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The Hanafi Maddhab: History and Problems of Development

14.01.2009 11:40

Since the beginning of the Islamic call Muslims have always paid great attention to social discussions over behavior in unknown and complicated cases (civil, criminal, financial, political etc.) in accordance with the principles of Islam.

It resulted in appearance of a system of religious laws based on the Quran and the Sunnah, called in Arabic Sharia (“straight way”), and a complex of judicial norms, derived from the Sharia laws (Arab. fiqh – “deep understanding of faith”). Basing on the statement, that the Quran (as the everlasting Celestial Tablet, Revelation of the Almighty and the All-knowing God) and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (as a collection of quotations and actions of this outstanding man, an elect of God, the leader of the nation, a Prophet and a state leader), in general, include answers on all questions, the faqihs’ – experts in religious laws – task was “extracting” these prescriptions. For this end they used consensus of scholars (ijma’), including the followers of the Prophet (PBUH); decision by analogy with the Quran and the Sunnah (qiyyas); not making decision by analogy or its correction in case of its inexpediency (istihsan, minted by Abu Hanifa); making decision in accordance with its usefulness for society (istislah, minted and used by imam Malik); and local law (‘urf or adats) as an additional source. Despite the fact that scholars were initially separated into categories of “sahaba al-hadith” (“traditionalists”, who followed the literal meaning of hadithes) and “sahaba ar-ra’i” (“people of free decision”, who logically interpreted the hadithes), this classification later became vague, due to the achievements of Abu Hanifa and his followers, as well. At the same time, even nowadays there are fanatic followers of a highly puritan approach to different problems. The element of consensus, an obligatory condition of the Sharia, has made this system flexible and adoptive and has provided its operation and development for several centuries until the present time on a huge territory. Religious legislation system embraces all spheres of life of a Muslim.

At the initial period religious laws were studied in Medina, when it was the capital of the Arabic Caliphate and the center, where all unknown problems, which Muslims faced on new territories, were solved. Gradually, the leading role in this sphere was received by Iraqi cities: Qufa, Basra, then Baghdad, which became the largest center of education in different spheres of science and religion. Islamic jurisprudence became an independent systematic and serious discipline here.

The necessity to appeal to judicial substantiation of certain norm in Islam resulted in appearance of the four schools of jurisprudence (maddhab – “way”), founded by outstanding scholars and later named after them (other maddhabs were ousted by the commonly accepted four). All of them appeared in the first century of the Abbasid rule and have been accepted as authoritative and canonical. The above-mentioned principles of creating religious judicial norms are common for all four schools, despite peculiarities of each of them; specific accents and interpretations in certain issues make them independent. One of the largest both in followers and territorial distribution and the first in the list of these maddhabs is the Hanafi one.

Abu Hanifa and his school

The founders of the Hanafi maddhab were imam Abu Hanifa and his followers – Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ash-Shaybani. This school is the most conceptual and tolerant one, which followed the way of logical and rational reasoning (sahaba ar-rai) from the very beginning. In the IX-X centuries its citadels were Horasan and Central Asia; khans of the Golden Horde and the Great Mogul abided by it; in the Ottoman sultanate it received official state status). Nowadays approximately half of the Muslims belongs to its followers. This maddhab is spread in Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Syria, Balkan states, partly in Indonesia. The majority of Muslims of Russia and the CIS countries – in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, in the Volga region, in Siberia, the Crimea, North Caucasus (except Chechens, Ingush people and certain Dagestan peoples), partly in Azerbaijan abide by this maddhab.

A great intellectual and scholar Nu’man Ibn Thabit called Abu Hanif was born in 699 in Qufa to a family of a rich silk trader and received perfect general and theological education. Biographers of Abu Hanifa are inclined to think that in childhood he saw a follower of the Prophet (PBUH), Anas Ibn Malik, but they argue if he heard hadithes in his interpretation. Possibly, Abu Hanifa also encountered with Abu Tufail Amir Ibn Vasil, another follower. Specialists name the following representatives of the Prophet’s (PBUH) family as teachers of Abu Hanifa, whom he met and communicated with: Nuhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Shi’it imam), whose hadith Abu Hanifa quoted; his brother Zayd Ibn Ali, whom Abu Hanifa was in close contact with; and Jafar as-Sadiq (the six Shi’it imam).

