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Published by Cairoden Dimasangca

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Published by: Cairoden Dimasangca on Oct 26, 2010
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Schools of ThoughtDevelopment and Evolution
Main Sources for this chapter:
Al-Saadiq and the Four Madh'habs, Asad Haidar.Manaaqib Abu Hanifa, Al-Makki.Manaaqib Malik, Al-Sayooti.Tabaqat Al-Shafi'iyya.Mus'nad Ahmad (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal).
No Schools of Thought ever existed in Islam at the time of ProphetMuhammad (pbuh). Neither his exemplary practices nor his Hadith (theSunnah) were put in writing during his lifetime. After the death of theProphet (pbuh) many of the prominent Sahaaba (Companions of theProphet (pbuh) adhered to Imam Ali's explanation of the Sunnah of theProphet (pbuh). The number of such luminous personalities increasedgradually, and came to be known as the Devotees of the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) as passed down by Ali. They were named
 Al - Khaassah
, هصاخل meaning the
elite, the distinctive, or the special 
. InArabic they were referred to as Al-Shi'a. The rest of the Muslims werereferred to as
 Al - Aammah
, هماعل meaning the general public or thecommon man.When Mu'awiya became the Khalifa (ruler), he promoted the term
 Al - Jama'ah
هاجل (the throng of the society) to gain support for himself among the people. About 150 years later, the term Jama'ah wasmodified (by people conforming to Abbasi government policy) in anattempt to fight off Ahlul Bayt's enormous influence in the society. Later the term Jama'ah was modified to
 Al - Sunnah wal Jama'ah
هاجلو هنسل.The term of Sunnah wal Jama'ah was prevalent during the 3rd centuryH. when the Schools of Thought in Islam بذل were in a flux but weremore or less consolidating.Later in the 3rd century H. the term was modified again, and rather than calling it Al-Sunnah wal Jama'ah, it was abbreviated to
 Ahlul Sunnah
هنسل . This became a general term for the four SunniSchools of Thought.By the year 250H the four Sunni Schools of Thought werepopularized and patronized by the Abbasi government, as well as bytheir own enthusiasts, thus spreading in various areas of the IslamicUmmah at variable speed. The
Schools of Thought by thisstretch of time were:
, as headed by Imam Al-Saadiq.
, as headed by Abu Hanifa, Al-Na'maan.
, as headed by Malik Ibn Anas.
, as headed by Ibn Idrees Al-Shafi'i.
, as headed by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.
Outstanding among the
Schools of Thought were:
Madh'hab of Al-Thawri renowned for 2 centuries and could trace itspathway to Imam Al-Saadiq's Institute.
Madh'hab of Ibn U'yainah, renowned for 3 centuries, and could traceits pathway to Imam Al-Saadiq's Institute.
Madh'hab of Aw'zaa'i, followed for more than one century.
Madh'hab of Dawood Ibn Ali Al-Dhaahiri, followed for severalcenturies.
:A Shi'i is a person who is a devotee of only the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as passed down by Ahlul Bayt. Ahlul Baytare the direct family of Muhammad (pbuh), and a Shi'i regards their teaching of the Prophet's Sunnah as the most authentic and accurate.In brief a Shi'i sees himself 
as the Devotee of Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and nothing else and the Fiqh laid down by Ahlul Bayt.
A Shi'i believes in Imamah, that the 12 Imams were DivinelyCommissioned, and they were specified by Prophet Muhammad(pbuh). He also believes in Ismah ه (that the Prophets and theDesignated Imams are shielded by Allah from: a) Sin, b) Religious Error,and c) Forgetfulness).
:A Sunni is a person who follows mostly the Sunnah of ProphetMuhammad (pbuh) as passed down by the teachings of Sahaaba andScholars after the Prophet (pbuh). Sunnah of some Khulafaa is said tobe included in their teachings. In brief a Sunni sees himself as
following the Sunnah as the Sahaaba and certain scholars had specified and theFiqh as laid by the head of the particular Madh'hab.
A Sunni does notbelieve in Imamah.

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