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Shafi΄i

The Shafi΄i school of thought was headed by Imam Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi΄i who lived from
150H to 198H. Imam Shafi΄i was born in Hijaz and his school of thought emerged in Egypt. At the
time of the Fatimid Dynasty, the Egyptians were mainly followers of Ahlul Bayt, and the teachings of
Ahlul Baytwere being taught in al-Azhar University. At a later time, Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi came and
waged an extensive war against the school of Ahlul Bayt by banning the teaching of their madhhab
(school of thought) in al-Azhar and resurrecting the other madhahib, including that of Imam Shafi΄i,
who was killed in Egypt in 198H.
https://www.al-islam.org/inquiries-about-shia-islam-sayyid-moustafa-al-qazwini/five-schools-islamic-thought#shafi΄i

An Introduction to Shafi'i Madhhab

The Shafi`i madhab is one of the four schools of fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. The Shafi`i school
of fiqh is named after its founder: Muhammad ibn Idris ibn al-`Abbas, al-Imam al-Shafi`i, Abu `Abd Allah al-
Shafi`i al-Hijazi al-Qurashi al-Hashimi al-Muttalibi (better known as Imam Shafi`i). The Shafi'i school is
based upon the theories of the Islamic theologian Abu Abdullah ash-Shafi'i (767- 820). He was from 804 until
810 a student of Malik, the founder of one of the other schools.

The Shafi`i school is followed throughout the Ummah, but is most prevalent in Kurdistan, Egypt, Yemen,
Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Syria and is the school of thought officially
followed by the government of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. It is followed by approximately 15% of
Muslims world-wide.

The Shafi`i tradition is particularly accessible to English speaking Muslims due to the availability of a high
quality translation of the Reliance of the Traveller.

The Shafi`i school of jurisprudence is based on Qur'an (Koran), the Sunnah of the Prophet, Ijma' (the
consensus of the scholars), the opinions of the Prophet's companions (mostly Al-Khulafa Ar-Rashidun, the
first four caliphs accepted by Sunni Muslims) and Qiyas (though he is known to have significantly limited the
scope for using qiyas in deriving Islamic law). His most famous books are Ar-Risalah and Al-Umm. They
emphasized the use of proper instibat (derivation of laws) through the rigorous use of legal principles, as
opposed to speculation and guess-work. He is largely responsible for systematizing the methods used for
deriving Islamic laws.

The Shafi`i school is considered to be one of the more conservative of the four schools of Islamic
jurisprudence, but there are many adherents of the Shafi`i tradition who maintain liberal views in practicing
their religion.

http://www.islamawareness.net/Madhab/Shafi/shafi.html

Shafi`i Islam
The Shaf'i school is predominant in east Africa, Indonesia and southeast Asia. Al Shafii's (d.
855) thought influenced Indonesia, Southern Arabia, Lower Egypt, parts of Syria, Palestine,
Eastern Africa, India and South Africa. The school remains predominant in Southern Arabia,
Bahrain, the Malay Archipelago, East Africa and several parts of Central Asia. Shafi'i is
practiced in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is followed by approximately 15% of
Muslims world-wide.

The Shaf'i school is considered the easiest school and the Hanbali is considered the hardest
in terms of social and personal rules. Hanafi took Shafi as his rival and vice versa. Tradition,
the consensus of the Muslim community and reasoning by analogy are characteristics of this
school.

Most Kurds in Iraq follow the Shafii school of Sunni Islam. A minority of Kurds, concentrated
in parts of the Kifri and Klar areas of Kirkuk, follow the Hanafi school.

The Shafi'iyyah school of Islamic law was named after Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i [Shaf'i,
Shaafi`ee] (767-819). The school of Imam Abu Abd Allah Muhammad Shafii of the Quraysh
tribe of the Prophet, brought up in Mecca. He later taught in both Baghdad and Cairo and
followed a somewhat eclectic legal path, laying down the rules for analogy that were later
adopted by other legal schools. He was a descendant of the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, and
came to Egypt in the 9th century. Saladin who founded the first madrasa, dedicated to the
Shafi'i rite near the tomb of its founder, Imam al-Shafi'i. Al-Shafi`i was known for his peculiar
strength in Arabic language, poetry, and philology. Imam Shafi`i was called devil and
imprisoned. Prayers were said for his death. He was taken in captivity from Yemen to
Baghdad, in a condition of humiliation and degradation.

Then at the time of Al-Shafi'i, the Prophet's ahadith were gathered from different countries,
and the disagreements among the scholars increased until Al-Shafi'i wrote his famous book,
Al-Risalah, which is considered the foundation of Islamic jurisprudence. The Shafi'i tradition is
particularly accessible to English speaking Muslims due to the availability of high quality
translations of the Reliance of the Traveler.

Shafi'iyyah
Doctrines Shafi'iyyah was the third school of Islamic jurisprudence. According to the Shafi'i
school the paramount sources of legal authority are the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Of
less authority are the Ijma' of the community and thought of scholars (Ijitihad)
exercised through qiyas. The scholar must interpret the ambiguous passages of the
Qur'an according to the consensus of the Muslims, and if there is no consensus,
according to qiyas.

History The Shafi'iyyah school of Islamic law was named after Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i
(767-819). He belonged originally to the school of Medina and was also a pupil of
Malik ibn Anas (d.795), the founder of Malikiyyah. However, he came to believe in the
overriding authority of the traditions from the Prophet and identified them with the
Sunnah.
Baghdad and Cairo were the chief centres of the Shafi'iyyah. From these two cities
Shafi'i teaching spread into various parts of the Islamic world. In the tenth century
Mecca and Medina came to be regarded as the school's chief centres outside of Egypt.
In the centuries preceding the emergence of the Ottoman empire the Shafi'is had
acquired supremacy in the central lands of Islam. It was only under the Ottoman
sultans at the beginning of the sixteenth century that the Shafi'i were replaced by the
Hanafites, who were given judicial authority in Constantinople, while Central Asia
passed to the Shi'a as a result of the rise of the Safawids in 1501. In spite of these
developments, the people in Egypt, Syria and the Hidjaz continued to follow the Shafi'i
madhhab. Today it remains predominant in Southern Arabia, Bahrain, the Malay
Archipelago, East Africa and several parts of Central Asia.

Symbols The school has no symbol system.

Adherents There are no figures for the number of followers of the school. It has some adherents
in the following countries: Jordan, Palestine, Syria, the Lebanon and Yemen. It has a
large following in the following countries: Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei,
Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and among the Kurdish people.

Headquarters/ The school does not have a headquarters or main centre.


Main Centre
AL-MADH'HAB AL-SHAFI'I
Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i was the product of the Fiqh (rules and regulations) as taught by Ibn Idrees Al-Shafi'i. As in other
Islamic Schools of Thought Al-Shafi'i's Fiqh deals with tawhid, elements of faith, elements of worship(pillars of
Islam), halal and haram, ethics, dealing with other people (Mu'aamalat).

FEATURES of Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i


Al-Shafi'i School of Thought stands in-between the Maaliki and Hanafi Madh'habs in that it uses some of the ways of
Al-Maaliki Madh'hab and some of the Hanafi, i.e. less in the way of Qiyas (Analogy) and Raa'y (personal opinion). It
excels in the technique of Istin'baat ‫( اإلستنباط‬deductive reasoning) for reaching a Fiqh verdict. Like other Sunni
Madh'habs, Al-Shafi'i's do not acknowledge the Imamah of Ahlul Bayt, though all of them were supportive of Ahlul
Bayt. The Al-Shafi'i School of Thought began its popularity around 190H and picked up steam in the century that
followed.

IBN IDREES AL-SHAFI'I: ‫ابن ادريــس الشـــافـعى‬


Head of Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i: 150H-204H
Al-Shafi'i was born in 150H, the same year in which Abu Hanifa died. He was from Quraish, a
bright student with a dazzling personality. An orphan, Al-Shafi'i was cared for by his mother who
brought him to Mecca when 10 years old. He joined Hudhayl tribe for 17 years (in the desert) to learn
the flawless command of Arabic, literary or expression. In his late twenties by now, Al-Shafi'i settled
in Mecca where Al-Shafi'i was enticed by friends to study Fiqh. Thus he joined Al-Zinji, learning at his
and other scholars' hands. In his thirties Al-Shafi'i left for Medina to study at the hands of the aging
Malik Ibn Anas, where he became very close to him. Malik even took care of the living expenses of
Al-Shafi'i for 4 years until Malik died. Al-Shafi'i also studied at the hands of several of Imam
Al-Saadiq's disciples such as a) Ibn U'yainah, 2) Abu Ishaaq Al-Madani, 3) Al-Zuhri, and 4) Ibn Al-Silt
Al-Basri.
When Malik died, Al-Shafi'i had to work in Yemen to support himself financially. He was vocal against the harsh rule of
the governor of Yemen. It is said that in a move to get rid of him, the governor wrote mischievous accusation about
Al-Shafi'i to Khalifa Al-Rasheed. As a result, in 184H and along with 8 other people, Al-Shafi'i was taken to Baghdad
chained and bound in fetters. He was closely questioned by the enraged Al-Rasheed, but Al-Shafi'i's eloquence and
convincing manners were such that Al-Rasheed forgave him and set him free. The other 8 were not so lucky, for they
could not defend their innocence that well, and were decapitated as per orders of the irrational Khalifa. (The Shafi'i was
accused of loving Ahlul Bayt, since loving Ahlul Bayt was in opposition to the Khalifa policy or other Abbasi rulers, who
posed as enemy No. 1 to Ahlul Bayt.)[12]
Al-Shafi'i stayed in Baghdad where he joined the circle discussion headed by Al-Sheybani (who
was a student of Abu Yusuf and Abu Hanifa). Al-Shafi'i contested and debated with Al-Sheybani in
his circle discussions, then began his own discussion assembly, giving If'taa' (Fiqh edicts). Both he
and Al-Sheybani were active in writing books at the same time, though the Maaliki scholars at the
time paid little attention to either of them. It is said that Al-Shafi'i studied under a total of 19 scholars.
Al-Shafi'i became quite popular in Baghdad, but he visited Egypt, which was the Maaliki strong hold
at the time. In 198H, the 48 year old Al-Shafi'i left Baghdad again, for good, with an endorsement
from the Khalifa. He was accompanied by the new governor to Egypt, and stayed as a guest with an
eminent family in Egypt, whereby he started his own circle discussion and gave If'taa'. This time he
stayed in Egypt for about 6 years.
Al-Shafi'i is said to have written several books, and the book of Al-Umm in 6 volumes is contributed to him, though after
probing and research it was claimed to have been written by his disciples (Al-Bu'waiti and Al-Rabii).[13] As Al-Shafi'i
became popular in Egypt, his discussion assembly attracted more and more students. He differed with Al-Maaliki and
Hanafi in many points, and his teachings began to have a distinct flavor. Just as his popularity was on the increase, he
was beset with a long illness. At the age of 54, there came about hotly discussed difference between him and Maaliki
adherents, especially after he criticized some Maaliki doctrines or beliefs. The matter was taken to the
governor. Because of that, Al-Shafi'i was brutally attacked by the discontented Maaliki adherents, and he was hit on the
head with a big iron rod (iron-key). Al-Shafi'i lost consciousness as a consequence, probably from fractured skull, and he
died shortly after.[14]
Al-Shafi'i had a charming personality, a very attractive way of expression in pure Arabic, good
poetry, and deep knowledge of the techniques of the various schools of thought at the time. He
excelled in the criteria he put forth about Istin'baat (deductive reasoning) in reaching
verdicts. Al-Shafi'i was a devotee of Ahlul Bayt to a great extent notwithstanding the government
jaundiced eyes about anyone who declared any faith in them. The government took Ahlul Bayt as the
enemy No. 1 solely because Ahlul Bayt rejected acknowledging the legitimacy of the rulers (Khalifa)
as representing Islam. Ahlul Bayt never conformed to the policies of the rulers or their rule, thus the
enmity and the collision.

HIGHLIGHTS of Shafi'i Madh'hab


The popularity of Al-Shafi'i Madh'hab was mainly due to the consistent and hard work of the
students of Al-Shafi'i, famous among them were Al-Bu'waiti ‫ ألبـويـطي‬and Al-Muzni ‫ ألمـزني‬, and Ibn Abd
Al-A'la ‫إبن عـبد أألعلى‬. As Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i took roots, it gradually replaced the Maaliki Madh'hab
in Egypt, then spread in Palestine and Syria, completely replacing that of Aw'zaa'i. It also spread in
Iran and neighboring areas at the time. This Madh'hab was also endorsed by the governments of the
time, especially that of Ayyubi.

Shafi'i School
Imam Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi’i (150- 206 AH)

Shafi'iyyah was the third school of Islamic jurisprudence. According to the Shafi'i school the paramount sources of legal
authority are the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Of less authority are the Ijma' of the community and thought of scholars (Ijitihad)
exercised through qiyas. The scholar must interpret the ambiguous passages of the Qur'an according to the consensus of
the Muslims, and if there is no consensus, according to qiyas.

History: The Shafi'iyyah school of Islamic law was named after Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i (767-819). He belonged
originally to the school of Medina and was also a pupil of Malik ibn Anas (d.795), the founder of Malikiyyah. However, he
came to believe in the overriding authority of the traditions from the Prophet and identified them with the Sunnah.
Baghdad and Cairo were the chief centres of the Shafi'iyyah. From these two cities Shafi'i teaching spread into various
parts of the Islamic world. In the tenth century Mecca and Medina came to be regarded as the school's chief centres
outside of Egypt. In the centuries preceding the emergence of the Ottoman Empire the Shafi'is had acquired supremacy in
the central lands of Islam. It was only under the Ottoman sultans at the beginning of the sixteenth century that the Shafi'i
were replaced by the Hanafites, who were given judicial authority in Constantinople, while Central Asia passed to the
Shi'a as a result of the rise of the Safawids in 1501. In spite of these developments, the people in Egypt, Syria and the
Hidjaz continued to follow the Shafi'i madhhab. Today it remains predominant in Southern Arabia, Bahrain, the Malay
Archipelago, East Africa and several parts of Central Asia.

Adherents: There are no figures for the number of followers of the school. It has some adherents in the following
countries: Jordan, Palestine, Syria, the Lebanon and Yemen. It has a large following in the following countries: Egypt,
Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and among the Kurdish people.

