The History of the Emergence of the Four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence



The History of the Emergence of the Four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence: Hanafi, Maliki, As-Shaf’i and Hanbali
By Ahmed Tamur Pasha
Translation and footnotes by Arfan Shah

Published by Islamic Information Society

© Arfan Shah 2009
First edition 2011

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Contents Page

Introduction Authors Introduction The Hanafi School Influence of the Hanafi Jurists In Africa and Sicily Hanafi’s in Egypt In the other Islamic Lands Doctrine of the Hanafi’s The Maliki School Maliki’s in Egypt In Africa and Spain

9 11 17 21 23 27 31 33 35 37 39

In Upper Al-Maghrib (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and North Africa) 45 The Shaf’i School In Syria and Iraq The Hanbali School Conclusion 51 57 65 71



Translators Introduction This is a translation of a text by the teacher Ahmed Tamur Pasha which explains how the four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence proliferated. This explains how the schools were founded and what circumstances led to their proliferation. The author was born in Cairo, Egypt in the year eighteen seventy one (or 1287 Islamic year); from a Kurdish mother and a Turkish father. His full name is Sheikh Ahmed Ibn Ismail Ibn Muhammad Tankur, known as Ahmed Basha. His father died when he was three months old and he was brought up by his sister Aisha Tamuriyya; Aisha was a prominent poet. Ahmed was a member of the assembly of Arabian scholars in Damascus. His wife died when he was twenty nine years old and he did not re-marry out of fear for his two children. Sheikh Al-Zirkali said, “He was a content soul; honourable; humble and withdrawn from people.” His son Muhammad died in nineteen seventeen. Ahmed passed away in 1940 or 1358 Islamic year. He wrote many works such as: Prophetic legacy, Love according to the Arabs and other works primarily focused on Arabian history. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of my teacher, Sheikh Sa’ad Al-Attas who read this with us and encouraged someone like me to translate the text. Please note that this text was written over seventy years ago and circumstances may have changed since then. We hope that the readers benefit from this text and that it clarifies many issues that confuse us. May Allah accept this work; 9

forgive us, our teachers, our families and all the Muslims. May endless benedictions and salutations be upon the final Messenger Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him), his offspring and companions.


In the name of Allah, most merciful, most gracious

The History of the Emergence of the Four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence: Hanafi, Maliki, As-Shaf’i and Hanbali
By Ahmed Tamur Basha

Translated by Arfan Shah

The Emergence of the schools of Jurisprudence and their subsequent proliferation
We mean the four schools of Jurisprudence of the four Mujtahids; Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam As-Shaf’i and Imam Hanbal;1 these are the schools that the majority of Muslims adhere to, up to the present day. Their books are still prevalent and take

These are the four primary schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. The biographies of these great scholars will be explained in this treatise.


precedence over all those of the other schools of the People of Prophetic practice, such as the school of Sufyan At-Thawri2 (may Allah be pleased with him) in Kufa, Hassan Al-Basri3 in Basra, Imam Al-Awza'i4 in Syria, Spain and elsewhere, The schools of Ibn Jarir AtTabari5 and Abu Thawr6 in Baghdad, Dawood Al-Zahari7 in many countries and other schools of jurisprudence in different capital cities.


Born in Kufa in the year 718 and died in 778. His school was continued by Yahya Al-Qattan but it eventually died out. He was also a noted leader in spiritual field of Islam. 3 Hassan Al-Basri (may Allah's Ta'ala mercy be with him) d.110/728-9) or known as Al-Hassan. Perhaps the best known personality among the second generation of Muslims, he was born in Medina and took part in the conquest of Eastern Iran. He then moved to Basra, where his sanctity and great eloquence attracted great numbers to his circle. He was also a judge and an authority on Prophetic narrations. His tomb at Basra remains an important centre for devout visits. (Breaking the two desires p.215). 4 Imam Al-Awza’i (may Allah's Ta'ala mercy be with him) Abdurrahman Ibn Amr (d.157h/ 774). The principle Syrian authority on the sacred law of his generation, he placed special emphasis on the ‘living tradition’ of the Muslim community as an authoritative source of law. His school also spread in North Africa and Spain, where it was replaced by that of Malik. He is also one of the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifa. (Breaking the two desires p.215). 5 One of the foremost of the scholars of the early Islamic period. He was born in Tabaristan in the year 838 and died in 923. His Magnum Opus is Tafsir At-Tabari which one of most expansive resource on Quranic commentary. He was also known for founding a school of Jurisprudence that also died out. 6 Imam Junaid Al-Baghdadi who was one the leading authorities in spirituality, in his time, as well as jurisprudence. Died 830/910 AD. 7 The founder of the Zahari School which looked at texts literally and often disagreed with the interpretation of the other schools.


In the period before the advent of these schools, the companions would take from the recitiers of the bearers of the book of Allah and those who knew the proofs.8 When their time passed, they were followed by the successors, and then people in an area would follow the legal opinions that they had from the companions. They did not go beyond this, except rarely, with that which they had been informed of. The people of Medina mostly took the legal edicts of Abdullah Ibn Umar9; the people of Kufa took the legal edicts of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud10; the people of Mecca took the legal edicts of Abdullah Ibn Abbas;11 the people of Egypt took the legal edicts of Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn AlAas12 (may Allah be pleased with them all).


From Ibn Khaldun is the note in the Arabic text it did not state from which text. 9 Abdullah Ibn Umar (614-693) was the son of the second Caliph Umar Ibn Khattab. He was a prominent authority in hadith and law. 10 Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah's Ta'ala mercy be with him) (d.652 CE/ 30 AH) one of the first Muslims, who became a noted jurist of the companions. He was also one of the closest companions to Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). He once said, “By the one God which there is none besides; there is not a passage of the book of God that I do not know when and where it was revealed.” (Bukhari) 11 His was the son of the paternal uncle of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He was born in 618, three years before the migration of the Muslims to Medina. He became one of the major scholars of the companions. He passed away on 670. Two of his major students are Mujahid Ibn Jabar and Wahb Ibn Munabih. 12 Was a famous companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He was well known for narrating numerous prophetic narrations. He died in the Islamic year 63.


After the successors came jurists in each city; like Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and others such as we have mentioned. The people in each area mostly followed the school of the jurist in their area. Then the means of the spread of some of these schools manifested, to other than these areas thus weakening other schools. The school of At-Thawri was not adhered to for long, Al-Basri's school had few followers, after the second century adherents to Imam AlAwza'i's school gradually disappeared, as did those of the school of Abu Thawr after the third century and Ibn Jarir after the fourth. As for the longevity and dominance of other schools, the exceptional one was that of the Zahiri’s, whose period of influence lasted and competed with that of the four above-mentioned schools. Al-Maqdisi13, recorded in Excellent divisions14 four schools of jurisprudence existent in the fourth century, and puts the Zahari School in place of the Hanbali’s, stating that the Hanbali School was instead concerned with transmission of prophetic narrations rather than law. Ibn Al-Qarhoon, in Ornamentation, considers it (the Zahari School) the fifth school adhered to in his time (the eighth century). After the time of this classification there remained only four schools. The former schools of other groups of Muslims are not considered the major schools of the people of the practice (of the Sunna) for this reason they are not mentioned.


Ibn Qudaymma was a famous scholar of the Hanbali School and wrote numerous works. He was born in 1147 and passed away in 1223. 14 This is a book on Islamic Geography.


Ibn Khaldun15 mentioned that the school of the Zahari’s caused destruction to the nation and was rejected by the majority and heavily criticised. Their books did not remain because of criticism from those who took jurisprudence from them. Falsehood does not triumph and it was rejected by the majority. Nothing remained except the school of the people of opinion in Iraq and the people of prophetic narration in Al-Hijaz.16 Ahmed Tamur


Born 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH in modern day Tunisia. A North African polymath, astronomer, economist, historian, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, jurist, lawyer, mathematician, military strategist, nutritionist, philosopher, social scientist and statesman. Considered as a pioneer in the fields of scientific disciplines: demography, cultural history, historiography and sociology. He is best known for his magus opus AlMuqaddimah known as the Prolegomenon in the West. 16 The Region of western Saudi Arabia, includes the area along the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula, from Jordan to the 'Asir region and Mecca & Medina.



The Hanafi School
The schools of the people of subjective opinion17
It is the first of the four, its founder was the great Imam Abu Hanifa An-Numan Al-Kufi (may Allah be pleased with him).18 Born in the seventieth Islamic year and he passed away in Baghdad in one hundred and fifty, according to the soundest opinion.19


This is merely a term and it does not reflect the methodology that Imam Abu Hanifa used which was find a proof in Quran, then hadith and then at the practice of the companions. Analogical reasoning was used when other proofs were not present in a textual format. They never used analogical reason with a presence of a text. 18 The two proofs that the Hanifa’s present are the Prophetic narrations, “If the religion were hung on the Pleiades, descendants of the Persians would reach it and get a hold of it.” (Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi) Abu Hanifa was descended from Persians. (Prophet Muhammad and his miracles by Bediuzzaman Sa’id Nursi p.56) The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily, you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!" Imam Ahmed. The leader of the army was Sultan Mehmet who was a Hanafi in jurisprudence and was an adherent to a spiritual path of Naqshabandi. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was happy with an adherent to the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. Also Abu Hanifa met the companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) called Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) and at least one other companion. 19 Other date that is stated is, born 80 and died 148.


