How to Study the Hanafi Madhab

The Hanafi madhab is the largest school of Islamic Jurisprudence.

Let’s look at what one needs to study to understand the Madhab. I’ve included history and Usool, as well as the Fiqh itself. It’s far more beneficial if one knows Arabic, as most books comes with commentary, and the snippets of knowledge are always beneficial.


Begin by learning about Imam Abu Hanifa as an individual, then about the Hanafi school and its history and then in comparison with the other schools. This will help establish the foundation upon which the school is based. If you are from another madhab this is especially important as you will have certain preconceptions.

Then one should review basic Hanafi Fiqh in relation to the five pillars. This will help get an overview and help you differentiate from existing knowledge.

  • Abu Hanifah: His Life, Legal Method & Legacy by Mohammed Akram Nadwi
  • The Four Imāms and Their Schools: Abu ̄Ḥanifa, Mal̄ik, Al-Shaf̄iʻi, Aḥmad by Gibril Fouad Haddad
  • Ta’leem ul Haq – PDF


  • Imam Abu Hanifa: Life and Work by Shibli Nomani
  • The Virtues of Imam Abu Hanifa and His Two Companions Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan by Imam al-Dhahabi
  • The History of an Islamic School of Law: The Early Spread of Hanafism by Nurit Tsafrir


  • Maraqi al Sa’adat by Hasan al-Shurunbulali (d. 1069)

Basic primer in Hanafi fiqh by the master Hanafi scholar Hasan al-Shurunbulali

  • Hadiyya al-Ala’iyya by Ala al-Din Abidin (d. 1244)

A nother text covering worship but also usefully mentions the Halal and Haraam.

  • Mukhtasar al-Quduri by Ahmed al-Quduri (d.428)

Another primer known al-Kitab in reference to its authority of capturing Hanafi fiqh according to the earliest sources. It covers the full spectrum of Hanafi Fiqh and one of the earliest texts that summarised the Riwayah of Imam Muhammad Shaybani. It isn’t as extensive as other books but give the student grounding in agreed matters of the school. You also may find that he doesn’t state the Mufta Qowl.

  • Nur al-Idah by Hasan al-Shurunbulali (d. 1069)

Then one should read Shurunbulali‘s Nur al-Idah which extensively covers Hanafi Fiqh. The English translation by Wesam Charkawi also contains helpful commentary.

  • Mukhtasar al-Manar by Ibn Habib al-Halabi (d. 1310)

This is a primer in Hanafi legal methodology or Usool al-Fiqh. It looks at the principles the Hanafi’s use to derive rulings from Quran and Sunnah. As well as Qiyaas and Ijma.

By now you should know basic Hanafi fiqh and after this the works add to these chapters with more scenarios, discuss nuances, discuss the history and evidence, discuss the opinions, etc.


  • Al-Arba‘un al-Hanafiyya by Muhammad Wael al-Hanbali

A compilation of 40 hadith that relates to Hanafi Fiqh.

  • Kifayat al-Mubtadi wa Tadhkirat al-Muntahi by Mustafa b. Ahmad al-Asqati

This is a short primer covering typical chapters, but based on: Kanz al-Daqa’iq, Multaqa al-Abhur and Tanwir al-Absar, and the author focuses on transmitting the positions of Imam Abu Hanifa.


You will find much repetition in the following books going through the same chapters over and over. If you have good grounding, you can gloss over existing rulings you already know and focus on new rulings.

  • Munya-tul-Musalli and Gunya-tul-Mubtadi by Imam Muhammad al-Kashgari (d. 860)

Useful to run through as it mentions multiple useful scenarios and thinking points.

  • Maraqi al-Falah by Hasan al-Shurunbulali (d. 1069)

This is a short commentary written by Shurunbulali on Nur al Idah. He also wrote a longer one called Imdaad al-Fattah. Maraqi is very comprehensive and expansive on Hanafi fiqh in legal reasoning and usuli discussions, as well as how scholars concluded matters.

