is one of the four schools of Fiqh
or religious law within Sunni Islam
. It is considered to be the school most open to modern ideas, and it is also the oldest. Hanafi is predominant among Sunni Muslims in Egypt
, the Levant
, the Indian subcontinent
and parts of West Africa
, although students of Islam throughout the world study and may choose to observe its conclusions about Islamic practise. Hanafi is the largest of the four schools; it is followed by approximately 30% of Muslims world-wide.
The presence of four different schools of religious law within Sunni Islam should not be viewed as a schism. On the contrary, there is little or no animousity between the schools. Instead there is a healthy cross-pollenation of ideas and logical argumentation that serves to refine each school's understanding of Islam. It is not uncommon, or disallowed, for an individual to follow one school but take the point of view of another school for a certain issue.
It is named for Imam Abu Hanifa.