By the age of 40 Abu Hanifa became the most authoritative faqih of Iraq. Caliph al-Mansur offered him to hold an office of qadi (religious lawyer) in the new capital, Baghdad, but Abu Hanifa resolutely denied this offer. In response the caliph ordered to imprison and swish him, regardless his age and highest authority, after that Imam al-A’zam (the Highest imam), as he was called, passed away in 767.

Abu Hanifa was the first scholar, who developed the system of Muslim jurisprudence (fiqh), which corresponded the demands of everyday life and was based on the laws of the Quran and the Sunnah. For this end he used deep logic substantiation of judicial sources, to which he referred consensus of religious authorities over a certain question and a decision by analogy with the Quran and the Sunnah. Claiming his decision on a certain debatable or unclear issue, Abu Hanifa not just literally interpreted a source (an ayat or a hadith), but brought forward arguments in favor of social welfare (naturally, without confronting Islamic principles), honing thus the ra’i (a private opinion) technique, which was first widely used by a qadi of Iraq Ibn Mas’ud, to perfection. Abu Hanifa left a small collection of hadithes (“Musnad”); a work on Islamic dogmatic principles “al-Fiqr al-Akbar” is also ascribed to him, although, in general, his heritage is available to us in the form of quotations in the works of his nearest followers Aby Yusuf (738-798) and ash-Shaybani (749 – app.804). Abu Hanifa is an outstanding person in the history of the medieval Islam, whose religious judicial heritage is completely topical for Muslims nowadays. He was influenced by the method of Ibn Mas’ud (on of the followers of the Prophet and a religious lawyer of Iraq in the period of Caliphe Umar Ibn al-Hattab) and the school of Qufa, in general, characterized by little usage of hadithes, analysis of judicial cases and commentaries on regulations. Muslim religious scientific tradition of that time was presented with two main schools: that of Iraq and of Hejaz. In Hejaz the traditionalist orientation prevailed, as its followers tried not to deviate from literal interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah. In Iraq, on the contrary, religious tradition was subject to rational rethinking, and the decisions were made using conceptual methods. Imam ash-Shafi’i said that “Muslims owe to Abu Hanifa achievements in the development of fiqh”.

Abu Hanifa was educated to such a high extent that he could participate in any dispute and find a way out of the most complicated cases. In accordance with the Qufa school tradition in fiqh issues Abu Hanifa abided by rational methods for solving problems, not directly commented on either in the Quran or in the Sunnah, with the usage of decision by analogy – qiyyas. For making such an analogy a faqih had to understand the basis of a certain regulation and to solve analogical problems with its guidance. Thus, although the primary sources of Islam prescribes only natural alms in the holy month of Ramadan (“sadaqa al-fitr”), it is not always appropriate, therefore, basing on the inner sense of the Quran and the Sunnah, Abu Hanifa allowed using money instead of natural product.

A typical trait of any faqih is not only his knowledge, but also his rationalist reason. Thus, the first faqihs were the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers. Therefore, it is not surprising that when new circumstances required the development of jurisprudence, such imams and scholars, as Abu Hanifa, Muhammad ash-Shafi’i and many others, appeared. They developed fiqh to such a high extent, that their students had just to follow in his footsteps in choosing methods and ways of making decisions.

Nevertheless, modern faqihs should be educated and rational, as in the era of technology Muslims faced a lot of new problems and issues, as the subject of fiqh embraces wide spheres of relations not only between a man and Allah, but also between a man and society. In this respect this discipline can be divided into two parts: ‘ibadat embraces responsibilities of a man towards Allah, while mualamat studies issues of relations between a man and society, i.e. such important problems as morals, ethics, family, personality, responsibility for crimes and lawbreaking, international and interfaith relations.

