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) ABU Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris descended from the Hashimi family of the Quaraish tribe to which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) belonged. He was born in Ghazza, Syria in 767 A.C., and became famous as Imam Shafi-ee. He lost his father early in life and was brought up by his mother in very poor circumstances in the city of Mecca. He spent much time among the Bedouins and acquired a very great knowledge of Arabic poetry. At the age of twenty, he went to Medina and remained there as a student of Imam Malik till the lather’s death in 796 A.C. He also came into contact with other learned men from whom he acquired knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Imam Shafi-ee possessed a vey sharp memory and knew the whole of Imam Malik's Muwatta by heart. In 804 A.C. he visited Syria and from there proceeded to Egypt where he settled. As pupil of Imam Malik he was received with great honour and respect by the Egyptians. In 810 A.C. he went to Baghdad and there he was sur rounded by a large number of students who were eager to acquire knowledge of the faith and practice of Islam from him. The Shafi-ee school of law emerged from these students who practised and propagated the views and rulings of Imam Shafi-ee through their writings and preachings. Imam Shafi-ee wrote several books, the most well known of which is called Kitab-al- Umm, which is a collection of writings and lectures of the Imam. A number of his students have also collected his writings, lectures and rulings in the form of books, or quoted him in their books. 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 in the 9th century of the Christian era. 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 Musjid is always a Shafi-ee and the Shafi-ee Madhhab is industriously studied along with that of the other three schools of the Sunnis. Imam Shafi- ee, according to Sayed Ameer Ali, was "a man of strong and vigorous mind, better aquatinted with the world than Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik... He formed, from the materials furnished by Imam Jafar Sadiq, Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa, an eclectic school, which found acceptance chiefly among the middle classes". The Shafi- ee Madhab has followers in Northern Africa, partially in Egypt, in Southern Arabia, and the Malayan Peninsula and among the Muslims of Ceylon and the Bombay State in India. 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 Khalifa however found him innocent and the Imam was honourably released. Imam Shafiee left this world in the year 820 A.C. in Egypt.
but this thirst for knowledge was not quenched. On the blank side of the paper. he would do his lessons. Some people asked the governor of Yemen to help Al-Shafi’i . At the age of 20 he had completed all that its scholars has to teach. Al-Shafi’i was one of them.] He is Abdullah Mohamed Ibn Idris Al Shafi’i. He borrowed Al-Muwatta’ to read which even fueled him more made him more eager to study under Imam Malik . The last three years at Imam Malik’s study circle were doubly fruitful because the eminent Iraqi scholar. he could hit the target 10 times out of 10. In the process of curbing the governor’s injustice. he never left him during those nine years except to visit his mother. So. Al-Shafi’i stayed very closed to Imam Malik for nine years.Imam Al Shafi’i [R. In his fifth years at Najran. Al-Shafi’i’s mettle was tasted when a strong-fisted governor took over. As he could not afford enough writing material. Al-Shafi’i did not spare him from criticism whenever the occasion arose. They respected him so much and learnt a great deal from him. Al-Shafi’i earned his enmity. near his tribal ancestry. He studied poetry and learnt their prose reporting and stories. He also learnt archery and became very skilful. . until he mastered all that was there to learn. she followed him there to keep an eye on his studies. Imam Malik used to care more and give more attention to poor and needy students. He memorized the Qur’an at a very young age. for he was the one who put the fundamental of jurisprudence. and so he took him to Yemen where he was appointed justice in the city of Najran. he traveled to Madinah to learn from Imam Malik . He is known as the revivalist of the second century. Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani(132189H) who recorded all the Hanafi scholarship had come to study under Imam Malik .A. science of (usul al Fiqh). a prominent Imam who was a descendant from the Hashimi family of Quraysh tribe. In order to improve his knowledge of Arabic. When Imam Malik died (179H). Al-Shafi’i returned to Mekkah hoping to earn his living. On his return to Mekkah Al Shafi’i continued studying. Al Shafi’i wished to have a foretaste of what he would be learning. After entrusting him initially in the care of a relative. The people there soon realised that they had a judge who was devoted to justice. unwilling to swerve from it for any favor or pressure. Al Shafi’i mother sent him to Mekkah. He accompanied the tribe on nomadic travels. Al Shaafi’I used to go to the governor’s offices in search of paper that had already been used. he went deep into the desert to join the Bedouin tribe of Huthail. who were renowned for the best standard of literary Arabic. At the age of 10. which Prophet Muhammad Sallallaahu Ta'ala AlaIhi Wa Sallam came from. or to stay for a short while with some bedouin tribes.
