‘ah, since the foundation of their doctrine is to regard the companions of Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) as misguided; as well as those who attend the ruler wilfully. Pay attention, I am not saying that they lie to them or command them what is not appropriate, but they pave the way for them so the masses are loyal to them. These two ought not be from the imāms of the Muslims.”’ (al-Kifāyah fī ‘Ilm al-Riwāyah, p. 126)
First, one will notice the clear differences between the actual account and the “translation” of Atabek. Atabek’s translation (deliberately?) omits the unfavourable reference to Shī‘ah. Atabek’s translation is also inaccurate, as the actual report says: ‘I am not saying that they lie to them or command them what is not appropriate’ from which Atabek somehow got: ‘I do not say they lie, but they do not always tell the truth, how it really is’.
But secondly, and more importantly, this narration is inauthentic. There are two highly problematic narrators in this chain:
1. Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Muqri’ al-Naqqāsh (266 – 351). Ṭalḥa ibn Muḥammad al-Shāhid said: ‘He would lie in ḥadīth.’ (Lisān al-Mīzān, 7:78). Abū Bakr al-Barqānī said: ‘Every narration of Naqqāsh is rejected’ (ibid.); Khatib said: ‘In his narrations are absurdities despite the chains being famous’ (ibid. 7:79). Al-Dāraquṭnī regarded him as extremely weak (ibid.). Ibn al-Jawzī mentioned two ḥadīths which he believes al-Naqqāsh falsified (ibid.). Dhahabī said: ‘My heart is not satisfied with him; according to me he is suspect [i.e. of being a liar].’ (Siyar A‘lām al-Nubalā’, 15:576)
2. ‘Umar ibn Ibrāhim ibn Khālid al-Kurdī (d. ca. 220). Al-Dāraquṭnī said: ‘A rotten, flagrant liar.’ (kadhdhāb khabīth). (Lisān al-Mīzān, 6:62) Al-Khaṭīb said: ‘He narrates absurdities from reliable narrators.’ (Lisān al-Mīzān, 6:62)
These are the most serious issues with the chain. As one can see from the above, it can never be accepted according to the standards Atabek applies to the other narration. Yet he accepts this report and rejects the other. Is this anything but clear double standards (i.e. agenda-driven bias)?
Was ‘Ikrimah Reliable According to those who Met Him?
According to Atabek, ‘We know that he is “fine” according to later scholars who never met him, but the Salaf who actually met him do not consider him authentic at all’. In direct response to this, below, we will present a couple of reports which show that the Salaf who actually met him did consider him reliable.
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās
Ibn Ḥajar quotes the following narration:
Muḥammad ibn Fuḍayl said, reporting from ‘Uthmān ibn Ḥakīm: I was sitting with Abū Umāmah ibn Sahl ibn Ḥanīf (d. 100), when ‘Ikrimah came. He said: ‘Abū Umāmah, I remind you by Allāh, did you hear Ibn ‘Abbās say:
ما حدثكم عني عكرمة فصدقوه، فإنه لم يكذب علي
“Whatever ‘Ikrimah narrates to you from me, assent to him, for he does not lie about me.”’
Abū Umāmah said: ‘Yes.’
Ibn Ḥajar comments: ‘This is a ṣaḥīḥ chain.’ (Hady al-Sārī, p. 1142) [Primary sources for this narration are Tārīkh al-Dūrī and Ḍu‘afā’ of al-‘Uqaylī]
[Abū Umāmah ibn Sahl (d. 100) was either a young ṣaḥābī or a senior Tābi‘ī born in the lifetime of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). He was a great imām whose narrations are found in the six famous collections of ḥadīths.]
Atabek claims those who knew ‘Ikrimah personally rejected him, while he was accepted only by later individuals who did not interact with him directly. Who would know ‘Ikrimah better than his master, the scholar of this ummah, ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās? ‘Ikrimah was under the care and guidance of ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās for several decades. ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās advises us to believe whatever ‘Ikrimah reported from him, so who should we follow: Atabek who tells us to reject ‘Ikrimah’s reports, or Ibn ‘Abbās (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhumā) who tells us to accept them?