Abu Hanifa was the first to use deep logic substantiation of judicial sources, to which he referred consensus of religious authorities over a certain question and a decision by analogy with the Quran and the Sunnah. According to the formula of Abu Hanifa, the sense of fiqh is in “understanding the faith in God, Divine laws, traditions (the Sunnah), Divine limits [i.e. limits of prohibited and allowed], difference and unity in the views of Muslim scholars”. The inner essence of fiqh is interpreted by him in the following way: “nobody of the people of qibla [i.e. Muslims] must be accused of atheism because of sins; it is necessary to call to good and restrain from evil; to believe in predestination; not to deny any of the Prophet’s followers, and to leave the case of Uthman and Ali [i.e. arguments leading to the first civil war in the Caliphate and resulting in the appearance of the Shi’ism] to God’s decision”.

Methods of Updating Fiqh

In this respect, it is necessary to mention such a concept as ijtihad (Arab. “great efforts”), which means studying and making decisions on those issues of the Sharia, which don’t have direct prescriptions in the Quran and the Sunnah; and the system of principles, methods and approaches used in this studying. The main aim of ijtihad is finding and solving problems, in the first place – new and not solved previously, in accordance with and basing on Islamic sources. Using ijtihad requires perfect knowledge of Arabic, knowledge of the Quran and its interpretation, knowledge of the Sunnah and commentaries to it, knowledge of the conditions of consensus (ijma’) and split-up (ihtilaf) of scholars over the main problems of fiqh, knowledge of interpretation of judicial sources, clear understanding of goals and tasks of ijtihad, rational esteem of the conclusions, and dedication to faith. Although, after a period of the active development of ijtihad from the end of the VII to XI centuries, when maddhabs appeared, studying of main problems and issues stopped (“the doors of ijtihad closed”). Nowadays the problem of ijtihad revival is a key one on the way of Islamic world revival.

Abu Hanifa insisted on the fact that Islamic jurisprudence must be built with the help of ijtihad – independent decisions by authoritative scholars. Therefore, he and his followers succeeded in applying the teaching of Islam to many new and previously unknown problems and issues, basing not only on literal interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah, but also on deep rethinking of religious prescriptions.

What is the method of updating fiqh? The element of innovation is called in Arabic bid’at (“innovation in religion”) and is often understood in the meaning of “heresy”. This term describes certain innovations that entered the religion after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A significant part of Muslims don’t have proper knowledge on the essence of this term and consider bid’at to be always a negative phenomenon. In reality, in the Sharia there are both forbidden and acceptable bid’ats (the latter are called bid’a hasana); basing on a hadith of the Prophet.

The first innovations entered religious life of Muslims during the rule of caliph Umar, due to various circumstances, in the first place – fast expansion of the influence sphere of the Islamic civilization. For example, saying the tarawih salah (additional prayers in the month of Ramadan) became common due to the bill of the second rightly guided caliph, the same as the quantity of praying circles in it. Certain good innovations came to the Muslim world not only in the epoch of the rightly guided caliphs: thus, a crescent as a symbol of Islam was first used only several centuries after the start of the prophet mission. Obviously, these and certain other innovations (using paper or modern technological means of communication) are examples of bid’a hasana, as they bring profit to Islam and are, therefore, acceptable before God.

Abu Hanifa was not afraid of making such disputable and courageous decisions over theology issues, that they are considered to be bid’at by rigorists. It is, for example, his decision on saying adhan – call to prayer, the text of which is considered in Islam to be inspired by Allah and which must be said in Arabic only, for it has the same status as the Quran’s text.

Although, Abu Hanifa allowed saying adhan in a native language in a non-Arabic community, where there are no literate Muslims, who know this Arabic text.

Nowadays Russian Muslims are in urgent need of theological substantiation of a series of problematic issues which don’t have answers in the Quran and the Sunnah. For this aim they need to raise the level of the theological discourse to such an extent, that raising such questions will be a natural reaction of society and will not be considered as a certain new reform (like “Euro-Islam”). An example of unsolved problems is a fast issue (fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam) in long-lasting days, which have received great importance in the Russian Muslim community due to geographic and climatic conditions. An outstanding, although a disputable, Tatar scholar of the beginning of the XX century M. Bigiev draws a conclusion, basing on several Quran statements, that transfer of the fast from long days to short ones is allowed to broad categories of the believers, as it is possible to harm health by fasting in long summer says (while one of the most important Islamic principles is as follows: a human’s life is more important, than dogmas and regulations).

