The Hanbali school (Arabic: المذهب الحنبلي‎) (pronounced Hambalee) is one of the four traditional Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence (fiqh).[1] It is named after the Iraqi scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855), and was institutionalized by his students. The Hanbali madhhab is the smallest of four major Sunni schools, the others being the Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi`i.[2][3]

Hanbali school derives Sharia predominantly from the Quran, the Hadiths (sayings and customs of Muhammad), and the views of Sahabah (Muhammad's companions).[1] In cases where there is no clear answer in sacred texts of Islam, the Hanbali school does not accept jurist discretion or customs of a community as a sound basis to derive Islamic law, a method that Hanafi and Maliki Sunni fiqhs accept. Hanbali school is the strict traditionalist school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam.[4] It is found primarily in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where it is the official fiqh.[5][6] Hanbali followers are the demographic majority in four emirates of UAE (Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman).[7] Large minorities of Hanbali followers are also found in Bahrain, Oman and Yemen and among Iraqi and Jordanian bedouins.[5][8]

The Hanbali school experienced a reformation in the Wahhabi-Salafist movement.[9] Historically the school was small; during the 18th to early-20th century Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Al Saud greatly aided its propagation around the world by way of their interpretation of the school's teachings.[9] As a result of this, the school's name has become a controversial one in certain quarters of the Islamic world due to the influence he is believed by some to have had upon these teachings, which cites Ibn Hanbal as a principal influence along with the thirteenth-century Hanbali reformer Ibn Taymiyyah. However, it has been argued by certain scholars that Ibn Hanbal's own beliefs actually played "no real part in the establishment of the central doctrines of Wahhabism,"[10] as there is evidence, according to the same authors, that "the older Hanbalite authorities had doctrinal concerns very different from those of the Wahhabis,"[10] as medieval Hanbali literature is rich in references to saints, grave visitation, miracles, and relics.[11] Historically, the Hanbali school was treated as simply another valid interpretation of Islamic law, and many prominent medieval Sufis, such as Abdul Qadir Gilani, were Hanbali jurists and mystics at the same time.[11]


Map of the Muslim world. Hanbali (dark green) is the predominant Sunni school in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.[5]

Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of Hanbali school, was a disciple of Al-Shafi‘i. Like Shafi'i and al-Zahiri, he was deeply concerned with the extreme elasticity being deployed by many jurists of his time, who used their discretion to reinterpret the doctrines of Quran and Hadiths to suit the demands of Caliphs and wealthy.[12] Ibn Hanbal advocated return to literal interpretation of Quran and Hadiths. Influenced by the debates of his time, he was known for rejecting religious rulings (Ijtihad) from the consensus of jurists of his time, which he considered to be speculative theology (Kalam). He associated them with the Mu'tazilis, whom he despised. Ibn Hanbal was also hostile to the discretionary principles of rulings in jurisprudence (Usul al-fiqh) mainly championed by the people of opinion, which was established by Abu Hanifa, although he did adopt al-Shafi'i's method in usul al-fiqh. He linked these discretionary principles with kalam. His guiding principle was that the Quran and Sunnah are the only proper sources of Islamic jurisprudence, and are of equal authority and should be interpreted literally in line with the Athari creed. He also believed that there can be no true consensus (Ijma) among jurists (mujtahids) of his time,[12] and preferred the consensus of Muhammad's companions (Sahaba) and weaker hadiths. Imam Hanbal himself compiled Al-Musnad, a text with over 30,000 saying, actions and customs of Muhammad.[1]

Ibn Hanbal never composed an actual systematic legal theory on his own, though his followers established a systemic method after his death.[13][self-published source] Much of the work of preserving the school based on Ibn Hanbal's method was laid by his student Abu Bakr al-Khallal; his documentation on the founder's views eventually reached twenty volumes.[14] The original copy of the work, which was contained in the House of Wisdom, was burned along with many other works of literature during the Mongol siege of Baghdad. The book was only preserved in a summarized form by the Hanbali jurist al-Khiraqi, who had access to written copies of al-Khallal's book before the siege.[14]

Relations with the Abbasid Caliphate were rocky for the Hanbalites. Led by the Hanbalite scholar Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali al-Barbahari, the school often formed mobs of followers in 10th-century Baghdad who would engage in violence against fellow Sunnis suspected of committing sins and all Shi'ites.[15] During al-Barbahari's leadership of the school in Baghdad, shops were looted,[16] female entertainers were attacked in the streets,[16] popular grievances among the lower classes were agitated as a source of mobilization,[17] and public chaos in general ensued.[18] Their efforts would be their own undoing in 935, when a series of home invasions and mob violence on the part of al-Barbahari's followers in addition to perceived deviant views led to the Caliph Ar-Radi publicly condemning the school in its entirety and ending its official patronage by state religious bodies.[18]

Other Languages
العربية: حنابلة
azərbaycanca: Hənbəlilər
تۆرکجه: حنبلی
বাংলা: হানবালি
català: Hanbalisme
Deutsch: Hanbaliten
español: Hanbalismo
Esperanto: Hanbalismo
euskara: Hanbali
فارسی: حنبلی
français: Hanbalisme
한국어: 한발파
Hausa: Hanbaliya
Bahasa Indonesia: Mazhab Hambali
italiano: Hanbalismo
Basa Jawa: Madahab Kambali
ქართული: ჰანბალი
kurdî: Hembelî
मराठी: हंबली
Bahasa Melayu: Mazhab Hanbali
Nederlands: Hanbalieten
norsk: Hanbali
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Hanbaliylik
polski: Hanbalici
português: Hambalismo
Scots: Hanbali
shqip: Hanbeli
Simple English: Hanbali
کوردی: حەنبەلی
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hanbelijski mezheb
svenska: Hanbali
татарча/tatarça: Хәнбәли
Türkçe: Hanbelilik
Türkmençe: Hanbali mezhebi
اردو: حنبلی
中文: 罕百里