Ibn Abī Khaythama (d. 279) narrates with an authentic chain that Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī (68 – 131 H) was asked about ‘Ikrimah and he said:
لو لم يكن عندي ثقة لم أكتب عنه
‘Had he not been trustworthy according to me, I would not have written from him.’ (Tārīkh Ibn Abī Khaythamah, 2382; Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, 20:275)
Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī was one of the great imāms of the salaf from the Tābi‘īn, someone who interacted with ‘Ikrimah directly, and studied under him.
‘Aṭā’ ibn Abī Rabāḥ and Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr
Ibn Sa‘d narrates with an authentic chain to Ḥabīb ibn Abī Thābit (d. 119), a reliable narrator from the students of several ṣaḥābah:
‘‘Ikrimah passed by ‘Aṭā’ (ibn Abī Rabāḥ) and Sa‘īd (ibn Jubayr), and narrated to them. When he got up (and left), I said to the two of them: “Do you disapprove of anything that he narrates?” They both said: “No.”’ (Ṭabaqāt Ibn Sa‘d, Maktabah al-Khānjī, 7:284)
This is an authentic testimony from two of the greatest of Ibn ‘Abbās’s students that ‘Ikrimah’s narrations are unproblematic.
More statements from the salaf and early scholars on ‘Ikrimah’s knowledge and greatness will be quoted in the next section.
Brief Defence of ‘Ikrimah
With regards to the attacks on ‘Ikrimah, a detailed defence was written by Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī in his introduction to Fatḥ al-Bārī. He says: Those who weakened ‘Ikrimah did so on account of one of three reasons: being untruthful, being from the Khārijī sect and accepting money from the government. (Hady al-Sārī, Dār Ṭaybah, p. 1136-1145) Ibn Ḥajar shows that the first allegation is not accurate, the second allegation is not proven, while the third is true but does not detract from a person’s reliability. Other accepted ḥadīth masters, like Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī, would also take money from the government. (Hady al-Sārī, p. 1141)
Ibn Ḥajar shows that some of the critical statements are inauthentic, while some are interpreted in a positive way. For instance, Atabek claims that ‘Alī, the son of Ibn ‘Abbās, accused ‘Ikrimah of being untruthful, but this is reported through an unreliable narrator, Yazīd ibn Abī Ziyād (as pointed out by Ibn Ḥibbān), and is thus rejected. (Hady al-Sārī, p. 1140)
Below, some statements from the salaf & early scholars will be presented to show the excellence and reliability of ‘Ikrimah – which, as demonstrated above, the early Ḥanafī imāms have generally accepted.
Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah reported from ‘Amr ibn Dīnār from Abu l-Sha‘tā’ Jābir ibn Zayd (d. 93), all three of them accepted imāms of the salaf, that the latter handed a parchment to ‘Amr ibn Dīnār containing some questions, saying: ‘Go ask ‘Ikrimah.’ ‘Amr ibn Dīnār appeared somewhat hesitant, so Jābir ibn Zayd snatched the parchment from his hand and said:
هذا عكرمة مولى ابن عباس، هذا أعلم الناس
‘This is ‘Ikrimah, the freed-slave of Ibn ‘Abbās. This is the most knowledgeable of people.’ (al-Tārīkh al-Kabīr, 7:49)
The same is narrated by Ibn Sa‘d from Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Ulayyah, his teacher, from Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī (68 – 131 H) from ‘Amr ibn Dīnār, but with the words: ‘This is ‘Ikrimah, the freed-slave of Ibn ‘Abbās. This is an ocean, so ask him.’ (Ṭabaqāt Ibn Sa‘d, Maktabah al-Khānjī, 7:284) These are authentic chains.
This is a recognition from one of the prominent students of Ibn ‘Abbās, Jābir ibn Zayd, that ‘Ikrimah is the most knowledgeable of people.
