Mustafa Jaane Rehmat Pe Laakon Salam_
The Four Imams of the Madhhabs
Alahazrat Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al-Qadiri al-Hanafi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) says:
مصطفٰی جان رحمت پہ لاکھوں سلام
شمعِ بزمِ ہدایت پہ لاکھوں سلام
Countless blessings on al-Mustafa, the Essence of Mercy.
Countless salutations on the most resplendent light of Guidance!
شافعی مالک احمد امامِ حنیف
چار باغِ امامت پہ لاکھوں سلام
Shafi`i, Malik, Ahmad and Imam Hanif;
Countless salutations on the four gardens of those Imams!
The Imams and their madhhabs are the four avenues to the door of the Messenger of Allah. Anyone who adheres to their teachings and adopts their methodology of jurisprudence will arrive safely to the court of Allah’s Prophet because each ‘garden’ (school) has grown from the seeds of sound principles and has been ‘watered’ (developed) by the greatest ‘landscapers’ (scholars) of the last 1400 years. Their presence – ever stronger – is testimony to the tawfiq (divine grace) Allah has conferred on them and countless people have understood and practiced their faith in an authentic way due to the Four Imams devotion and commitment to preservation of the teachings of this Religion.
The Four Imams may not be maligned, attacked, belittled or denigrated as is done by many today out of utter ignorance or serious misunderstanding. They fail to heed how Allah will raise the ranks of these Imams with Allah as His close friends ever higher and the attacks do nothing to diminish that rank. Moreover, differences among them must not be used to create division, sectarianism and partisanship within the Umma as this is a means to disunity (which is unlawful) and far from the teachings of the Imams. Valid differences in law (fiqh) must be accepted with real respect, love, mercy and beauty in the full knowledge that this is something good and a blessing as mentioned by the Prophet.
Abundant salutations and peace,
On our Beloved, The Chosen One.
Upon his family, Companions and all
Who follow them. Amin.
 See G. F. Haddad’s The Four Imams and their Schools, pp.7-412 for a comprehensive treatment of their lives and teachings.
 Imam Ibn Raslan states as in Safwat al-Zubad (= Imam al-Ramli’s commentary Ghayat al-Bayan, pp.20-21):
And al-Shafi`i, Malik and al-Nu`man, Ahmed b. Hanbal and Sufyan
And others from the scholars were all on Guidance and ‘differences is a mercy’.
و الشافعي و مالك و النعمان \ و أحمد بن حنبل و سفيان
و غيرهم من سائر الأئمة \ على الهدى والإختلاف رحمة
 For a discussion on the meaning of differences being a mercy for this umma, see the articles: https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/imam-al-sakhawi-on-ikhtilaf/ and https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/321/.