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Abu Hanifah, al-Numan ibn Thabit ibn Zuta

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    Abu Hanifah, al-Numan ibn Thabit ibn Zuta

    (d. 767 )

    Founder of Hanafi school of Islamic law. Native of Kufa, Iraq, although of Persian descent. Studied jurisprudence under a student of Muhammad 's Companion Ibn Masud while working as textile merchant. His training in jurisprudence combined with his experience as a merchant led to his use of reason and logic in applying rules to practical questions of life and broadening those rules through use of analogy (qiyas) and preference (istishan). He emphasized personal reasoning and free judgment in legal interpretation. Reliance on his opinion resulted in his eponymous school being referred to as “People of Opinion,” as opposed to “People of Traditions” (those more dependent on hadith). His legal doctrines were noted for their liberality and respect for personal freedom. He was the first jurist to formulate rules pertaining to contracts, such as the price of goods for future deliveries and reselling purchased goods at a higher price provided that usury is not involved. The school of law he founded is the most widespread in the Islamic world.

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