For helping Muslims in complicated issues the method of qiyyas is used – it is decision by analogy, i.e. solving new cases by analogy with precedents in the Quran and the Sunnah. As it has already been mentioned above, in accordance with the Qufa school traditions, in fiqh issues Abu Hanifa was the defender of rational methods of solving problems, not directly reflected either in the Quran or in the Sunnah. For finding a way out of such situations the qiyyas was used. “Precise analogy, - imam said, - leads the one who desires knowledge to his aim. Analogy is like a just witness in favor of the truth, which one who desires the truth wants to reach”.

For using such analogy a faqih had to understand the basis of a certain regulation and to implement it for solving analogous problems. According to Abu Hanifa, qiyyas had a limited sphere of implementation in theological and criminal issues. In the first case it is hard to find out motivation of the religious princliple establishment, in the second – there is a danger of extensive interpretation. Although, in some cases quiyyas is formally allowed, but its implementation cause obvious harm or leads to absurd conclusions. In such cases Abu Hanifa encouraged the jurists to rely upon basic principles of rationality and justice – “to choose the best” (istihsan). Wide implementation of the method of qiyyas and conceltual methods was criticized by traditionalists. Although, it is necessary to mention that qiyyas meant not only a technical judicial term for a certain law method, but also rationalism in a broad sense of this word, basic humane logic.

Peculiarities of the aqidah of Abu Hanifa and his followers

Aqidah is creed, one of the most important elements of Muslim outlook that formed a specific scientific school in Islamic theology. The basis of the Sunni aqidah is six articles of belief from the Quran (in particular, from ayat 177 of sura “al-Baqara/”“Cow”) and hadithes of the Prophet (PBUH): “belief in God, belief in the Angels, belief in the Books, belief in all the Prophets, belief in the Day of Judgment, belief in destiny”; Hanafi also add a seventh article: “belief n the resurrection”. Expanded aqidah is a creed of views of a certain judicial school or an author on the basic issues of religious dogmas. The most famous works on the Sunni aqidah were written by Abu Hanifa, at-Tahawi, al-Ash’ari, al-Maturidi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Ghazali, Ibn Taimii etc. Each of these authors expressed his outlook on the principle problems of the Muslim creed, using his ideological predecessors’ works and arguing with his ideological opponents.

For example, Kharijites stated that every Muslim who committed a crime is an atheist (qafir); therefore, his life and property were not protected by law and society. Their ideological opponent Abu Hanifa, on the contrary, claimed in his basic work on aqidah “al-Fiqh al-Akbar”: “Faith – is [declaration] of belief [shahada – “I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God”] and conviction [in it]. Faith… neither increases not decreases, it grows and declines [only] in respect of conviction and assurance. Believers are equal in faith and monotheism, surpassing one another in doings… In language there is a difference between “faith” (iman) and Islam. But [in reality] there is no faith without Islam, and there is no Islam without faith… All believers are equal in their conviction and recumbence… their fear of God, hope [on Divine mercy] and faith, while differ in it out of the bounds of faith”.

An aqidah, which is the most widespread one among Hanafis, is maturidi aqidah, named after its creator Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (870-044), who aimed at keeping and rethinking the teaching of Abu Hanifa. Aiming to principal consensus over aqidah questions, this author stated human’s free choice (ihtiyar): a man is gifted with a body and a mind for being able to act, but during the action itself he is able of two contrary actions – obedience and sin, although, it’s his free choice, granted him by God, that his dependence on God consists in. In this respect God would not have obliged people to do anything, if he had not gave them an ability to obey. Using an example of jihad (which is considered by many scholars as an additional pillar of Islam), the scholar argues that there is no point discomforting believers, if they are not able to follow the rules, for this requites natural ability of individuals and society to do it.

