An excerpt translated from the Dars-e-Tirmidhi of Mufti Taqi Usmani.
Ibn Ḥajar states the birthdate of Imam Abū Ḥanīfah as 80AH. At that time ʿAbdullāh ibn Abī Awfā was present and it is highly unlikely that Imam Abū Ḥanīfah did not visit him.
Imam Ibn Saʿd has written in Ṭabaqāt that Abū Ḥanīfah had visited Anas h. Other than this, Imam Suyūṭī in Tabyīḍ aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah li-Manāqib Abī Ḥanīfah has mentioned numerous narrations through which we realise that Imam Abū Ḥanīfah had heard aḥādīth from Anas ibn Mālik, ʿAbdullāh ibn Abī Awfā, Abdullah ibn al-Ḥārith ibn al-Jazaʾ, ʿAbdullāh ibn Unays, Wāthilah ibn Asqaʿ, ʿĀ’ishah bint Ajrad h.
Imam Ṭabarī has penned a specific treatise on this topic, compiling all the narrations which Imam Abū Ḥanīfah had heard from the companions. Other than the above-mentioned companions, there are narrations from Jābir ibn ʿAbdullāh and Maʿqal ibn Yasār h. Although Ibn Ḥajar mentions that all these narrations are weak, no one has regarded him narrating from them as totally baseless. If weak narrations can be taken into consideration for faḍā’il and manāqib, then surely to showcase the faḍā’il of Abū Ḥanīfah we can rely on the supposedly weak narrations. Other than this, Imam Suyūṭī mentions in Tabyīḍ aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah a narration from Ḥāfiẓ Abū Maʿshar:
أبو حنيفة عن انس بن مالك قال مسعت رسول هللا يقول طلب العلم فريضة على كل مسلم
Regarding this narration, Imam Suyūṭī mentions that this is on the same level as ṣaḥīḥ, whilst Imam Mizzī opines that due to the excessive chains it has reached the rank of ḥasan. If this is correct, there is no doubt in Imam Abū Ḥanīfah having met the companions of the Prophet g. Even if hearing from them is far-fetched, seeing them is certain – for this reason it is established that he is a tābiʿī.
 Ibn Saʿd in Ṭabaqāt, Ad-Dhahabī in Tadhkirah al-Ḥuffāẓ, Ibn Ḥajar, Mizzī in Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, Qasṭallānī in Sharḥ Bukhārī, Nawawī in Tahdhīb al-Asmāʾ and in al-Lughāt and Suyūṭī in Tabyīḍ aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah all have recognised Imam Abū Ḥanīfah as a tābiʿī.