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The Hanafi school (Arabic: حَنَفِي, romanized: Ḥanafī) is one of the four traditional major Sunni schools (madhabs) of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Its eponym is the 8th-century Kufan scholar, Abū Ḥanīfa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit, a tabi‘i of Persian origin whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani.
Under the patronage of the Abbasids, the Hanafi school flourished in Iraq and spread eastwards, firmly establishing itself in Khorasan and Transoxiana by the 9th-century, where it enjoyed the support of the local Samanid rulers. Turkic expansion introduced the school to the Indian subcontinent and Anatolia, and it was adopted as the chief legal school of the Ottoman Empire.
The Hanafi school is the maddhab with the largest number of adherents, followed by approximately one third of Muslims worldwide. It is prevalent in Turkey, Pakistan, the Balkans, the Levant, Central Asia, India, Bangladesh, Egypt and Afghanistan, in addition to parts of Russia, China and Iran. The other primary Sunni legal schools are the Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali schools.