Perhaps the two greatest original founders of Sharia law were Malik ibn Anas and Ibn al-Shaf'i. Anas established the Maliki school of jurisprudence. Al-Shaf'i was one of Anas' students; he disagreed with his teacher about the reliability of the hadith. He felt that it was necessary to trace each hadith from the time of Muhammad through its chain of devout Muslims. This concern led to Islamic scholars considering "... which hadith were true and which were not." Needless to say this led to conflicts among scholars as to the proper application of Sharia law.
Ibn al-Shafi'i promoted the use of additional sources for Shari'a law:
bullet The technique of "... reasoning by analogy in order to develop new laws from existing laws." As the culture evolves, new types of problems emerge that need to be dealt with. Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) used to prevent the development of a severely defective human embryo is one example.
bullet The technique of accepting the consensus of a Muslim community. The reasoning is that Allah would not allow an entire community to be in error on a basic Islamic principle.
There are four main schools of Sharia law:
bullet Hanbali: This is the most conservative school of Shari'a. It is used in Saudi Arabia and some states in Northern Nigeria.
bullet Hanifi: This is the most liberal school, and is relatively open to modern ideas.
bullet Maliki: This is based on the practices of the people of Medina during Muhammad's lifetime.
bullet Shafi'i: This is a conservative school that emphasizes on the opinions of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
What applies within one school of Sharia law does not necessarily apply in the other schools. For example, the Maliki Law School accepts evidence of pregnancy as proof that an unmarried woman has either committed adultery or been raped. The other schools "... do not recognize evidence of pregnancy as proof of Zina [Adultery]." 3