At the age of 34. accusing Al-Shafi’i of backing a revolt by people loyal to the Alawis. He told Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani to take Al-Shafi’i to his home while he thought the matter over. speaking as a student of Imam Malik . he said: ‘I carried with me a whole camel load of books. for Al-Shafi’i never supported or advocated any revolt or rebellion against the Caliph. His cleverness was coupled with a superb memory and ready argument. The charge was never revived. who described Al-Shafi’i as a scholar of eminence who would not be involved in such matters. recording the Fiqh of Imam Abu Haneefah ( one of the Four grand Imams) and his disciples. Caliph Al-Rasheed. known to be kind and merciful.’ Was this accusation false? Indeed it was. the Chief Justice was his the only of his advisers and top officials present at the court. Imam Al-Shafi’i was brought in 184H before the Caliph in Baghdad. as they were the descendants of Hazrat Ali. On the contrary he used to love the Alawis. There the case ended. the descendants of Hazrat Ali ibn Talib (may Allah be pleased with him). saw in this testimony his way out to spare AlShafi’i . Two factors affected the Caliph’s Judgement: a lucid defence by the accused himself. whom he gave great respect. Among the most important characteristic of Al-Shafi’i was his native intelligence that gave him an easy and good grasp of even the most difficult of questions. Al Shaafi’i left Baghdad. (May Allah be pleased with her). This episode was a blessing in disguise because it brought Al-Shafi’i back on track in his quest for knowledge. and he achieves by his tongue much more than a fighter can achieve with this sword. but not in Madinah or Mekkah. all of which I learnt directly form Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan. Al-Shafi’I stayed with Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani and read under his guidance all the books that he had written. After two years. and Hazrat Fatimah. and Chief Justice Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani’s Testimony.The governor wrote to Caliph Al-Rasheed in Baghdad. He said: ‘I have no authority over this man. the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.’ Al-Shafi’i learnt the Fiqh in Baghdad as well as memorized the Ahadith that were known in Iraq. Al-Shafi’I pointed out that his scholarship was known to the Chief Justice. The governor who had rid himself of a fearless critic was no longer interested what happened to him. but he would only debate with lesser scholars than Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani. (May Allah be pleased with him). Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaibani. He also entered into debate with many scholars. in fetters and chains. Sallallaahu Ta'ala AlaIhi Wa Sallam . so as to reach the right solution and the right answer regarding any question put to him. He always studied matters in depth. .
In this way. And if his opponent were right. and declaring it even if it was unpopular. I will receive the reward for it from Allah ta'ala. without having people’s praise. Imam Al-Shafi’i would put it with a wealth of meanings that he always found ready to hand. His very clear use of words made him a influential speaker.’ With such noble qualities and wealth or knowledge. to whom he was most devoted. His gratitude to Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan. He was quoted as saying: ‘I wish people would learn what I have to give. eloquence and presentation. but rather in reaching the truth. without it being attributed to me. no wonder that scholars placed Imam Muhammad ibn Idris Al-Shafi’I in the highest rank. who had saved him from the Caliph’s wrath. or at variance with his teacher. did not prevent him from supporting the Madinan scholars’ views. One of his students said: ‘Every scholar gives more in his books than when you meet him personally.When discussing any matter. because he was not interested in scoring points or winning people’s admiration. No one ever accused him of rejecting true evidence. Imam Al-Shafi’i used to urge his students to devote both their time and effort in studying the Hadith. lucidity of expression and command over the language.’ Imam Al-Shafi’i’s books are among the finest in style. . Imam Al-Shafi’i never got furious while debating with anyone. he would not find any difficulty accepting his view. his explanation was always rich and to the point. Al-Shafi’i had a unique exquisite literary style. Another quality that positioned Al-Shafi’i at the highest rank of Islamic scholars was his persistent devotion and sincerity in the pursuit of truth. except for Al-Shafi’i whose verbal discussion gives you more than his books.
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