This school was founded in Kufa, the residence of the Imam, and then spread to all of the cities of Iraq. A contemporary called it the people of subjective opinion because prophetic narrations were few in number in Iraq; as they frequently used analogical reasoning and were masters of it.20 The Imam has a rank in jurisprudence that is unsurpassed, testified to this by his peers, at the forefront of whom are Imam Malik and As-Shaf’i. The writer of the Hanafi ranks21 states that the school spread into distant lands and cities, like the outskirts of Baghdad, Egypt, Persia,22 Rome,23 Balk,24 Bukhara,25 Farghana26, most cities in India and Sind, parts of Yemen and other places. As explained in the Hanafi Ranks the students of Abu Hanifa are those who recorded the jurisprudence school, they are more


The term subjective opinion/Ahl Al-Raii was given to them but this confuses the issue somewhat as there was a large tradition of teaching hadith in Kufa because the companion Abdullah Ibn Ma s’ud (may Allah be pleased with him). He moved there and spread knowledge to its Muslim inhabitants. Ali Ibn Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) went there after Abdullah had passed away and found many scholars and jurists present in the area. He made a supplication for Abdullah because of what he had done. 21 Look in Maraqat Al-Wafah of Al-Faruzabadhi and Al-Khazaniyya AlNaymuriyyah. 22 Iran. 23 Turkey. 24 Afghanistan. 25 Uzbekistan. 26 Uzbekistan.


than forty men; including, Abu Yusuf, Zafur. The first one to record something was Assad Ibn Ummar. 27 One of them was Nuh Ibn Abu Maryum, he was well known because he was the first to gather the juristic opinions of Abu Hanifa. It was said he was given this agnomen because he gathered many different sciences.


Imam Muhammad As-Shaybani wrote and recorded Abu Hanifa’s opinions in many works. He was the major student who recorded Imam Abu Hanifa’s positions. Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad would later teach Imam Shaf’i after he had previously studied with Imam Malik. Later Imam As-Shaf’i would teach Imam Ahmed but only for a short time.



Influence of the Hanafi Jurists
When Harun Ar-Rashid28 became the Caliph, Abu Yusuf, a student of Abu Hanifa, was appointed a judge in the year one hundred and seventy. He became a personal overseer of the other Judges. No rulings were issued in the cities of Iraq, Khurasan, Syria, Egypt or even the furthest parts of Africa, without his permission. He did not appoint anyone except his peers who were attached to this school. He compelled the masses to accept these rulings and legal edicts and the school spread quickly in these cities. Similarly, the spread of the Maliki School in Spain29 was because Yahya Ibn Yahya Ibn Kathir30 established it during the rule of Al-Muntasar.31 Ibn Hazm32 said, “These two schools spread, primarily because of leaders and rulers; the Hanafi School in the East and the Maliki school in Andulus.”33 These schools dominated these places because of the influence of the Abbasid Caliphate, until the decision of the rulers to appoint Maratu Iyas (Al-Abbas Ahmed Ibn Muhammad Al-Barzi AsShaf’i) in place of Abu Muhammad Ibn Al-Kafai Al-Hanafi, the judge of Baghdad. Upon the instruction of Abu Hamid Al-Isfarini Al-Kafai unhappily responded. Abu Hamid wrote a letter to the Sultan
28 29

A famous Abbasid Caliph who ruled from 786 CE – 809 CE. Known as Al-Andulus. 30 One of the most famous narrators of Imam Malik’s Al -Muwatta and one of his students. There is also Yahya Ibn Yahya Al-Laythi who was also a famous student. 31 Abbasid ruler. 32 A noted Zahari who lived in Spain. 33 Al-Andulus is now known as Spain.


Mahmood Ibn Sabkitan and the people of Khurasan that the judge had been changed from the Hanafi School to an adherent of the Shaf’i school. Knowledge of this spread and the people of Baghdad split into two groups and tribulation arose. This forced the Caliph to gather the notables and the judges and the letter was brought to them containing implied accusations of Al-Isfarini against the leader of the faithful34. It also contained advice, and a note of sympathy and trust. The accusations were false and when this became clear, it was apparent that he had tainted beliefs about what he asked of following of the Al-Barzi the judge. There was no corruption or deception contained with it. The Leader of the faithful was just with the predecessor because of the influence of the Hanafi’s, as they followed and acted upon it. The matter returned the truth, it returned to how it was. The Hanafi’s returned to what they had of position, honour, name and loftiness. He came to them but they did not receive Abu Hamid, they did not return him to his position and did not reply to his greeting. Abu Muhammad Al-Kafai was dismissed and Abu Hamid was exiled from the land of the Caliph, he displayed his anger upon him and his resentment. This was the year three hundred and ninety three, he moved to Syria then Egypt.


One of the titles of the Caliphs, originally given to the companion Umar Ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), during his rule, then it was passed onto every Caliph.


In Africa and Sicily
Most of Africa was dominated by the Sunni’s and the Athari’s,35 until Abdullah Ibn Farooh Al-Fasi arrived with the school of Abu Hanifa which then became dominant under the directorship of the judge, Asad Ibn Al-Furat Ibn Sanan.36 This then remained dominate until Al-Izza Ibn Bardis37 and his family brought the Maliki school forward which is the dominate school of the people; today very few of them follow the Hanafi school. In Al-Dibaja of Ibn Farhan38 states, “The Hanafi School completely dominated Africa until the year four hundred. It was then interrupted and then did not progress further than its proximity to Al-Maghrib39 or to Spain and the city of Fez.” Excellent division states, “The Peoples of Sicily were Hanafi’s.” It is also mentioned that some of the people of Al-Maghrib were asked, “How did the school of Abu Hanifa arrive to you, you are not of that way?” They said, “When Wahab Ibn Wahab came from Malik (may Allah show him mercy), he had Jurisprudence and knowledge, but Asad Ibn Abdullah refused to study with him because of his
35 36

A Sunni school of theology/doctrine. He was a student of Imam Malik and the students of Abu Hanifa. 37 Ibn Athir states that he was Governor in 407 and died in the year 451. 38 Mu’alim Al-Iman states that Ibn Farhan heard from the two Imans; Imam Malik and Abu Hanifa. He relied upon Imam Malik’s positions but he used to rely on the speech of the people of Iraq. 39 Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, North Africa as well Mauritania.


haughtiness and pride. Instead he travelled to Medina to study with Malik and find explanations (of the sacred law). When he had spent a long time there, Malik said to him, “Return to Ibn Wahab and take the knowledge that I have given him. This journey is enough for you.” This was difficult on Asad and he asked, “Does anyone know a peer to Malik?” They said, “A young man of Kufa40 called Muhammad Ibn Al-Hassan, a companion of Abu Hanifa.” They said, “Go to him.” Muhammad received him like he had nobody else, seeing understanding and enthusiasm in him, and served him jurisprudence. When he took knowledge and achieved his goal, he let him return to Al-Maghrib. When he reached there, youths visited him, they saw astounding knowledge, astonishing awareness of details and issues that they did not hear about from Ibn Wahab. Circles of students41 graduated from his classes and the school of Abu Hanifa (may Allah show him mercy) spread in Al-Maghrib. It was asked,42 “Then why did it spread into Al-Andulus?” They said, “It was not in Al-Andulus lesser than here, but look, the disagreements of the groups were brought before the Sultan who said to them, “Where does Abu Hanifa come from?” They said, “From Kufa.” “Malik?”
40 41

Iraq. Circles of knowledge – a classical method of studying with students in a circle around the teacher. 42 This is common in Arabic text when an answer is given and the person asking is not known.


“From Medina.” He said, “The scholar of the place of migration43 suffices us.” He ordered the expulsion of those practising Abu Hanifa's methodology and said, “I do (not) desire that there be two schools in my actions!” I heard this story from various teachers from Al-Andulus. We say, “This story is not free from speculation because Wahab Ibn Wahab did not teach anyone, he mentioned that he took knowledge from Imam Malik. It was Abdullah Ibn Wahab who took knowledge from him and he did not travel to Al-Maghrib, he was in Egypt and died there. As for Asad Ibn Abdullah, it is correct that Abu Abdullah did not appear; rather it was Abu Abdullah Asad Ibn Al-Furat. He was the one who met Muhammad Ibn Hassan and studied with the students of Abu Hanifa, thus the Hanifa School spread in Africa. This was after a journey to Imam Malik and studied from him. This is not a coincidence for Ibn Wahab, as we mentioned. Instead he sought increase after finishing hearing them. “Sufficient for the people, or sufficient for Maghrib, is to respond with jurists so take from Iraq.”


Medina was the place that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) emigrated from Mecca to escape the punishment of the pagans.



