Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Is The Hanbali Madhhab Defunct

My question is: is the Hanbali madhab defunct today? Or are there still scholars of ahlus sunnah who represent it, and if so like who?

In order to answer that, we must first know what makes a madhhab "defunct" and who should we consider as "Ahl Al-Sunnah"?

Depending on how you want to play with definitions and evidence, you can get the answers to turn out however you want. For the sake of argument, I'm going to take a very liberal approach to things:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does make the Hanbali madhhab the code of the land, giving precedence to classical books like Al-Bahuti's Kashshaf Al-Qina` and Sharh Al-Muntaha. They obviously have to make use of some modern fatawa, but at least when it comes to needing options the Hanbali madhhab has a large supply and can easily make use of findings from other madhhabs to make tarjih without ever having to go outside of the madhhab. This certainly is more than you can say about the countries being ruled by a modern, conventional Cannon of law that is only loosely based on the Shari`a and has no qualms with going against ijma` and putting female non-Muslims judges in charge of the Muslim courts.

As for "Ahl Al-Sunnah", anyone who stays within the Ash`ari, Maturidi, and Athari approaches to `aqidah should be considered Ahl Al-Sunnah. Given the severe consequences of taking people out of Paradise and sizzling them over the flame, I refer this back to the experts of each school to tell us what this means. But I will say this: Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi had words to say about the `aqidah of `Ali Al-Zaghuni and Al-Qadhi Abu Ya`la yet he still relies upon them for transmitting the madhhab, and some members of Bani Qudama had words to say about Ibn Al-Jawzi's `aqida and yet they still relied upon him transmitting the madhhab.

And Allah knows best.

wa al-salamu `alaykum