The Schools of the Companions and their Relation to the Emergence of the Four Jurisprudential Schools
Author : Dr. Hamzah Mash-Shoqah
Date Added : 04-07-2024

The Schools of the Companions and their Relation to the Emergence of the Four Jurisprudential Schools


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. The best blessings and the most complete peace be upon our master Muhammad and upon his family and companions until the Day of Judgment.


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the first to issue fatwas (Islamic legal rulings), and he did so by the clear revelation from Allah. His fatwas served as a source of Islamic legislation, alongside the Quran. He taught his companions the methodology of issuing fatwas, ijtihad (independent reasoning), and qiyas (analogical reasoning) in a practical manner. The companions absorbed the hadiths they heard from the Prophet and learned the methodology of fatwa issuance and ijtihad from him.

During the early period of the Rightly Guided Caliphate, the process of issuing fatwas was conducted consultatively between the caliph and a council of scholarly companions. In cases of disagreement among the companions, the caliph would decide which opinion to endorse.

The number of companions who engaged in ijtihad (independent reasoning) was relatively small, not exceeding twenty according to Hanafi jurists[1]. However, the majority of scholars believe that there were many more, categorizing the companions into three groups: the prolific fatwa-givers, who were seven in number; the moderate fatwa-givers, who were around twenty; and the occasional fatwa-givers, who numbered about one hundred and twenty[2].

Most companions who lived during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) focused on narrating the hadiths they heard from him or describing what they saw him do.

After the Islamic conquests expanded during the caliphate of Sayyiduna Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him), the companions spread out to the major cities such as Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Basra, Sham (Greater Syria), and Egypt to teach people their religion. Some of the companions who reached the level of ijtihad continued to issue fatwas, while many others limited themselves to narrating hadiths.

This study aims to highlight the impact of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and their schools on the emergence of the four major Islamic jurisprudential schools (madhahib). It demonstrates that these madhahib were built on the jurisprudence inherited from the Companions, who themselves derived their knowledge of fiqh and fatwas from the light of Prophethood. Below is an outline of the most prominent of these schools:

First: The School of Kufa:

Kufa was distinguished as an Islamic city founded by Muslims after the Islamic conquests. Many Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) settled there. Ibrahim al-Nakha'i said, "Three hundred of the Companions who pledged allegiance under the tree (Peldge of al-Ridwan) and seventy from the people of Badr (Participants in the Battle of Badr) came down to Kufa"[3]. Among the most prominent jurists among the Companions who settled in Kufa were Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with them). These formed the first generation of Kufa's jurists.

The second generation of jurists from the people of Kufa included notable students of Ali and Ibn Mas'ud [4]:

1. Alqamah ibn Qais (d. 61 AH): A prominent Tabi'i, Ibn al-Madini described him as "the most knowledgeable person after Ibn Mas'ud, Alqamah".[5].

2. Masrooq ibn al-Ajda' (d. 62 AH): A Tabi'i jurist and one of the narrators of hadith, known for his deep understanding comparable to Qadi Shurayh.

3. Qadi Shurayh al-Qadi (d. 78 AH): A Tabi'i jurist who was appointed as the judge of Kufa by Umar ibn al-Khattab, and was kept in his position by subsequent caliphs.

4. Al-Harith ibn Abdullah al-Hamdani (d. 65 AH): A Tabi'i known for his extensive narration of traditions from Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), hence called "the narrator of Ali".

5. Abdullah ibn Habib al-Sulami (d. 74 AH): A Tabi'i and a prominent reciter of the Quran in Kufa, known for reciting the Quran to Ali, Uthman, Abu Bakr bin Ka'b, Zaid, and Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with them all).

The number of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud's students in Kufa alone reached four thousand prominent Tabi'in. As al-Sarakhsi mentioned, "He had four thousand students in Kufa who learned directly from him. It is narrated that when Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) arrived in Kufa and Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) came out with his companions until they filled the horizon, when Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) saw them, he said, 'This village has been filled with knowledge and understanding.'"[6].