Hanafi’s in Egypt
The inhabitants of Egypt were not aware of this school until Ismail Ibn Al-Yas’a Al-Kufi was appointed judge in the Islamic year one hundred and forty seven, before Al-Mahdi.44 He was the first Hanafi Judge in Egypt and the first one to come with the school of Abu Hanifa; he was the best judge except that he favoured imprisonment. This weighed heavily upon the Egyptians who said, “He brought about rulings we did not know in our country, so he isolated Al-Mahdi.” This spread during the period of the Abbasids, though they did not just give preference to the Hanafi’s, and would sometimes appoint Hanafi’s, Maliki’s and Shaf’i's. This was up until the Fatimid’s45 rose to power and they made the school of the Shia Ismaili’s dominant; and appointed judges from them. This strengthened their school in the country and meant that people adhered to their rulings. However it did not diminish the schools of the Sunnis in acts of worship because they permitted whichever schools they wished. Al-Qalqashnidi46 in Sabah Al-A’Saha said that, “We used to respect the “People of practice and congregation”47 we established them over the manifestation of the legalities of different schools. Nor
44 45

Judge of Egypt for Ali Ibn ‘AbdulQadir At-Tawakhi. Fatimid’s are Ismaili Shia rulers from 909 – 1171 from Egypt to parts of North Africa and Palestine. 46 Abu lab’s Al-Qalqashnidi born in 765 Egypt and died 821. 47 Commonly known as the Ahl As-Sunna wa Jammah.


did we prevent them from establishing the Evening Ramadan prayer48 in small or large mosques; in opposition to the difference on this issue in the school of Imam Malik, Imam As-Shaf’I, Imam Ahmed and in most of the kingdoms, in opposition to the school of Abu Hanifa. They adhered to the school of Imam Malik and whoever requested a ruling was answered by it.” We say, “Their ministers began this Abu Ali Ahmed Ibn AlFadal Ibn Amir Al-Jayush, Judge of the Maliki's and Shaf’i’s, tried to prevent the appointment of Al-Hafiz Ad-Deenullah and imprisoned him; he then announced that the Imamate school was to be the fourth school: the Twelvers called the Imamates49 and the other is the Ismaili Seveners.” The Twelvers were one, the Maliki's the other and the final school was Shaf’i; every judge gave rulings according to his school and they appointed their own judges. This was until Abu Ali was killed and the affair returned to how it had been, with the Ismaili school dominant. The Fatimid’s ignored the Hanafi School, unlike the Abbasid kingdom in the East. The Ayyubid dynasty was later established in Egypt; their leaders were Shaf’i’s who removed Shia influence and spread the juristic schools of the Shaf’i’s and the Maliki’s.


Tarawih which is the optional nightly prayer of Ramadan consisting of twenty units. 49 The two branches of the Shia are either the Seveners or the Twelvers, this refers to the final leader they follow. The Seveners end with Ismail Ibn Jafar As-Sadiq and the Twelvers end with Al-Mahdi who disappeared.


Nuruddeen As-Saheed was a Hanafi and spread the school in the Levant.50 There were many Hanafi’s in Egypt; and many jurists came from them, from the countries of the East. So Salahudeen AlAyyub built a spiritual school51 for them in Cairo. The schools continued to spread then strengthened; the jurists were many in Egypt, except in the last period of the kingdom. The first to set up the teaching of the four schools in one place was Salah Najum-uddin Al-Ayyub in the school of As-Salahiyya in Cairo, in the year six hundred and forty one. Then many kinds of these schools appeared in the two kingdoms of the Turks and the Carcassians.52 Firstly the jurists of the schools were placed then the Hanafi’s returned to power after the end of the Fatimid dynasty, which was ended by a reprehensive of the Ayyubid53 dynasty; some of them were Maliki’s, Hanbali’s stemming from the decree of a Shaf’i. When the Ottomans came into power they confined the judges to the Hanafi School. The Hanafi’s became the main jurists of the kingdom and the elite. Despite many of the people of knowledge being capable of holding the position of judge; this did not translate to the country or high ground people; it expanded into the cities and this remains to this day.
50 51

Syria and parts of other surrounding countries. A school of Islamic Spirituality. 52 The Carcassians lived in the Caucasus Mountains which span the following countries; Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and southern parts of Russia also disputed territories of Abkhazia, Chechnya, South Ossetia and NagornoKarabakh. 53 Was a dynastic rule set up by Salahudeen Al-Ayyub in 1171 and ended in 1341.



In the other Islamic Lands
As for the beginning of the of the Hanafi school in the rest of the Islamic lands; it is difficult to specify exactly how and when it happened in each land; what we agreed upon is that it spread in the fourth century; as Al-Maqdasi mentioned in Excellent division when he spoke about each province. From this we know that it became prevalent among the people of Sa’na and the highlands of Yemen; most of the jurists of Iraq and up to Syria. Almost no border or country could contain the Hanafi’s and perhaps the jurists were one of them, except that most of them followed the Fatimid school in its time; as they came from Egypt. In the provinces of the East the Hanafi school spread in Khurasan,54 Sijistan55, Transoxiana56 and others; except the countries that we mentioned as their people were Shaf’i’s. The people of Jurjan,57 some of Lebanon and the provinces of Al-Dulam were Hanafi. So were most of the people of Dabil from the province of ArRahab which included Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; which was present in these areas without dominating.


Khurasan it means "the land of sunrise." Khurasan is made-up of various provinces in which are parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 55 In modern day Iran. 56 Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the part of Central Asia that includes of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and southwest Kazakhstan. 57 Parts of Mongolia.


Most of the people of the villages and the mountainous areas and most of the province of Kazakhstan, once called Al-Hawaz. There were many jurists and major scholars there. Many Persian provinces were Hanafi except where Sunni’s were overcome by the Zahari’s, who were the judges; they would inflict the punishments without consulting the Hanafi jurists. In the Compendium of the countries of Sapphires it is mentioned that the people of Iran were divided into three groups; A few Shaf’i’s, most of them Hanafi’s and the Shia were the remainder. Then the schools disappeared as the Shia subjugated them, it was also mentioned that the people of Sijistan were Hanafi’s. Ibn Taghri Badri58 mentions in the Clear Spring that the king’s apicultures,59 in India, were all Hanafi’s. We shall now mention in the conclusion the extent of the dominance of this school today, in all countries.


Abu l’Muhasan Jamaluddin Yusuf Ibn Al-Amir Saifuddin Taghari Badri born in Cairo 713/1410 and died 784/1480. 59 A Beekeeper.


Doctrine of the Hanafi’s
The Hanafi’s follow Al-Imam Abu Mansur Muhammad AlMaturidi Al-Hanafi, in theological belief.60 There is little difference between (the views of) his companions and the companions of AlImam Al-Ashari, except on ten issues. Although a few say, “It is circumstance in which a Hanafi is an Ashari!” In the Ranks of As-Subki state that most of the Hanafi’s are Ashari’s; meaning following the theology61 of Ashari; no one left this except those who joined the Mutazaltites.62 If we look carefully at the Tahawayyian Doctrine63 that alleges, “If it was not for Imam Abu Hanifa and his companions, we would not find differences except in three issues with the Ashari’s, in the thirteen issues, six differ in definition64 and the rest are verbal.65

60 61

Although some follow the Ashari or other schools. Or dogma. 62 This is a school that deviated from the Sunni school of belief on many opinions; it was the main opposition to the Ahl As-Sunna. 63 Or known as Aqida Tahawi which is essentially Abu Hanifa’s text that was dictated by the students of Abu Hanifa until it reached Imam Tahawi who mass transmitted the text. 64 Both words and meanings differ. 65 The words differ but the meaning is the same. A common example is the issue of the increase and decrease of faith. The Maturidi’s say t hat faith does not increase or decrease it remains the same but the Ashari’s say it increases and decreases. So even though this looks like a disagreement it’s not real as they do not disagree about the faith being present it’s just the quantity they disagree on.


We say. “It is as if they contradict these issues without leaving the Ashari’s (school) and if we call upon Maturidi’s to clarify these issues in which we and the Ashari’s differ upon; the thirteen issues are not all coming from a scholar or from Imam Abu Hanifa.”


The Maliki School
The school of the people of Narration
This school is attributed to Imam Malik Ibn Anas Al-Asabhi, may Allah be pleased with him, born in the year ninety three (Islamic year), which is well known; he passed away in Medina66 in the year one hundred and seventy nine, which is authenticated. This is the second of the four most prominent schools. One of his students coined the term, “the people of narration.” The Imam specialised in


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Very soon will people beat the flanks of camels in search of knowledge, and they shall find no-one more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable scholar of Medina." At-Tirmidhi, al-Qadi `Iyad, Dhahabi and others relate from Sufyan Ibn `Uyayna, `Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Mahdi, Ibn Ma`in, Dhu’ayb Ibn `Imama, Ibn al-Madini, and others that they considered that scholar to be Malik Ibn Anas. It is also related from Ibn `Uyayna that he later considered it to be `Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-`Aziz al-`Umari. Ad-Dhahabi said of the latter: "He possessed knowledge and good jurisprudence, spoke the truth fearlessly, ordered good, and remained aloof from society. He used to press Malik in private to renounce the world and seclude himself." ( Further proof for this hadith is that many people came from as far as Al-Andulus to study with Imam Malik.


extracting principles without using his intellect unlike others and this is known as the practice of the people of Medina.67 The Maliki School arose in Medina, the residence of Imam Malik, and then it spread to Arabia. It over took Basra68, Egypt and provinces of Africa, Al-Andulus, Sicily, Upper Maghrib to the countries who accepted Islam from Sudan. It appeared robustly in Baghdad, weakened in the fourth century and weakened in Basra in the fifth century. It prevailed in Khurasan, around the Caspian Sea and Abhar. It first emerged in Naysabur69 where there were no scholars or other schools present. It was present in the country of Persia,70 Yemen and many parts of Syria. It was weak in Medina until Ibn Farhaan was appointed judge in the year seven hundred and ninety three, then it grew strong after its weakness.

67 68

Ibn Khaldun. Iraq. 69 A city in Iran west of Mashhad. 70 Iran.


