Hanafi is one of the four schools (madhabs) of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is considered to be the school most open to modern ideas, although the fundamentalist Taliban claim to follow Hanafi teachings. Hanafi is predominant among Sunni Muslims in Egypt, Turkey, the Levant, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Indian subcontinent and parts of West Africa, although students of Islam throughout the world study and may choose to observe its conclusions about Islamic practice. Hanafi is the largest of the four schools; it is followed by approximately 30% of Muslims world-wide.
The presence of four different schools of religious law within Sunni Islam should not be viewed as a schism. On the contrary, there is little or no animosity between the schools. Instead there is a healthy cross-pollination of ideas and logical debate that serves to refine each school's understanding of Islam. It is not uncommon, or disallowed, for an individual to follow one school but take the point of view of another school for a certain issue.
There are a number of online resources for answers in Hanafi fiqh, including (SunniPath.com), which also has answers according to Shafii fiqh. You may interact with Hanafi Muslims at the forums of http://www.sunniforum.com www.masud.co.uk, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/al-zawiya or http://www.sunniport.com
It is named after Imam Abu Hanifa.
Last updated: 08-21-2005 06:35:40