Headquarters/Main Centre: The school does not have a headquarters or main centre.

Taken from: http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/islam/sunni/shaf.html

For more information:His life: http://www.sunnah.org/publication/khulafa_rashideen/shafii.htm

The Method of al Imam al Shafi'i in His Book: Al Risalah:http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/law/alalwani_usulalfiqh/ch4.html

AL-MADH'HAB AL-SHAFI'I
Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i was the product of the Fiqh (rules and regulations) as taught by Ibn Idrees Al-Shafi'i. As in other
Islamic Schools of Thought Al-Shafi'i's Fiqh deals with tawhid, elements of faith, elements of worship(pillars of
Islam), halal and haram, ethics, dealing with other people (Mu'aamalat).

FEATURES of Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i

Al-Shafi'i School of Thought stands in-between the Maaliki and Hanafi Madh'habs in that it uses some of the ways of

Al-Maaliki Madh'hab and some of the Hanafi, i.e. less in the way of Qiyas (Analogy) and Raa'y (personal opinion). It

excels in the technique of Istin'baat ‫( اإلستنباط‬deductive reasoning) for reaching a Fiqh verdict. Like other Sunni

Madh'habs, Al-Shafi'i's do not acknowledge the Imamah of Ahlul Bayt, though all of them were supportive of Ahlul

Bayt. The Al-Shafi'i School of Thought began its popularity around 190H and picked up steam in the century that

followed.
IBN IDREES AL-SHAFI'I: ‫ ابن ادريــس الشـــافـعى‬Head of Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i: 150H-204H

Al-Shafi'i was born in 150H, the same year in which Abu Hanifa died. He was from Quraish, a bright student
with a dazzling personality. An orphan, Al-Shafi'i was cared for by his mother who brought him to Mecca when
10 years old. He joined Hudhayl tribe for 17 years (in the desert) to learn the flawless command of Arabic,
literary or expression. In his late twenties by now, Al-Shafi'i settled in Mecca where Al-Shafi'i was enticed by
friends to study Fiqh. Thus he joined Al-Zinji, learning at his and other scholars' hands. In his thirties Al-Shafi'i
left for Medina to study at the hands of the aging Malik Ibn Anas, where he became very close to him. Malik
even took care of the living expenses of Al-Shafi'i for 4 years until Malik died. Al-Shafi'i also studied at the
hands of several of Imam Al-Saadiq's disciples such as a) Ibn U'yainah, 2) Abu Ishaaq Al-Madani, 3) Al-Zuhri,
and 4) Ibn Al-Silt Al-Basri.

When Malik died, Al-Shafi'i had to work in Yemen to support himself financially. He was vocal against the harsh rule of
the governor of Yemen. It is said that in a move to get rid of him, the governor wrote mischievous accusation about
Al-Shafi'i to Khalifa Al-Rasheed. As a result, in 184H and along with 8 other people, Al-Shafi'i was taken to Baghdad
chained and bound in fetters. He was closely questioned by the enraged Al-Rasheed, but Al-Shafi'i's eloquence and
convincing manners were such that Al-Rasheed forgave him and set him free. The other 8 were not so lucky, for they
could not defend their innocence that well, and were decapitated as per orders of the irrational Khalifa. (The Shafi'i was
accused of loving Ahlul Bayt, since loving Ahlul Bayt was in opposition to the Khalifa policy or other Abbasi rulers, who
posed as enemy No. 1 to Ahlul Bayt.)[12]
Al-Shafi'i stayed in Baghdad where he joined the circle discussion headed by Al-Sheybani (who was a
student of Abu Yusuf and Abu Hanifa). Al-Shafi'i contested and debated with Al-Sheybani in his circle
discussions, then began his own discussion assembly, giving If'taa' (Fiqh edicts). Both he and Al-Sheybani
were active in writing books at the same time, though the Maaliki scholars at the time paid little attention to
either of them. It is said that Al-Shafi'i studied under a total of 19 scholars.

Al-Shafi'i became quite popular in Baghdad, but he visited Egypt, which was the Maaliki strong hold at the
time. In 198H, the 48 year old Al-Shafi'i left Baghdad again, for good, with an endorsement from the
Khalifa. He was accompanied by the new governor to Egypt, and stayed as a guest with an eminent family in
Egypt, whereby he started his own circle discussion and gave If'taa'. This time he stayed in Egypt for about 6
years.

Al-Shafi'i is said to have written several books, and the book of Al-Umm in 6 volumes is contributed to him, though after
probing and research it was claimed to have been written by his disciples (Al-Bu'waiti and Al-Rabii).[13] As Al-Shafi'i
became popular in Egypt, his discussion assembly attracted more and more students. He differed with Al-Maaliki and
Hanafi in many points, and his teachings began to have a distinct flavor. Just as his popularity was on the increase, he
was beset with a long illness. At the age of 54, there came about hotly discussed difference between him and Maaliki
adherents, especially after he criticized some Maaliki doctrines or beliefs. The matter was taken to the
governor. Because of that, Al-Shafi'i was brutally attacked by the discontented Maaliki adherents, and he was hit on the
head with a big iron rod (iron-key). Al-Shafi'i lost consciousness as a consequence, probably from fractured skull, and he
died shortly after.[14]
Al-Shafi'i had a charming personality, a very attractive way of expression in pure Arabic, good poetry, and
deep knowledge of the techniques of the various schools of thought at the time. He excelled in the criteria he
put forth about Istin'baat (deductive reasoning) in reaching verdicts. Al-Shafi'i was a devotee of Ahlul Bayt to a
great extent notwithstanding the government jaundiced eyes about anyone who declared any faith in
them. The government took Ahlul Bayt as the enemy No. 1 solely because Ahlul Bayt rejected acknowledging
the legitimacy of the rulers (Khalifa) as representing Islam. Ahlul Bayt never conformed to the policies of the
rulers or their rule, thus the enmity and the collision.

HIGHLIGHTS of Shafi'i Madh'hab


The popularity of Al-Shafi'i Madh'hab was mainly due to the consistent and hard work of the students of
Al-Shafi'i, famous among them were Al-Bu'waiti ‫ ألبـويـطي‬and Al-Muzni ‫ ألمـزني‬, and Ibn Abd Al-A'la ‫إبن عـبد‬
‫أألعلى‬. As Al-Madh'hab Al-Shafi'i took roots, it gradually replaced the Maaliki Madh'hab in Egypt, then spread
in Palestine and Syria, completely replacing that of Aw'zaa'i. It also spread in Iran and neighboring areas at
the time. This Madh'hab was also endorsed by the governments of the time, especially that of Ayyubi.

Shafi’i School of Thought (Al-Madhab al-Shafi’i)


From the time of his childhood, Imam Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi’i (150- 206 AH) immersed himself in the ideas of Imam
Malik. He was inspired deeply by him and nearly memorized al-Muwatta. Eventually he procured a letter of
recommendation from the governor of Mecca to the governor of Madinah enabling him to meet with Imam Malik, whose
status was very high in Madinah during the Abbasid time. There he became a student of Imam Malik until the death of
Imam Malik about nine years later.
At that time, Imam Shafi’i fell into poverty and was obliged to return to Mecca.34 There, some individuals concerned about
his condition, appealed to the governor of Yemen to find him an official position, and thus Imam al-Shafi’i was made the
governor of the state of Najran in Yemen.
However, during the rule of Harun al-Rashid, Imam al-Shafi’i was accused of leaning towards the Alawiyin35 and the
school of Ahlul Bayt, and so he was brought to Baghdad, handcuffed. While he was being held as a prisoner, one of his
friends, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaybani (who was also one of the primary advocates of the Hanafi school of thought
for the Abbasid) interceded on his behalf and testified that al- Shafi’i was not on the side of Ahlul Bayt and was completely
supportive of the Abbasid government. This testimony resulted in the release of al- Shafi’i, and as a result, he became
very close to al-Shaybani and studied under him, learning the opinions (araa) of Abu Hanifah in ra’i (opinion) and qiyas
(analogy), both of which Abu Hanifah was well known for.
However, the two differed regarding Ahlul Bayt - al-Shafi’i was in fact sympathetic towards their cause, while al-Shaybani
was not.36
Out of these two influences: the Maliki school (which can also be referred to as the school of athar (text)) and the Hanafi
school, was born the Shafi’i school of thought. In 199 AH, Imam al-Shafi’i moved to Egypt along with Ibn Abdullah al-
Abbas, the governor of Egypt. There, his school slowly began to spread. Unfortunately, because he differed on some
points with Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi’i incurred the anger of many of the adherents of the Maliki school in Egypt, and
they eventually rioted and killed him.
It is worth noting that al-Bukhari and al-Muslim did not narrate any hadith from al-Shafi’i - not because he was inferior in
knowledge, but because he had inclinations towards the school of Ahlul Bayt. He said that Ali b. Ali Talib had the right to
leadership at the time over Mu’awiyah and his companions,37 who were the group that began the assault on Islam. He
displayed love for Ahlul Bayt and the family of the Prophet and proclaimed, “If anyone who loves the Ahlul Bayt is a rafidi
(a rejecter of the three caliphates) then let the whole world witness that I am the first rafidi.” Such statements not only led
to his arrest as mentioned before, but also resulted in silencing his books of hadith.

Imam Shafie (Abu Abdullah Muhammad Idris Al Shafie) – 150H to 204H


 Interesting Facts:
 Renowned Arabic Poet – Well known among Bedouins as a beautiful orator of the Arabic language
 Memorised the Quran at age of 7 and the Al Mu’atta by Imam Malik by the age of 10 – Imam Malik
was so impressed by this that he took and sponsored young Imam Shafie’s studies at his school in
Madinah
 Expert in both Maliki and Hanafi school of thought – Allows Imam Shafie to have a more balanced
outlook for his school of thought
 Life:
 Born in Gaza, Palestine in 150H
 Studied in Madinah, Saudi Arabia under Imam Malik
 Worked in Najran, Yemen as a Judge
 Captured and brought to Baghdad, Iraq to face charges but later impressed Caliph Harun Ar Rashid and
was appointed as Royal Adviser. Studied under Imam Muhammad Al Shaybani
 Moved to Cairo, Egypt to teach and developed the Usul Fiqh which is later expanded as the Shafie
School of Thought, which became the second most popular school of thought after Imam Hanifah
 Direct Teachers:
 Imam Malik (Madinah) – Founder of the Maliki School of Thought
 Imam Muhammad Al Shaybani (Baghdad) – Direct Student of Imam Hanifah of the Hanafi School of
Thought
 Notable Students:
 Imam Hanbali – Founder of the Hanbali School of Thought
 Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh – Teacher to Imam Al Bukhari, foremost compiler of Hadith Sahih
 Approach of Usul Fiqh:
 Ijthihad based on 4 main sources of Fiqh i.e. Quran, Sunnah/Hadith, Ijma’, Qiyas
 Considered as part of Ahl Al Hadith (School of Traditions)
 Major Books:
 Kitab Al Umm – Compilation of codified legal opinions by Imam Shafie
 Al Risalah Usul Al Fiqh – Outlined the 4 main sources of Fiqh and Introduced clear methodology for
Usul Fiqh

Imam Ash-Shafi’i

ِِ ‫الر ِح ِيم‬
َّ ‫من‬
ِ ‫الر ْح‬
َّ ِ‫ِب ْس ِم هللا‬
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Life of Imam Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) (d. 204 A.H./ 820 C.E.)

Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shafi’i was a descended from the Hashimi family of the Quaraish tribe to which the Holy Prophet (SAW)
belonged.

He was born in Gaza, Palestine, and was raised in Makkah, his parents’ home town. He memorized the holy Qur’an while he was still a young child.
When he reached fifteen, his knowledge was so thorough, Muslim Ibn Khalid Al-Zinji, the Mufti of Makkah, told him: “O Abu Abdullah, give fatawa
(religious rulings), for by Allah it is time for you to do so!”

Al-Shafi’i traveled extensively for the sake of spreading knowledge. He went to Madinah, met Imam Malik, memorized many ahadith, and learned the
Muwatta of Imam Maliki. He also visited Iraq twice. By the second time he arrived there, he was so famous for his knowledge, that many Iraqi scholars
followed him and rejected the innovations and deviations they espoused before. He then left for Egypt where he stayed until he died in 204 Hijri. There
he taught the jurisprudence of the Qur’an and Sunnah. He also taught linguistics, poetry and genealogy, and debated people who were fanatically
following their madhahib (schools of thought). Most of them were of the Maliki school of thought. They saw in him a wise and pious man so acquainted
with their madhahib but without any fanaticism. Through him, they were able to see their flaws, and learned to seek the truth wherever it was.

But what earned Al-Shafi’i the title of the revivalist of the second century was that he was the one who put the fundamentals of jurisprudence (usul Al-
Fiqh). Scholars before him used to gather the ahadith they heard in their countries, and when a hadith seemed in contradiction with another, they used
their personal judgment to decide which one is the most acceptable.

Then at the time of Al-Shafi’i, the Prophet’s ahadith were gathered from different countries, and the disagreements among the scholars increased until
Al-Shafi’i wrote his famous book, Al-Risalah, which is considered the foundation of Islamic jurisprudence. In it, Al-Shafi’i relied on the literal meaning of
the Qur’an, then on the authentic Sunnah. He strongly argued for the acceptance ahadith provided they were authentic. He considered following and
applying the Sunnah as equally important as following the Qur’an. He supported the use of consensus and discouraged the use of one’s personal
judgment without relying on the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the consensus or the juristic reasoning by analogy (Qiyas). One of the things that distinguished Al-
Shafi’i from other scholars was that he himself wrote the fundamentals of his school of thought, as well as other books that are considered the body of
his jurisprudence.

Al-Shafi’i revival movement had many achievements:


He brought people back to follow the Sunnah after a lot of confusion had spread among them.

He was committed to relying on evidence, and rejecting blind imitation. He said: “If a hadith is proved authentic, then it becomes my belief.” He also
said: “If you see that my words contradict the hadith, then apply the hadith and disregard my words.”

When he saw the opinions of some scholars before him were not based on the Qur’an or the Sunnah, and had no foundations, he worked toward
putting the fundamentals of jurisprudence, and wrote down his famous book, Al-Rissalah.