Maliki’s in Egypt
The first to go with it to Egypt, according to the Survey of AlMaqrizi , was Abdurrahim Ibn Khalid Ibn Yazid Ibn Yahya, protector of Juma’, then it prevailed because of Abdurrahman Ibn Al-Qasim. It gained notoriety over the school of Abu Hanifa thanks to the students of Imam Malik; then the school of Abu Hanifa all but disappeared from Egypt.

This is confirmed in Suyuti’s72 The Foremost as mentioned in Excellent Gift, narrated from Al-Debaj; it was known that the students of Imam Malik were Egyptian and he (Al-Debaj) was the first to come with Malik’s knowledge into Egypt. Egypt did not cultivate anyone nobler than him, as they say. He died in the year one hundred and sixty three and both are authentic. In the biography of Uthman Al-Jadhami from the Rectification of the Rectification of Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, the text states; "Ibn Wahb said, “The first to present the issues of Malik in Egypt was Uthman Ibn Al-Hakam and Abdurrahman Ibn Khalid Ibn Yazid.” Thus Az-Zahiri after taking knowledge from the Imam returned to Egypt and spread the knowledge there.

Taqiuddin Al-Maqrizi was a noted Muslim Historian Born in 1364 and died 1442, Cairo. He wrote numerous works one of his works was Al-Muw’ad wa I’itbar bidhikr Al-Khatat wa Al-Athar known as Khatat Al-Maqrizi or the Survey of Al-Maqrizi. 72 Imam Jalaluddin As-Suyuti is one the famous scholars in Islam. He authored hundreds of works on many different subjects. He was a Shaf’i. Born in Asyut in Egypt 1445 and died in 1505. He was called Ibn Al-Kutub it means the son of books.


In the Survey of Al-Maqrizi it states that the school continues to be acted upon with that of As-Shaf’i’s; judges would be appointed who were of either school or just the school of Abu Hanifa, up until Judge Al-Jawhar. From that time onwards the houses followed the school of the Shia;73 it was acted upon in terms of judgement and edicts, rejected what disagreed with it. We say, that the Maliki School recovered in the Ayyubid kingdom and established jurists in its schools; then it was acted upon in judgements, independent from Az-Zahir Baibars,74 in the Turkish marine kingdom. They became the second judge in rank after the Shaf’i’s. The judge in Ayyubid kingdom was a Shaf’i and the judge had deputies of the four schools. This is present in Egypt up until today, the same as the Shaf’i’s; this is in relation to the people of the mountainous folk.

73 74

The Fatimid’s. 1223- d.1277. A leader of the Mamluk sultanate he was one of the great Muslim warriors of the past. He defeated Louis IX forces in 1250 and then three different crusades as well as defeating the Mongols twice. At the battle of Ain Al-Jalut which ensured the permanent suspension of Mongol advancement into the Muslim empire. He defeated them once again making them a spent force. These victories are no simple matter as the Crusades and the Mongols had massacred many Muslims in their wake. Even though he is not as famous as other warriors he certainly is one of the best who defeated these great threats.


In Africa and Spain
The people of Africa were dominated by customs until the Hanafi School came, as we explained, and the judge Al-Moez Ibn Badiss was appointed over them in four hundred and eight. Its people adopted the Maliki school, as their protectors were from the provinces of Al-Maghrib. To resolve the differences of the schools this prevailed all the provinces of Al-Maghrib. About this, Malik Ibn Al-Murhal Al-Maliki, a poet of Al-Maghrib said, “My school kisses the cheek of the school of my master, what do you see in my school? Do not oppose Malik’s opinion, for he has the fellowship of the people of Al-Maghrib.” This school is prevalent over these parts up until today. AlFasi mentions in Precious decade –history in safe lands “All of AlMaghrib is Maliki except in rare cases where people turned away from tradition.”

The dominant school of the people of Spain was the school of Al-Awza’i; the first to go there was Sa’sa’at Ibn Salim,76 who moved there. This remained until the time of the leader Hashim Ibn Abdurrahman;77 then the school of Al-Awza’i ceased to exist after two hundred years, the Maliki School then prevailed.

75 76

Taqiuddin Al-Fasi Al-Maliki Born in 775/1373 and died 1429/832. Originally from Damascus moved to Islamic Spain and died in the Islamic year 180. 77 He was the second Ummayyad caliph of Islamic Spain, born in Cordoba in the Islamic year 139 and died in 180.


In the Attained joy78 it states that the people of Spain were committed to the school of Al-Awza’i until the first students who received from Imam Malik came to them; like Zaid Ibn Abdurrahman, Al-Ghaza Ibn Qass, Qar’us Ibn Al-Abbas and others like them. His school spread and Prince Hisham took it from the people and committed to compelling them forcefully, except those who did not pay any attention to him. In Desire of the Petitioner of Ad-Dhabi79, the author states, “This school spread in Al-Andulus by Yahya Ibn Yahya Ibn Kathir80 who taught many, without coercion (to follow the rulings). He died in the year two hundred and thirty four and another source states two hundred and thirty three. In Survey of Al-Maqrizi and Al-Debaj of Ibn Furhan, the authors state that the first to come to Spain was Zaid Ibn Abdurrahman Al-Qurtabi81 known by the agnomen Shabtun, before Yahya Ibn Yahya. Zaid died in the year two hundred and three and others say two hundred and four; another source says one hundred and ninety nine. In the Pleasant diffusion the details are summarised as follows, “A group of exemplars (students) of Shabtun came like Qar’us Ibn Al-Abbas, Isa Ibn Dinar, Sa’id Ibn Abu Hind and others. They travelled to pilgrimage in the time of Hisham Ibn Abdurrahman, father of Al-Hakam. They returned and described the superiority of
78 79

A Book by Ahmed Baba Al-Taniki. Ahmed Ibn Yahya Ad-Dhabi who wrote the book on the history of the men of Al-Andulus. He died in 599/1203. 80 One of the most well transmitted narrators of Imam Malik’s book AlMuwatta. Yahya studied this with Imam Malik himself for a number of years. 81 He was one of the direct students of Imam Malik.


Malik, his great knowledge, amazing rank and how great his fame in Al-Andulus was. Then spread in this time, his opinions, and his knowledge in Al-Andulus. One of the leaders of the Shabtun group was the first to bring Al-Muwatta82 to Al-Andulus accurately. Yahya Ibn Yahya took it from him who then indicated him to travel to Malik; so he travelled and received it from him; then the school spread through him, Zaid and Isa Ibn Dinar. He said, in another section, “The cause for bringing the Maliki School to the Spanish people, according to some was that Imam Malik was asked about his life story by some Spaniards, and he mentioned something to them that surprised them. He said, “I ask Allah to beautify our affair within your kingdom,” or something to that effect. This was because the Abbasids were not satisfied with Malik and what he suffered at their hands is famous.83 When the words of Imam Malik reached Spain with those who did not know the greatness of Malik nor manner; the people took on his school and left the school of Imam Al-Awza’i. We say, the reason is mentioned by Ibn Nabahat,84 also, in Theatre of the eyes this was only in the time of Abdurrahman AdDakhil85 who gathered all the historians to enter this school in the time of his son Hisham.

82 83

This is the book that Imam Malik complied which took him forty years. He suffered hardship under Abbasid rule because they wanted to force the Maliki School upon the inhabitants of the Abbasid state but Imam Malik refused. 84 Ibn Nabatat Al-Tamimi Al-Masri born in Cairo 686/1287 and died 768/1368. He was a famous poet and wrote many works and the book was a commentary of an epistle by Ibn Zayidun. 85 The famous Spanish Ummayyad Caliph father of Prince Hashim.


Then the school prevailed over Al-Andulus and Al-Maghrib, because of the edict issued (by him), in the kingdom of Al-Hakam Ibn Hisham. Yahya Ibn Yahya Ibn Kathir remained with him, accepting his speech; he was appointed judge, only by those indicating to him; so he spread the school of Imam Malik (in Al-Andulus) as the Hanafi School was spreading in the East by Abu Yusuf. The reason that Ibn Khaldun gave for the dominance of this school in Al-Andulus and Al-Maghrib was, saying; “As for Malik, may Allah most high show him mercy, the school was distinguished to the people of Al-Maghrib and Spain; if others are present, then they are not followed, except by little.” As their (students of knowledge) travels were mostly to Arabia and finished there. Medina in that time was place of knowledge. Some of them left for Iraq and Iraq was not on the way, they went with the pretext of bringing the knowledge of the scholars of Medina. Their scholar, in that time, was their leader Malik, he was their sheikh before them and they were his students after him. So they returned to the people of Al-Maghrib and Spain, they were followed without exception from those not on their path. Also the bedouins were prevalent in Spain and Al-Maghrib and they did not have the civilisation of the people of Iraq. They were from Arabia (inclining to this) because they were bedouins. Therefore the Maliki School unaffected them, it were not refined by civilisation and the area, as to what had occurred to other schools.86


Quote from Al-Muqadimmah of Ibn Khaldun.


We say that we speak about the Hanafi’s because of the cancellation of the school in Al-Andulus and the spreading of the Maliki School in its place, as narrated by Al-Maqdasi.



