Islamic concepts

Madh′hab — methodology, school (of thought)

مَذهَب مَذَاهِب
noun singular plural
romanization madh′hab madhāhib
pronunciation ˈmæðhæb mæˈðææhɪb

A madh′hab is a traditionally grounded way of thinking, an accepted methodology to consistently interpret and understand the sources of Islamic lore.

, methodology (regarding the rules of Islam)

All follow the Qurʾān and Sunnah and differ only in methodology.

The famous al-ʾAzhar University in Cairo, as well as the Ammam Message, recognizes these five legitimate paths of Islam:

http://www.daruliftaa.com/question?txt_QuestionID=q-21102374

The differences between the schools of law are extremely trivial. Adopt the one of your spouse or local community, and stick to it.

Sunnī Ḥanafī school

Size 45% of world’s traditional Muslims
Founder Abū Ḥanīfah (8th century, taught by group discussions with students)
Sources
  1. Qurʾān
  2. Ahādīth (only accurate and widely known ones, including khabar al wāhid)
  3. Unanimous consensus of Muslims who knew Muḥammad? or of Muslim scholars of any time
  4. Choosing an individual opinion of a Muslim who knew Muḥammad ﷺ
  5. Opinion based on Deductive reasoning or istihsan
Popular in South Asia, Central Asia, Turkey
Major books books of Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, Al-Kafi by al-Hakim ash-Shaheed, Al-Mabsoot by As-Sarakshi, Al-Hidaayah by Al-Mirghinani, Fath al-Qadeer by ibn al-Humam
Famous students Abū Yūsuf, Muḥammad al-Shaybānī, Zufar ibn al-Hudhayl, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan

Sunnī Mālikī school

Size 28% of world’s traditional Muslims
Founder Mālik ibn Anas (8th century CE)
Sources
  1. Qurʾān
  2. Ḥadīth (rejecting those that go against customary practice of people of Madīnah and those reported by known liars or weak memorizers, but not requiring that a Ḥadīth necessarily be widely known)
  3. Living practices common to the first three generations of Muslims in Madīnah
  4. Unanimous consensus of Muslims who knew Muḥammad? or of Muslim scholars of any time
  5. Choosing an individual opinion of a Muslim who knew Muḥammad ﷺ
  6. Deductive reasoning
Popular in upper Egypt, Sudan, North Africa, West Africa, Arabian Gulf states, United States (Zaytuna College)
Major books al-Muwaṭṭaʾ الموطأ, al-Mudawwanah
Famous students al-Qaasim, Ibn Wahb

Sunnī Shāfiʿī school

Size 15% of world’s traditional Muslims
Founder Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shāfiʿī (8th and 9th centuries CE)
Sources
  1. Qurʾān
  2. Ḥadīth (only authentic ones)
  3. Unanimous consensus of Muslims who knew Muḥammad? or of Muslim scholars of any time (with much scepticism, only accepting the few cases where it was known to have occurred)
  4. Choosing an individual opinion of a Muslim who knew Muḥammad ﷺ
  5. Deductive reasoning
Popular in Indonesia, East Africa, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Surinam
Major books al-Hujjah, al-Risālah, Mukhtasal al-Muzanī, al-Umm
Famous students al-Muzanī, al-Rabī’, Yūsuf ibn Yahyā

Shīʿī Jaʿfarī school (Twelvers)

Size8% of world’s traditional Muslims
Roots 
Sourcesreject analogical reasoning and personal intellectual reasoning. don't make Ijmāʿ (consensus of scholars) in the way Sunnis do
Popular in 

Sunnī Ḥanbalī school

Size2% of world’s traditional Muslims
RootsAḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (9th century), Ibn Taymīyah (14th century), revived by Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (18th century)
SourcesFirst Qurʾān, then Ḥadīth
(rejects personal opinion and analogical reasoning)
Main bookal-Musnad
Popular inSaudi Arabia, Palestine

See also:

Further reading