The Third Tier of Scholars from Kufa: Among the prominent scholars of this tier who learned from the second tier were:

1. Ibrahim al-Nakha'i (d. 96 AH): A Tabi'i and a prominent Imam in fiqh and hadith. He concluded his understanding of fiqh from the scholars of Kufa. Al-Dahlawi said, "The foundation of his school is the legal opinions of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, the legal judgments of Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), the legal opinions of Shurayh, and other judges of Kufa. He collected from them what pleased Allah, then crafted his work in their footsteps as the people of Madinah did in the footsteps of the people of Madinah. He emerged as they emerged, summarizing the issues of fiqh in each chapter."[7]

2. Al-Sha'bi (d. 100 AH): A Tabi'i and a prominent Imam in hadith.



The Fourth Tier of Scholars from Kufa: Among the prominent scholars of this tier who learned from the third tier were:

1. Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman (d. 120 AH): A jurist and scholar of Kufa, he acquired knowledge from Ibrahim al-Nakha'i.

2. Sulayman ibn Mihran al-A'mash (d. 147 AH): A scholar and traditionist of Kufa in his time.

The Fifth Tier of Scholars from Kufa: Among the prominent scholars of this tier who learned from the fourth tier were:

1-Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161 AH): Known for his renowned school of thought, which spread in Baghdad and some regions of Persia and Khorasan. His school was associated with the renowned ascetic leader Bishr al-Hafi. However, his school declined in the 5th century AH, though many of his teachings remain scattered in collections of hadith and high-level jurisprudential works.

2-Abu Hanifa al-Nu'man ibn Thabit (d. 150 AH): The founder of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, which became predominant among the scholars of Kufa. Al-Shafi'i said: "Whoever wishes to dive deep into jurisprudence is the family of Abu Hanifa."[8]. He had many students, among the most prominent were Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Ibrahim (d. 182 AH) and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 189 AH). Abu Yusuf became a prominent judge in Baghdad during the caliphates of al-Mahdi, al-Hadi, and al-Rashid. As for Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, he was renowned for his scholarly writings and teachings. The Hanafi school relied on the opinions of Abu Hanifa and his two fellow scholars. This school spread to India, Pakistan, the lands of the Turks, China, Russia, the Caucasus, and the lands of the Tatars. It was adopted by the Abbasid and Ottoman states, as well as the Mughal Empire in India, for legal judgments and fatwas.




The Scholars of Kufa preserved the hadiths narrated by the Companions who settled in Kufa, along with the jurisprudence of the mujtahids among them, foremost among them Ali and Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with them). Generation after generation, they added to this legacy with new branches of knowledge, until the jurisprudence of the people of Kufa reached Abu Hanifa. Al-Dhahabi said: "The most knowledgeable of the people of Kufa were Ali and Ibn Mas'ud, and the most knowledgeable among their fellow scholars were Alqamah, and the most knowledgeable among his fellow scholars was Ibrahim, and the most knowledgeable among Ibrahim's fellow scholars was Hammad, and the most knowledgeable among Hammad's fellow scholars was Abu Hanifa."[9].

Al-Dahlawi said: "Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) adhered to the methodology of Ibrahim and his contemporaries, only deviating from it by the will of Allah. He was highly esteemed in the field of authentication according to his methodology, meticulously scrutinizing the various aspects of authentication, with a keen focus on the branches of jurisprudence. If you wish to truly understand what we have said, summarize the statements of Ibrahim from the books of traditions compiled by Muhammad, may Allah have mercy on him, and the collections of Abd al-Razzaq and the compilations of Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, then compare them with his methodology. You will find that he rarely diverged from these foundational sources, and even in those minor instances, he did not deviate from what the jurists of Kufa had concluded."[10].

One researcher conducted a study on (the Companion Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and his influence on Hanafi jurisprudence), which was a master's thesis presented at the University of Islamic Sciences. The researcher examined all jurisprudential chapters attributed to this Companion and concluded that the issues adopted by the Hanafi school from the opinions of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud—whether predominant, balanced, or those to which the school added conditions or restrictions, as well as the issues where his opinions were predominantly followed—account for 91% of the total jurisprudential matters attributed to him.[11]. This clearly indicates that the Hanafi school is the true heir to the school of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud.

Secondly: The School of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah

It is the birthplace of the Islamic call, and it housed the four caliphs who represented the authority of the Islamic nation in jurisprudence. Many Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) remained in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah after them. Among the prominent jurists among the Companions who remained there were the four caliphs, Zaid ibn Thabit, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Aisha, and Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them). They constitute the first tier of the school of jurists of Al-Madinah.

Second Tier of Jurists of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah:

A significant number of jurists who learned directly from the Companions emerged. Among the most prominent were the seven jurists of Al-Madinah:

1. Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib (d. 94 AH), known as the "Leader of the Successors/Tabi`in" and a scholar of the people of Al-Madinah.

