Imam Abu Hanifa and Contemporary Rationalism

Imam Abu Hanifa and Contemporary Rationalism
imam_abu_hanifaThe Islamic jurisprudence has the capability and dynamism to deal consciously with this world with all its ups and downs.
Indeed, the great progress that appeared in the arena of jurisprudence during second and third centuries (A.H) was the result of deep transformation of Islamic knowledge. For instance, while text-based approach was prevalent on all aspects of Islamic knowledge, the basics of jurisprudence of a great man like Abu Hanifa came to open a new window in front of Islamic civilization.

With deep understanding from holy Quran and the Hadith, Imam Abu Hanifa honestly recognized and understood that the truth and essence of jurisprudence never should stand on the border of understanding of past generations and hence was able to influence greatly the religious living style of the people of his age and the forth-comings.
To be noted that the flourishing age of jurisprudence in the second and third centuries was greatly influenced by the concepts that he embedded into the field of Islamic jurisprudence.
The highest virtue of Abu Hanifa was not in the understanding of the needs of his own time and compilation of basics of jurisprudence, but was in his futuristic approach. He was truly the pioneer of his time and thought far ahead of his time. Approximately all researchers are of same view that Imam Abu Hanifa’s approach toward jurisprudence both in terms of form and content was very different from what was prevalent before him; and the successive jurisprudents adopted his method too.
Abu Hanifa accurately discovered this fact that jurisprudence in its essence is a science that in addition to being a religious matter, is extensively connected with human world; and keeping in mind that the human world takes shape according to time ground realities, jurisprudence must possess the dynamism and capacity to meet the needs of every time.
However, regardless of the approach that Abu Hanifa had towards mankind and its wisdom, his principles of deduction need to be revised with modern approach.
In spite of special respect that he had for human wisdom, he never preferred it on inference of rules which based on Sunnah. He was the first persons, who introduced critical logic into the field of jurisprudence. Although, he respected the judgments of companions of the holy Prophet (PBUH), about other jurisprudents’ jurisprudential views, he acted quite critically, and opened the way for criticism of his own views too.
Jurisprudential views of Abu Hanifa opened a space for contemporary jurisprudents who are thinking to answer the challenges of today’s Islamic world. With correct understanding the foundations of jurisprudential inference of Imam Abu Hanifa, the link between Imam Abu Hanifa and contemporary rationality can be found.

By: Masoud Ansari


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