He was the first to distinguish and separate between the application of discretion in legal matters (Istihsan), and the juristic reasoning by analogy
(Qiyas).

He did not confine himself to the knowledge of hadith or fiqh, but he was also well versed in Arabic linguistics, poetry, and genealogy. Al-Karabissi, a
famous scholar of the time of Al-Shafi’i said: “I have seen nothing nobler than Al-Shafi’i’s study sessions. People of hadith used to attend them as well
as people of jurisprudence and poetry. Most of the well-known scholars in poetry and linguistics used to visit him, and they would listen to his discourse
on all these disciplines.”

Baghdad in Iraq and Cairo in Egypt were the chief centres of Imam Shafiee’s activities. It is from these two cities that teachings of the Shafi-ee school
spread . During the time of Sultan Salahuddeen (Saladin), the Shafi-ee Madhhab was the most prominent in Egypt, and to this day the Imam of the Al-
Azhar Masjid is always a Shafi-ee and the Shafi-ee Madhhab is industriously studied along with that of the other three schools of the Sunnis.

During his life Imam Shafi-ee also suffered from political intrigues. For instance, after studying under Imam Malik in Medina he was sent to fill an office
in Yemen, where he was accused of political involvement which resulted in his arrest.

He was taken as prisoner to Haroun al-Rasheed. The Khalifah however found him innocent and the Imam was honourably released.

Imam Shafiee died in the Year 204 A.H./ 820 C.E. and was laid to rest in Egypt

Major Works:

Kitab al-Risalam Fi-Usul al-Fiqh commonly known as Al-Risala


Kitab al-Umm

One of his Sayings:


Imam Ghazali in his Ihya quotes Imam Shaf’ee as saying:

“I used not to take food with satisfaction for the last 16 years, as a full stomach makes the body heavy, makes the heart hard, increases sleep and
renders a man lazy for Worship”

IMAM AL-SHAFI’I – THE FATHER OF USUL AL-FIQH


In the study of fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence, different schools have developed over time. These schools were founded by
the greatest legal minds in Islamic history, and expanded upon by their successors in their schools. Each one of these
imams added a unique and new dimension to the understanding of Islamic law.

For the third of the four great imams, Imam Muhammad al-Shafi’i, his great contribution was the codifying and
organization of a concept known as usul al-fiqh – the principles behind the study of fiqh. During his illustrious career, he
learned under some of the greatest scholars of his time, and expanded on their ideas, while still holding close to the
Quran and Sunnah as the main sources of Islamic laws. Today, his madhab (school of thought), is the second most
popular on earth, after the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa.
Early Life

Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi’i was born in 767 (the year of Imam Abu Hanifa’s death) in Gaza, Palestine. His father died
when he was very young, and thus his mother decided to move to Makkah, where many members of her family (who were
originally from Yemen) were settled. Despite being in a very bad economic situation, his mother insisted that he embark
on a path towards scholarship, especially considering the fact that he was from the family of the Prophet Muhammad ‫ﷺ‬.
Thus, as a young man, he was trained in Arabic grammar, literature, and history. Because of his family’s financial
situation, his mother could not afford proper writing materials for the young al-Shafi’i. He was thus forced to take notes in
his classes on old animal bones. Despite this, he managed to memorize the Quran at the age of seven. Afterwards, he
began to immerse himself in the study of fiqh, and memorized the most popular book of fiqh at the time, Imam
Malik’s Muwatta, which he memorized by age ten.
Studies Under Imam Malik

At the age of thirteen, he was urged by the governor of Makkah to travel to Madinah and study under Imam Malik himself.
Imam Malik was very impressed with the intelligence and analytical mind of the young al-Shafi’i, and provided him with
financial assistance to ensure that he remains in the study of fiqh.
In Madinah, al-Shafi’i was completely immersed in the academic environment of the time. In addition to Imam Malik, he
studied under Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani, one of Imam Abu Hanifa’s foremost students. This familiarized al-
Shafi’i with differing viewpoints on the study of fiqh, and he greatly benefited from the exposure to various approaches to
fiqh. When Imam Malik died in 795, Imam Shafi’i was known to be one of the world’s most knowledgeable scholars, even
though he was in his 20s.
His Travels

Not long after Malik’s death, Imam Shafi’i was invited to Yemen to work as a judge for the Abbasid governor. His stay
there would not last long however. The problem was that as an academic, Imam Shafi’i was not ready for the politically-
charged environment he found himself in. Because he insisted on being uncompromisingly fair and honest, numerous
factions within the government made it their aim to remove him from his post.

A map of the distribution of madhab’s worldwide today. The Shafi’imadhab is in blue.


In 803, he was arrested and carried in chains to Baghdad, the seat of the Abbasid Caliphate, on trumped-up charges of
supporting Shia rebels in Yemen. When he met with the caliph of the time, Harun al-Rashid, Imam Shafi’i gave an
impassioned and eloquent defense, which greatly impressed the caliph. Imam Shafi’i was not just released, but Harun al-
Rashid even insisted that Imam Shafi’i stay in Baghdad and help spread Islamic knowledge in the region. Al-Shafi’i agreed
and smartly decided to stay away from politics for the remainder of his life.
While in Iraq, he took the opportunity to learn more about the Hanafi madhab. He was reunited with his old teacher,
Muhammad al-Shaybani, under whom he mastered the intricate details of the madhab. Although he never met Imam Abu
Hanifa, he had great respect for the originator of the study of fiqh, and his school of thought.

Throughout his 30s and 40s, Imam al-Shafi’i traveled throughout Syria and the Arabian Peninsula, giving lectures and
compiling a large group of students that studied under him. Among them was Imam Ahmad, the originator of the fourth
school of fiqh, the Hanbali madhab. Eventually, he finally went back to Baghdad, but found out that the new caliph, al-
Ma’mun, held some very unorthodox beliefs about Islam, and was known to persecute those who disagreed with him. As
a result, in 814, Imam Shafi’i made his final move, this time to Egypt, where he was able to polish off his legal opinions
and finally organize the study of usul al-fiqh.
Al-Risala

During the 700s and the early part of the 800s, there were two competing philosophies about how Islamic law should be
derived. One philosophy was promoted by ahl al-hadith, meaning “the people of Hadith”. They insisted on absolute
reliance on the literal interpretation of Hadith and the impermissibility of using reason as a means to derive Islamic law.
The other group was known as ahl al-ra’i, meaning “the people of reason”. They also believed in using Hadith of course,
but they also accepted reason as a major source of law. The Hanafi and Maliki schools of fiqh were mostly considered to
have been ahl al-ra’i at this time.

Al-Risala of Imam Shafi’i


Having studied both schools of fiqh, as well as having a vast knowledge of authentic hadith, Imam al-Shafi’i sought to
reconcile the two philosophies and introduce a clear methodology for fiqh – known as usul al-fiqh. His efforts towards this
end resulted in his seminal work, Al-Risala.
Al-Risala was not meant to be a book that discussed particular legal issues and al-Shafi’i’s opinion on them. Nor was it
meant to be a book of rules and Islamic law. Instead, it was meant to provide a reasonable and rational way to derive
Islamic law. In it, Imam al-Shafi’ioutlines four main sources from which Islamic law can be derived:
1. The Quran

2. The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad

3. Consensus among the Muslim community

4. Analogical deduction, known as Qiyas

For each one of these sources (as well a several more sources that he deems not as important), he goes in depth in
his Risala, explaining how they are to be interpreted and reconciled with each other. The framework he provides for
Islamic law became the main philosophy of fiqh that was accepted by all subsequent scholars of Islamic law. Even the
Hanafi and Maliki schools were adapted to work within the framework that al-Shafi’iprovided.
The contributions of Imam al-Shafi’i in the field of usul al-fiqh were monumental. His ideas prevented the fraying of the
study of fiqh into hundreds of different, competing schools by providing a general philosophy that should be adhered to.
But it also provided enough flexibility for there to still be different interpretations, and thus madhabs. Although he probably
did not intend it, his followers codified his legal opinions (which were laid out in another book, Kitab al-Umm) after his
death in 820, into the Shafi’i madhab. Today, the Shafi’imadhab is the second largest madhab after the Hanafi madhab,
and is very popular in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, East Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Language of Imam Shafi’i
Besides being a giant of a scholar in the field of fiqh, Imam Shafi’i was noted for his eloquence and his knowledge of the
Arabic language. During his travels, Bedouins, who were known to be the best-versed in the Arabic language, would
attend his lectures not to gain knowledge of fiqh, but just to marvel as his use of language and his mastery of poetry. One
of his companions, Ibn Hisham, noted that “I never heard him [Imam Shafi’i] use anything other than a word which,
carefully considered, one would not find a better word in the entire Arabic language.”

IMAM SHAFI’I is one of the four greats imams whose legacy on judicial matters and teachings led to the Shafi’i School
of Fiqh (jurisprudence).

Imam Shafi’i was born in the Palestinian city of Gaza in 767 CE. Named Mohammad Ibn Idris upon birth, Imam Shafi’i
descended from the Hashemi family of the Quraish tribe to which the last and final Messenger Prophet Mohammad (peace
be upon him) belonged.

Imam Shafi’i’s ancestral chain consists of the following links : Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Idris Ibn Abbas Ibn
Uthman Ibn Shafi’i Ibn Saa’ib Ibn Ubayd Ibn Abd Yazeed Ibn Hashim Ibn Muttalib Ibn Abd Munaf Qurayshi Muttalibi
Hashimi (R.A).

Early life

The father of Imam Shafi’i died in Ash-Sham while he was still a child. After the death of his father, Imam Shafi’i mother
moved to Makkah, when Imam Shafi’i was only two year old. Imam Shafi’i’s maternal family roots were from Yemen
and there were also some family members in Makkah, where his mother believed and hoped that he would be taken good
care of.

Imam Shafi’i spent his formative years in Makkah and acquired religious education in the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
In Makkah, Imam Shafi’i studied under Mufti Muslim Ibn Ibn-Khalid Az-.

He grew up amongst the Banu Huzayl tribe in Makakh which in conformity with many Arab tribes of that era were very
well versed in the art of poetry, a tradition which was passed on to Imam Shafi’i who also became very proficient in it.

His early education was marked by poverty because of which his mother could not afford to pay the fees for his education.
But his teacher was so impressed by his abilities that he took him on as a formal student on a complimentary no-fees
basis.

His mother could not buy him a paper due to her poor circumstances, so the young Mohammad Ibn Idris would use bones,
stones and palm leaves for writing his assignments.

But these deprivations were not to keep him from acquisition of knowledge.

The young Mohammad Ibn Idris not only memorized the entire text but also the associated context and etymological
history of the various verses of the whole Qur’an by the age of 10 and when he was 15 he had accumulated such depth
and thoroughness of Islamic knowledge that the Mufti of Makkah of that time authorized him to issue fatwas (religious
edicts).

Chronologically, Imam Mohammad Ibn Idris was born nearly 57 years after the birth of Imam Malik, hence, the
monumental work on Hadith Mu’atta of Imam Malik was already in existence, which also Imam Mohammad Ibn Idris
learnt along with the Qur’an at an early age as mentioned above.

Theology wasn’t his only forte, but Imam Shafi’i also lectured on poetry, linguistics and genealogy and his students came
from a varied array of disciplines.

His early teachers included his uncle and Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah Makki. His other Illustrious teachers include amongst
others, Muslim Ibn Khalid Zanji, Haatim Ibn Ismail, Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Yahya, Hishaam Ibn Yusuf Sinani,
Marwan Ibn Mu’aawiyah, Muhammad Ibn Ismail, Dawood, Ibn Abdul Rahman, Ismail Ibn Ja’far and Hisham Ibn Yusuf.
His most renowned teacher was to be his predecessor Imam Malik, the originator of Malikism, one of the four leading
schools of thought in Islam.

Thus, Imam Shafi’i not only learnt from Imam Malik’s very famous book Mu’atta at an early age, but as reported by
some, that he also had the privilege when he was in the city of Madinah, to have studied directly at the hands of the master
of that school of thought thereby further deepening and widening his understanding of the matters contained in that
historical work.

It is a matter of supreme achievement that the student Mohammad Ibn Idris then went on to give rise to his own school of
thought which is now popularly known as the Shafi’i School of Thought and thus stands shoulder to shoulder with his
teacher Imam Malik in this respect.

Notable contribution

Imam Shafi’i’s most notable contribution to the academic body of Islamic knowledge is the establishment of the sound
foundations of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence formalizing them in his famous work called Al-Risala regarded by
many as the most important academic work on the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. In the minds of some people he is
thought of as a revivalist of his era.

His research process started with the literal meaning of a verse of the Qur’an and then moving on to related Ahadith
(traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pubs)) and then expanding into a consensus of opinions of all the assembled learned
people (Ijma) applying reasoning by analogy (Qiyas).

He is also credited with having pioneered the idea of making a distinction between judicial application of discretion in
legal matters (Istihsan) and pure juristic reasoning by analogy (Qiyas).

Notable generosity

When Imam Shafi’i moved to Makkah as a seasoned scholar in his later years he had nearly 10,000 dinars with him which
was a huge amount of money in those days. However, on the outskirts of the city he came across a group of people who
were very poor and destitute which affected him so much that he distributed that entire some of money amongst them to
the extent that he had to borrow some money in Makkah for his own expenses.

Generosity was a notable feature of the character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and in the month of Ramadan, he would
excel himself in it. Imam Shafi’i seems to have adopted this from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) diligently and gave clothes,
food and money extensively especially during Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i kept the company of learned people till the very end of his life, and he is reported to have spent his last days
in the company of Abdullah Ibnul Hakam a well-known scholar of his time. He is thought to have died on a Friday in the
Islamic calendar month of Rajab aged 54 in the year 204 A.H. (820 AD). The governor of Egypt of that time
acknowledged his academic excellence by not only just attending his funeral but actually leading those prayers. His last
resting place is thought to be at the foot hills of a mount Mukatram.