One may prefer Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ‘Ala Maraqi al-Falah Sharh Nur al-Idah, which is an edition by Imam Tahtawi (d. 933) with marginal notes. This will support the student benefitting from notes by a Hanafi master.

  • Tuhfat al-Muluk by Imam Zayn al-Din Al-Razi

This is a ten-chapter primer text containing the details of purification, worship, inheritance, etc. This introduces the student to other chapters within Hanafi fiqh like Jihad.

  • Muwatta Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad as-Shaybani (d. 805)

Imam Muhammad spent 2/3 years with Imam Maalik. He compiled the hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik and wrote a commentary on the hadith in light of the Hanafi view. This brings forth the Hanafi proofs for the position on certain fiqh.

You may opt to read Taleeq al-Mummajad ala Muwatta Muhammad by Sh. Abdul Hali Luknavi (d. 1304) which is a commentary on the Muwatta with marginal notes.

  • Usool Shashi by Nizam al-Din al-Shashi (d. 325)

Another primer text in Hanafi Usool al-Fiqh. Imam al-Shashi brings in multiple examples for each usool principle/terminology as well as rebuttals for Shafi’ claims.

  • Kitāb al-Farāʼiẓ al-Sirājīyah by Sirāj ud-Dīn Muhammad ibn Muhammad (d. 1203)

A famous primer text in inheritance law.

  • Ahkaam al-Qur’an by Al-Jassas (d. 370)

Interpretation of ruling/command based verses in the Quran in light of the legal rulings of the Hanafi school of Islamic law. 

  • al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli (d. 683)

Al Mukhtar and its commentary mention the differences between Abu Hanifah and his three major disciples Abu Yusuf, Muhammad al-Shaybani, and al-Zufar, as well as Imam al-Shafi’i. It also mentions the reasoning and evidence behind the chosen position. This work is beneficial for the curious mind as to why a particular ruling was adopted.

  • Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar by Imam Tahawi (d. 321)

This books brings about manay hadith to support the rulings of the Hanafi’s.

  • The Kitab al-Athar by Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 150)

Hadith collected with very short chains by Imam Abu Hanifa

  • Fiqh Al‑Imām: Key Proofs in Ḥanafī Fiqh by Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

A comprehensive text defending he Hanafi position on key aspect of the prayer.


  • Al Lubab fi Sharh al Kitab Sharh Mukhtasar Al-Qudur By Abdul-Ghani Al-Ghunaymi (D. 1298)

This is a commentary on Mukhtasar al-Quduri. It was written by a scholar who was the student of Ibn Abidin. It incorporates Quduris works in light of the accumulation of Ibn Abidins fiqh manual.



By now you should have a good grasp of the madhab. At this point I would suggest for you to get to know the leading scholars and try to sit in their circles, read their articles, or fatwa or fiqhi opinions.

  • Al-Manar by Imam Nasafi (d. 710)

This is an Usooli text which covers the fundamentals of Hanafi Usool Fiqh. It also differentiates from the views of the Shafi’ and Mutazili.

One may prefer Samt al-Wuṣūl ilā ʿIlm al-Uṣūl by Ḥasan al-Āqḥiṣārī (d. 1025). This is a commentary on the Manar with greater clarity. The text is rearranged so that the rules flow in a more accessible manner for the student.

Or what is more commonly studied, Nur al-Anwar Sharh al-Manar by Mulla Jiwan (d. 1130). This is a commentary on al Manar giving the student a deeper understanding of how Hanafi legal jurisprudence works.

  • Kanz al-Daqa’iq by Imam Nasafi (d. 710)

Imam Nasafi focuses on the nuances of the school and provides the opinions of all the Imams of the school Imam Abu Hani, Qadi Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhamad and Imam Zufar.

  • Sharh al-Wiqaya by Imam Mahbubi (d. 747)

Legal Details, Reasoning, and Applications.

Mukhtasar al-Wiqayah and also al-Nuqayah is an abridgment of Sharh al-Wiqayah may also be studied. al-Nuqayah is known to contain well referenced hadith.