In Upper Al-Maghrib
When the tribe of Tashfeen established themselves in AlMaghrib during the fifth century, they took control of Al-Andulus and appointed the Leader of the Muslims Ali Ibn Yusuf Ibn Tashfeen87; his influence on the people of knowledge and jurisprudence intensified. There was no order issued, in the whole kingdom, without the deliberation of the jurists and the judges. Every ruling on small and large matters, the jurists of the fours school had to be present and most of the commands were from the Jurists. He had no one close to him or an associate except that they were a scholar of the Maliki School. He sponsored, in his time, the books of the school then acting upon their instructions and removed everything else. This increased until they forgot to look in the book of Allah and narrations of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); they paid no attention to either. Then their dominion came over the control of the Muwahidun88 during the beginning of sixth century. Their Caliph Abdulmumin Ibn Ali89 took the course of action to gather the people of Al-Maghrib on the Maliki School in the branches and the school of


Was an Almoravid ruler from 1106-1142 up until he died in the same year. He ruled over Al-Maghrib and Al-Andulus and was known for being a devout Muslim. 88 Also known as Al-Mohads who ruled in Al-Maghrib and AlAndulus/Muslim Spain from 1121 to 1269. 89 He was born in 1094 and died in 1163. He was the leader of the Al-Mohad movement founded by Ibn Tumart. He was the ruler of the majority of AlMaghrib.


Abu Hassan Al-Ashari90 in foundations.91 His intention, and of his son Yusuf, was to destroy the Maliki school by forcing people onto the Az-Zahari school of Quran and Prophetic narration interpretation but they were not able to do this. When his grandson Yaqub Ibn Yusuf Ibn Abdulmumin raised the Az-Zahari school and shunned the Maliki School, the Az-Zahari school became prominent in those days. Al-Maghrib had great characters that were called Al-Hazamiyyat from their link to Ibn Hazim, their leader. However they were overcrowded by the Maliki’s. Then they overtook and spread in the time of Yaqub and then during his final period the jurists of the Shaf’i school appeared in some of the provinces and others began to incline to it. Al-Marakshi92 said in The Astonishment, “In his time the branches (of jurisprudence) were severed, the jurists feared that the books of the school would perish. The narrations of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and quotes from the Quranic were taken out and they were burnt in all cities. These books were Mudawwina of Sahnun,93 Ibn Yunus’s Book94 and Nawadir of


Ali Ibn Ismail Ibn Abi Bishr Ishaq Ibn Salim, a descendant of the companion of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Abu Musa Al-Ashari (may Allah be pleased with him). Born in Basra, Iraq in the year 874 and died in the year 936. He is one the most famous theologians of Sunni Islam and defended the doctrine against the beliefs of sects such as the Mutazilites. He began one of the Sunni schools of doctrine known as the Ashari’s who continue to dominate to this day. 91 From Ibn Al-Athir the famous historian. 92 Abdulwahid Al-Marakshi. This is a book about an historical record of AlMaghrib.

Sahnun Ibn Sa'id Ibn Habib at-Tanukhi (c. 776-7 – 854-5) (160 AH – 240 AH) was a jurist in the Maliki school from Qayrawan, Tunisia. He once said, “"If someone does


Ibn Zaid and its abridgement95, Tahadhib of Al-Baradh’a,96 Ibn Habib’s Clarification97 and similar types of books. I saw it when, at the time, I was in Fez98; they were erased (quotes) and then thrown into the fire. Then ordered the narrations of authentic collections,99 AtTirmidhi,100 Al-Muwatta,101 Abu Dawood,102 An-Nisa’i,103 Al-Bazzar,104
not act by his knowledge, his knowledge does not benefit him." This text was a compilation of all the rulings that Imam Malik gave.

He is Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah Ibn Yunus, from Sicily, of the Tamimi tribe. Famous jurist, known also for his lineage and his generosity, he increased furthermore the reputation of his name by fighting the disbelievers. He died 541 of the Hijrah. 95 One of the most famous Maliki scholars who wrote Al-Mukhtasir and Nawadir. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, author of the Risala/Epistle 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abdurrahman died 386/996. 96 Abu'l-Qasim al-Baradh’a. al-Baradha'i: Abu Sa'id: the greatest of the students of Ibn Abi Zayd. Wrote several books, a commentary on the Mudawwana called Tamhid al-Mudawwana, an abridgement of alMudawwana, and the Kitab at-Tahdhib. d. ca. 372. 97 Abdullah Ibn Habib Al-Andulusi 238/852 Andalusia. 98 A major city in Morocco and previous capital. 99 These refer to the two collections of the Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Imam Muslim (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) full name Abu l'Husayn Muslim Ibn al-Hajjaj Al-Qushayri Al-Nisapuri (206-261 AH/821-875 CE) of the second most widely recognized collection of Hadith in Sunni Islam, "Sahih Muslim." Bukhari (may Allah's Ta'ala mercy be with him), Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Al-Mughirah al-Bukhari al-Ji’fi also known as Imam Bukhari and is often referred to as Abu Abdullah. He was born on a Friday in the lunar month of Shawwal in the year 194h / 810 ce in Bukhara, which is in modern day Uzbekistan, where he grew up as an orphan. He began his Islamic education in the Kuttab (traditional Quran school), where he quickly took an interest in studying hadith. He authored many books but it was Al-Jami AsSahih which later became known as-Sahih Bukhari or the authentic Bukhari.


Near the end of his life, he retreated to a small town named Khartank (in modern day Azerbaijan); after witnessing the moral afflictions from which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned sought refuge in God. Imam Al-Bukhari lost any desire to remain in this world. He passed away on a Thursday night, the night of ‘Id al-Fitr in the year 256h/870ce. 100 Imam Tirmidhi (may Allah's Ta'ala mercy be with him) (209 – 279 Ah/ 824 – 892ce) author of the hadith text commonly known as Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Shammil Tirmidhi which is a book describing the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and other works. He travelled to Khurasan, Medina and Mecca in search of knowledge. He was a student of Al-Bukhari, Ishaq Ibn Rahawayh and others. Several scholars reported that Imam At-Tirmidhi had a prodigious memory; he was able to retain numerous hadith after hearing them only once. Though he lost his sight towards the end of his life, Imam At-Tirmidhi’s keen memory continued to remind him of his surroundings; it is reported that in spite of his blindness, he once lowered his head on a journey at the moment when he expected to pass under a low tree limb. (Content of the character Sheikh Hamza Yusuf p.69). 101 Is the hadith collection work by Imam Malik. 102 Suleman Ibn As-Sa’ath, Sheikh of the prophetic way, reader for Abu Dawood, Al-Azadi, As-Sajastani. Born in the Islamic year two hundred and twenty. He journeyed for knowledge, he gathered, he authored and he excelled in this field. The first place he went to was Baghdad whilst he was eighteen years old. Al-Khateeb Abu Bakr said, “he authored the book “Al Sunan” then offered it to Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal; he selected and improved it.” Abu Bakr Darusa said, “I heard Abu Dawood say that he had written five hundred thousand prophetic narrations, he selected from them what he included in this book.” In other words As-Sunan of Abu Dawood. He gathered four thousand eighty hundred prophetic narrations mentioned as one of the Authentic collections. 103 Was one of the compilers of the six authentic collections. An-Nisa’i died 303/915. 104 Ahmed Ibn Amr Ibn ‘Abdulkhaliq Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar. Born in 292/904.


Ad-Darqutni,105 Al-Bayhaqi,106 Ibn Abi Shayba107 on prayer, and what was connected to it, to be gathered. He wrote about this subject himself for the people, made them memorise it, then gave anyone who had memorised an expensive gift of clothes and wealth. The Maliki School in the fourth century spread in Iraq, AlHawaz, Egypt, and the cities of Maghrib and prevailed over AlAndulus as mentioned by Al-Maqdasi in Excellent division.

The Maliki’s follow the theological belief of Abu Hassan AlAshari, where there are only Maliki Ashari’s, as in The Ranks and Blessed celebration, of Tajuddin As-Subki.109


Ali Ibn Umar Ibn Ahmed Ibn Mahdi or Abu I’Hassan Ad -Daraqutni. Born 306/919 and died 385/995. He was a major scholar in Prophetic narration and he was a Shaf’i in jurisprudence. 106 Ahmed Ibn Al-Hasayn Ibn Ali also known as Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi born 384/994 and died 458/1065. 107 Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Al-Qadi Abu Shayba Ibrahim Ibn Uthman Ibn Khusuni was one the major compliers of prophetic narration in his time. He also complied works on Quranic commentary. He died in the year two hundred and thirty five. 108 An Iranian province of Khuzestan. 109 Tajuddin Abdulwahid Ibn Ali Ibn Abdulkafi As-Subki. Born on 717/1328 and died 771/1370. He was a famous judge and jurist in the Sha f’i school.



The Shaf’i School
In Egypt
This school originates from the Imam Muhammad Ibn Idriss As-Shaf’i Al-Qureshi,110 may Allah be pleased with him, born in Gaza in the year one hundred and fifty and passed away in Egypt during the year two hundred and four. He was a marvel of understanding and memory. Many virtues were gathered in him that was not gathered in others. His school is the third of the four presented. It was stated that they are the people of narration like the Maliki’s. Rather, the people of Khurasan, if they describe anyone with the term ‘the people of narration’ then they could only mean the Shaf’i’s. He took from Imam Malik then founded a specific school. Ibn Khaldun said, “He travelled to Iraq after (studying with) Malik and met the students of Imam Abu Hanifa and took from them thus joining the method of Arabia and the people of Iraq. He founded a school, disagreeing with Malik (may Allah show them mercy) in many of his opinions.”


One of the proofs that the Shaf’i’s claim is the following prophetic narration. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “A scholar from the Quresh will fill parts of the earth with knowledge.” (Imam Ahmed, Bayhaqi and Ibn Hajr).


