Surely Allah gifts the world for those who work for their Akhirah (Hereafter) and rejects giving the Akhirah (Hereafter) for those who work for this world.
Hadith-i Shareef, Kuzaa’i, Shihaab al-Ahbar
Allah (SWT) has ordered Alims as follows:
Let them work, let them be troubled, may they find hidden subjects from Allah’s Qur’an and Rasulallah’s (SAWS) words with which they act upon, and they may teach others.
They will be rewarded with a lot of recompense. If a big Alim with authority to make decisions has misunderstood something from the Qur’an or the words of Rasulallah (SAWS) then he is excused. He will not recieved blame and sin for this misunderstanding.
It has been ordered that those who are not at a level to make such decisions should follow one of these Alims. They should act upon the Alim’s statements. If the Alim they follow has made a mistake, that person too would be excused and will not be accountable for the mistake.
After Rasulallah (SAWS) passed away, the As’haab saw military campaigns as very important and therefore worked hard on them in order to spread the word of Islam. They did not feel the need to make decisions from the Qur’an and Hadith. As they were Mujtehids, they made decisions whenever they needed to, whenever a problem or query arose.
Later, Muslims multiplied. Problems confronted and the increasing numbers of Muslims were not as knowledgeable. In this situation it was down to the Alims of the time to give up everything else and give all they had in order to go through the Qur’an and Hadith and make decisions, give Fatwah on certain beliefs and acts in Islam.
Every Alim did as much as he could, wrote down and taught Muslims what they had uncovered. Certain tribes began to follow certain Alims. Some of them followed Imam Abu Hanife, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbel, some followed Sufyan-i Sevri and Davud-i Zahiri, etc.
Until now, those tribes have been acting upon the teachings of the madhhab they follow. All of these madhhabs are equal in belief as they are all Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah. The difference between them is only the small difference in the actions that they perform. That difference is with the permission of Allah (SWT) . Any Muslim who follows one of these paths will be led to Jannah.