2. Abu Salama ibn 'Abd al-Rahman (d. 94 AH), a Tabi'i and the son of the Companion 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf (may Allah be pleased with him).

3. 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr (d. 94 AH), a Tabi'i, historian, and the son of the Companion al-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwam (may Allah be pleased with him).

4. 'Ubaydullah ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Utba ibn Mas'ud (d. 98 AH), a Tabi'i and the senior advisor of Caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz.

5. Kharjah ibn Zaid ibn Thabit (d. 99 AH), a Tabi'i and the son of the Companion Zaid ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him).

6. Sulayman ibn Yasar (d. 107 AH), a Tabi'i and the freedman of Umm al-Mu'minin Maymuna bint al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with her).

7. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (d. 107 AH), a Tabi'i and the grandson of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who was raised in the care of his aunt, Umm al-Mu'minin 'Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her).


Masruq said: "I entered Al-Madinah and found among its deeply rooted scholars: Zaid ibn Thabit. From Zaid, ten of the jurists of Al-Madinah took knowledge: Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, Abu Salama ibn 'Abd al-Rahman, 'Ubaydullah ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Utba ibn Mas'ud, 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr, Abu Bakr ibn 'Abd al-Rahman, Kharjah ibn Zaid, Sulayman ibn Yasar, Aban ibn 'Uthman, Qubaysah ibn Dhu'aib."[12].

The people of Al-Madinah relied on various sources that transmitted to them the sayings and actions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the settled Companions in Al-Madinah, as well as from the Companions who resided there. They also relied on the teachings of the Seven Jurists of Al-Madinah and those who came after them. The term "practice of the people of Al-Madinah" or "consensus of the people of Al-Madinah" began to emerge during the era of the Seven Jurists of Al-Madinah.[13].

The "practice of the people of Al-Madinah" refers to what the people of Al-Madinah, including the Companions and their successors (Tabi'un), unanimously agreed upon and practiced, whether it was an opinion based on evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah or Ijtihad. [14].

Al-Dahlawi said: "Sa'id and his companions believed that the people of the two holy sanctuaries (Makkah and Madinah) were the most established in jurisprudence. Their fundamental doctrine was based on the legal verdicts of Umar and Uthman, their legal opinions, the legal verdicts of Abdullah ibn Umar, Aisha, Ibn Abbas, and the legal judgments of the judges of Madinah. They gathered from these sources what Allah blessed them with, then they examined and scrutinized them carefully. Whatever the scholars of Madinah agreed upon unanimously, they adhered to firmly while whatever they disagreed upon, they followed the strongest and most preferred opinion, either because many of them leaned towards it or because it conformed to a strong analogy or a clear derivation from the Quran and Sunnah, or similar reasons. If they did not find a clear answer to a matter from their preserved knowledge, they would depart from their words and look for implicit indications and appropriate solutions. Thus, they arrived at many detailed issues in every chapter of jurisprudence."[15].

The Third Tier of Scholars from the People of Madinah:

1. Rabi'ah ibn Abi Abd al-Rahman (d. 136 AH): Known as a prominent jurist in Madinah, he was known for his independent reasoning (ijtihad) and was nicknamed "Rabi'ah al-Ra'i" (Rabi'ah of Opinion).

2. Yahya ibn Sa'id (d. 143 AH): He served as a judge (qadi) and a mufti in Madinah.

3. Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (d. 143 AH): He was one of the leading scholars of Prophetic traditions (hadith) in his time.

4. Nafi' al-Madani (d. 117 AH): He was a freedman of Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and was known as a reciter (qari) in Madinah.

The fourth tier of scholars from the people of Madinah included among its prominent figures Malik ibn Anas, who became the culmination of Madinan jurisprudence. Al-Shafi'i said of him, "When the scholars are mentioned, then Malik is the star."[16].

Al-Dhahabi said, "There was no scholar in Madinah after the Tabi'in who resembled Malik in knowledge, jurisprudence, dignity, and memorization. After the companions, Madinah had figures like Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, the Seven Jurists, al-Qasim, Salim, 'Ikrimah, Nafi', and their contemporaries. Then came Zaid ibn Aslam, Ibn Shihab, Abu al-Zinad, Yahya ibn Sa'id, Safwan ibn Salim, Rabi'ah ibn Abi 'Abd al-Rahman, and their peers. As they passed away, Malik's name became renowned alongside Ibn Abi Dhi'b, 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn al-Majishun, Sulayman ibn Bilal, Fuleih ibn Sulayman, al-Darawardi, and their equals. Malik was unquestionably the foremost among them, the one whose knowledge was sought by students from different places. May Allah have mercy on him."[17].

