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Understanding the Four Madzahib

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Understanding the Four Madzahib: The Problem with Anti-Madzhab-ism by Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad.
The ummah’s greatest achievement over the past millennium has undoubtedly been its internal intellectual cohesion.  From the fifth century of the Hijrah almost to the present day, and despite the outward drama of the clash of dynasties, the Sunni Muslims have maintained an almost unfailing attitude of religious respect and brotherhood among themselves.  It is a striking fact that virtually no religious wars, riots or persecutions divided them during this extended period, so difficult in other ways.
The history of religious movements suggests that this is an unusual outcome.  The normal sociological view, as expounded by Max Weber and his disciples, is that religions enjoy an initial period of unity, and then descend into an increasingly bitter factionalism led by rival hierarchies.  Christianity has furnished the most obvious …