The writer of the ranks mentions the school of Imam AsShaf’i came to prominence in Egypt first, many students were from there; then in Iraq, then it overcame Baghdad, most of the provinces of Khurasan, Turan,111 Levitate, Yemen, Transoxiana,112 the cities of Iran, Arabia, some cities of India and parts of Africa and Spain, after the year three hundred. It overtook the Hanafi and Maliki schools of Egypt, as we explained, when Imam As-Shaf’i went there, his school spread rapidly. Ibn Khaldun said, “As for the Shaf’i’s they are followed in Egypt more than elsewhere. His school spread in Iraq, Khurasan, Transoxiana and the one responsible was Sirajudeen Al-Balqini.113 In his day he was the biggest Shaf’i scholar in Egypt, and a major scholar, actually he was the greatest scholar of Egypt.” When the Ayyubid kingdom revived the schools of the Sunni’s in Egypt, by building schools for jurists and providing other assistance, it was a means that made the Shaf’i’s the largest school under their supervision. So the jurists of the schools became the schools of kingdom. All of the tribe of Ayyub114 was Shaf’i except Al-Azam Isa Ibn Al-‘Adil Abu Bakr Sultan of Syria,115 as he was Hanafi and there was
111 112

In Russia. Parts of Persia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. 113 Born 724 died 805. Umar Ibn Raslan Ibn Nasir Ibn Salah Al-Kinani one of Imam As-Shaf’i’s major students in Egypt. 114 The Ayyubid dynasty founded by Salahudeen Al-Ayyub. 115 He was the eleventh Ayyubid Sultan Sharifuddin ’Isa Ibn Al -Adil born 576 and died 624.


no Hanifa except him, his children followed him. He authored a commentary on “Authentic maxim”116 in many volumes, refuting AlKhattib Al-Baghdadi117 on what he attributes to Imam Abu Hanifa in the history of Baghdad.118 When the Turkish caliph came, their sultans were Shaf’i’s and they continued to act upon that. The Shaf’i’s and the Hanafi’s issued legal edicts and taught in most of the cities (of the empire); great gatherings and debate occurred between them. Books were filled with controversial kinds of references then all of this was studied in the East and neighbouring areas. When Imam Muhammad Ibn Idriss As-Shaf’i came to the tribe of Abdul-Hakim in Egypt; a group from the tribes of AbdulHakim, Ashab, Ibn Al-Qasim, Ibn Al-Muaz and others came. Then Harith Ibn Maskin119 and his tribe studied under him. Then the jurisprudence of the people of Sunna was severed because of the emergence of the Shia, they changed the jurisprudence to the people of the Prophetic household until other could not be found. This lasted until the kingdom of Al-Ubudiyyun120 of the Shia was stopped

Al-Jami’a Al-Kabir of Imam Muhammad Ibn Al-Hassan As-Shaybani student of Abu Hanifa. 117 Ahmed Ibn Ali Ibn Thabit commonly known as Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi. An important Arab historian. Born in 392/1002 and died in 463h/1069 ce. The History of Baghdad was his Magnum Opus. 118 Written by Ibn Khalikan. 119 He was a jurist in Egypt. Born in the Islamic year one hundred and fifty four and died in the year two hundred and fifty. He was of the great generation who spent their lives studying Prophetic narrations. Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal praised him. 120 This was the Fatimid Ismaili Shia school that ruled from 909-1171.


by Salahudeen Yusuf Ibn Ayyub who returned the jurisprudence of the Shaf’i’s. The students of Iraq and Syria returned it to a better state than before and it began to flourish. The most famous of them are Muyhiudeen Al-Nawawi121 from Halab122 which was under the shadow the Ayyubid kingdom in Syria; Izzudeen Ibn Abdussalam123 also. Then Ibn Al-Rafia124 in Egypt, Taqiuddin Ibn Daqiq Al-‘Idd,125 Taqiudeen As-Subki after them. Ending when the scholar of Islam (Imam An-Nawawi) went to Egypt because an agreement and continued to act as a judge there. Until Az-Zahari Baibars126 organised the four schools, every judge spoke about his school, in Cairo and Fustat.127 They selected representatives and judges, specifying the Shaf’i’s, by independently appointing representative in every city in the region, without power sharer between them. As they gave specific opinions about the


Or more commonly known as Imam Nawawi who authored many famous books such as the Forty Nawawi narrations. Born in 631h in a village outside Damascus, Syria and died 676. 122 In Syria. 123 Born in Damascus in 578 and died in 660. He is known as the Sultan of the scholars. He was a Shaf’i and Ashari. 124 Born in 645h/1247 and died 710/1310. Abu I’Abbas Ahmed Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Mauta’fa Ibn Hazam. He was the great Shaf’i scholar of his age. 125 Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Wahb Ibn Muta’ Ibn Abu Ta’ah Al -Qureshi. He studied Maliki and Shaf’i Jurisprudence. Born in 620h and died in 702h. 126 Born in 620h/1223ce and died 676h/1277. Bebarus Al-Bandqudari. Please see note 70. 127 Fustat was the first Islamic capital in Egypt and the first to be built in Africa by the companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Amr Ibn Al-‘As (may Allah be pleased with him). In the year 641.


wealth of orphans and endowments.128 This was the first collaboration between them and then the Maliki’s followed as did the Hanifa’s and the Hanbali’s. This continued, in the kingdom of the Carcassians, until the Ottomans took power over the kingdom. They removed the system of four judges and limited the judgement to the Hanafi’s because it was their school and it remains the school of the kingdom until today. This did not affect the spread of the Shaf’i’s and Maliki’s to the previous communities. The two continued to dominate in the country and highlands and Shaf’i’s prevailed in the rural areas by the coast. The Scholar of Al-Azhar,129 he is the leader of the scholars, was put forward, by the scholars, in the year one thousand, one hundred and thirty seven. Until it passed to a Hanafi, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mahdi Al-Abbasi in the year one thousand, two hundred and eighty seven.130 Adding to the edict experts which were not limited to one particular school but there was no Hanbali appointed because of the few Hanbalis in Egypt.


The wealth left in by deceased parties or left specifically for public or religious benefit. 129 One of the largest universities in the Islamic world founded during the Fatimid Shia caliphate. 130 The author states, “The first of who were able to identify as the Scholar of Al-Azhar was Sheikh Muhammad Al-Kharshi died 1101 he was a Maliki, this passed onto Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Al-Barqawi As-Shaf’i who died 1106. It was restricted to the Maliki’s then transferred to the Shaf’i’s.



In Syria and Iraq
The school Al-Awza’i dominated the people of Syria until a judge in Damascus was appointed following the judges of Egypt, Abu Zar’ah Muhammad Ibn Uthman Ad-Damishqi As-Shaf’i. The Shaf’i school appeared, ruled over them and jurists followed him, after his appointment. He was the first to enter Syria. He would give one hundred gold coins to whoever would memorise Al-Muzzani Abridged.131 He passed away in three hundred and one, two or three. Al-Maqdasi mentions in Excellent division that the jurists of the regions of Syria during his time, the fourth century, were Shaf’i’s, he said, “We did not see a Maliki or a Dawoodi.”132 In the Ranks of As-Subki and The Announcement with the reprimand of As-Sakhawi133 that the school spread in Transoxiana at the hands of Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Qafail Al-Kabir the Syrian who passed away in the year three hundred and sixty five. Al-Maqdasi mentioned that they maintained dominance in many districts of the Eastern regions like As-Shamsh,134 Ilaqq,135 Tus,136 Nasa,137 Abiruit138 and elsewhere.

Was one of the major texts of the Shaf’i school by Imam Al -Muzani. He was a major student of Imam Shaf’i. 132 A follower of Dawood Az-Zahari. 133 Shamudeen Abu I’Khair Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdurrahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr Ibn Uthman Ibn Muhammad As-Shakhawi. Born in Cairo, Egypt 831 h and died 902. 134 Turkey? 135 In Turkey. 136 In modern day Iran. 137 Greater Khurasan.


In Haerat,139 Sajastan,140 Shakhas141 was competed with the Shaf’i’s and Hanafi’s, leading to bloodshed which was finished by the Sultan. He mentioned that in the province Dulaym142 that the people of Qawmisa143 and the people of Georgia and part of Tabrastan were Hanafi, the rest were Hanbali and Shaf’i; and there was no sign of Barbari144 students of prophetic narration except the Shaf’i. It was mentioned in the province “Al-Qaur” that he was from Musool and Aamad etc. The Hanafi’s and Shaf’i’s spread in there. He said, “There are Hanbalis.” Also mentioned, are that Shaf’i’s dominate the province of Karaman.146

In Announcement by reprimand it states that Al-Hafiz Ibn Abdan Ibn Muhammad Ibn Isa Al-Marwaza propagated the Shaf’i school in Maru147 and Khurasan after Ahmed Ibn Sayyar.148 The reason for this was that Ibn Sayyar brought the books of Imam Shaf’i to Maru. The people were astounded by them, when they saw ‘Abdan, they wished to copy them and he would not allow Ibn Sayyar to do so. So he sold up and went to Egypt where he met Al-Rabiya’
138 139

Unidentified. A province in Afghanistan. 140 Now known as Sistan in Afghanistan. 141 Unidentified. 142 In Iran. 143 Unidentified. 144 Unidentified. 145 In Iraq. 146 In Iran. 147 In Persia. 148 Abu Ayyub Ibn Abdurrahman born in Maru. He lived for seventy years and died in the year two hundred and sixty eight. He was a major scholar of Prophetic narration and followed the school of Imam Shaf’i.