Shafi’i School of Fiqh


6/22/2011

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Introduction of Shafi’i School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)

Fiqh Shafi’i is the third Fiqhi school of Islamic Jurisprudence attributed to Imam Shafi’i. Imam Shafi’i, on one
hand, is a student of Imam Malik, he learnt the Fiqh Maliki and Hijazi thoughts from him. On the other hand,
he attended Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani and learnt Fiqh Hanafi and Iraqi style of Fiqh. Apart from
having acquired these two Fiqhs, he directly benefited from other Fiqhi trends and the Imams. So, he benefited
from Umar bin Abu Salma, a disciple of Imam Awzai whose Fiqh was prevalent in Syria. In Egypt, the Fiqh of
Imam Lais bin Sa’d was followed so he benefited from his disciple Yahya bin Hassaan. Thus, the Fiqh Shafi’i
accumulated all the virtues of all known Fiqhi schools and trends. Being a towering Islamic Jurist, Imam Shafi’i
was a great Muahddith. He had aquired the narrations of the Muhaddith of Makka Sufyan bin Uainah and the
narrations of Muhaddith of Medina Imam Malik bin Anas. The Fiqh of Imam Shafi’i was founded at Makka.
Then, passing from Medina, Iraq and Baghdad it arrived in Egypt. There it reached its peaks. As the Fiqh Hanafi
is greatly impressed by the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood and Hadhrat Ali and the Fiqh Maliki has
heavily benefited from the opinions of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, the Fiqh Shafi’i has drew
inspiration from the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas.

Imam Shafi’i

The name of Imam Shafi’i is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idrees. His family tree joins that of the Prophet at
his ninth great-grandfather Muttalib bin Abd Munaf. He was a member of Quraish tribe. He was born in 150
Hijra in Gaza city of Palestine. This was not his native place but his father happened to visit that place and
expired there. At the age of two, his mother took him to his ancestral home at Makka. He learnt the eloquence
and nuance of Arabic language in the tribe of Huzail and memorized the Holy Quran. Then, he associated
himself with Muslim bin Khalid Zanji, the Sheikh and Mufti of Haram, and completed his education. Then, he
came in Medina to Imam Malik to learn the Quran and Hadith. He had already memorized the Muwatta of Imam
Malik. Imam Malik was very impressed by him. Imam Shafi’i was not financially well so he looked for a source
of income. Eventually he was given the governorship of Najran. He went Najran and discharged his duties with
much honesty and trustworthiness. Haroon-ur-Rashid was then Caliph and he was disturbed on the account of
Alvis’ uprisings. Somebody complained him that Imam Sha’ee tends to the Alvis. As a result, he was
summoned to Baghdad and later discharged after clarification and some recommendations. Utilizing his
presence in Iraq, he joined the circle of Imam Muhammad and learnt Hanafi Fiqh. He held discussions with
Imam Muhammad and studied the books of Hanafi Fiqh. Then, he returned to Hijaz and stayed there for nine
more years. In this span of time, he busied himself in learning and teaching. He used to meet the selected
scholars of Islamic world who visited Makka at the time of Hajj. He would narrate from them as they narrate
from him. Again, he visited Baghdad. Till this time his method of derivation and interpretation had been set
up. So, many scholars joined him and he dictated some of his books to them. These opinions are called ‘Old
Maslak’ or Iraqi Views. After about two years, he left Baghdad and till that time there came up a team of
scholars who followed his Fiqh. Thrice, he returned to Baghdad and after a few months’ stay proceeded to
Egypt. Here, he reviewed his previous opinions and in many matters he retracted and adopted new opinions. In
Egypt, he authored his new books and with the power of his interpretations spread his school of Islamic
Jurisprudence . Previously, the Maliki School of Fiqh was prevailing in Egypt, but with the advent of Imam
Shafi’i his Fiqhi School dominated there. The new books he compiled in Egypt and the new ideas which he
expressed there are called ‘New Maslak’. He died in Egypt in 204 H and was buried therein.

Characteristics & Distinguishing Qualities

Imam Shafi’i was luckiest among all the Imams that he was bestowed ‘comprehensiveness’. Due to stay in
Hijaz. He gathered a pile of Ahadith and traditions. Makka was his native place; he attended Imam Malik in
Medina. Then, he explored Iraq and Egypt. Thus, he became a great scholar of Hadith in his age. In the field of
Fiqh, he learnt the derivation style of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas in Makka and that of Hadhrat Umar and
Abdullah bin Umar in Medina from Imam Malik. Then, in Iraq he learnt Hanafi Fqih from Imam Muhammad, in
Syria he learnt the Fiqh of Imam Awza’ee and in Egypt the Fiqh of Imam Lais bin Sa’d. Besides, he was
conferred with a tremendous power of imagination and accumulation and best of interpretative styles. So he
absorbed the virtues of all the Fiqhi schools and avoided the positions that were not up to his standard. Till his
age, the compilation of Hadith had begun and he himself had collected Ahadith exploring different cities. He
observed that the other schools of Fiqh have applied analogy in matters about which Hadith is found so he
extracted rulings according to Hadith. So, the tendency to support and defend Hadith overpowered him. The
scholars of Fiqh in Iraq had conditioned that only the Ahadith will be accepted that are narrated by a number
of people, and the scholars of Medina were of the opinion that only the Ahadith will be accepted that match
the practice of Medina citizens. He opposed them and did not allow widening the area of analogy.

The Fiqh Shafi’i bear this characteristic that the founder of this Fiqh himself compiled a big part of his School.
Thus, he recorded the rules and regulations and the derivation method of his Fiqhi School in the shape of a
book. And, with his best power of interpretation he proved his methods and styles. The other distinct feature
of this Fiqh is that the founder himself spread and publicized his Fiqh traveling in different cities. This was the
reason that great Islamic scholars were among his followers and students. Great scholars of Hadith and
compilers of Hadith books tended to this Fiqh and genius personalities of Islamic history followed it.

Principle Books

Imam Shafi’i himself authored the principle books of his Fiqh. His master piece of work is "Al-Umm' which he
wrote in Baghdad and made some modifications while his stay in Egypt. His second famous book is 'Al-Risalah'
that deals with the rules of derivation and inference. It is the first book on the subject. This book contains the
complete compiled principles of Fiqh Shafi’i. There are some other books that are attributed to him but the
aforementioned two books are well known. The other significant books on Fiqh Shafi’i are 'Mukhtasar' of Imam
Buwaiti (student of Imam Shafi’i) and the book of Imam Muzani. Among his distinguished students are Rabi bin
Sulaiman Muradi who narrated and propagated his books, Ismail bin Yahya Muzani whose books are
considered base for Fiqh Shafi’i and Yusuf bin Yahya Buwaiti. The trios benefited from him in Egypt. His
students in Iraq were Ibrahim bin Khalid Kalbi, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hasan bin Muhammad bin Sabbah bin
Zafrani and Ahmad bin Yahya bin Abdul Aziz Baghdadi.

Derivation Method

Imam Shafi’i has described his derivation method in his book 'Al-Umm' in detail. Concisely, it is that first of all
he looked in to the Glorious Quran and took the outer meaning unless there is a proof that the outer meaning
is not intended. Then, he would turn to Hadith. In Hadith, he used to take Khabr Wahid (traditions narrated by
one to one person). Then, he would opt for Ijma (consensus) and finally he would go for analogy.

====================================
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
achers of Al-Shafi’i were Muslim b. K
̲h
̲alid al-Zand

̲i (d.
179/795 or 180/796), Sufyan b. ʿUyayna (d. 198/813), Said b. Salim, Fudayl b. İyad
among others. At the age of fifteen (or eighteen), his master gave Al-Shafi’i permission
to issue judicial decisions (fatwas), and when he reached twenty, his inexhaustible
passion for learning led him to travel to Madinah. It was here that he met Imam Malik
who is know as the founder of the Maliki school. Before introducing himself to Imam
Malik, he memorized the Muwaṭṭa, Malik’s principle work. This gesture impressed Imam
Malik greatly and resulted in Al-Shafi’i acceptance as his pupil. For a period of nine
years, Al-Shafi’i remained in Madinah until Malik’s death.
After the death of Malik, Al-Shafi’i returned to Makka. Soon later, the governor of
Yemen, while paying a visit to Mecca, met al-Shafi’i, discerned his unique abilities, and
offered him an administrative post in Yemen. In Yemen, Al-Shafi’i was soon to become
involved in local controversies, which led not only to to be dismissed from his post but
also to be accused of being a follower of accusations that he was a follower of the Zaydi
İmam Yaḥya ibn Abd Allah, an adversary of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad.
Although the other nine co-defendants were executed, Al-Shafi’i was forgiven by the
Caliph because of the strength of his argument, his intelligence and his re-affirmation of
loyalty to the Abbasid Dynasty. During the two years he lived Baghdad, he met
Muhammad b. Al-Hasan ash-Shaybani who was one of Abu Ḥanifa’s the most important
pupils. His contact and discussions with ash-Shaybani increased and by which he
strengthened his knowledge. Moreover, Al-Shafi’i had the opportunity to study the books
of ash-Shaybani and other Iraqi scholars in Baghdad. After his travels, he returned to
Makka. During these travels, in every place he visited, he arranged meetings and
organized study circles attended by many including great scholars such as Abu Thawr, al
Za’farani, al Karabisi. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal also attended his circle and studied with
Al-Shafi’i.
The last station for Al-Shafi’i was Egypt where he remained until his death. He was
welcomed with great honor and respect by the people and scholars of Egypt due to his
being a pupil of Imam Malik and due to his reputation in fıqh. (His stay in Egypt) In
Egypt, which constitutes a cutting line between his previous opinions (al-qadim) and new
ones (al-jadid), he began a critical analysis of Malik's legal opinions and devoted all his
time to teaching and dictating his works to his students. Al-Shafi’i developed two
approaches known as "The Old" and "The New" in juristic terminology, corresponding
respectively to his stays in Iraq and Egypt.
Al-Shafi’i had a lot of talented students, some of whom become prominent masters.
Before he came to Egypt, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Karabisi, al-Za`farani, and Abu Thawr,
were to be counted among his best students and after traveling to Egypt, al-Buwayṭi (d.
845), and al-Muzani (d. 877), al-Rabi al-Muradi (d. 880) who transcribed Al-Shafi’i 's
lectures after which he would correct the text when it was read aloud to him, were to
become his best pupils.
He died at the age of 54 in 204 AH (820 AD) in Cairo, Egypt, after a short illness. He
was buried in the tomb of Banu Abd al-Ḥakam at the foot of the Muḳaṭṭam Hills. He
married twice, and had three children, two sons, Abu Ut̲ h
̲man (who became ḳaḍi of
Aleppo) and Abu ‘l-Ḥasan, and one daughter, Faṭima. Saladin built a madrassa and a
shrine on the site of his tomb. Saladin's brother Afdal built a mausoleum for him in 1211
after the defeat of the Fatamids. It still remains a site where people today come and
petition for justice.
Al-Shafi‘i developed the science of fiqh combining the Quran and hadith with human
reasoning to provide a basis in law. Through a systematization of shari'a he provided a
basis for Islamic legal systems. The madhhabs follow their traditions within the
framework that Shafi'i had established. In turn Al-Shafi‘i gives his name to one of these
legal schools the Shafi'i school - which is the dominant madhab in Indonesia, Malaysia,
Egypt, Somalia, Yemen as well as Sri Lanka and southern parts of India.
He authored many books, some of which are as follows: The Kitab al-Umm (The
Fundamental/Principal Book) is a masterpiece in this area that gathers almost all of ash-
Shafi’s thought. Al-risalah fi uṣul al-fiqh (Treatise on the Sources of the Law), was
originally written in Iraq, however, it was revised and rewritten during his stay in Egypt.
Al-risalah fi uṣul al-fiqh is his best known book and examines the principles of
jurisprudence, it is also an example of an approach to ethics that focuses on divine
commands. Kitab al-Hujja, Musnad ash-Shafi'i, al-Ikhtilaf Ma’a Malik, especially
Ijma’ of the people of Madinah, Ahkam al Qur’an, Ikhtilaf al Hadith, Ibtal al
Istihsan, Jima’al ‘Ilm, and al-Qiyas , al-Ikhtilaf between Ali and Abdullah b. Mesud, Al-
Imla.
Al-Shafi'i indicates that usul al-fiqh is rests on the faith that God, the creator and judge of
all things, provides guidance that makes for the happiness of all creatures in this life and
the next. The task left up to human beings is to learn to read these signs from which
guidance is given to humanity. As a consequence he developed a new proposal for usul
al-fiqh, by which the authority of the Prophet and of texts reporting his words and deeds
would be enhanced. This in turn increased their importance as a source for interpreting
and utilising commandments in the quran. This makes the divine revelation from the
Qur'an more accessible and applicable to issues arising in everyday life. Al-Shafi'i states
that the only sunna applicable for use as guidance is the sunna of the Prophet. Al-Shafi'i
defends this view in a section on the obligation of humanity to accept the Prophet's
authority. Shafi'i argued that it could not contradict the Qur'an: "It is evident that the
[Prophet's] sunna never contradicts the Qur'an, and that his sunna—even in the absence of
legislation in the Book—is binding...in accordance with God's command to obey his
Apostle."
1
Not only could the Sunnah not contradict the Qur'an, it could also not abrogate
it, that is, supplant it.
2
God has placed His Apostle [in relation to] His religion, His commands and His
Book - in the position made clear by Him as a distinguishing standard of His
religion by imposing he duty of obedience to him as well as prohibiting
disobedience to him. “He has made his merits evident by associating belief in His
Apostle with belief in Him”. He cites several Qur'anic texts in support of this (for
example, Quran 4:169 and Quran 24:62), to the effect that "Thus [God] prescribed
that the perfect beginning of faith, to which all other things are subordinates, shall
be belief in Him and then in His Apostle. For if a person believes only in Him, not
in His Apostle, the name of the perfect faith will never apply to him until he
believes in His Apostle together with Him". As the Islamic declaration of faith
(the shahada) puts it, “there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger
of God.”
3
According to Al-Shafi’i one makes judgments when there is no textual evidence on the
basis of consensus. This consensus should be reached and should be the result of the
judgments and practices of the Muslim community as a whole. This differs from other
madhabs or earlier practices as it does not see consensus as the product of agreement
among scholars. For al-Shafi'i it seems to be a simple acceptance of the opinion of the
majority of Muslims.
Tuba Erkoç
(Marmara University)
Laurens de Rooij
Durham University
1
MUHAMMAD IBN IDRIS AL-SHAFI’I, Al-Risalafi Usul Al-Fiqh: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic
Jurisprudence, Trans., Intro., and Notes, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1987), p. 167.
2
Ibid. p. 126.
3

Al-Shafi (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312293020_Al-


Shafi [accessed Nov 07 2017].