The Maliki school of thought spread to Egypt, the Maghreb (Northwest Africa), Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), and parts of Africa, becoming the official school of jurisprudence in those regions up to the present day. Among the states that adopted the Maliki Madhhab were the Umayyad Caliphate in Al-Andalus, the Adarisa state, and the Almoravid dynasty.

Thirdly: The School of Mecca:

Mecca is considered the birthplace of revelation, and it was here that Dar al-Arqam, the first school where the early companions were educated under the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was established. Several companions settled in Mecca, among the most prominent of whom were Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with them). They represent the first generation of scholars in Mecca.

The second tier of scholars from the people of Mecca took knowledge from Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, learning from prominent Tabi'in. Among them were:[18].

1. Mujahid ibn Jabr (d. 104 AH) - Known for his expertise in interpretation (tafsir). Hammad said: "I met Ata', Tawus, Mujahid, and others from among the people, and I found Mujahid to be the most knowledgeable among them."

2. Ata' ibn Abi Rabah (d. 114 AH) - The mufti of the Haram. He was known for his authority in issuing fatwas during the Hajj season, and it was said: "People should not issue fatwas during Hajj except Ata' ibn Abi Rabah."

3. Ikrima ibn Abdullah al-Makki (d. 105 AH) - A freed slave of Ibn Abbas. When the great Tabi'i Sa'id ibn Jubayr was asked if anyone was more knowledgeable than him, he responded: "Ikrima."

4. Abdullah ibn Abi Mulaika (d. 119 AH) - Appointed as a judge by Ibn al-Zubayr.

The people of Mecca were renowned for their knowledge in interpretation (tafsir). Al-Zarkashi said: "As for the tier of the people of Mecca from among the Tabi'in, they were the most knowledgeable people in interpretation." This reputation stemmed from their close association with Ibn Abbas, the interpreter of the Quran. Ibn Abbas would sit among his students from the Tabi'in, explaining the Book of Allah and clarifying its meanings. His students would then transmit his teachings to those who came after them.[23].

The third tier of scholars from the people of Mecca, who took knowledge from the second tier, includes:

1-Abdullah ibn Abi Najeeh al-Makki (d. 132 AH) - He issued fatwas to the people of Mecca after Ata'.

2-Abdul Malik ibn Juraij (d. 150 AH) - Among the leading scholars of the Hijaz, he inherited the fiqh of the Companions and the Tabi'in in Mecca. Al-Dhahabi described him as "a scholar of the people of Mecca, one of the vessels of knowledge, and the first to compile works in Hadith."

3-Ibn Katheer al-Makki (d. 120 AH) - A reciter among the people of Mecca.

The fourth tier of scholars from the people of Mecca, who took knowledge from the third tier, includes:

1-Muslim ibn Khalid al-Zanji (d. 180 AH) - The mufti of the people of Mecca.

2-Sufyan ibn Uyaynah (d. 198 AH) - One of the scholars of Hadith and its preservers.

The fifth generation of scholars from Mecca, who learned from the fourth generation, includes prominent figures such as Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i. He is renowned for establishing the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence and is recognized as the ultimate authority among the scholars of Mecca. Isaac ibn Rahwayh remarked about him, "No one spoke based on opinion except that al-Shafi'i had more followers and fewer errors than him."[25].

Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, along with their jurisprudential knowledge and narrations of Hadith, passed their teachings to their students. Their knowledge, along with the teachings of their students, eventually reached Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i. 

Ibrahim ibn Muhammad said: "I have not seen anyone perform prayers better than Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i. This is because he took knowledge from Muslim ibn Khalid al-Zanjani, who took knowledge from Ibn Jurayj, who took knowledge from Ata' ibn Abi Rabah, who took knowledge from Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, who took knowledge from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who took knowledge from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who took it from Gabriel (peace be upon him)."[26].