and other students of Imam As-Shaf’i. So he copied their books and returned to Maru, Ibn Sayyar lived on after ‘Abdan died in the year two hundred and ninety three. He also mentions that Abu A’nwana Yaqub Ibn Ishaq AnNisaburi Al-Isfarin,i149 author of an a work on the authenticated collection of Imam Muslim, was the first enter the Shaf’i school, and compile it, in Isfarin.150 He was the one who took from Al-Rabi’a and Al-Muzani, he died in three hundred and sixteen. He said, “Abu Ismail Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Yusuf As-Sulami At-Tirmidhi was he who brought the books of As-Shaf’i from Egypt, Ishaq Ibn Rahway151 copied them and complied them as The Large compilation, himself. He was one of those who narrated from Al-Buwayti,152 died in the year two hundred and eighty. Ibn Suraij153 spread the school of As-Shaf’i in many provinces. In the Compilation of countries of Yaqut154 states that the people of “Rai”155 were three types; a few Shaf’i’s, Hanafi the large amount, Shia were the remainder. Tribalism occurred between the Sunnis and Shias, the Shaf’i’s and the Hanafi’s co-operated. Then

Born in two hundred and thirty and died in three hundred and six. He wrote on the authentic collection of Imam Muslim. He travelled for knowledge to many places and was a major prophetic narrator of his time. 150 Isfahan in Iran. 151 He was one of the main teachers of Imam Bukhari. Died 238/852. 152 Imam Yusuf Ibn Yahya Ibn Al-Buwayti was one of students of Imam AsShaf’i. He passed away at 231. 153 Imam Abu I’Abbas Ibn Ahmed Ibn Umar Ibn Suraij was a follower of the Shaf’i school. He passed away in the Islamic year 306. 154 Yaqut Ibn 'Abdullah Al-Rumi Al-Hamawi (1179-1229d) he was born in Syria. 155 In Iran.


lengthy clashes occurred between them until they did not leave any of the Shia. Then tribalism occurred between the Hanafi’s and the Shaf’i’s, the Shaf’i overcame them with their few numbers. The places of the Shia and Hanafi’s were destroyed and the places of the Shaf’i have remained. This was in the smallest part of the Rai, no Shia or Hanafi’s remained there, except those who concealed their school. He mentioned that “Sadat” which was between “Rai” and “Hamdhan”156 that the people were Sunni Shaf’i’s. Close by was a city who said, “Oh Woe,” the people were Ismaili Shia and tribalism occurred between them both. In “The completion” of Ibn Athir, he recorded an event during the year five hundred and ninety five, the text says, “Ghathudeen157 author of Ghaznah split from some those from Khurasan following the school of the Karamites158 and he became an adherent to the Shaf’I school.” The reason for this was that there was a man known as Ghajar Mubarak Shah who was said to be a poet from Persia, he benefited the people in many types of knowledge. Then Sheikh Wajiahudeen Abu Al-Fatah Muhammad Ibn Mahmood Al-Marwazi, the jurist, the Shaf’i came. He clarified the school of As-Shaf’i and explained the deception of the school of the Karamites, then they became Shaf’i’s and built a school for the Shaf’i’s and in Ghaza they also built Masjids for them. For these reasons the Karamites wanted
156 157

In Iran. Ghaythuddin Ibn Masud Ibn Muhammad Al-Kashi. Passed away 739/1436. 158 Attributed to Muhammad Ibn Karam As-Sajistani died 150.


to harm Wajahudeen but Allah (the Exalted) did not give them the ability to do so. It was claimed that Ghathudeen and his brother Shihabudeen159 heard the king of Khurasan say to them, “The people of all these countries visit the Karamites and dislike them. The opinion was that the separation of this school was because some became Shaf’i’s. It was also stated the Shihabudeen was a Hanafi and Allah knows best. The Hanafi’s dominated Baghdad as we explained, then the Shaf’i’s tried to rival, there were many contenders .Despite this the Hanafi’s were the school of the kingdom and it was not possible to do unless the leader was Shaf’i, as Al-Mutawal160 tried to. He was the first of those to do this. Al-Hassan Ibn Muhammad Az-Za’afarni was the eldest student of As-Shaf’i and one of those who spread his school; he passed away in the year two hundred and seventy. As-Sakhawai said, Announcement by reprimand, “Al-Rabia Ibn Suleman161 went on pilgrimage in the year two hundred and forty and met Abu Al-Hassan Ibn Muhammad Az-Za’afarni in Mecca. They greeted each other. Al-Rabia said, “Dear Abu Ali, you are in the East and I am in the West, spreading his knowledge.” Meaning Imam AsShaf’i’s knowledge. He meant by West is Egypt because he had lineage in Baghdad.

159 160

He was born 668 and passed away in 721. He was one of the Abbasid rulers. Born 821 and died 861. 161 One of the students of Imam As-Shaf’i.


In the Ranks of As-Subki it states the tribe of Abu Atamah were those who Allah spread the school of As-Shaf’i in Saudi Arabia. As for the West, there was no large map to show the dominance of the Maliki’s in the cities. Until Al-Maqdasi claimed in Excellent division that all of Al-Maghrib was (dominated by the Maliki’s) were likewise up till the borders of Egypt. One of them mentioned in an issue and mentioned the opinion of As-Shaf’i. They said, “Who is AsShaf’i? Abu Hanifa has the East and the Malik the West.” He said, “I saw one of the students of Malik who disliked AsShaf’i saying he had took knowledge from him then opposed him.” Al-Qayrawan162 said, “There was no family without a Hanafi or a Maliki but with strange co-existence; there is no community or tribalism between them.” The Andalusians say, “There is no other school except Malik’s; if the Hanafi’s or Shaf’i’s appear they vanish!” In the completion of Ibn Athir he states, “Yaqub Ibn Yusuf Ibn Abdul-Mumin, leader of Al-Maghrib and Al-Andulus, after the appearance of the Az-Zahari school, they (the people) inclined to the Shaf’i school in his last days and some judges (Shaf’i judges) appeared in some cities.” The majority of Shaf’i’s follow Abu Al-Hassan As-Ashari in doctrine. As-Subki says in The Ranks most of them are Ashari’s without omission except those who joined the anthropomorphists163

162 163

Unidentified. Known as the Mujassim those who attribute the divine with human parts.


and Mutazilites,164 and there are others that there is no need mentioning.


A group who placed their intellect above textual proof – they are outside the understanding of the majority of Muslim doctrine and have been refuted many times by classical scholars.



The Hanbali School
The school of the people of Najd165
The Hanbali school is attributed to Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal As-Shibani (may Allah be pleased with him). He was born in Baghdad, in the year one hundred and sixty four and passed away in the year two hundred and forty one. It was claimed, “He was born in Mara166 and went to Baghdad during infancy.” His school is the forth Sunni school, acted upon by the consensus of Muslims. He was one of the elite students of Imam As-Shaf’i in Egypt. His school spread in Baghdad and then spread elsewhere without replacing the other schools. Ibn Farhaan states in The Adornments, “As for the school of Ahmed Ibn Hanbal (may Allah show him mercy) was prominent in Baghdad, then spread into many cities in Syria and weak now.” This was stated during the eight century. Ibn Khaldun said, “As for Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, he has few followers, because his school is distant from analogical reasoning, founding principles and linking narrations and reports to one another. Most of them in Syria, Iraq in Baghdad and its vicinity, most of the people preserved his opinions as a narrator of traditions.”167
165 166

Modern day Riyad in Saudi Arabia. In Persia. 167 Rather than a jurisprudence expert.


The appearance of the school was delayed, in Egypt, until the eight century. As-Suyuti explained in Excellent presence saying, “They are present in a few Egyptian houses. I did not hear of them until the seventh century and beyond. That was because Imam Ahmed (may Allah be pleased with him) was (appeared) in the third century and his school was not prominent outside Iraq until the fourth century, this was the century of the kings of the Ubaydiyun168 in Egypt. Anything other than the three schools disappeared completely. The Shia schools were established and we were not free from them until the later in the sixth century. Then it returned to the leaders of the (four) schools. The first Imam was a Hanbali known in Egypt, he was al-Hafiz Abdulghani Al-Maqdasi,169 a magistrate.” Al-Maqrizi mentions in his survey, “It was not like that for the Hanafi School which was mentioned frequently in the kingdom of the Ayyubids and this was not known except in its culmination.” Then the spread augmented after the time of the judge Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abta Al-Malik Al-Hajawi. He was appointed judge of the Hanbali’s of Egypt in the year seven hundred and thirty eight; he passed away during the year seven hundred and sixty nine. As reported in “The path of torrent.”170

168 169

Ismaili Shia Fatimid caliphate. Imam Al-Hafid Taqiuddin Abu Muhammad Abdulghani. Born in Palestine then he moved to Damascus. He was a major scholar in the field of Prophetic narration and died in the Islamic year 600. 170 This was a text on the tombs of the Hanbali’s written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Makki.


