Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh)
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said, according to an authentic narration “If the Religion were at the Pleiades (in Persia), even then a person (muslim) from Persia would have taken hold of it, or one amongst Persian descent would surely have found it” [al-Ajluni, Kashfu’l-Khafa]
Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: “We were sitting in the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) when Surat al-Jumu’ah was revealed to him and when he recited (it) amongst them, (those who were sitting with the prophet) said “Allah’s Messenger?” but Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made no reply, until he was questioned once, twice or thrice, and there was amongst us Salman the Persian. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam) placed his hand on Salman and then said: “Even if faith were near the Pleiades (in Persia), a man from amongst these would surely find it.”
When Muslim’s conquered Persia it became a great centre for knowledge and many of the worlds greatest scholars came from there like Imam al Ghazali, Imam Abu Dawud, Imam Bukhari, Ibn Sina, Ibn Haytham one could name well over 200 prominent and well known Islamic figures, Scholars, Scientists, Philosophers, and Physicians in world history that came from Persia, but Imam as-Suyuti (rahimahullah) remarked: “It has been communicated unanimously that this hadith refers to Imam Abu Hanifah (who was a Persian) and founded the Hanafi Madhhab (School of Law)” which 45% of muslims around the world follow today.
Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh d.150) is the first in Islam to organize and categorize fiqh (Islamic Law), at a time when it was simply the Qur’an and the Narrations so information could be easily researched and found. This was a Sunnah (example) he began and as the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding those who begin beneficial Sunnah’s they will have the reward of all those who adopt it after them and indeed the entire Ummah adopted this after Him.
He gave rulings on matters relating to various topics, and organized the religion under sub-headings, categorizing everything and embracing the whole of Law, beginning with purity (tahara) followed by prayer (salah), an order which was retained by all subsequent scholars such as Imam Malik, Shafi’i, Abu Dawud, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and others.
Imam Ash-Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh)
The Prophet once made a dua’, “O Allah! Guide (the tribe of) Quraysh, for the science of the scholar that comes from them will encompass the earth. O Allah! You have let the first of them taste bitterness, so let the latter of them taste reward.”
The Scholars agreed that this Dua’ was referring to Imam al Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) whose work “al Risal fi Usul al Fiqh” (The Treatise on the Principles of Legal Jurisprudence) was the first work to define and develop the Legal science of Usul al Fiqh (Principles of Law). This legal science is at the heart of all modern legal systems on earth today.
“In its comprehensive character, legal science developed among Muslims very early. They were the first in the world to entertain the thought of an abstract (theoretical and conceptual) science of law, distinct from the codes of the general laws of the country. The ancients had their laws, more or less developed and even codified, yet a science which should treat the philosophy and sources of law, and the method of legislation, interpretation, application, etc, of the law was wanting, and this never struck the minds of the jurists before Islam”. Since the second century of the Hijrah (800 C.E.) many Islamic works of this kind began to be produced, called Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Law).
In addition, the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “A scholar from Quraysh will fill all regions of the earth with learning.” [al-Ajluni]
The entire Ummah utilized and benefited from the work of Imam Shafi’i, it systemized Law itself for the other Schools of Law that emulated it’s structure.
The Prophet also said: “Truly, Allah shall send forth for this Community, at the onset of every hundred years, someone who will renew their Religion for them.”
The scholars agreed, among them Imam Abu Qilaba (d. 276) and Imam Ahmad, that the first narration above signified Imam al-Shafi’i, and the second signified Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, a just Khalif who opposed the tyrants around him, as the first person Allah sent for the Ummah and then Imam al-Shafi’i after him as the second person Allah sent.
Imam Malik Ibn Anas (rahmatullah alayh)
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Very soon will people beat the flanks of camels in search of knowledge, and they shall find no-one more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable scholar of Madinah.”
Imam Tirmidhi, al-Qadi ‘Iyad, Dhahabi and others relate from Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Mahdi, Yahya Ibn Ma’in, Dhu’ayb ibn ‘Imama, Ibn al-Madini (rahimahumullah), and others that they considered that scholar to be Malik ibn Anas (rahimahullah) the founder of the Maliki Madhhab.
Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) was responsible for preserving the Sunnah of Madinah for later generations, this was the way of life the people of Madinah lived shortly after the prophets (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) death, it gave the clearest picture of life in those times we have today and the Imam and his Madhhab (school of Law) are famous for taking the actions of the people of Madinah as a source of legislation in Islamic law because it was the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself who established that community.
Thus in this way the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) foretold the Madhhab’s (Islam’s Schools of Law) and all the scholars they would be named after, the Hanafi Madhhab, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali, all of whom adopted the science of Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) that the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned specifically and is the method by which they derive Laws from the Qur’an and Sunnah, this is in contrast to the Deviant sects who lie and say the Madhhab’s are an evil innovation that has no basis in Islam rather they seek to dismantle Islam as the Yahud’s dismantled their own faith. These sects are a product of the “Ruwaibidah” a group of people the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) gave this name to and said would come towards the end of time. History has occurred as the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned, the entire world adopting the methods of Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh), which makes the authenticity of the narration’s self evident.
He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said “My nation will be divided into seventy-three sects, and only one among them will attain salvation” He was asked, “Who are they?” He replied, “Those who follow me and my Companions,” (Abu Dawud); thus, he mentioned the sects of innovation that would emerge afterwards and stated that the muslims should stick to the main body of the Ummah, it’s largest group. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam) described the reality after this time clearly, He said “One who defected from obedience and separated from the main body of the Muslims-if he died in that state would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (before Islam)” [Muslim]
He advised “My community will not come together on misguidance”;
”You have to follow the congregation for verily Allah will not make the largest group of Muhammad’s community agree on error.”,
“Whoever among you wants to be in the middle of Paradise, let him cling to the congregation.”,
“Shaytan is a wolf like the wolf that preys on sheep, taking the isolated and the stray among them; therefore, avoid factionalism and keep to the congregation and the collective and the masjid.”,
“Allah’s hand is over the group, and whoever dissents from them departs to hell.”
Thus he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) advised Muslim’s should stick to Islam’s four schools of Law and they would attain the middle of Paradise if they did so. Islam’s four schools of Law have been the main Body of the Ummah from the beginning of Islam until our time, almost 90% of Islam’s 1.7 billion Muslim’s around the world today follow them.