Maturidi aqidah had received its final form in by the XI century as opposing not only to Mu’tazilis’ and Kharijites’ aqidah, but – in many points – to Sunni aqidah, Ash’ari and Hanbali. Moreover: disputes (ihtilaf) embraced the basic ideological issues of faith. Thus, according to Abu Hanifa, shahada itself is not faith, as if it were faith, all hypocrites would be believers. Although, at the same time, knowledge of God itself is not faith either, as if it were faith, all people of the Book would be true believers (mu’minun). A believer is a faithful believer one, while a non-believer is a true unbeliever. Even those Muslims, who have disobeyed God, are true believers, and not infidels, - this Hanafi theses is totally contrary to taqfir tactics (calling another person an infidel), which is actively used by Islamist extremists as a justification for terrorist acts.

Topical problems of development of the Hanafi school in the Russian Federation

It is impossible to eliminate any radical ideology by force, as security services have been trying to so in North Caucasus and in the Volga region. In particular, “security officials use anti-terrorist methods and technologies of Israeli security services, which don’t aim at integrating Palestine population into social and political life of the country. On the contrary, they try to create alienation and to use hostility to Arab world as the basis of Israeli society. In Israel there use presumption of guilt and the principle of corporate responsibility <…>, tortures and evidence under the harrow” (quotations from an article “Beyond Normal Life” by a politologist, State Duma expert D. Halitov).

The task of Russian society is by far harder – it consists in creating such conditions of life, that will provide extinction of radical ideology, not needed by people. Islam vision of traditional judicial schools, in particular – the Hanafu maddhab, contributes to this task. One of the key Islam specialists, Doctor of Historical Sciences A. V. Malashenko states in his latest monograph “Islamic alternative and Islamist project” that “the Hanafi maddhab is an impediment to radicalism”. Thus, he mentions that the “Hizb ut-Tahrir” movement followers are ideologically opposed to the Hanafi teaching. Actually, according to experts, “the “Hizb ut-Tahrir” followers don’t refer themselves to Sunnis: they have another outlook on hadithes, they are opposed to certain points of the Sunni aqidah etc”. (F.A. Ezhova, “Hizb ut-Tahrir: Infantile Disease of Caliphatism in Islamic Politics”). Aqidah is the most important part of theology embracing issues of faith and social ideology. Disputes in Islam result from not only difference in maddhabs, but – to a larger extent – by aqidah differences. Although, while views and biography of Ibn Abdel-Wahhab (Wahhabism founder) are well known to Russian readers, the methodology and views of Abu Hanifa are hardly known at all, despite its by far greater role in the history of the CIS Muslims. This school is considered by specialists to be the most tolerant and moderate in Islam. Nevertheless, nowadays there is plenty of books sold, that propagandize other trends, which call to aggression and violence against non-Muslims. Here hostility to Islam has its roots in, as the latter is associated with extremist aggressive views, meanwhile the majority of these views is eliminated by a competent theological approach.

The origins of terrorism in Islam are traditionally linked to two medieval extremist sects. The first one – Kharijites – split from Muslim majority in 657, accusing both pretendents to Caliphate leadership – Ali and Muawiya – of being apostates. Although caliph Ali instructed his followers not to fight against them, he himself defeated majority of Kharijites in Nahravan battle. Nevertheless, Kharijite ideas gained popularity in certain parts of the Caliphate among the most backward layers of the Bedouin population. Kharijites aimed at embodying the “Kingdom of God” idea and were convinced that everybody except them is doomed to everlasting punishment. Extremist Kharijites preached ideas of common property and social gray-out, calling all their opponents qafirs (infidels); they considered their opponents’ land to be “dar al-qufr” (land of infidels), so that its population was subject to total elimination. Their view were characterized by extreme intolerance, and their actions - by ultimate violence. They thought that not only men who opposed them were “extreme sinners” (i.e., infidels in their doctrine), but also their wives and children. After committing a terrorist attack they hid in inaccessible places. In the last run these actions and ideas caused hostility to them from the side of the majority of the Caliphate population, leading to their military defeat (despite their initial success in propaganda). But before that Kharijites managed to seriously harm the unity and social development of the Caliphate and Islamic society. Only most moderate Kharijites – Ibadites – managed to survive and gave up violence.