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said: "As for the scholars of Mecca, knowledge reached them through Ata', Tawus, Mujahid, Amr ibn Dinar, and Ibn Abi Mulaika. Al-Shafi'i acquired knowledge from Ata' through the companions of Ibn Jurayj, including Muslim ibn Khalid, Abd al-Majid ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Abi Ruwad, and Sa'id ibn Salim al-Qudah. These individuals were in Mecca. Al-Shafi'i later traveled to Yemen where he learned from Hisham ibn Yusuf, the judge of Sana'a, and Mutarrif ibn Mazin, both prominent companions of Ibn Jurayj. Ibn Jurayj himself acquired knowledge directly from Ata'. As for Tawus and Mujahid, their knowledge also came through Ibn Jurayj."[27].

Imam Ash-Shafi'i was greatly influenced by the personality of Ibn Abbas. Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zahra said about Imam Ash-Shafi'i: "He acquired the understanding of the Quran and its interpretation in Mecca, and he graduated among others who were influenced by the approach of Ibn Abbas, who resided there and studied the Quran."

Abdullah bin Mas'ud described him as the interpreter of the Quran. Ibn Umar was asked about the meaning of a verse and he said to the questioner: "Go to Ibn Abbas and ask him, for he is the most knowledgeable among those who remain about what was revealed to the Seal of the Prophets." Ata said: "I have never seen a more honorable gathering than that of Ibn Abbas, nor one with more knowledge of jurisprudence, greater fear of Allah, or more knowledgeable about the Quran and poetry. He would accommodate all of them in one assembly."

Al-Shafi'i grew up in Mecca, where its scholars, or some of them, were influenced by the approach of Abdullah bin Abbas and his understanding of religion.

Mecca was the place of his upbringing and education. It was also where he studied while shaping his own methods and outlining his plans. During that period, he likely followed the path of Ibn Abbas, modeling himself after him and training himself in his example.

A genius among the gifted, while working on shaping himself, often has an ideal example of knowledge, thought, and character to follow. He traces their path and follows their footsteps, finding harmony between their souls and similarity in their aptitudes.

There was a general resemblance between them: Al-Shafi'i was eloquent, just as Ibn Abbas was before him. He devoted himself to the knowledge of the Quran, excelling in it, just as Ibn Abbas did. He also showed interest in poetry and jurisprudence, much like Ibn Abbas.

Then, those who sought to learn the Quran, Hadith, jurisprudence, poetry, and Arabic attended his lessons, just as was the case with Ibn Abbas.

Can we then believe that Al-Shafi'i made Ibn Abbas his ideal example, traced his footsteps, and followed a similar path?

Whether this hypothesis is correct or not, it is certain that Al-Shafi'i, through his studies and residence in Mecca, gained knowledge that was not available in Iraq or Medina. He adopted Ibn Abbas's method of paying special attention to studying the Quran, focusing on its comprehensive and detailed aspects, its unrestricted and restricted texts, its specific and general content. As a result, he presented something new to the jurists of his time in this regard, which they had not previously discussed, even though the materials were readily available to them," [End of quote][28].

The school of Imam Al-Shafi'i spread across Egypt, the Levant, the Hejaz, Yemen, Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, the eastern African coast, Dagestan, Chechnya, and Kurdistan. It was also the school of thought adopted by the Seljuk Empire and the Ayyubid dynasty.

Fourth: The School of the Levant (Bilad al-Sham):

Among the most prominent jurist Companions who settled in the Levant were Muadh ibn Jabal, Abu Darda, and Ubadah ibn al-Samit (may Allah be pleased with them). These are the first generation of scholars in the Levant.

Second Generation of Scholars in the Levant:

Among the most notable scholars of the Levant who learned from Abu Darda and Ubadah ibn al-Samit are:

1. Abu Idris al-Khaulani (d. 80 AH): He was the scholar of Damascus after Abu al-Darda' (may Allah be pleased with him) and took over the judiciary from Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.

2. Makhul ibn Abd Allah (d. 112 AH): Al-Zahri said: "The scholars are four: Said ibn al-Musayyib in Medina, Amr al-Sha'bi in Kufa, Hasan ibn Abi al-Hasan in Basra, and Makhul in Sham" [29].

The Third Generation of Jurists of the Levant: The most prominent jurists of Sham who took from the second generation:

1. Abdullah ibn Abi Zakariya al-Khaz'ai (d. 117 AH): Al-Awza'i said about him: "There was no man in Sham who was preferred over Ibn Abi Zakariya" [30].