HISTORY
The History of Madhhab As-Shafi'i The Shafi'i (Arabic: ‫ شافعي‬Šāfiʿī ) madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni
branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i. Principles The Shafi'i school of thought stipulates authority to four
sources of jurisprudence, also known as the Usul al-fiqh. In hierarchical order, the usul al-fiqh consist of: the Quran, the Sunnah of the Islamic
prophet Muhammad, ijmā' ("consensus"), and qiyas ("analogy"). The Shafi'i school also refers to the opinions of Muhammad's companions
(primarily Al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun). The school, based on Shafi'i's books ar-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh and Kitab al-Umm, which emphasizes proper
istinbaat (derivation of laws) through the rigorous application of legal principles as opposed to speculation or conjecture. Shafi'i's treatise ar-
Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh is not to be mistaken or confused with the al-Risala of Imam Malik. Imam Shafi'i approached the imperatives of the
Islamic Shariah (Canon Law) distinctly in his own systematic methodology. Imam Shafi'i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal almost
entirely exclude the exercise of private judgment in the exposition of legal principles. They are wholly governed by the force of precedents,
adhering to the Scripture and Traditions; they also do not admit the validity of a recourse to analogical deduction of such an interpretation of
the Law whereby its spirit is adopted to the circumstances of any special case. Shafi'i is also known as the "First Among Equals" for his
exhaustive knowledge and systematic methodology to religious science. The Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i Shafi'i's [150 – 206 AH] full
name is Abū ‘Abdu l-Lāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs ibn al-Abbās ibn ‘Uthmān ibn Shāfi‘ ibn as-Sa'ib ibn ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Abd al-Yazīd ibn al-Muttalib ibn
‘Abd Manaf. ‘Abd Manaf was the great great grandfather of Muhammad. Based on this lineage, he is from the Quraish tribe.[1] He was born in
150 AH (760 CE) in Gaza in the same year Imam Abu Hanifa died.[2] Al-Nawawī, a prominent Shāfiʻī scholar, cited Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, one
of al-Shafi`i's teachers, as being from "the grandfathers of the Shāfiʻī scholars in their methodology in jurisprudence".[3] As a member of the
school of Medina, ash-Shafi'i worked to combine the pragmatism of the Medina school with the contemporary pressures of the Traditionalists.
The Traditionalists maintained that jurists could not independently adduce a practice as the sunnah of Muhammad based on ijtihad
"independent reasoning" but should only produce verdicts substantiated by authentic hadith. Based on this claim, ash-Shafi'i devised a method
for systematic reasoning without relying on personal deduction. He argued that the only authoritative sunnah were those that were both of
Muhammad and passed down from Muhammad himself. He also argued that sunnah contradicting the Quran were unacceptable, claiming that
sunnah should only be used to explain the Quran. Furthermore, ash-Shafi'i claimed that if a practice is widely accepted throughout the Muslim
community, it cannot be in contradiction of sunnah. Ash-Shafi'i was also a significant poet. His poetry is noted for its beauty, wisdom, despite
the fact that during his lifetime he stood off becoming a poet because of his rank as an Islamic scholar. He said once: ‫يزري بالعلماء الشعر لوال و‬
‫ لبيد من أشعر اليوم لكنت‬For scholars, if poetry did not degrade, I would have been a finer poet than Labīd. Note: Labīd (Abu Aqil Labīd ibn
Rabī'ah) (Arabic ‫( )العامِري عقيل أبو مالك بن ربيعة بن لَبيد‬c. 560 – c. 661) was an Arabian poet. He belonged to the Bani Amir, a division of the
tribe of the Hawazin. In his younger years he was an active warrior, and his verse is largely concerned with inter-tribal disputes. Later, he was
sent by a sick uncle to get a remedy from Muhammad at Medina and on this occasion was much influenced by a part of the Koran. He
accepted Islam soon after, but seems then to have ceased writing. In Umar's caliphate he is said to have settled in Kufa. Tradition ascribes to
him a long life, but dates given are uncertain and contradictory. One of his poems is contained in the Mu'allaqat. His muruwwa (virtue) is
highlighted in the story that he vowed to feed people whenever the east wind began to blow, and to continue so doing until it stopped. Al-
Walid 'Uqba, leader of the Kuffa, sent him one hundred camels to enable him to keep his vow. In an elegy composed for Nu'mh Mundhii, Labid
wrote: Every thing, but Allah, is vain And all happiness, unconditionally, will vanish When a man is on a night joumey, he thinks that he has
accomplished some deed But man spends his life in hopes ... If you do not trust your self, approve it Perhaps the past would unclose it to you
When you do not find a father other than 'Adah and Ma'iid, The judge (God) will punish you On the day when every body will be informed of
his deeds When the record of his life is opened before Allah' However, the beauty of his poetry made people collect it in one famous book
under the name Diwān Imām al-Shafi'i. Many verses are popularly known and repeated in the Arab world as proverbs: ‫و فينا العيب و زماننا نعيب‬
‫ هجانا لنا الزمان نطق لو و ذنب بغير الزمان ذا نهجو و سوانا عيب لزماننا ما‬We blame our time though we are to blame. No fault has time but only us.
We scold the time for all the shame. Had it a tongue, it would scold us.[4] The al-Quran has brought a transformation to the Arab language
especially in Arabic poetry,prose,etc thus shaping the from and essence of modern/contemporary Arabic poetry. Importance of the Shafi'i
School Demographics The Shafi`i madhhab (in dark blue) is predominant in Kurdistan, Northeast Africa, parts of the Arabian Peninsula and
Southeast Asia. The Shafi'i school is followed throughout the Ummah and is the official school of thought of most traditional scholars and
leading Sunni authorities. It is also recognized as the official school of thought by the governments of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. In
addition, the government of Indonesia uses this madhab for the Indonesian compilation of sharia law. It is the dominant school of thought in
Yemen, Lower Egypt, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, majority of the North Caucasus (notably in Chechnya,
Dagestan and Ingushetia), Kurdistan (East Turkey, North west Iran, North Iraq, Northern Syria), Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Maldives,
Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia. It is also practised by large communities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (in the Hejaz and Asir), the
United Arab Emirates, Israel, the Swahili Coast, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka,
Ethiopia, Kazakhstan (by Chechens) and Indian States of Kerala (most of the Mappilas), Karnataka (Bhatkal, Mangalore and Coorg districts),
Maharashtra (by Konkani Muslims) and Tamil Nadu. The Shafi`i madhhab is second largest school, after the Hanafi madhab, of the Sunni
branch of Islam in terms of followers. It is practiced by approximately a third (32%) of Sunni Muslims, or around 29% of all Muslims
worldwide. Historical The Shafi'i madhab was adopted as the official madhab during periods of the Abbasid Caliphate, in the first century of the
Great Seljuq Empire, Zengid dynasty, Ayyubid dynasty and later the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), where it saw its greatest development and
application. It was also adopted by the Kathiri state in Hadhramawt and most of rule of the Sharif of Mecca and Hijaz. Early European explorers
speculated that T'ung-kan (Hui people, called "Chinese Mohammedan") in Xinjiang originated from Khorezmians who were transported to China
by the Mongols, and that they were descended from a mixture of Chinese, Iranians, and Turkic peoples. They also reported that the T'ung-kan
were Shafi'ites, which the Khorezmians were as well.[5] Famous Shafi'i's The Shafi'i Madhab is distinguished among all the Sunni Schools in
having the most illustrious Islamic scholars in history, in all fields, among its followers. As Imam al-Shafi'i emphasized the importance of
muttasil hadith (connected) and undermined the relevance of mursal (skipped) hadith, his madhab found particular favour among hadith
scholars. Polymaths: Imam Al-Ghazali, Authority in Sufism, Aqidah, Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, and Logic. Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, Sunni's second
highest authority in Hadith, principal Shafi'i jurist; author of the Sahih Muslim commentary. Suyuti, Sunni authority in history, Quran, Fiqh,
Tafsir, and Hadith Fakhr al-Din al-Razi Ibn al-Nafis In Hadith: Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sunni's most prominent Hadith authority in verification
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, student of Imam Bukhari. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunni authority in Hadith al-Nasa'i, Sunni authority in Hadith. Al-Bayhaqi, Sunni
authority in Hadith; Shafiite authority in Fiqh Ibn Majah, Sunni authority in Hadith Al-Hakim, Sunni authority in Hadith al-Daraqutni, Sunni
authority in Hadith al-Tabarani, Sunni authority in Hadith Ibn Khuzaymah Ibn al-Salah, hadith specialist Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi
Shams al-Din Dhahabi, Sunni authority in Hadith Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Sunni's foremost authority in Hadith, author of the authoritative
commentary of Sahih Bukhari. Al-Sakhawi Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, A renowned Sunni expert in Hadith methodology and jurisprudence Abd al-
Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi In Tafsir: Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Sunni most respected exegete Ibn Kathir, top-notch Sunni expert in Tafsir, Hadith,
Biography and Fiqh. Al-Baghawi, Also known as "Reviver of Sunnah", well-known for his Ma'alim Al-Tanzil in Tafsir. Baidawi Ahmad ibn
Muhammad al-Tha'labi In Fiqh: Al-Mawardi, Sunni authority in Legal ordinances, history and Islamic governance. Al-Juwayni Abu Ishaq al-
Shirazi Ibn Daqiq al-'Id Zakariyah al-Ansari Ibn Hajar al-Haytami Shihab al-Din al-Ramli Shams al-Din al-Ramli Sayf al-Din al-Amidi Siraj al-Din
al-Bulqini Ibn al-Mulaqqin Al-Isnawi Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri Zainuddin Makhdoom al-Mallibari I and II, The Jurist and Historian (respectively)
of Kerala In Aqidah: Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Leader of Ash'ari Aqidah. In Sufism Harith al-Muhasibi Junayd al-Baghdadi Sari al-Saqati Ibn
Khafif Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin Qushayri Abu Talib al-Makki Imam al-Haddad Ahmad Ghazali Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi
Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi Yusuf Hamdani Ahmed ar-Rifa'i Shams Tabrizi Safi-ad-din Ardabili Is'haq Ardabili Kamal Khujandi In History Ali ibn al-
Athir Ibn 'Asakir Ibn Khallikan In Arabic Language Studies Raghib Isfahani Fairuzabadi Ibn Hisham al-Ansari Statesmen Saladin Nizam al-Mulk
Contemporary Shafi'i Scholars Wahba Zuhayli - Professor of Jurisprudence at Damascus University. Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti - Head of
Theology at Damascus University. Muhammad Hasan Hitu, Leading Syrian scholar in Usul al-Fiqh. Ali Gomaa - Grand Mufti of Egypt. Habib
Umar bin Hafiz - Founder of Dar al-Mustafa, a leading Islamic educational institute in Tarim, Yemen. Habib Ali al-Jifri - Popular scholar from
Yemen. Abdullah al-Harari (1910 – September 2, 2008) - Started the Ahbash or Habashi movement, also known as the Association of Islamic
Charitable Projects at AICP.org. Mustafa al-Bagha - A leading jurist from Syria. Mustafa al-Khinn - A leading jurist from Syria. Afifi al-Akiti -
University Research Lecturer in Islamic Studies at University of Oxford. Taha Karan - A leading scholar and teacher from South Africa. KH Said
Aqil Siradj - Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation in Indonesia. Achmad Hasyim Muzadi - Former chairman of
Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation in Indonesia. Aboobacker Ahmad - A. P. Sunni leader in Kerala and General Secretary of the
Sunni Scholars’ Organisation of India. Nuh Ha Mim Keller - Translator of Imam Nawawi's Al-Maqasid and Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri's Umdat al-
Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik. Munira Qubeysi - Leader of the Qubeysi movement in Syria. M Din Syamsuddin - Chairman of the Muhammadiyah
movement in Indonesia. Mohammad Salim Al-Awa - Leading Islamist thinker from Egypt. Nuh Ali Salman al-Quda - Former Grand Mufti of
Jordan. Abd al-Karim al-Khasawni - Mufti of Jordan. Ahmed Kuftaro - Former Grand Mufti of Syria. Seraj Hendricks - Mufti of Cape Town, South
Africa. Omar Idris - Mufti of Ethiopia. Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned - Mufti of Brunei. Abdullah Gymnastiar - Popular preacher in Indonesia
Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif - Prominent Indonesian intellectual. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas - Leading Malaysian intellectual. Taha Jabir Alalwani
- Leading scholar in the United States. Zaid Shakir - Prominent American scholar. Dato' Haji Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat - Malaysian spiritual leader.
Ahmad al-Kubaysi - Iriqi scholar and preacher based in Abu Dhabi. Abd al-Salam al-Abbadi - Head of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.
Sayyid Hasan al-Saqqaf - Jordanian scholar and publisher. Azyumard Azra - A leading Indonesian scholar. Dato Osman Bakar - A leading
Malaysian scholar. Ibrahim Kassim - The leading scholar in Singapore. Maarof Salleh - A leading scholar in Singapore. Notes Ibn Hazm,
Jamharah Ansab al-'Arab al-Zubaidi, Taj al-'Urus under the header 'Shafa'a'. However, there are also early reports of his having been born in
Ashkelon and Yemen, for which see Yahia (2009), 89-90. al-Nawawi, Yahya ibn Sharaf (2005). Ali Mu`awwad and Adil Abd al-Mawjud. ed (in
Arabic). Tahdhib al-Asma wa al-Lughat. al-Asma. Beirut: Dar al-Nafaes. pp. 314–6. Diwān Imām al-Shāfi‘ī. Damascus, Syria: Karam Publishing
House Verses are translated by Salma al-Helali. Roerich Museum, George Roerich (2003). Journal Of Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute,
Volumes 1-3. Vedams eBooks (P) Ltd. p. 526. ISBN 8179360113. Retrieved 2010-6-28. References Yahia, Mohyddin (2009). Shafi'i et les deux
sources de la loi islamique, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, ISBN 978-2-503-53181-6 Rippin, Andrew (2005). Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and
Practices (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 90–93. ISBN 0-415-34888-9. Calder, Norman, Jawid Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin (2003).
Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature. London: Routledge. Section 7.1. Schacht, Joseph (1950). The Origins of Muhammadan
Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oxford University. pp. 16. Khadduri, Majid (1987). Islamic Jurisprudence: Shafi'i's Risala. Cambridge: Islamic Texts
Society. pp. 286. Abd Majid, Mahmood (2007). Tajdid Fiqh Al-Imam Al-Syafi'i. Seminar pemikiran Tajdid Imam As Shafie 2007. al-
Shafi'i,Muhammad b. Idris,"The Book of the Amalgamation of Knowledge" translated by A.Y. Musa in Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The
Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave, 2008 Source: Wikipedia Category: Madhhab, Shafi'i

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http://blogging2islam.blogspot.com/2011/11/history-of-madhhab-as-shafii.html

Shafi'i school

An approximate color map showing where the Shafi'i school (dark blue) is the most prominent.

