The senior imams of hadith and those notable individuals of this science have refuted these disgraceful lies in every age, and wrote hadiths and their commentaries; and there are many that did this.
Many of them devoted books and specific treatises explaining the virtues (manaqib) of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah mercy him) because of this. Among them were Imam Ibn Abi al-‘Awwam al-Sa‘di, Imam Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr al-Maliki, the hadith scholar Imam Yusuf ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Hanbali, Imam Hafiz al-Dhahabi, Imam Hafiz al-Zayla‘i, Imam Hafiz ‘Ali al-Qari, Imam Hafiz al-Kirmani, Imam al-Kardari, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Makki, Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti, Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi, Imam Mawfaq ibn Ahmad al-Makki and others.
We shall suffice here in this short introduction by mentioning what the researcher Imam Hafiz Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Dhahabi has mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, an excellent book containing only details of the imams and notable hafizs  of hadith. Al-Dhahabi himself mentions regarding this book in his introduction:
“This Tadhkirah is of the names of those trusted (mu‘addal) bearers of the prophetic sciences and those who refer to their [own] ijtihad in considering [narrations to be] reliable, weak, correct and fabricated. It is upon Allah that I hold fast to, upon Him I rely and to Him I turn to.”
In this excellent and wonderful book, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, Imam Hafiz al-Dhahabi mentions Imam Abu Hanifah among those major hafizs of hadith of the fifth rank
(al-tabaqat al-khamisah). He writes:
“Abu Hanifah, the great imam (imam al-a‘zam), the jurist of Iraq, Nu‘man ibn Thabit ibn Zuta al-Taymi (who were their masters) al-Kufi. He was born in 80 AH and saw Anas ibn Malik more than once when he came to them in Kufa. Ibn Sa‘d has narrated this from Sayf ibn Jabir that he heard Abu Hanifah say this. He narrated from ‘Ata’a, Nafi‘, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Hurmuz al-A‘raj, ‘Adi ibn Thabit, Salamah ibn Kuhayl, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, Qatadah, ‘Amr ibn Dinar, Abu Ishaq and many others. Zufar ibn Hudhayl, Dawud al-Ta’i, Qadi Abu Yusuf, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, Asad ibn ‘Amr, Hasan ibn Ziyad al-Lu’lui, Nuh al-Jami‘, Abu Muti‘ al-Balkhi and others learned fiqh from him. He learned fiqh from Hammad ibn Abu Sulayman and others. Waki‘, Yazid ibn Harun, Sa‘d ibn al-Sult, Abu ‘Asim, ‘Abd al-Razzaq, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Musa, Abu Na‘im, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Muqri and others narrated from him. He was an imam, pious, knowledgeable, someone who practiced, someone who indulged in great worship and a man of great ranking; he would not accept the sultan’s gifts but would trade and earn a living.
“Dirar ibn Sard said, Yazid ibn Harun was asked, ‘Who is a greater faqih, al-Thawri or Abu Hanifah?’ He replied, ‘Abu Hanifah was a greater faqih and Sufyan was greater in remembering hadith.’ Ibn al-Mubarak said, ‘Abu Hanifah was the greatest faqih among the people.’ Al-Shafi‘i said, ‘People are children to Abu Hanifah in fiqh.’ Yazid said, ‘I never saw anyone more god fearing and more intelligent than Abu Hanifah.’ Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Qasim ibn Mihraz narrated from Yahya ibn Ma‘in who said, ‘There is no issue with him; he was not accused of anything. Yazid ibn ‘Umar ibn Hubayrah imposed on him to take up the judiciary but he refused to be qadi.’ Abu Dawud (may Allah mercy him) said, ‘Imam Abu Hanifah was an imam.’