The second Islamic sect that used terrorism was Ismaili one. As they were exclusivists in their religion outlook and used fordibben by the Sharia methods, they scarified high and low layers of Muslim society in the XII-XIII centuries, killing all their opponents and easily killing themselves during terrorist acts (under narcotic impact). A lot of naïve Ismailis were sacrificed by their leaders. At first the Caliphate population was tolerant to them, as they attacked Seljuks, their military and civil leaders, especially those disfavored by ordinary people. But later all Muslim world was resolutely opposed to their terrorist tactics and treated them as infidels. The centre of their activity was destroyed after coming of Mongols, after that Ismaili movement migrated to India and later transformed into a present liberal trend.

Terrorism in Russia has deep roots and is connected with activity of factions opposed to authorities due to ideological or social reasons. In pre-revolution period in Russia terrorism was widely used by left and leftist movements (Narodniks, Socialists-revolutionaries, Social Democrats etc.), while in Soviet times – by nationalist leftists (Armenian Dashnaks, who committed several terrorist acts in Moscow in the 1970s). Terrorism motivated by ideological reasons appeared in North Caucasus not so long ago – before the beginning of the Chechen conflict, terrorist acts were similar to criminal raids. Although, this type of banditism interacted with extremists’ ideology from Arab countries, who came to Chechnya not for financial ends, but for participation in “jihad against infidels”. It was them who helped to develop ideological motivation of terrorism.

After that all separatists’ opponents were called infidels; all people sympathetic with them, including Chechen Muslims, were declared infidels as well, and, according to extremist logic, the Sharia allows killing infidels and expropriating their property. The farther in, the deeper. Separatists began to call all their opponents infidels. As it always happens in history, it was illiterate and poorly educated people with low social demands, isolated into a separate clan, who became terrorists. Terrorists had to undergo special psychological preparation, during which a concept of a terrorist as “elect” of God and his special mission was instilled into their minds. These and many other ideas, together with the desire of revenge, resembled ideas of medieval Kharijites ans Ismailis and hardly differed from them.

Defeat of terrorism consists of several stages and actions:

1) While militant pressure is indispensable on the first stage, it is not enough on the other, as it can’t eliminate exclusivist ideology in religion, which is the basis of all extremist communities. That’s why caliph Ali instructed his successors not to use methods of physical persecution and elimination against terrorists of that epoch: it is possible to extinct ideology followers, but not ideology itself, which will find new and new followers

2) Therefore, it is important to create the atmosphere of hostility towards not only terrorist methods, but also their religious outlook (exclusivism, taqfirism etc.). It is necessary to keep in mind the fact that in history of Islam terrorism was doomed to extinction when public opinion got disappointed in it and turned away from it.

3) But the most important stage is the third one – the stage of religious substantiation of a mistaking and criminal character of terrorism. Only when Abu Hanifa substantiated theological and judicial norms, accusing Kharijites of heresy, this movement transformed into a moderate one.

It is well-known that extremist and radical ideas are propagandized in Russian Muslim communities with the usage of translation, publishing and distribution of radical literature. For fighting against such tendencies, security services are not enough, as the latter are not able to distinguish radical literature from commonly accepted theological studies. It is also necessary to mention that in our country books on Islam are mostly presented by secular orientalist works; while, as a rule, Muslim readers prefer other interpretations. Nowadays the Muslim education system and, in particular, mosques and Muslim libraries need complex and basic textbooks on Islam, embracing a wide range of theological disciplines and leading to unification of multiple and sometimes oppositional to one another ideological schools, to extremism and radicalism prevention in society. In our Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Nizhnegorodsky region we give the priority to fighting against extremism on ideological level. For this end, we have created the Fond named after imam Abu Hanifa, where we are involved in publishing competent studies on Islam, taking into consideration traditional theology and the background of the Hanafi maddhab, widespread among the Volga Muslims.

