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Schools Of Law And Historical Context: Re-Examining The Formation Of The Hanbalī Madhhab

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Scholarly investigations of the formative stages of the madhāhib (schools of law) have generated several interpretations but few substantive studies. One of the underlying assumptions of madhhab scholarship is that personal schools grew out of regional schools. In this essay, I (1) challenge the notion of regional schools, suggesting that greater attention should be paid to circles of masters and their disciples; (2) survey the scholarship that has dealt with the formation of Hanbalism, with special attention to Ibn Hanbal and his followers; and (3) examine how the Hanbalī moral outlook contributed to the growth of the Hanbalī circle and discuss the influence of this moral outlook on the internal dynamics of the circle.

Affiliations: 1: Ben Gurion University of the Negev


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