History
The Shafi'i madhhab was spread by Al-Shafi'i students in Cairo, Mecca and Baghdad. It became widely
accepted in early history of Islam. The chief representative of the Iraqi school was Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, whilst
in Khorasan, the Shafi'i school was spread by al-Juwayni and al-Iraqi. These two branches merged around Ibn
al-Salah and his father, before being reviewed and refined by al-Rafi'i and al-Nawawi. [citation needed]

The Shafi'i jurisprudence was adopted as the official law during the Great Seljuq
Empire, Zengid dynasty, Ayyubid dynasty and later the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), where it saw its widest
application. It was also adopted by the Kathiri state in Hadhramawt and most of rule of the Sharif of Mecca. [citation

needed]

With the establishment and expansion of Ottoman Empire in West Asia and Turkic Sultanates in Central and
South Asia, Shafi'i school was replaced with Hanafi school, in part because Hanafites allowed Istihsan(juristic
preference) that allowed the rulers flexibility in interpreting the religious law to their administrative
preferences. The Sultanates along the littoral regions of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula adhered
[7]

to the Shafi'i school and were the primary drivers of its maritime military expansion into many Asian and East
African coastal regions of the Indian Ocean, particularly from the 12th through the 18th century. [16][not specific enough to verify][17][not

specific enough to verify]

Demographics
The Shafi'i school is presently predominant in the following parts of the Muslim world: [8]

 Africa: Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, eastern Egypt and the Swahili Coast.[18]
 Middle East: Yemen, Kurdish regions of the Middle
East, Caucasus region, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
 Caucasus: Chechnya, Ingushetia and parts of Azerbaijan[19]
 Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, western coast
of Indian peninsula, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, and the southern Philippines.
Shafi'i school is the second largest school of Sunni madhhabs by number of adherents, states Saeed in his 2008
book. However, a UNC publication considers the Maliki school as second largest, and the Hanafimadhhab the
[2]

largest, with Shafi'i as third largest. The demographic data by each fiqh, for each nation, is unavailable and the
[8]

relative demographic size are estimates.

Notable Shafi'i's
 Al-Ghazali In Tafsir: In Sufism
 Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi  Al-Baghawi  Harith al-Muhasibi
 Fakhr al-Din al-Razi  Baidawi  Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin Qusha
 Ibn al-Nafis  Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha'labi  Abu Talib al-Makki
 Ibn Kathir  Said Nursî  Abu Nu`aym
 Izz al-Din ibn 'Abd al-Salam  Hamka  Imam al-Haddad
 Ibn Daqiq al-'Id In Fiqh:  Ahmad Ghazali
 Al-Suyuti  Al-Mawardi  Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani
In Hadith:  Al-Juwayni  Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi
 Ibn Majah, compiler of Sunan ibn Majah  Al-Ghazali  Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi
 Al-Bayhaqi[20]  Al-Baghawi  Yusuf Hamdani
 Hakim al-Nishaburi  Baidawi  Ahmed ar-Rifa'i
 Al-Baghawi  Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi  Shams Tabrizi
 Al-Daraqutni  Zakariyya al-Ansari  Safi-ad-din Ardabili
 Ibn Khuzaymah[21]  Ibn Hajar al-Haytami  Kamal Khujandi
 Abu Nu`aym  Sayf al-Din al-Amidi  Yusuf an-Nabhani
 Ibn al-Salah  Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri author  Shaykh Sufi
 Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, of Reliance of the Traveller  Abd Al-Rahman bin Ahmad al-Za
 Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi  Zainuddin Makhdoom In History
 Dhahabi  Ibn Nuhaas  Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn
 Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi  Abdallah al-Qutbi  Ali ibn al-Athir
 Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, author of a In Arabic Language Studies:  Al-Dhahabi
commentary on Sahih Bukhari.  Ibn Malik - Author of the Alfiyat Ibn Malik  Ibn 'Asakir
 Al-Sakhawi  Ibn Hisham  Ibn Khallikan
 Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami, compiler  ʻAbd Allah ibn ʻAbd al-Rahman ibn ʻAqil -  Abadir Umar Ar-Rida
of Majma al-Zawa'id Commentator on Alfiyat Ibn Malik.  Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti
 Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi  Fairuzabadi Statesmen
 Al-Qastallani  Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn  Saladin
 Ibn Hajar al-Haytami In Aqidah:  Nizam al-Mulk
 Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari
 Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad
Contemporary Shafi'i scholars
 Wahba Zuhayli
 Ali Gomaa
 Habib Umar bin Hafiz
 Habib Ali al-Jifri
 Abdullah al-Harari
 Afifi al-Akiti
 Hasyim Muzadi
 Aboobacker Ahmad
 Nuh Ha Mim Keller
 Mohammad Salim Al-Awa
 Ahmed Kuftaro
 Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif
 Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas
 Taha Jabir Alalwani
 Zaid Shakir
 Cherussery Zainu

living islam _ Islamic tradition


Imam al-Shafi`i

This article was written by Adil Salahi and originally published by Impact magazine.

"If I were to walk from Madinah to Makkah [a distance of 500 kilometers] barefoot, with no mount to
carry me, it would have been easier for me than to walk to Malik's home here in Madinah. I am never
in a humble position until I stand at his doorstep." These were the words of the Governor of Madinah
as he finished reading a letter addressed to him by the Governor of Makkah which wanted him to
introduce a young man to the great scholar of Madinah. The young man continues the story:

"The Governor and a number of his men went with me until we reached Malik's home and one man
knocked on the door. A maid opened and the man told her that the Governor wanted to see the
scholar. She went in and came back after a long while to say: 'My master greets you well and says: 'If
you have a case requiring a ruling, then you may write it down and he will send you the answer. If you
want to learn hadith, you know the day when he holds his circle. You may wish to leave now.' The
Governor said to her: 'Tell him that I have a letter addressed to him from the Governor of Makkah
with an important matter.' She went in, then she came out again, placing a chair. Shortly afterwards,
Malik came out. He was a tall, old man who inspired much awe and respect. He sat on the chair and
read the letter until he reached the request made by the Governor on my behalf. He threw the letter
down and said: 'Have we reached so low that the study of the Prophet's hadith is sought through
favours and high position!' The Governor of Madinah was in awe and could not reply. So I ventured to
speak, saying: 'May God grant you His favours. I am a man from the Muttalib branch of Quraysh, and
I have so far done this and that...' "

Malik was endowed with penetrative insight. He asked the young man his name and then said to him:
"Muhammad! Be always God-fearing, and avoid sin, for you will acquire distinction. God has given
you light in your heart; so do not let it be put out by indulging in sin. Come tomorrow to read."

That was the first encounter between Malik, the great scholar who was in his mid-seventies and al-
Shafi`i who was just under 20 years of age and was destined to be among the greatest scholars in our
history.

On the following day, al-Shafi`i went to his appointment, carrying Malik's book Al-Muwatta', and
started to read. Malik was very pleased with his diction and delivery. When al-Shafi`i felt that he
might have tired his teacher, he hesitated, but Malik told him to continue. Thus, he managed to
complete reading the great book under the great imam in a very short period of time.

Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi`i, who was born in Gazza in 150 A.H. corresponding to 767 CE. He was
of Qurayshi origin, with an ancestry that met the Prophet's lineage at the Prophet's grandfather,
Abdulmattalib. His father died when he was very young, leaving him and his mother in utter poverty.
The mother, who was of Yemeni origin, was of great influence on the course he took in life. She
decided that his place should be in Makkah, close to his tribal ancestry. She sent him to a relative in
Makkah when he was nearly 10 years of age, then followed him there to direct him in his pursuit of
studies. Because of his poverty, he could not find enough writing material. He would go to the
Governor's offices in search for used paper that might be given to him free of charge, so that he would
write his lessons on the unused part, or the backside.

He memorised the Quran at a very young age, and then decided to improve his knowledge of Arabic.
So, he went deep into the desert to join the Bedouin tribe of Huthail, renowned for the best standard
of literary Arabic. There he memorised poetry and learnt their prose reporting and stories. He would
join the tribe on its nomadic travels, until he mastered all that was there to learn. He also learnt
archery there, and acquired great skill. He would be able to hit the target with his arrows 10 times out
of 10. He then returned to Makkah and continued his studies, completing all that its scholars had to
teach by the time he was nearly 20. Yet his thirst for knowledge was still burning inside him. So he
decided to travel to Madinah to learn from Imam Malik. However, he did not wish to attend Malik
without knowing anything of what he taught. He managed to borrow Malik's book, Al-Muwatta', and
as he read it, he was even more eager to meet Malik and study under him. We know all about the first
meeting between the two scholars.
al-Shafi`i stayed very close to Malik for nine years, during which he only travelled to visit his mother
in Makkah, or to stay for a short while with some bedouin tribes. In the last three years of attending
Malik, al-Shafi`i had an additional benefit of meeting Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan Al-Shaibani, the
eminent Iraqi scholar who recorded all the Hanafi scholarship. The latter had come to Madinah to
study under Malik and stayed with him for those 3 years. That was a highly beneficial company that
was to be renewed later.

Malik used to support his students who had no means of living. Al-Shafi`i was one of these. When
Malik died, al-Shafi`i went back to Makkah hoping to earn his living. It so happened that the
Governor of Yemen visited Makkah at that time. Some people spoke to him about al-Shafi`i, and he
took him with him on his return to Yemen where he assigned to him a post of justice in the city of
Najran. The people there soon realised that they had a judge who was devoted to justice, unwilling to
swerve from it for any favour or pressure. They loved him and learnt from him a great deal.

But people who are unwilling to compromise often find themselves in the bad books of rulers. Al-
Shafi`i stayed in Najran for five years, towards the end of which a strong-fisted governor was
appointed. It was only natural that al-Shafi`i should criticise him for any injustice he might
perpetrate. In his position, al-Shafi`i was able to curb that Governor's injustice. Hence, the latter
disliked him and sought to remove him. So he wrote to the Caliph accusing him of supporting a
fermenting revolt by people loyal to the Alawees, i.e. the descendents of Ali. He added: "I have no
authority over this man, and he achieves by the word of his tongue much more than a fighter can
achieve with his sword."

Was this accusation baseless? There is no doubt that it was, because al-Shafi`i never supported or
advocated any revolt or rebellion against the Caliph. But he loved the Alawees, as they were the
descendents of Ali and Fatimah, the Prophet's daughter. His love, however, never led him to belong to
the Shia or to consider that Ali had the strongest claim to be the Caliph after the Prophet . Indeed he
was of the view that the four Caliphs were elected to the post in accordance with the right order of
their suitability. He also considered that Umar ibn Abdulaziz, the Umayyad ruler, was the fifth of the
rightly guided Caliphs.

However, the accusation reached the Caliph in Baghdad, Al-Rasheed. Al-Shafi`i was sent to him in
fetters and chains in 184 A.H. when he was 34 years of age. The Caliph had him brought in when he
was attended by his advisers and top officials, among whom was none other than Muhammad ibn Al-
Hassan, who was his Chief Justice. Two factors served him well at the time. The first was his lucid
defence of himself. The other was Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan's testimony on his behalf. As al-Shafi`i
stated that he had a share of scholarship known to the Chief Justice, the latter told the Caliph that al-
Shafi`i was a scholar of eminence and that he would not be involved in such matters. The Caliph, who
was kind and lenient, saw in this testimony his way out to spare al-Shafi`i. He told Muhammad ibn
Al-Hassan to take al-Shafi`i to his home while he thought the matter over. That was all that the Caliph
did. The accusation was never brought up again. The Governor of Najran had rid himself of a fearless
critic, and he was no longer interested what happened to him.

Perhaps this accusation was the best thing that happened to al-Shafi`i, because it brought him back to
the pursuit of knowledge. Moreover, al-Shafi`i stayed in Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan's home and read
under him all the books he had written, recording the Fiqh of Abu Haneefah and his disciples. When
he left Baghdad two years later, he said: "I carried with me a whole camel load of books, all of which I
learnt directly from Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan."

It should be made clear that al-Shafi`i did not only learn the Iraqi fiqh in Baghdad, but he also
memorised the hadiths that were known in Iraq, but not in Madinah or Hijaz. He also entered into
debate with many scholars, speaking as a student of Malik, but he would only debate with lesser
scholars than Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, whom he respected highly. We must remember that al-
Shafi`i was Malik's disciple and Malik did not allow debate in his circle. On the other hand,
Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, was Abu Haneefah's disciple, and Abu Haneefah's scholarship was
imparted mainly through debate with his students. Hence, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan insisted that
al-Shafi`i should debate questions with him, and he reluctantly yielded.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of al-Shafi`i was his native intelligence which gave him an
easy and good grasp of even the most difficult of questions. He always studied matters in depth, so as
to arrive at the right verdict regarding any question put to him. His intelligence was coupled with a
superb memory and ready argument. When he wanted to explain an idea, he would put it in a wealth
of meanings that he always found ready to hand. He is not known to have been lost for words, yet his
explanation was always rich and to the point.

al-Shafi`i had a fine literary style, which gave him powerful expression, coupled with lucid
presentation. Moreover, his delivery was very clear and his voice added clarity to his thoughts. One of
his students says: "Every scholar gives more in his books than when you meet him personally, except
for al-Shafi`i whose verbal discussion gives you more than his books." When we remember that his
books were among the finest in style, lucidity and presentation, we realise what this student is talking
about.

