The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab
is a Muslim school of law or fiqh . In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many such "schools". In fact, several of the Sahābah, or contemporary "companions" of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own...

(schools of law) in jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

) within Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit (Arabic: أبو حنيفة النعمان بن ثابت) (699 - 767CE /89 - 157AH), a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf
Abu Yusuf
Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari, better known as Abu Yusuf was a student of legist Abu Hanifah who helped spread the influence of the Hanafi school of Islamic law through his writings and the government positions he held.-Biography:...

 and Muhammad al-Shaybani
Muhammad al-Shaybani
Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī was a disciple of Abu Hanifa , and Abu Yusuf, and a jurist.-Early years:...

. This is the most prominent among all Sunni Schools and it has the most adherents in the Muslim world.


Among the four established Sunni schools of legal thought in Islam, the Hanafi school is the oldest and by far, the largest. It has a reputation for putting greater emphasis on the role of reason and being more liberal than the other three schools. The Hanafi school also has the most followers among the four major Sunni schools. This is largely to its being adopted as the official madhab of The Abbasid Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. As such, the influence of the Hanafi school is still widespread in the former lands of these empires. Today, the Hanafi school is predominant in Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 as well as in Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

, Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Bosnia And Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

. It is also practiced in large numbers in other parts of Muslim world, particularly in parts of the Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....


Sources and methodology

The sources from which the law is derived, in order of importance and preference, are: the Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, the authentic narrations of the Prophet (Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

), Consensus (ijma
Ijmāʿ is an Arabic term referring to the consensus of the Muslim community. Various schools of thought within Islamic jurisprudence may define this consensus as that of the first generation of Muslims only; the consensus of the first three generations of Muslims; the consensus of the jurists...

), and analogical reasoning (qiyas
In Islamic jurisprudence, qiyās is the process of deductive analogy in which the teachings of the Hadith are compared and contrasted with those of the Qur'an, in order to apply a known injunction to a new circumstance and create a new injunction...

), qiyas only being applied if direct material cannot be found in the Qur'an or Hadith. As the fourth Caliph, 'Ali, had transferred the Islamic capital to Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

, and many of the companions of the Prophet had settled there, the Hanafi School had based many of its rulings on Prophetic narrations (Hadith) transmitted by companions residing in Iraq, thus it came to be known as the Kufan or Iraqi school in earlier times. Hence 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud formed much of the base of the school, as well as other personalities from the household of the Prophet with whom Abu Hanifa had studied such as Muhammad al-Baqir
Muhammad al-Baqir
Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Bāqir was the Fifth Imām to the Twelver Shi‘a and Fourth Imām to the Ismā‘īlī Shī‘a. His father was the previous Imām, ‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn, and his mother was Fatimah bint al-Hasan...

, Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq was a descendant of Muhammad and a prominent Muslim jurist. He is revered as an Imam by the adherents of Shi'a Islam and as a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims. The Shi'a Muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam or leader and spiritual...

, and Zayd ibn 'Ali. Many jurists and Hadith transmitters had lived in Kufa including one of Abu Hanifa's main teachers, Hammad ibn Sulayman.

According to Abdalhaqq Bewley:

"Hanafi methodology involved the logical process of examining the Book and all available knowledge of the Sunna and then finding an example in them analogous to the particular case under review so that Allah's deen could be properly applied in the new situation. It thus entails the use of reason in the examination of the Book and Sunna so as to extrapolate the judgments necessary for the implementation of Islam in a new environment. It represents in essence, therefore, within the strict compass of rigorous legal and inductive precepts, the adaptation of the living and powerful deen to a new situation in order to enable it take root and flourish in fresh soil. This made it an ideal legal tool for the central governance of widely varied populations which is why we find it in Turkey as the legacy of the Uthmaniyya Khilafa and in the sub-continent where it is inherited from the Moghul empire."

Some distinctive opinions of the school

  • It is prohibited or disliked to eat some forms of non-fish seafood based on the hadith of Muhammad : "Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for your consumption [without being slaughtered]: fish and locust, liver and spleen". (Reported by Ahmed and Ibn Majah).
  • Except for at Hajj
    The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

    , every salah (each of the five daily prayers) needs to be made in its regular time. (Some non-Hanafi scholars allow a person who is travelling to adjust certain prayer times for convenience).
  • The beginning of the time for asr prayer (and the end of the time for zuhr prayer) is later than in the other schools (roughly when shadows are twice the length of their objects).
  • The hands are not raised while going to ruku and after it, whereas this is practised in the Shafi'i and Hanbali schools
  • A sixth daily prayer called witr
    Witr is an Islamic prayer that is performed at night after isha'a and before fajr . There are a few distinguishing factors of the witr prayer that sets it apart from the fard and sunnah prayers. Witr has an odd number of rakat prayed in pairs, with the final raka'ah prayed separately...

     is wajib/required (but not at the same level of obligation as the five daily prayers).
  • Abū Ḥanīfa, taking a literal view (harfiyyah), held that "wine" (خمر/Khamr in Quranic/classical Arabic), i.e. the fermented juice of dates or grapes, was absolutely prohibited but it was permissible to drink small non-intoxicating amounts of other alcoholic beverages (e.g. made from honey or grains). Later Hanafi scholars tend to rule that all alcoholic beverages are prohibited regardless of source.
  • Bleeding can break one's wudu
    Wuḍhu is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water often in preparation for formal prayers...

  • Merely touching a member of the opposite sex does not break one's wudu.
  • A Muslim is allowed to work in Church construction and building thereof, whose wages considered lawful by Hanafis.

See also

  • Islamic schools and branches
    Islamic schools and branches
    Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

  • List of major Hanafi books
  • List of notable Hanafis

Further reading

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.