  • Mir’at al-Usool by Mullah Khusro

Legal Principles (Qawa’id Fiqhiyya)

  • Muntakhab al-Husami by Imam Husam al-Din al-Akhsikathi

On Usool Fiqh

  • Al-Hidayah by al-Marghinani (d.593)

This is called the pride of the Hanafis which took the author 12 years to write and he fasted secretly.

One may read the commentary Fath al-Qadir by Al-Kamal ibn al-Humam

  • Radd al-Muhtār ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtār by Ibn ‘Abidin (d. 1252)

This is a popular work by Ibn Abidin and is a commentary on Durr al-Mukhtar by Imam Haskafi (which in itself is a commentary on Tanwir al Absar by Imam Tumurtashi). It is an encyclopaedic Hanafi fiqh text.

  • Al-Tafsirat al-Ahmadiyya by Mulla Jiwan

Legal verses of the Qur’an in light of Hanafi works

  • Madarik al-Tanzil Wa Haqaiq al-Tawil by Imam Nasafi

This is a Quran tafsir by Imam Nasafi


  • Multaqa al-Abhur by Ibrahim al-Halabi (d.956)

This very useful text combines the masa’il (legal issues) of the four most reliable texts according to the later scholars: Mukhtasar al-Quduri, al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli, Kanz al-Daqa’iq by al-Nasafi (d.710), and al-Wiqayah by Burhan al-Shari’ah (d.673).

  • Ifadat al-Anwar Sharh al-Manar by Imam Haskafi

A commentary on the al Manar

  • al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya by Imam Qadri Pasha

Detailed rulings of family law, from marriage and divorce to child custody, financial maintenance and inheritance


The following works and the above optional works should be studied to get an all round understanding of the Hanafi school. Some of these works may seem overkill, but it is also understanding how fiqh has developed and how perspectives change.

  • Bada’i al-Sana’i by al-Kasani (d.587)

This is a wonderful text that is very clear, with evidences and differences, and has less quyud than many later texts. It is often referenced by non-Hanafis, who hold it in high regard.

  • Usul al-Bazdawi
  • Kanz al-Wusul ila Ma’refat al-Usul by Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Bazdawi

On usool fiqh

  • Umdat al-Nazir ‘ala al-Ashbah wa’l-Naza’ir by Abu ‘l-Su’ud al-Husayni

On legal maxims

  • Tarb al-Amathil

The hagiographical text allows to build links between different generations and strands of Hanafi thought.

  • Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari by al-Imam Badr al-Din Abi Muhammad Muhamud bin Ahmad al-‘Ayni 

Hanafi equivalent commentary on the Bukhari Sharif.

  • Sharh al-Talwih ‘ala al-Tawdih li-Matn al-Tanqih fi Usul al-Fiqh’ By Mas’ud ibn Umar al-Taftazani (d. 1390 CE)

On Ijtihad

  • Dirasat tatbiqiyah fi al-hadith al-nabawi by Nur al-Din ‘Ittr

On Comparative fiqh

  • Al-Qawāʿid al-Fiqhiyyah by al-Barkatī (d. 1402)
  • Taʾsīs al-Naẓar by Abū Zayd al-Dabūsī (d. 430)

On legal maxims

  • Tawḍīḥ al-Mabānī wa Tanqīḥ al-Maʿānī by Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī (d. 1014)
  • Al-Kāfī by Al-Ḥākim al-Shahīd Abū ʾl-Faḍl al-Marwazī (d. 334)
  • Wiqāyat al-Riwāyah fī Masāʾil al-Hidāyah by Tāj al-Sharīʿah Maḥmūd ibn Aḥmad al-Maḥbūbī (d. 673)

Further Steps

After this, I would say get involved with leading Hanafi scholars on matters of contemporary Fiqh. For example how we deal with financial transactions. In the UK, there is a dominance of Indian and Pakistanis who adhere to the Brelwi or Deobandi movements. So I would familiarise myself with these works and understand any differences in fiqh.

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