2. Abu Ayyub Sulayman ibn Musa al-Ashdaq (d. 119 AH); Said ibn Abd al-Aziz said: "Sulayman ibn Musa was the most knowledgeable of the people of Sham after Makhul" [31]

Fourth Generation of Scholars in the Levant:

Among the most prominent scholars of the Levant who learned from the third generation:

1. Abd al-Rahman ibn Amr al-Awza'i (d. 157 AH): Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi said, "No one in the Levant was more knowledgeable about the Sunnah than al-Awza'i." [32]. He was the leading figure in Islamic jurisprudence in the Levant, and his school of thought became famous in the region until the fourth century Hijri, as well as in Al-Andalus until the time of the rule of Ibn Hisham. His school eventually declined, although many of his opinions remain scattered in books of traditions, hadith compilations, and books of jurisprudence.

2. Sa'id ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Tanukhi (d. 166 AH): A jurist of the Levant alongside al-Awza'i.

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said: "Knowledge in the Levant reached its peak with Abd al-Rahman ibn Amr al-Awza'i, and al-Shafi'i acquired knowledge from his companion, Amr ibn Abi Salama al-Tanisi."[33].

The people of Greater Syria (the Levant) excelled in the knowledge of jurisprudence related to jihad and military expeditions due to their proximity to the Byzantine Empire's borders and their active engagement in military campaigns and jihad. Because of these circumstances, they acquired a deep understanding of these matters that surpassed others. Scholars recognized that the people of Greater Syria were pioneers in the jurisprudence of jihad and military expeditions. The scholars highly esteemed the book of Imam Abu Ishaq al-Fazari on military expeditions, with Imam Shafi'i stating, "No one has compiled a book on military expeditions like that of Abu Ishaq." [34]. Shafi'i extensively quoted the opinions of Imam al-Awza'i on military expeditions and jihad, demonstrating his leadership in this field. These quotes were included in the book "Siyar al-Awza'i," which was printed alongside "al-Umm." Shafi'i often preferred the opinions of al-Awza'i over those of other diligent scholars in this regard.

Fifthly: The School of Egypt:

Among the prominent scholars of the Companions who settled in Egypt were Uqbah ibn Amir and Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (may Allah be pleased with them), who represent the first tier of Egyptian scholars.

The second tier of Egyptian scholars, who learned from the first tier, includes:

1. Abdullah ibn Malik al-Jayshani (died 77 AH), who was among the leading scholars of the Tabi'in in Egypt.

2. Abdul Rahman ibn Hajirah al-Khawlani (died 83 AH), recommended for fatwas by Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), and appointed to judiciary by Abdul Aziz ibn Marwan.

The third tier of Egyptian scholars, who learned from the second tier, includes:

1. Marthad ibn Abdullah al-Yazni (died 90 AH), who served as the mufti of Egypt in his time.

2. Abdul Rahman ibn Muawiyah al-Kundi (died 95 AH), who became a judge and was among the scholars of Egypt.

The fourth tier of Egyptian scholars, who learned from the third tier, includes:

1. Bukayr ibn Abdullah ibn al-Ashajj (died 122 AH), known for transmitting the knowledge of the people of Madinah to Egypt.

2. Yazid ibn Abi Habib (died 128 AH), who served as the mufti of Egypt and was renowned for his scholarship.

The fifth tier of Egyptian scholars, who learned from the fourth tier:


1. Al-Layth ibn Sa'd (died 175 AH) was the scholar who established the fiqh of the people of Egypt and was known for his famous school of thought. Al-Shafi'i said, "Al-Layth was more knowledgeable in fiqh than Malik, except that his companions did not uphold it." [35]. His school of thought did not spread widely after the death of his students, although many of his opinions remain scattered in books of traditions, compilations of hadith, and books of jurisprudence.

2. Abdullah ibn Lahi'ah (died 174 AH) served as a judge in Egypt and was a prominent scholar alongside Al-Layth.

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said, "Al-Layth ibn Sa'd was the pinnacle of knowledge for the people of Egypt. Al-Shafi'i acquired knowledge from him through a group of his companions, notably relying on Yahya ibn Hasan among them."[36].

Sixth: Baghdad, the Meeting Place of Great Schools:

After Al-Shafi'i acquired the fiqh of the people of Mecca, he traveled to Medina where he studied under Malik, memorized the Muwatta, and learned the fiqh of the people of Medina from him. However, he did not establish his own school of thought until he journeyed to Iraq. There, he met the scholars of Kufa and studied with Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, a disciple of Abu Hanifa, and acquired the fiqh of the people of Kufa from him.

