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In these critical lessons, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explores the legal and hadith methodology of the Hanafi school, through the lens of Imam Kawthari’s important work, The Fiqh of the People of Iraq and their Hadith (Fiqh Ahl al-`Iraq wa Hadithuhum).

This class offers insights on how the Hanafi imams viewed analogy (qiyas) and legal preference (istihsan), their interpretive principles relating to hadith—particularly their distinguishing between the decisive (qat`i) and the non-decisive (dhanni)—and other foundational principles of the Hanafi method. 

Imam Kawthari shows how the Hanafi school traces itself to the “inherited sunna'' spread through the amazing educational vision of Umar ibn al-Khattab as Caliph, and Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud’s teaching, particularly in Kufa. (Allah be pleased with them).

It also looks at some of the notable figures of the Hanafi school and explores its fascinating history—how did the school become so prominent.

Shaykh Faraz also navigates through some misconceptions about the Hanafi school’s principles and methodology, making this class a critical resource for every student of the Hanafi school to understand and digest

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Skill Level: Beginner
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About the Author:

The great ‘Allama, Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, born in the year 1297 AH/1880 CE, was the deputy of the Shaykh al-Islam and a great reviver (mujaddid) of his time. He studied the Islamic sciences from a young age and mastered them such that he was considered to have reached the highest rank in knowledge by the young age of 28!

There is apparently no field of the Islamic sciences in which Imam Kawthari did not have a well-founded claim to authority, and his highly influential works, scholarly commentaries, and priceless editions of works show the great rank of his knowledge. He wrote much in defending the Hanafi Imams, the Hanafi school, and the way of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama‘a. He then started teaching, ascending rank by rank until he became the deputy to the Shaykh al-Islam.

After the fall of the Ottoman empire, he moved to Cairo, then to Damascus, and then back to Cairo. During this time, he took many students including Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-Ghumari.

Imam Kawthari did not see the rank of “scholar” merely as a title, rather he saw it as a reason to spread knowledge of the religion, guide people to the correct way, and dispel and clarify their confusions. He spent his time teaching and writing until his passing in 1371 AH/1952 CE.

Who is this course for:
Learning outcomes:
  • Learn the method of the Hanafis in their fiqh.
  • Understand the history of the Hanafi school.
  • Understand how the Hanafis understood hadith.
  • Understand how the Hanafis understood analogy (qiyas).
  • Understand how the Hanafis understood legal preference (istihsan).
  • Understand Imam Abu Hanifa’s method in teaching.
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