Since the 7th century, successive Muslim states have developed a complex legal system, primarily based on the Holy Quran and the prophetic tradition, also known as the "sunnah". This Sunni Muslim jurisprudence is historically based on four major schools of thought, called madhhab (pl. madhâhib), which played a fundamental role in the creation of the legislative framework of Islam. They continue to significantly influence the daily lives of many Muslims, covering both "ritual acts" and "social relations.
Among these Sunni legal schools, we find Malikism, based on the teachings of Imam Mâlik ibn Anas, Hanafism, the oldest of the four schools, Shafiism, based on the teachings of Imam Ash-Shâfi'î , and Hanbalism, whose name comes from Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, who promoted the divine origin of law in reaction to mutazilism inspired by philosophy.
Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nou'man ibn Thabit (699-767)
Imam Mâlik ibn Anas (711-795)
Imam Ash-Shâfi'î (767-820)
Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (780-855)