I would like to know how can these misunderstanding be extinguised. I understand that these particular schools of thought have been in existance for centuries. I want to know is how come they have been seen in a negative light at times.
1) That people who follow a madhab are considered "Sufi's" (in which sufism has given a bad taste in people's mouths)
2) That madhahibs only follow what that particular Imam started (I mean did 4 Imams called to starting up these schools and made it obligatory to accept their understanding)
3) That madhahibs are 'too' resticted and don't want to accept 'other' opinions or other hadith that have been recorded that go against their acceptance.
Furthermore I've seen from present day scholars who say it's ok to follow a school of fiqh and others who it's not ok 'only' on certain matters.