During that time, Baghdad was a hub where students from various schools gathered. Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, associates of Abu Hanifa, served as judges in Baghdad. With Al-Shafi'i's arrival, bringing with him the fiqh of Mecca and Medina, and the presence of several scholars from the Medina school, Baghdad opened up to all jurisprudential and hadith schools.

After Al-Shafi'i established his own school of thought, several eminent scholars of independent reasoning (ijtihad) emerged in Baghdad under his influence and that of his students. These scholars later founded their own schools of fiqh, including Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Thawr al-Kalbi, Dawud al-Zahiri, and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari. However, most of these schools eventually declined, leaving only the school of Ahmad ibn Hanbal that persisted.

These scholars studied the jurisprudence of Kufa and the Hijaz, but their greatest influence came from their teacher, Imam Shafi'i. Among these diligent scholars, Ahmad ibn Hanbal distinguished himself with his extensive knowledge of narrated traditions and hadiths. Ahmad ibn Hanbal was renowned in his era for his profound understanding of the noble Hadith. Ali ibn al-Madini said, "Among our companions, none is more knowledgeable than Ahmad." [37].

Ahmad ibn Hanbal was greatly influenced by the personality and scholarly intellect of his teacher, Imam Shafi'i, upon which he built his own foundations. Ishaq ibn Rahwayh said, "Ahmad ibn Hanbal was enamored with al-Shafi'i, his knowledge, and his jurisprudence." [38]. Additionally, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's extensive knowledge and deep understanding of narrated traditions and historical reports enabled him to establish a new school of jurisprudence. [39]. Abu Thawr remarked, "Ahmad ibn Hanbal was more knowledgeable and more profound in understanding than al-Thawri." [40].

The school of Imam Ahmad spread in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Arab states, as well as in some cities and villages in Syria and Palestine.

The Mamluk state adopted the four schools of thought (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali) in judiciary, fatwa issuance, and education. A judge was appointed for each school, and endowments (awqaf) supported students of each school. These four schools have been taught at Al-Azhar from that time until today.

The school of thought of Dawud ibn Ali al-Ispahani (Dawud al-Zahiri), who lived around 270 AH, spread in the regions of Morocco and Andalusia, thriving during the Almoravid dynasty in Morocco. Followers of this school included Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi and Ibn Arabi al-Hatimi. However, the school declined afterward due to the predominance of the Maliki school in those regions. Nevertheless, many of his teachings remain scattered in the writings of Ibn Hazm and in high-level jurisprudential texts.

The school of thought of Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (died around 230 AH) did not persist long after him and eventually declined. However, many of his teachings and opinions remain scattered in high-level jurisprudential texts.

The school of thought of Abu Thawr al-Kalbi (died around 240 AH) spread after his death in Azerbaijan and Armenia, then declined. His followers included the renowned Sufi Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi. Many of his teachings and opinions continue to be scattered in high-level jurisprudential texts.

In conclusion, it becomes clear from the previous discussion that the schools of the companions varied according to the regions they settled in. Each school consisted of the narrations transmitted by the companions and the legal reasoning derived from them. The distinctive features of each school began to emerge during the era of the senior Tabi'een who preserved the narrations and legal reasoning of the companions. They also contributed their own prominent legal opinions on newly arising issues, a process repeated in each successive generation.

This continued until it reached the era of the founders of the juristic schools, who documented their methodologies and the foundational principles upon which their jurisprudence was based. Some of these schools, like the schools of Layth ibn Sa'd and Awza'i, later declined due to a lack of scholarly activity among their followers.

Thus, it becomes evident that the four main juristic schools were extensions of the schools of the companions. Each generation transmitted knowledge and jurisprudence to the next, adding new legal interpretations and methodologies in each era. This process has resulted in a robust jurisprudential tradition that bridges the jurisprudence of the early generations with that of later scholars, capable of addressing contemporary challenges and developments.


1- Ibn al-Hammam, Kamal al-Din, al-Siwasi, Fath al-Qadir, Dar al-Fikr, vol. 3, p. 470.

2- Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1415 AH, vol. 1, p. 166.

  3-Ibn Saad, Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Saad, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990, vol. 6, p. 89.

