Hanafi school recognized as official religion of Tajikistan

The Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan's lower chamber of parliament) has endorsed a bill recognizing the Hanafi school as an official religion of Tajikistan.

A regular sitting of the fifth session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the third convocation, presided over by its head, Saydullo Khairulloyev, was held on March 5.

The draft law of Tajikistan "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations" was a major topic of the meeting, reported Asiaplus.

Presenting the bill, Culture Minister Mirzoshorukh Asrori noted that the draft law should replace the country the country's law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations" that was adopted in 1990 already.

"Religious radicalism, nihilism and some other religious movements alien to our people that emerged in society lately are among reasons for adoption of the new law," the minister said.

According to him, preparation of the bill lasted for two years and Tajik specialists and religious scholars as well as representatives of public associations and international experts from the OSCE took part in discussion of the bill. Asrori noted that they had taken into consideration an alternative bill worked out by senior representatives of the Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) Muhiddin Kabiri and Mahmadsharif Himmatzoda, while preparing the bill.

Some 3,000 mosques, including 259 cathedral mosques, as well as 18 religious educational facilities currently function in the country, the minister said. "Parishioners of all these mosques and students at these educational facilities are followers of the Hanafi school. Therefore we propose to recognize the Hanafi school as an official religion of Tajikistan."

Parliamentarians endorsed the ill without any serious discussions.

Among the four established Sunni schools of legal thought in Islam, the Hanafi school is the oldest, Abu Hanifa was the first to systematically arrange and compile Islamic law. A unique feature of the school is the method in which the law was codified: Abu Hanifa would convene and preside over a board of jurists (consisting of about 40-50 of his own students) and each would give his own opinion on a particular legal issue, Abu Hanifa would then decide which is the opinion that is to be selected by corroborating it or sometimes would offer his own unique opinion. The Hanafi school also has the most followers among the four major Sunni schools.

Today, the Hanafi school is predominant among the Sunnis of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China as well as in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia in the Balkans and the Caucasus.

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