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Ḥanafīyah: An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

2- Ḥanafīyah after Abū Ḥanīfah

After the death of Abū Ḥanīfah, his two notable disciples, Abū Yūsuf Qāḍī (d. 182 A.H.) and Muhammad b. Ḥasan Shaybānī (d. 189 A.H.) spread Ḥanafīyah. While Hārūn’s caliphate and afterwards, Ḥanafīyah became the official school of Abbasid caliphs, so that only Ḥanafī jurists were allowed to hold the chair of judgment. Fāṭimīyān’s long time sovereignty over Egypt held back this school from spreading in the west part of Islamic world. Afterwards, Ḥanafīyah became the official school in ‘Uthmānī caliphate, too. However, it did not result to spreading it beyond the east part of Islamic world.

            Ḥanafī jurists, in their theological doctrine, follow the beliefs of Abū Manṣūr Māturīdī (d. 332 A.H.). It is better to seek the origin of Māturīdī doctrine in theological thoughts of Abū Ḥanīfah; because, before involving in jurisprudence he was a theologian professor in Kūfah. Māturīdī doctrine somehow confirms the school of Mu‘tazilah, but it differs from Ash‘arī School in about 40 issues. Māturīdī doctrine pays attention to reason more than Ash‘arī one. Some differences between them are as follows:

1-    Māturīdīyah, just like Mu‘tazilah, believe in essential and rational good and badness. But Ashā‘irah believe that nothing is essentially good or bad; but whatever God says good, is good, and whatever God says bad, is bad.

2-    Ashā‘irah believe that there are two kinds of Divine attributes: attributes of actions that are generated in time, and attributes of the essence that are pre-existent. In the contrary, Māturīdīyah regard all attributes of God pre-existent, and refer the attributes of actions to one essential attribute.

3-    Ashā‘irah believe that God is visible, but Māturīdīyah reject it.

4-    Ashā‘irah believe that the Qur’an is non-created and regard it pre-existent, but Māturīdīyah say that there are two kinds of words for God: one is essential and non-created, and the other one is consisted from sounds, which is created.

Some other beliefs of Māturīdīyah are as follows: God never oppresses and it is logically impossible for Him, God’s actions are based upon wisdom, predestination is rejected and human being has power of choice, etc.

            In terms of population, Ḥanafīyah holds the first place among Muslims, nowadays. It forms the majority of many regions including: Turkey, Albania and Muslim population of the Balkans, non-Kurd Iraqi Sunnis, Afghanistan, Turk-living regions of Central Asia, Caucasia and its contiguous regions, and India. Ḥanafīyah also forms half of Muslim population in Syria and Lebanon. It is the third school in Palestine, and has many followers in Egypt. The Ḥanafīyah presence is negligible in Iran, Hejaz, Yemen, and Siam (Thailand).

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