4-Abu al-Haj, Salah Muhammad, al-Madkhal al-Mufassal li al-Fiqh al-Hanafi, Dar al-Faruq, Amman, 2015, pp. 105-109.

  5-al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 5, p. 17.

6- al-Sarakhsi, Shams al-A'immah Muhammad ibn Ahmad, al-Mabsut, Dar al-Ma'rifah, Beirut, 1993, vol. 16, p. 68.

  7-al-Dahlawi, Ahmad ibn Abd al-Rahim, al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf, Dar al-Naf'is, Beirut, 1404 AH, p. 32.

8- al-Shirazi, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Ali, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', Dar al-Ra'id al-Arabi, Beirut, 1970, p. 86.

9-al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, Dar al-Hadith, Cairo, 2006, vol. 5, p. 531.

10-al-Dahlawi, al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf, p. 39.

  11-Ahmad Muhammad Hassan, al-Sahabi Abdullah ibn Mas'ud wa Atharuhu fi al-Fiqh al-Hanafi, Master's Thesis, Faculty of Hanafi Fiqh, Islamic University of Sciences, 2021, p. 544.

  12-al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 47.

13- al-Hajwi, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, al-Fikr al-Sami fi Tarikh al-Fiqh al-Islami, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995, vol. 2, p. 464.

14-Musa Ismail, Amal Ahl al-Madinah wa Atharuhu fi al-Fiqh al-Islami, Dar Ibn Hazm, Beirut, 2004, p. 237.

15-al-Dahlawi, al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf, p. 32.

16-al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 7, p. 155.

  17-al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 7, p. 156.

[18] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 49.

[19] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 69.

[20] Ibn Kathir, Ismail ibn Umar, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Dar al-Fikr, 1986, vol. 9, p. 306.

[21] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 70.

[22] al-Zarkani, Muhammad Abd al-Azim, Manahel al-Irfan fi Ulum al-Qur'an, Maktabah Isa al-Halabi, vol. 2, p. 19.

[23] al-Dhahabi, Muhammad Husain, al-Tafsir wa al-Mufassirun, Maktabah Wahbah, Cairo, vol. 1, p. 77.

[24] al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Tarikh al-Islam, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 2003, vol. 3, p. 919.

[25] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 72.

[26] al-Isfahani, Ahmad ibn Abdullah, Hilyat al-Awliya', Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1409 AH, vol. 9, p. 135.

[27] al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Mas'alah al-Ihti, al-Maktabah al-Athariyyah, Pakistan, p. 75.

[28] Abu Zahrah, Muhammad, al-Shafi'i: Hayatuhu wa Asruh, Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi, 1978, pp. 44-45.

[29] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 75.

[30] al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 5, p. 286.

[31] al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 6, p. 151.

[32] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 76.

[33] al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Mas'alah al-Ihti, p. 76.

[34] al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 7, p. 473.

[35] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 78.

[36] al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Mas'alah al-Ihti, p. 77.

[37] al-Dhahabi, Sir A'lam al-Nubala, vol. 11, p. 200.

[38] Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi, al-Maqfi al-Kabir, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 2006, vol. 5, p. 203.

[39] Muhammad Abu Zahrah, Ibn Hanbal: Hayatuhu wa Asruh, Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi, p. 31.

[40] al-Shirazi, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha', p. 92.

[41] Mukhtar Khawajah, Qissah al-Madhahib al-Fiqhiyyah al-Mandathrah, article published on the Al Jazeera website.






















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Summarized Fatawaa

Is it permissible for a woman who is observing `Iddah(waiting period) due to the death of her husband to travel for performing Umrah(Minor Hajj)?

A woman observing `Iddah of a revocable(Rajee`) divorce isn`t allowed to travel for Umrah except with the consent of her husband.

Is it permissible to fast on behalf of the dead who died owing missed fast to make up ?

His relative should fast on his behalf, and it is permissible for the guardians to give permission to non-relatives of the dead to fast on his behalf as well.

Is hair extension permissible?

It is impermissible for the man and the woman to apply a human`s hair as extension, but using artificial hair is permissible for the married woman after obtaining the approval of her husband, and provided that non-Mahrams(Marriageable men) don`t see her.

Is it permissible to make up for missed fast after the beginning of the second half of the month of Sha`ban(the month before Ramadhaan) ?

Yes, it is permissible, but one who had missed fasts should hasten to make up for them. As for the Hadith mentioned in this regard, the prohibition is for offering absolute voluntary fasting.