Al-Maqdasi mentions that (the Hanbali’s) was present in the fourth century in Basra,171 the provinces of Forr,172 Dulyam, AlRahab,173 in Saawas, a province of Kazakhstan, and it rivalled Baghdad with the Shia. He mentions that Egypt’s edicts, at that time, were from the school of the Fatimid’s even though all the schools were present in Fustat. He said, “Then they (became) the places of the Karamites, the areas of the Mutazilites and the Hanbali’s.” We say, “Wherever it spread, in the big cities, the followers were very little from each area. This is as Al-Khafaji174indicated in “The Jericho.” In a biography of Zaynudeen Muhammad Al-Ansari AlKhazaji, he said, “Comprehend the school of Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, as his students have an easy approach to a sweet fountain.” “From which the people love the school.” They are very few in each time period. Kirama175 claimed to say: “They say to me that there are few followers of Imam Ahmed, Every minority in creation are weak, I say to them, Relax your accusation is wrong, Do you not know that honour is little?
171 172

In Iraq. Unidentified. 173 In Egypt. 174 Imam Shihabuddin Al-Khafaji passed away 1100ah/ 1689ce. A Hanafi scholar who wrote a commentary on As-Shifa. 175 Unidentified.


We do not harm, I am few, Our neighbour is mighty, And the neighbours are debased.” We say, “We did not hear of their dominance in any area, except in the Najdian176 provinces, now. Baghdad in the fourth century and the dreadful occurrence around the year three hundred and twenty three.” Ibn Athir stated about the events of this year, “The great order of the Hanbali’s, they strengthened their positions, then pressurised the leaders. If they found date juice they would break the beakers, if they found singers they beat them and would break their instruments and they objected to them being bought and sold and objected to men walking with their wives and children. If they saw something like this, they would ask who they were with and what was the reason and they would tell them. Sometimes they would beat them and carry them to the police and testify that they committed lewdness.” He said, “I returned to Baghdad, travelling with Badruddin AlKharsha, he was a policeman, it was the tenth of Jumada AlAkhara.177 I was called on one side from Baghdad by a student of Abu Muhammad Al-Bara from the Hanbali’s, “There are only two of them and there is no difference in their schools.” To that he said, “We did not benefit them, their evil and tribulation increased. They sought to manifest blindness in those who came to Masjids. If they passed a person of the Shaf’i school then they would accuse him of
176 177

Riyad. A reference to an Islamic month.


blindness, then beat him with their sticks until he was about to die. Then they would leave him on the ground after what they had read of the Hanbali’s. Their actions were unpopular.” There is no doubt of the effect of the examples of these tribulations were only because of mob mentality and tribalism. Often what it returned to was differences in doctrine. The adherents to this school are not specific to one doctrine. Al-Taj As-Subki mentions in The Ranks that most of the early predecessors were Ashari’s; they did not leave the Ashari doctrine except those who followed the anthropomorphists.178 He said, “Those in this group are from the Hanbali’s more than any other group.”179


Or Mutajjasim – they wrongly gave the understanding that God has body parts like a human being – this is rejected by the normative schools of Sunni doctrine. 179 Those who follow this stance do not follow the Salaf Saliheen.



These four schools began to change over time and other Sunni schools disappeared. It wasn’t until the seventh century that their dominance and power was complete. Jurists would issue legal verdicts on the necessity of following them.180 Everything else vanished except for the remains of the Az-Zahari school181 which remained in some countries until the eight century, then disappeared, as we mentioned. Al-Maqrizi said, “When the king Az-Zahir Baibars AlBunduqdria182 was in power, Sultan of Egypt, Cairo had four judges, they were a Shaf’i, a Maliki, a Hanafi and a Hanbali. This continued from the six hundred and sixty five until there did not remain in all the provinces of Islam a school known as school of Islam by the people other than these schools of law. The doctrine of Al-Ashari is acted upon by the people of the schools, the Inns, retreats and the frontiers of the kingdoms of Islam. The animosity of these schools is not from them and is or rejected. A judge was not appointed, a testimony not accepted, no sermon delivered, no Imam position given or teaching performed except from someone who followed one of these schools. The Jurists issued legal opinions in these areas, from


Ibn Salah said it is necessary to follow a school – quote from Sheikh Sa’ad Al-Attas. Many other scholars have confirmed that it is necessary/wajib to follow one of the four mentioned schools in jurisprudence. 181 A school who only accept the literal understanding of the source texts. 182 See note 74.


all that time, on the necessity of following one of these schools and prohibiting anything else; this is practiced right up to this day.” There is no doubt about the intention of majority of Muslims except for the school of the Ibadis183 and they were not acted upon, in the cities of the west, with the exception of the Shia in Persia and some other cities. He said in the doctrine of Al-Ashari look the Hanafi’s follow the doctrine of Maturdi except those who are considered AlAshari’s.” It means he who Taj As-Subki previously explained. The Hanbali’s are considered as few and have no specific doctrine,184 as we explained. The upshot of these words, are to explain the spread of these schools to the majority of the Muslims. They rely strongly on foreign sources and not as much on Arabic sources.185 So we say that North Africa is dominated by the Maliki school, it also dominates Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. You will not find in them any followers of other schools except a few Hanafi’s, they are the remaining Turkish families, in most of Tunisia and there are individuals who are the descendants of the leaders. Therefore they were distinguished Hanafi judges who cooperated with the Maliki judges. As for the Judges most of them were Maliki and in the big
183 184

A pseudo Shia group whose adherents claim to be modern day Khawarij. There are two groups of Hanbali’s one follow Ibn Qudaymma in Aqida and the others who follow Ibn Qayyum Al-Jawziyyah; the former are considered to be Sunni and the latter are considered to be anthropomorphists. 185 This is dependent on region as in some cases it might be true and others not.


cities, the Muftis were Hanifa’s and some were the Scholars of Islam,186 meaning the leaders over the majority. The Maliki’s had a second position that was also as the scholar of Islam. Despite the few followers of the Hanafi school (in this area) most Sunni’s follow this school more than any other. Half of the school of the Grand Zaytuniyya187 Masjid is Hanafi and the other half Maliki. The only reason for the Hanafi’s distinction was because of the families of the Maliki’s. The Shaf’i’s and Maliki’s dominated Egypt; in the countryside first and secondly on the highlands and Sudan. The Hanafi’s were the school of the kingdom, issued edicts and were judges and the Hanbali’s were extremely rare. The Hanafi’s dominate the cities of Syria; that comprises of half Sunni’s (Hanafi’s), a quarter Shaf’i’s and a quarter Hanbali’s. The Shaf’i’s dominate Palestine followed by the Hanbali’s, then Hanafi’s and Maliki’s. The Hanafi’s dominate Iraq followed by the Shaf’i’s then the Maliki’s and Hanbali’s. The dominance of the Turkish Ottomans over Albania and the inhabitants of the Balkans meant they were Hanafi’s, most of the cities of the Kurds are Shaf’i, and it dominates the cities of Armenia because of their origin, Turkish and Kurdish. The Sunnis in Persia were mostly Shaf’i’s and a few Hanafi’s. The dominant school in the cities Afghanistan are Hanafi’s, Shaf’i’s and Hanbali’s. The dominance in western Turkistan which is in

The leader of the scholars or those scholars who were in a position of leadership over other scholars. 187 In Tunisia.


Bukhara is Hanafi. As for Eastern Turkistan, also named Chinese, they are dominated by the Shaf’i’s. Then this changed to Hanafi’s because of the endeavour of the influence of the scholars from Bukhara.188 The dominant school of the Caracas and that area is Hanafi with some Shaf’i’s present. In India the dominant school is Hanafi with an estimated fellowship of forty eight million and the fellowship of the Shaf’i’s is around one million. Many of them are from the people of transmission189 there are other schools which we have not mentioned. The Muslim of the Island Ceylon, the Philippines, Java and its neighbouring islands are Shaf’i’s; likewise the Muslims of Thailand but there are a few Hanafi’s who were displaced from India. The Muslims of Indochina are Shaf’i and likewise are the Australians. In Brazil there are about twenty five thousand Muslim Hanafi’s; in the American cities there are Muslims of different schools, together there number reaches one hundred and forty thousand. The dominant schools in West Arabia are the Shaf’i’s and Hanbali’s; there are Hanifa’s and Maliki’s in some cities. The people of Najd are Hanbali’s,190 the people of South west Arabia are Shaf’i’s.
188 189

In Uzbekistan. This is a school of doctrine. 190 The Wahabi/Salafi’s claim to be following the Hanbali school of thought but practically this is not correct as they differ strongly. Adherence to this school is following a school outside mainstream Islamic jurisprudence and doctrine, in many issues. It is a school that is against fellowship of other


The Sunni’s in Yemen, the cities, Hadarmaut191 are also Shaf’i. Some provinces of the Hanafi’s can be found. The dominant school in Amman192 is the Ibadi School but not without Hanbali’s and Shaf’i’s. Qatar and Bahrain are dominated by Maliki’s but Hanbali’s are also present due to the influences of Najd. The dominant school in Kuwait is Maliki. The majority of the people of the prophetic practice are a mix of Hanafi’s, Maliki’s, Shaf’i’s and Hanbali’s.193 And Allah knows best.

All praise is for Allah Mighty and Majestic, and may benedictions and salutations, in innumerable multitude be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and those who follow his path, until the day of judgment. This text was completed on the seventh of November 2009; the nineteenth of Dhulqaidah 1430.

schools other than its own, which is illogical. As they want no one to follow another school except their own! The Wahabi school is not a fixed school as their rules are constantly changing because they cannot agree within themselves! 191 A place made famous by the scholars known as the Habaib who are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 192 Jordan. 193 Here he gives the definition of the schools that the Ahl As-Sunna wa Jammah follow if they do not follow these schools then they are not Sunni’s.


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