Is It True That the Hanafi School Adopted the Shafi’i Method over Time?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

I have a question regarding the Hanafi school.

There is a scholar who claims that the Hanafi school has changed over time from a “qur‘ani” madhhab to a “hadithi” madhhab today and uses the Shafi‘i madhhab principles instead of the principles of its own madhhab.

I’m confused because I follow the Hanafi madhab and I’m concerned and would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify this for me.

Answer

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

There is a methodological continuity to the Hanafi school: from the time of Imam Abu Hanifa, it is clear that the foundational sources of Islamic law (usul al-fiqh) are the Quran, the Sunna, Consensus, and Analogy. [Nasafi, Usul]

While the Quran might more often be given primacy–given that the Hanafis distinguish between decisive (qat’i) and non-decisive (dhanni) texts, and establish the obligatory (fard) by the former, not the latter–the texts of the sunna are esteemed, respected, and acted upon in accordance with what their indications (dilalat) and strength (thubut) entail. [Ibn Abidin, Nasamat al-Ashar `ala Ifadat al-Anwar Sharh al-Manar; Nasafi, Kashf al-Asrar Sharh al-Manar]

Related:
The Hanafi Madhhab’s Approach to Classifying Legal Rulings
How Are the Actions of Morally Responsible Individuals Categorized?
The Sunna of Following the Sunna
Does the Prophetic Command Indicate Obligation?
Can the Sunna Take Precedence over Something in the Quran?
What Is the Difference between Sunna and Hadith?
How is the Prophetic Example (Sunnah) Relevant?
What Is the Difference Between the Non-Emphasized Sunna and the Recommended?
Is It Necessary To Act Upon the Consensus Of the Sahaba?

And Allah alone gives success

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.