Our contribution to the development of the Hanafi school in Russia

Nowadays the Fond named after imam Abu Hanifa has approached the stage, when it is able to publish large-scale studies, which don’t have analogies in Russian Islamic book industry, on the one hand, and have high importance in fighting against extremist trends in society, on the other.

1. The basics of Islamic faith are expressed in the Holy Quran. Regardless interpretation of a certain ayat of the Quran, a commentator may sophisticate the meaning of the text or understand it literally, meanwhile a significant part of the Holy Book concerns certain concrete cases. Besides, interpretation of the Quran ayats requires deep understanding of verbal subtleties.

Tafsirs (expanded interpretations) of the Quran, that are available in Russian nowadays, are absolutely unacceptable due to their illiteracy or literal interpretation of the text. Here hostility and misunderstanding of Islamic religion have their roots in. It is associated with exclusivist and extremist aggressive ideas, whereas this misunderstanding is eliminated with the help of a competent historical approach. Such philosophic, tolerant to other confessions, but at the same time widely accepted in Islamic theology approach was used by the author of an already classic tafsir – Abdulla Yusuf Ali. This tafsir, created in the XX century, is in the basis of all modern interpretations of the Quran and is accepted as an outstanding one both in European and Arabic countries.

The tafsir of A.Y.Ali has been translated into Russian by the specialists of the Fond named after imam Abu Hanifa. It consists of underline commentaries to the Quran text and, in addition, of the Arabic text. Such a book will become a real masterpiece of the Russian Islamic book industry and will be demanded in all part of the Muslim community. It is especially important in the respect of development of Russian Islamic culture due to the fact that such Quran text form is common only for Saudi Arabia nowadays.

2. Within the framework of Islamic theology there are several outstanding schools and trends. Nevertheless, nowadays Wahhabist, Shi’it etc. literature prevail in Russian book stores, while competent Hanafi studies are very scarce. Moreover, while views and biography of Ibn Abdel-Wahhab are well known to Russian readers, the biography and views of Abu Hanifa are hardly known at all. A new study, dedicated to biography, views and methodology of Abu Hanifa, does not have analogies in Russian Islamic literature. It is a large-scale research, aiming at description and analysis of the most moderate school in Islam.

3. The basic judicial norms of the Hanafi school are represented in a study by A.H. Takhmaz – a modern Arabic scholar. The SDMNR has published three volumes of this study, dedicated to ablution (one volume), prayers (one volume), fast, zakat, and hajj (in one volume) according to the Hanafi tradition norms. These volumes have been so demanded in Russia, that they have been sold in a moment. Now we are ready t republish these volumes in one book under the aegis of the Fond named after Abu Hanifa.

4. The fourth volume from the Hanafi fiqh series – Kitab an-nikah (The book of wedding) – is ready for the press as well. It is the first example of a Russian-language representation of theological aspects of wedding in Islam.

5. A book Kitab al-janaza wa al-istifada min haza – a book about janaza (funeral ritual) is also ready for the press. This is a theological-academic study, as opposed to primitive and vulgar books on this topics, published in Russian and Tatar in the 1990s.

6. Another book on the Hanafi theology – Kitab fadail al-imama – is underway. The book is dedicated to information on imams, their characteristics and knowledge in the modern conditions.

7. There is also an urgent need in a new textbook on Muslim faith on the basis of the Hanafi aqidah (faith system). Until now there have been only Arabic-language studies, and even Turk-language public has been unable to read them due to objective difficulties of material collection and translation. By now only one book from this sector of theology has been published in Russian – “Al-Maturidi and Sunni theology in Samarkand”, but it is of poor quality, both in form and content.

8. The Fond named after imam Abu Hanifa plans to publish a hutba collection (a book of preaches), for all Russian imams have to use for these aims either pre-revolution outdated collections, or preaches of Soviet imams. As the modern youth is not satisfied in such an approach, part of imams uses Arabic hutbas from the Internet. We can bring forward an alternative – hutbas in the framework of the traditional Hanafi theology in a modern form.

Damir Mukhetdinov

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