Hanbaliyyah, Hanbali School, HanbalisGeneral Information
DoctrinesThe Hanbali school is the fourth orthodox school of law within Sunni Islam. It derives its decrees from the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which it places above all forms of consensus, opinion or inference. The school accepts as authoritative an opinion given by a Companion of the Prophet, providing there is no disagreement with anther Companion. In the case of such disagreement, the opinion of the Companion nearest to that of the Qur'an or the Sunnah will prevail.
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In spite of the importance of Hanbal's work his school did not enjoy the popularity of the three preceding Sunni schools of law. Hanbal's followers were regarded as reactionary and troublesome on account of their reluctance to give personal opinion on matters of law, their rejection of analogy, their fanatic intolerance of views other than their own, and their exclusion of opponents from power and judicial office. Their unpopularity led to periodic bouts of persecution against them.
The later history of the school has been characterised by fluctuations in their fortunes. Hanbali scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jouzia (d.1350), did display more tolerance to other views than their predecessors and were instrumental in making the teachings of Hanbali more generally accessible.
From time to time Hanbaliyyah became an active and numerically strong school in certain areas under the jurisdiction of the 'Abbassid Caliphate. But its importance gradually declined under the Ottoman Turks. The emergence of the Wahabi in the nineteenth century and its challenge to Ottoman authority enabled Hanbaliyyah to enjoy a period of revival. Today the school is officially recognised as authoritative in Saudi Arabia and areas within the Persian Gulf.
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Ibn Hanbal (d.855), to whom the Hanbali school is attributed, used the foundation of Al-Shafi`i for the development of his line of thought. He emphasized methods of choosing Hadith, even preferring a weak Hadith over a strong analogy.
Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
THE ELEMENTS OF ISLAM, Chapter 4
Unfortunately, we are not aware of any scholarly texts on this subject which have yet been translated into English. We know that a number of Arabic scholars have written wonderful texts in Arabic, and look for the day when we will be able to add higher quality texts to this presentation.
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