CSSMuslim Law

Q.6 Imām Shāfiʻī studied deeply the principles of Ḥanafī school of law. He disagreed with some views of Ḥanafī jurists and established his own independent school. What were his differences with Ḥanafīs and what did he contribute in modification of Islamic law and jurisprudence? 2017

Imam Shafi’i (767-820 CE) was a renowned jurist and scholar who is credited with the establishment of the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence. Before he established his own school, he studied under both Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa and was influenced by their legal theories. However, he disagreed with some of the views of the Hanafi school and established his own independent school of law.

One of the main differences between Imam Shafi’i and the Hanafi school was their approach to legal reasoning. The Hanafi school relied heavily on personal reasoning (ra’y) and the use of analogical reasoning (qiyas) to derive legal rulings. Imam Shafi’i, on the other hand, placed greater emphasis on the textual sources of Islamic law, such as the Quran and the Sunnah, and believed that legal rulings should be based on these sources as opposed to personal reasoning.

Another area of disagreement was the Hanafi’s approach to hadith authentication. The Hanafi school relied on a more lenient approach to hadith authentication, while Imam Shafi’i advocated for a stricter approach to hadith authentication and placed greater emphasis on the reliability of the narrators of hadith.

In terms of contributions to Islamic law and jurisprudence, Imam Shafi’i’s greatest contribution was the development of the usul al-fiqh, or the principles of Islamic jurisprudence. He systematized the process of legal reasoning and established guidelines for deriving legal rulings from the Quran and the Sunnah. He also introduced the concept of legal precedent (qiyas al-awlawiyyah) and emphasized the importance of relying on established legal rulings when deriving new rulings.

In addition, Imam Shafi’i’s approach to hadith authentication and reliance on textual sources had a significant impact on the development of Islamic law and jurisprudence. His emphasis on the reliability of narrators and the importance of the Sunnah as a source of law helped to establish a more rigorous and systematic approach to Islamic legal reasoning.

In conclusion, Imam Shafi’i’s differences with the Hanafi school were mainly related to their approach to legal reasoning and hadith authentication. He established his own school of law and made significant contributions to the development of Islamic law and jurisprudence, particularly in the area of usul al-fiqh. His emphasis on textual sources and the reliability of narrators helped to establish a more rigorous and systematic approach to Islamic legal reasoning that continues to influence Islamic legal thought today.

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