Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma'in (may Allah be pleased with them) once went into a certain Masjid to offer their Salah. After the Salah, a preacher began narrating hadiths attributed to these two Imams during his lecture. At the termination of his lecture, Yahya ibn Ma'in signalled the preacher with his hand to come over to them. Under the false impression that he was being summoned to be rewarded, he came over to them. Yahya asked, “Who narrated these hadiths to you?” Once again, he mentioned their names. This ignorant fool did not even know who he was talking to. Since these two personalities were very famous in the world of hadith, he had simply made use of their good names.
Yahya said, “I am Yahya ibn Ma'in and this is Ahmad ibn Hanbal. We did not narrate these hadiths to you nor have we ourselves heard them (from someone else). The preacher then asked, “So you are Yahya ibn Ma’in?”
“Surely that is me,” replied Yahya. Upon this, he commented, “I always heard that Yahya ibn Ma'in is a stupid fool but today this hearsay has been confirmed.”
“How is this confirmation possible?” asked Yahya. The preacher replied,
“How can you be under the impression that the names ‘Yahya ibn Ma'in and ‘Ahmad ibn Hanbal’ refer only to you two? I have heard hadiths from seventeen people by the names Yahya ibn Ma'in and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.” While this
was taking place, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal covered his face out of grief while the lecturer brushed the whole incident off as a joke and vanished.