Ḥanbalites. One of the four main law schools of sharīʿa which developed from the teachings of the theologian Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 855 (AH 241)). Ḥanbal established no system of his own, but his pronouncements over legal problems were systematized by such followers as Abu Bakr al-Khallal (d. 924 (AH 311)). This school was an orthodox reaction against the excesses of esoteric Sufism (though certainly not against all Sūfīs) and speculative theology. The Ḥanbalite school is characterized by its literal and dogmatic nature. It recognizes no other source than the Qurʾān and the Sunna in Islamic law. At the present time, because of their proselytizing efforts in Africa and the East, and because of secularizing threats to Islam, the Ḥanbalites are becoming increasingly influential.
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