Al-Mizzī reports in Tahdhīb al-Kamāl that ‘Āmir al-Sha‘bī (d. 104), the great Kūfan imām from the Tābi‘īn, said:
ما بقي أحد أعلم بكتاب الله من عكرمة
‘No one remains who is more knowledgeable of the Book of Allāh than ‘Ikrimah.’ (Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, 20:272)
Sallām ibn Miskīn (d. 167) according to a report with an authentic chain said:
كان عكرمة من أعلم الناس بالتفسير
‘‘Ikrimah was from the most knowledgeable of people in Tafsīr.’ (Ṭabaqāt Ibn Sa‘d, Maktabah al-Khānjī, 7:283)
Ibn ‘Adī narrates with an acceptable chain to Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah that he said:
كان عكرمة إذا تكلم فى المغازي فسمعه إنسان قال: كأنه مشرف عليهم يراهم
‘When ‘Ikrimah would talk about history, and a man heard him, he would say [to himself]: It’s like he is overlooking them, watching them.’ (al-Kāmil, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 6:472)
Ibn Ḥajar reports: Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr was asked: ‘Do you know anyone more knowledgeable than you?’ He said: ‘Yes, ‘Ikrimah.’ (Hady al-Sārī, p. 1143)
Qatādah ibn Di‘āmah (60 – 118 H) said:
كان عكرمة أعلمهم بسيرة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم
‘‘Ikrimah was the most learned of (the Tābi‘īn) about the Sīrah of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace).’ (Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, 20:272)
Muḥammad ibn Naṣr al-Marwazī (202 – 294 H) said:
أجمع عامة أهل العلم على الاحتجاج بحديث عكرمة، واتفق على ذلك رؤساء أهل العلم بالحديث من أهل عصرنا منهم: أحمد بن حنبل وإسحاق بن راهويه وأبو ثور ويحيى بن معين، ولقد سألت إسحاق عن الاحتجاج بحديثه فقال: عكرمة عندنا إمام أهل الدنيا وتعجب من سؤالي إياه
‘The generality of the specialists of knowledge have reached consensus on accepting the ḥadīth of ‘Ikrimah as proof. The leaders of the specialists of knowledge in ḥadīth from the people of our time have agreed on this. Amongst them are Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Isḥāq ibn Rāhwayh, Abū Thawr and Yaḥyā ibn Ma‘īn. I asked Isḥāq about accepting his ḥadīth as proof. He said: “‘Ikrimah for us is the imām of the people of the Dunyā”, and he was astonished by my asking him (such)!’ (Hady al-Sārī, p. 1144)
Aḥmad ibn ‘Abdillāh al-‘Ijlī (d. 261) said:
عكرمة مولى ابن عباس: ثقة، وهو بريئ مما يرميه الناس من الحرورية، وهو تابعي
‘‘Ikrimah, the freed-slave of Ibn ‘Abbās: Trustworthy. He is innocent of what people accuse him of, of being from the Khārijites. He is a Tābi‘ī.’ (Tārīkh al-Thiqāt, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, p. 339)
Ibn Ḥajar also said: ‘His being an innovator is not (historically) proven.’ (Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb)
Because Atabek admits in one place that ‘Yahya bin Ma’een is classed as a top expert of Rijaal’, we can also read what Yaḥyā ibn Ma‘īn said about ‘Ikrimah. Yaḥyā ibn Ma‘īn was asked who according to him is superior in terms of his narrations from Ibn ‘Abbās: Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr or ‘Ikrimah? His reply was: ‘Both are trustworthy’ (ثقة وثقة), and gave no preference. (Tarīkh ‘Uthmān ibn Sa‘īd al-Dārimī, p. 117)
There are many more statements one can find in the detailed biographies of ‘Ikrimah in his praise. The fact that the ummah – including the early Ḥanafīs – have accepted his riwāyāt should be enough reason for us to seek the good about him, and hold a good opinion of him. When one’s judgements are agenda-driven, however, it doesn’t matter what the majority of the ummah said or did. The only thing that matters is whether they agree with his agenda, in which case he will take what he agrees with, or if they disagree, in which case he will gather whatever scraps he can find to serve his agenda. This is the case even when they oppose the very principles he has been pushing so aggressively.
From this reply, and the earlier reply  to Atabek, it should be quite clear who it is that is distorting the authentic positions of the school of Abū Ḥanīfah for his own agenda-driven purposes.
 See: ahlussunnah.boards.net/thread/493/response-atabek-fixing-more-prices