Ahl As-sunna Scholars

Ahl as-sunna [1] scholars who showed the right path to all Muslims on the earth and guided us to learn the religion of Muhammad ('alaihi's-salam) without any change or interpolation are the scholars of the four madhhabs [2] who reached the grade of ijtihad [3]. The most prominent ones of them are four. The first of them was al-Imam al-a'zam Abu Hanifa Nu'man ibn Thabit (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala). He was one of the greatest 'ulama' [4] of Islam. He became the leader of Ahl as-Sunna. He was born in Kufa in 80 A. H. [699] and was martyred in Baghdad in 150 [767].

The second one was the great scholar Imam Malik ibn Anas (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala). The book Ibni Abidin says that he lived eighty-nine years. His grandfather was Malik bin Abi Amir.

The third one was Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi'i (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who is the apple of the eyes of Islamic scholars. He was born in 150 [767] in Ghazza, Palestine, and passed away in Egypt in 204 [820].

The fourth one was Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who was born in Baghdad in 164 [780] and passed away there in 241 [855]. He is the archstone of the Islamic building.

Today, he who does not follow one of these four great imams [5] is in great danger. He is in heresy. Besides them there were many other Ahl as-sunna scholars who had righteous madhhabs, too. But in the course of time their madhhabs were forgotten and could not be committed to books.

[1] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.
[2] madhhab: all of what a profound 'alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four-Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.
[3] ijtihad: (meaning or conclusion drawn by a mujtahid by) endeavouring to understand the hidden meaning in an ayat or a hadith.
[4] 'ulama': pl. of 'alim; 'ulama' ar-rasihin, those learned in both zahiri and batini sciences.
[5] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.