When we spoke about Imam Malik, we mentioned that he had a profound insight. This is a quality
that al-Shafi`i had in common with his teacher. This quality allowed him to strike the right balance
between his students' ability to understand and his ability to explain, so as to achieve the best results.
Hence, his students were devoted to him, eager to benefit by his superior knowledge.

Another main quality that facilitated for al-Shafi`i the achievement of the highest rank among Islamic
scholars was his dedicated sincerity in the pursuit of the truth. This was coupled with his brave
determination to declare the truth even if it was in conflict with what people used to believe. Should
the truth be at variance with his devotion to his teachers, he would come out on the side of the truth.
He was very reluctant to show his disagreement with Malik, because he loved him so much. The same
was the case with Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, who did him a great favour when he saved him from the
wrath of the Caliph. His gratitude to him did not prevent him from declaring his disagreement with
him and his colleagues, supporting the Madinah scholars. But no one ever accused him of not
accepting true evidence whenever it was presented. He urged his students to give much of their time
and effort to the study of the hadith, repeatedly stating to them that should they find an authentic
hadith in conflict with his views, they should abandon his views and take up the hadith.

This dedicated sincerity made him seek the truth, regardless of who presents it. He never lost his
temper in debate, because his aim was not to win the debate, but to arrive at the true conclusion.
Thus, if his opponent was right, he would not hesitate to accept his view. He is reported to have said:
"I wish that people would learn what I have to give, without it being attributed to me. In this way, I
receive the reward for it from my Lord, without having people's praise."

With such a character, there is no wonder that scholars loved him and placed him in the highest rank.

Once a man asked al-Shafi`i a question, and he started his answer by quoting a hadith stating the
ruling on that question. The man then said: but what is your own view? Al-Shafi`i shuddered and
changed colour before saying: "What corner of the earth or the sky would shelter me if I report
something the Prophet said and then give a different opinion?"

When people went to the Haram in Makkah late in the second century, they found a tall, dark man in
his mid-thirties teaching in a circle which included young and mature students, many of whom were
older than him. The teacher explained certain aspects of faith and Islamic jurisprudence which they
could not learn from anyone else in their respective homelands, whether they came from Iraq, where
much weight was given to scholarly discretion, or from Madinah where commitment to the hadith text
was paramount. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal saw him when he was on his pilgrimage and was full of
admiration. He persuaded his colleague, Isshaq ibn Rahaweih, to attend his circle. When they arrived,
Isshaq said to Ahmad: "Are we to leave the circle of someone like Sufyan ibn Uyainah in order to
attend this young man?" Ahmad said: "If you miss out on this man's rational thinking, you cannot
find it anywhere else; while if you miss out on hadith at a higher level of reporting, you can still learn
it with a lower level."

Such was the fruit of the great task undertaken by al-Shafi`i on returning to Makkah from Baghdad.
Such was its importance that Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Isshaq ibn Rahaweih, two scholars destined to
achieve great eminence, felt it more important to attend him than other more established scholars.
What happened was that, back in Makkah after his long absence, al-Shafi`i gave much thought to
what he had learnt, both in Madinah from Malik and in Baghdard. He compared methods and
analysed differences and points of agreement. As al-Shafi`i was a scholar of the highest calibre,
endowed with sharp intelligence, superb memory and an analytical mind, his comparative study
yielded two highly precious fruits. The first was that he established his own school of thought, with its
distinctive method of construction and deduction, independent from both the Hanafi and the Maliki
schools. He would study Malik's views in depth to arrive at his own views, which might have agreed or
disagreed with the great scholar. He would do the same with the views of Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan
and his two renowned teachers, Abu Haneefah and Abu Yussuf. He recorded his disagreement with
Malik in a book he called: Khilaf Malik, and his disagreement with the Hanafi scholar in another
book, Khilaf al-Iraqiyeen. This established him as the founder of a third school of thought.

The second result of his endeavours was that he set in place the rules of deduction of rulings on all
questions. That was what came to be known as Ussool al-Fiqh, or basic methodology of jurisprudence.
Previously, eminent scholars had their own methods of deduction and construction, but they referred
to these in general terms, giving no details. Al-Shafi`i outlined these in detail, showing what rules and
methods a scholar must follow so that he might not arrive at the wrong ruling or conclusion. This time
al-Shafi`i stayed in Makkah for 9 years, teaching his students and taking them to a totally unfamiliar
territory.

He then felt that he needed to spread this new knowledge in the rest of the Muslim world, and to do so
he went again to Baghdad in 195 AH, when he was 45. In Baghdad, the most famous seat of learning
at the time, he was welcomed by all its scholars. Even its eminent scholars were willing to read under
him, including Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Isshaq ibn Rahaweih. They all recognised that he had come up
with a perfectly new knowledge and a complete system of deduction.

It was during this stay in Baghdad, lasting over two years, that he dictated his books, mainly Al-Umm,
which contains his views on all detailed questions of Fiqh, and Al-Risaalah, which is his book on the
methodology of Fiqh, the first book ever to be written on this subject.

al-Shafi`i then went to Makkah, but did not stay long there. Apparently, his trip this time was to visit
the Kaabah, pack up his belonging and bid farewell to his teachers, such as Sufyan ibn Uyainah. Soon
afterwards, he went back to Baghdad, arriving in 198, but he was soon on the road again, aiming this
time for Egypt, where he arrived in 199 and stayed until his death five years later, at the age of 54. We
will refer later to his changed views in Egypt, because this serves as the best example of giving
different rulings on the same questions because of a change of situation.

As we explained over the last two weeks, al-Shafi`i fascinated all people with his broad knowledge,
logical analysis, and lucid style. He fascinated the scholars of Baghdad in his famous debates with the
best among them, the scholars of the Muslim world who listened to him on their visits to Makkah for
pilgrimage, and the scholars of Egypt when he brought them knowledge that they had never learnt
from anyone before him. He also fascinated all scholarly circles with his design of Ussool al-Fiqh.
Hence, numerous scholars were full of praise for him. Perhaps the best that sums up scholarly opinion
of al-Shafi`i is Ahmad ibn Hanbal's words: "We have reported the hadith in which the
Prophet states that God sends to the nation of Islam every 100 years a person to put its faith back
on the right track. Umar ibn Abdulaziz was that man at the end of the first 100 years. As for the
second hundred, I think the man was al-Shafi`i."

It is such great admiration by eminent scholars that tells of al-Shafi`i's standing as a scholar. Each
would obviously praise him from the point of view of his own speciality. Thus, a scholar like Yahya ibn
Ma'een, one of the highest authorities on hadith and its reporters describes al-Shafi`i in these words:
"Had lying been lawful, his integrity would have stopped him from lying."

al-Shafi`i lived at a time when different branches of knowledge were taking shape and being set on
firm basis, with dedicated scholars writing their reference books, each in his field of specialisation. In
linguistics, poetry, literary criticism and other language studies, there were scholars setting these
branches on firm footing. In hadith, criteria were identified to sort out authentic hadiths, isolating
them from a multitude of hadiths attributed to the Prophet without firm evidence of authenticity.
In Fiqh different schools were emerging and taking form, particularly with the writing of Al-
Muwatta', by Imam Malik as the basic book of the Maliki school of thought, and Muhammad ibn Al-
Hassan's books recording the Hanafi school's views.

At the same time, numerous works were translated from Greek, Persian and Indian languages in
various fields. Al-Shafi`i had a go at the study most of these. In addition, several political groupings
emerged, each trying to advocate their position on the basis of religion, such as the different groups of
Shia, and Khawarij. Philosophical and intellectual groups also emerged, particularly Al-Mu'tazilah,
who advocated a rational philosophy that sought to subject religious truth to their approach. Others
spoke of Divinity and theology on the basis of logic. Al-Shafi`i rejected all these approaches, insisting
that the only basis for such knowledge was the Quran and the Sunnah, making it clear that only the
texts of the Quran and authentic hadith should be considered in such matters.
al-Shafi`i was very firm in his advice to his students to turn their backs on logical theology. However,
he himself studied it and formulated clear views on its various issues. He once found some of his
students debating one such issue. He said to them: "Do you think that I have no knowledge of this.
Indeed I have gone deep into it, but this logical theology is useless. Let your debate be on something
in which if you err, people would say that you have made a mistake, not that you have gone out of the
faith altogether." This is a highly respectable attitude, seeking to abandon any philosophical approach
to faith, because it served no real purpose and was bound to err.

In his method of construction and deduction of rulings on any question, al-Shafi`i defines five sources
of evidence. These are stated in his book, Al-Umm: "The first is the Quran and the Sunnah when the
latter is confirmed as authentic; the second, unanimity concerning a matter to which no reference is
made in the Quran or the Sunnah; the third, some companions of the Prophet may state a view and
we have no report of any other companion expressing a different view; the fourth, the views of the
Prophet's companions when they differ over a certain question; the fifth; analogy. No source other
than the Quran and the Sunnah may be considered when they voice a ruling. Knowledge is sought at
the highest source first." This means that al-Shafi`i considers the Quran and the Sunnah the only
source of Islamic law, while other sources are based on them. Moreover, he considers the two as one
source.

Scholars of later generations mention the Sunnah as a separate source, ranking second after the
Quran. The same has been stated by Abu Haneefah long before al-Shafi`i's time. Why does he, then,
put them both together as one source, when they, in reality, cannot be placed at the same level? For
certain, al-Shafi`i does not consider the Sunnah to be equal to the Quran in all respects, when the
Quran is God's own word, while most of the Sunnah is reported in a lesser degree. Al-Shafi`i has
looked at the fact that the Sunnah explains what the Quran has stated in general terms, giving the
details of what we need to know in order to fulfil God's orders. Hence, it must be placed at the same
level as what it explains. Many of the Prophet's companions had the same view.

It is important, however, to realise that, in al-Shafi`i's view, the Quran is the main source while
the Sunnah is complementary to it. Hence, the Sunnah derives its effect from the Quran. Moreover,
al-Shafi`i feels that, in order to arrive at accurate rulings, knowledge of the Sunnah as a whole must
be placed at the same level as knowledge of the Quran. This does not mean that every thing attributed
to the Prophet should be treated as the Quran. Hadiths have different levels of authenticity. Hence,
we cannot treat a hadith reported by a chain of single transmitters at the same level as a Quranic
verse. Al-Shafi`i acknowledges all this. Furthermore, when it comes to stating Islamic beliefs, al-
Shafi`i gives the Sunnaha lesser status than the Quran.

We must say that al-Shafi`i has defended the Sunnah most determinedly against all groups that
sought to reduce its status. There were many of those at his time, seeking to limit sources of Islamic
law to the Quran only. He was able to show the weakness of their stand and reduce their influence to a
minimum. Hence, he earned the title, 'the advocate of the Sunnah.'

al-Shafi`i rejects what is termed as istihsan, or regressive analogy. This is when a scholar abandons a
clear and apparent analogy in favour of a concealed one, because of what he considers to be in the best
interests of the community or the individual. This sort of analogy is approved by both Abu Haneefah
and Malik. Thus, he takes his stand in opposition to both.

When al-Shafi`i settled in Egypt in the last five years of his life, he revised many of his views as
expressed in his books which he authored and taught in Iraq. He might have expressed two views on a
certain matter when he was in Baghdad. Now he would come solidly in favour of either one of them,
or he may express a third view to retain all three, or he may abandon both his two old views in favour
of a third one which he finds to be better supported, either by a hadith he did not know before or by
an analogy which he finds to be more valid. People often refer to this process as the 'new al-Shafi`i
school of thought', as distinguished from his old one that relies on his old books dictated in Baghdad.
The fact is that it is all a thorough revision of his books, bringing out a new revised version. Indeed he
considered the old version abrogated. This shows that al-Shafi`i continued his pursuit of the truth
throughout his life.

The best known works of al-Shafi`i have been mentioned already. The first is Al-Risalah, which
establishes a specialised branch of Islamic studies. That is the one known as Usool al-Fiqh, or the
methodology of Islamic law. The second is Al-UmmI, in which he records his legal views on all
questions. This is the book he continued to revise until his death. Al-Risalah continued to receive
much attention by scholars and it has been published many times with annotation. It is a middle-
sized volume of great importance. Al-Umm, which embodies the bulk of al-Shafi`i Fiqh has been
published, but has not received the editing attention it deserves. Very recently, most of al-Shafi`i's
books have been published together under the title, al-Shafi`i's Encyclopaedia, bringing 10 books
together, in 10 large volumes. However, the work still needs more detailed editing and annotating
attention.

