13.2 The development of jurisprudence (ahle-fiqh)
The books dealing with law-making (fiqh) were written before there was any such literature called Ahadith (plural of Hadith). The cause of this was plain. Law and the treatises of law were a necessity for the public and thus were encouraged by the State. The study of traditions was on the other hand less essential and was more of a personal and private nature.2
Malik ibn-Anas (d.179 A.H.) was a forerunner of the four Sunni schools of law. Malik was a lawyer who gathered traditions not for their own sake but to use them in law. Abu Hanifa (d.150 A.H.) who died earlier than Malik, was more interested in developing theoretical principles which could be used as a basis for the development of law. He relied little upon tradition and preferred to take the Qur’anic texts and develop them in detail. It was two of his immediate pupils, Quadi Abu Yusuf (d. A.H. 182) and Muhammad Ibn-Hasan (d. A.H. 189), who converted his theoretical principles into codes of law. The third school is that of Al-Shafi (d. A.H. 204). His system was based on four sources: the Qur’an, Traditions, analogy and ‘agreement’. All the schools have practically accepted Al-Shafi’s classification of the sources for legitimate thought. The last of the four schools is that of Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. A.H. 241). He was a theologian and made no claim as a lawyer. His masnad is an immense collection of 30,000 hadiths. These were not arranged for legal purposes. He suffered terribly for his orthodox faith under the Khalifa Mamun. After his death his disciples drew together and established the fourth school. His school reduced the influence of agreement and analogy and tended towards literal interpretation.