The Shafi`i school of thought is distinguished by its richness in scholarly views, which made it easy to
develop and enrich. Later scholars continued the process. Over the many generations since al-Shafi`i,
numerous distinguished scholars contributed to its scholarship, placing it at the same level as the
Hanafi and Maliki schools of thought. Today, it commands much following in Iraq, Syria and Jordan,
although it remains second to the Hanafi school in these countries. It is predominant in Egypt, and it
has countless followers in Yemen and Persia, while it is followed by most people in Sri Lanka,
Malaysia and Indonesia. It has practically no following in North African countries.

al-Shafi`i was a great scholar whose contribution to Islamic knowledge remains considerable, despite
the passage of more than 1200 years since his death. May God bless his soul.

by: Adil Salahi

The History of Madhhab As-Shafi'i

The Shafi'i (Arabic: ‫ شافعي‬Šāfiʿī ) madhhab is one of the schools of


fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.
PrinciplesThe Shafi'i school of thought stipulates authority to four sources of jurisprudence, also known as the Usul
al-fiqh. In hierarchical order, the usul al-fiqh consist of: the Quran, the Sunnah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad,
ijmā' ("consensus"), and qiyas ("analogy").
The Shafi'i school also refers to the opinions of Muhammad's companions (primarily Al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun). The
school, based on Shafi'i's books ar-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh and Kitab al-Umm, which emphasizes proper istinbaat
(derivation of laws) through the rigorous application of legal principles as opposed to speculation or conjecture.
Shafi'i's treatise ar-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh is not to be mistaken or confused with the al-Risala of Imam Malik.Imam
Shafi'i approached the imperatives of the Islamic Shariah (Canon Law) distinctly in his own systematic methodology.
Imam Shafi'i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal almost entirely exclude the exercise of private judgment in
the exposition of legal principles. They are wholly governed by the force of precedents, adhering to the Scripture
and Traditions; they also do not admit the validity of a recourse to analogical deduction of such an interpretation of
the Law whereby its spirit is adopted to the circumstances of any special case.
Shafi'i is also known as the "First Among Equals" for his exhaustive knowledge and systematic methodology to
religious science. The ImamMuhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i
Shafi'i's [150 – 206 AH] full name is Abū ‘Abdu l-Lāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs ibn al-Abbās ibn ‘Uthmān ibn Shāfi‘ ibn
as-Sa'ib ibn ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Abd al-Yazīd ibn al-Muttalib ibn ‘Abd Manaf. ‘Abd Manaf was the great great grandfather of
Muhammad. Based on this lineage, he is from the Quraish tribe.[1] He was born in 150 AH (760 CE) in Gaza in the
same year Imam Abu Hanifa died.[2] Al-Nawawī, a prominent Shāfiʻī scholar, cited Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, one of al-
Shafi`i's teachers, as being from "the grandfathers of the Shāfiʻī scholars in their methodology in jurisprudence".[3]
As a member of the school of Medina, ash-Shafi'i worked to combine the pragmatism of the Medina school with the
contemporary pressures of the Traditionalists. The Traditionalists maintained that jurists could not independently
adduce a practice as the sunnah of Muhammad based on ijtihad "independent reasoning" but should only produce
verdicts substantiated by authentic hadith.
Based on this claim, ash-Shafi'i devised a method for systematic reasoning without relying on personal deduction.
He argued that the only authoritative sunnah were those that were both of Muhammad and passed down from
Muhammad himself. He also argued that sunnah contradicting the Quran were unacceptable, claiming that sunnah
should only be used to explain the Quran. Furthermore, ash-Shafi'i claimed that if a practice is widely accepted
throughout the Muslim community, it cannot be in contradiction of sunnah.
Ash-Shafi'i was also a significant poet. His poetry is noted for its beauty, wisdom, despite the fact that during his
lifetime he stood off becoming a poet because of his rank as an Islamic scholar. He said once:‫بالعلماء الشعر لوال و‬
‫لبيد من أشعر اليوم يزريلكنت‬For scholars, if poetry did not degrade,I would have been a finer poet than Labīd. Note: Labīd
(Abu Aqil Labīd ibn Rabī'ah) (Arabic ‫( )العامِ ري عقيل أبو مالك بن ربيعة بن لَبيد‬c. 560 – c. 661) was an Arabian poet. He
belonged to the Bani Amir, a division of the tribe of the Hawazin. In his younger years he was an active warrior, and
his verse is largely concerned with inter-tribal disputes. Later, he was sent by a sick uncle to get a remedy from
Muhammad at Medina and on this occasion was much influenced by a part of the Koran. He accepted Islam soon
after, but seems then to have ceased writing. In Umar's caliphate he is said to have settled in Kufa. Tradition
ascribes to him a long life, but dates given are uncertain and contradictory. One of his poems is contained in the
Mu'allaqat. His muruwwa (virtue) is highlighted in the story that he vowed to feed people whenever the east wind
began to blow, and to continue so doing until it stopped. Al-Walid 'Uqba, leader of the Kuffa, sent him one hundred
camels to enable him to keep his vow. In an elegy composed for Nu'mh Mundhii, Labid wrote: Every thing, but Allah,
is vainAnd all happiness, unconditionally, will vanishWhen a man is on a night joumey, he thinks that he has
accomplished some deedBut man spends his life in hopes...If you do not trust your self, approve itPerhaps the past
would unclose it to youWhen you do not find a father other than 'Adah and Ma'iid,The judge (God) will punish youOn
the day when every body will be informed of his deedsWhen the record of his life is opened before Allah'However,
the beauty of his poetry made people collect it in one famous book under the name Diwān Imām al-Shafi'i. Many
verses are popularly known and repeated in the Arab world as proverbs:‫ذا نهجو سواناو عيب لزماننا ما فيناو العيب و زماننا نعيب‬
‫هجانا لنا الزمان نطق لو ذنبو بغير الزمان‬We blame our time though we are to blame.No fault has time but only us.We scold the
time for all the shame.Had it a tongue, it would scold us.[4]The al-Quran has brought a transformation to the Arab
language especially in Arabic poetry,prose,etc thus shaping the from and essence of modern/contemporary Arabic
poetry. Importance of the Shafi'i School Demographics
The Shafi`i madhhab (in dark blue) is predominant in Kurdistan, Northeast Africa, parts of the Arabian Peninsula and
Southeast Asia.
The Shafi'i school is followed throughout the Ummah and is the official school of thought of most traditional scholars
and leading Sunni authorities. It is also recognized as the official school of thought by the governments of Brunei
Darussalam and Malaysia. In addition, the government of Indonesia uses this madhab for the Indonesian
compilation of sharia law.
It is the dominant school of thought in Yemen, Lower Egypt, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Indonesia,
Malaysia, majority of the North Caucasus (notably in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia), Kurdistan (East Turkey,
North west Iran, North Iraq, Northern Syria), Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Maldives, Malaysia, Brunei
Darussalam and Indonesia.
It is also practised by large communities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (in the Hejaz and Asir), the United Arab Emirates,
Israel, the Swahili Coast, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri
Lanka, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan (by Chechens) and Indian States of Kerala (most of the Mappilas), Karnataka (Bhatkal,
Mangalore and Coorg districts), Maharashtra (by Konkani Muslims) and Tamil Nadu.
The Shafi`i madhhab is second largest school, after the Hanafi madhab, of the Sunni branch of Islam in terms of
followers. It is practiced by approximately a third (32%) of Sunni Muslims, or around 29% of all Muslims worldwide.
HistoricalThe Shafi'i madhab was adopted as the o fficial madhab during periods of the Abbasid Caliphate, in the
first century of the Great Seljuq Empire, Zengid dynasty, Ayyubid dynasty and later the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo),
where it saw its greatest development and application. It was also adopted by the Kathiri state in Hadhramawt and
most of rule of the Sharif of Mecca and Hijaz.
Early European explorers speculated that T'ung-kan (Hui people, called "Chinese Mohammedan") in Xinjiang
originated from Khorezmians who were transported to China by the Mongols, and that they were descended from a
mixture of Chinese, Iranians, and Turkic peoples. They also reported that the T'ung-kan were Shafi'ites, which the
Khorezmians were as well.[5] Famous Shafi'i'sThe Shafi'i Madhab is distinguished among all the Sunni Schools in
having the most illustrious Islamic scholars in history, in all fields, among its followers. As Imam al-Shafi'i
emphasized the importance of muttasil hadith (connected) and undermined the relevance of mursal (skipped)
hadith, his madhab found particular favour among hadith scholars.
Polymaths:Imam Al-Ghazali, Authority in Sufism, Aqidah, Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, and Logic.Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi,
Sunni's second highest authority in Hadith, principal Shafi'i jurist; author of the Sahih Muslim commentary.Suyuti,
Sunni authority in history, Quran, Fiqh, Tafsir, and HadithFakhr al-Din al-RaziIbn al-NafisIn Hadith:Muhammad al-
Bukhari, Sunni's most prominent Hadith authority in verificationMuslim ibn al-Hajjaj, student of Imam Bukhari.Al-
Tirmidhi, Sunni authority in Hadithal-Nasa'i, Sunni authority in Hadith.Al-Bayhaqi, Sunni authority in Hadith; Shafiite
authority in FiqhIbn Majah, Sunni authority in HadithAl-Hakim, Sunni authority in Hadithal-Daraqutni, Sunni authority
in Hadithal-Tabarani, Sunni authority in HadithIbn KhuzaymahIbn al-Salah, hadith specialistYusuf ibn Abd al-
Rahman al-MizziShams al-Din Dhahabi, Sunni authority in HadithIbn Hajar al-Asqalani, Sunni's foremost authority in
Hadith, author of the authoritative commentary of Sahih Bukhari.Al-SakhawiAl-Khatib al-Baghdadi, A renowned
Sunni expert in Hadith methodology and jurisprudenceAbd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'IraqiIn Tafsir:Ibn Jarir al-
Tabari, Sunni most respected exegeteIbn Kathir, top-notch Sunni expert in Tafsir, Hadith, Biography and Fiqh.Al-
Baghawi, Also known as "Reviver of Sunnah", well-known for his Ma'alim Al-Tanzil in Tafsir.BaidawiAhmad ibn
Muhammad al-Tha'labiIn Fiqh:Al-Mawardi, Sunni authority in Legal ordinances, history and Islamic governance.Al-
JuwayniAbu Ishaq al-ShiraziIbn Daqiq al-'IdZakariyah al-AnsariIbn Hajar al-HaytamiShihab al-Din al-RamliShams
al-Din al-RamliSayf al-Din al-AmidiSiraj al-Din al-BulqiniIbn al-MulaqqinAl-IsnawiAhmad ibn Naqib al-MisriZainuddin
Makhdoom al-Mallibari I and II, The Jurist and Historian (respectively) of KeralaIn Aqidah:Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari,
Leader of Ash'ari Aqidah.In SufismHarith al-MuhasibiJunayd al-BaghdadiSari al-SaqatiIbn KhafifAbd al-Karīm ibn
Hawāzin QushayriAbu Talib al-MakkiImam al-HaddadAhmad GhazaliAyn al-Quzat HamadaniAbu al-Najib
SuhrawardiShahab al-Din SuhrawardiYusuf HamdaniAhmed ar-Rifa'iShams TabriziSafi-ad-din Ardabili Is'haq
ArdabiliKamal KhujandiIn HistoryAli ibn al-AthirIbn 'AsakirIbn KhallikanIn Arabic Language StudiesRaghib
IsfahaniFairuzabadiIbn Hisham al-AnsariStatesmenSaladinNizam al-Mulk Contemporary Shafi'i ScholarsWahba
Zuhayli - Professor of Jurisprudence at Damascus University.Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti - Head of Theology
at Damascus University.Muhammad Hasan Hitu, Leading Syrian scholar in Usul al-Fiqh.Ali Gomaa - Grand Mufti of
Egypt.Habib Umar bin Hafiz - Founder of Dar al-Mustafa, a leading Islamic educational institute in Tarim,
Yemen.Habib Ali al-Jifri - Popular scholar from Yemen.Abdullah al-Harari (1910 – September 2, 2008) - Started the
Ahbash or Habashi movement, also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects at AICP.org.Mustafa al-
Bagha - A leading jurist from Syria.Mustafa al-Khinn - A leading jurist from Syria.Afifi al-Akiti - University Research
Lecturer in Islamic Studies at University of Oxford.Taha Karan - A leading scholar and teacher from South Africa.KH
Said Aqil Siradj - Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation in Indonesia.Achmad Hasyim
Muzadi - Former chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation in Indonesia.Aboobacker Ahmad - A.
P. Sunni leader in Kerala and General Secretary of the Sunni Scholars’ Organisation of India.Nuh Ha Mim Keller -
Translator of Imam Nawawi's Al-Maqasid and Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri's Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik.Munira
Qubeysi - Leader of the Qubeysi movement in Syria.M Din Syamsuddin - Chairman of the Muhammadiyah
movement in Indonesia.Mohammad Salim Al-Awa - Leading Islamist thinker from Egypt.Nuh Ali Salman al-Quda -
Former Grand Mufti of Jordan.Abd al-Karim al-Khasawni - Mufti of Jordan.Ahmed Kuftaro - Former Grand Mufti of
Syria.Seraj Hendricks - Mufti of Cape Town, South Africa.Omar Idris - Mufti of Ethiopia.Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned
- Mufti of Brunei.Abdullah Gymnastiar - Popular preacher in IndonesiaAhmad Syafi'i Maarif - Prominent Indonesian
intellectual.Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas - Leading Malaysian intellectual.Taha Jabir Alalwani - Leading scholar
in the United States.Zaid Shakir - Prominent American scholar.Dato' Haji Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat - Malaysian
spiritual leader.Ahmad al-Kubaysi - Iriqi scholar and preacher based in Abu Dhabi.Abd al-Salam al-Abbadi - Head of
the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.Sayyid Hasan al-Saqqaf - Jordanian scholar and publisher.Azyumard Azra -
A leading Indonesian scholar.Dato Osman Bakar - A leading Malaysian scholar.Ibrahim Kassim - The leading
scholar in Singapore.Maarof Salleh - A leading scholar in Singapore. NotesIbn Hazm, Jamharah Ansab al-'Arabal-
Zubaidi, Taj al-'Urus under the header 'Shafa'a'. However, there are also early reports of his having been born in
Ashkelon and Yemen, for which see Yahia (2009), 89-90.al-Nawawi, Yahya ibn Sharaf (2005). Ali Mu`awwad and
Adil Abd al-Mawjud. ed (in Arabic). Tahdhib al-Asma wa al-Lughat. al-Asma. Beirut: Dar al-Nafaes. pp. 314–6.Diwān
Imām al-Shāfi‘ī. Damascus, Syria: Karam Publishing House Verses are translated by Salma al-Helali.Roerich
Museum, George Roerich (2003). Journal Of Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute, Volumes 1-3. Vedams eBooks
(P) Ltd. p. 526. ISBN 8179360113. Retrieved 2010-6-28.ReferencesYahia, Mohyddin (2009). Shafi'i et les deux
sources de la loi islamique, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, ISBN 978-2-503-53181-6Rippin, Andrew (2005). Muslims:
Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 90–93. ISBN 0-415-34888-9.Calder,
Norman, Jawid Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin (2003). Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature.
London: Routledge. Section 7.1.Schacht, Joseph (1950). The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford:
Oxford University. pp. 16.Khadduri, Majid (1987). Islamic Jurisprudence: Shafi'i's Risala. Cambridge: Islamic Texts
Society. pp. 286.Abd Majid, Mahmood (2007). Tajdid Fiqh Al-Imam Al-Syafi'i. Seminar pemikiran Tajdid Imam As
Shafie 2007.al-Shafi'i,Muhammad b. Idris,"The Book of the Amalgamation of Knowledge" translated by A.Y. Musa in
Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave,
2008Source: Wikipedia