Short Biography of Imam Shafi – QuranMualim

Imam Shafi – Imam Al-Shafi’ee, also referred to as ‘Shaykh Al-Islam”, is among all four great Imams from Sunni legal schools. The Imam is also an writer of numerous renowned work in the field of. 

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1. His Name, Background and Family:

Imam Shafi – The full title of Imam’s name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris Al-Shafi’ee al-Abbas Ibn Uthman Ibn Syafie and bin Ubaid Ibn Abdu Yazid ibn Hasyim ibn Al-Muttalib (father of Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of Prophet (S.A.W.)[father of Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of the Prophet (S.A.W bin Abd Manaf. 

He is the only Imam that is close to Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) because he was part of the Qurayshi the tribe from Banu Muttalib, which was the sister tribe of Banu Hashim (tribe that belonged to the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W. )].

2. His Early Life and Early Education:

. This was the year that the great Imam Abu Hanifah had passed away. His father passed away in his infancy, and was taken care of by his mother in extremely poor conditions. In fear of the loss of his son’s heritage his mother made the decision to relocate to Mecca where relatives resided. 
Imam was young at the at the time. Some scholars that he was just two year old at the time his mom moved to Mecca. So it was during his early years receiving religious training within the towns in Mecca as well as Medina. According to certain sources, he was able to memorize the Quran at the age of 7 or 9.

3. His Journey to Seek Knowledge:

His early education was characterized by poverty, which is why his mother was unable to cover the costs of his education. Therefore, instead of taking part in classes, the Imam would simply be a spectator and absorb the information solely by listening to what the teacher was teaching the students within the classroom. 

He was so proficient in learning and storing knowledge by simply listening that at times when his teacher was not able to attend classes, was the Imam who would join in and spend the time in the class to teach the other students. His teacher was so impressed with his ability that he invited the young man on as an official student on a no fee basis.

4. Him and Imam Maalik:

In the years between 15 or 18 the teacher of Al-Shafi’ee gave him the authority to make rulings of the courts (fatwas). While still in school in Makkah Aa-Shafi’ee had heard about the famous scholar from Madinah the Imam Maalik Ibn Anas. He was keen to become an apprentice of Imam Maalik but he knew the wisdom of his intellect and knew one should not approach Imam Maalik without preparing. 

He learned Imam Malik’s famed text “Al Muwatta” in only nine days. Then he went to visit Imam Maalik at his home in Madinah. Al-Shafi’ee was polite and eloquent to the Imam and informed him that he would like to become his pupil. The Imam sat and pondered over the boy for quite a while as the young man told his tale of how he had sought knowledge to date. The Imam was astonished by his physical appearance and had a profound knowledge; he explained to him:

Al-Shafi’ee’s response was with the same politeness.

“Imam, I will read it myself from memory without a book.”

For nine years, Al-Shafi’ee was in Madinah until the death of Malik at the age of the year 179 AH (790 AD).

5. Returning to Makkah:

Following the demise of Imam Malik, Imam Al-Shafi’ee returned to Makkah with a wealth of knowledge that had influenced his life.

6. His Marriage:

In Makkah He was married to ‘Hamidah bint Naafi’ who was the granddaughter of the third Caliph ‘Uthman Ibn Afaan (R.A). He had three children: two boys Abu Uthman and Abul Hasan and the daughter Fatima.

7. His Persecution:

Governor of Yemen was on an official visit to Makkah and Al-Shafi’ee met, recognized his special talents and offered him a position as an administrator in Yemen however, as Imam Shafi’ee’s predecessor Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’ee too was subjected to political intimidation and repression, however thankfully in contrast to Imam Abu Hanifa, he did not suffer torture.

Imam Shafi’ee was detained and charged with the crime of interference in the political process in Yemen. The Caliph at the moment, Haroon-al-Rasheed examined him and determined that he was free of all charges and discharged him with honour.

After that after that, he was introduced to Muhammad bin Hasan Al-Shaibaani who was one of Imam Abu Hanifa’s top students. The conversations and contacts with Al-Shaibaani grew and by which he gained knowledge. Additionally,

Al-Shafi’ee got the chance to read the works of Al-Shaibaani along with the other Iraqi academics in Baghdad. Following his journey, he went back to Makkah. In all the places he visited the group he organized meetings and study groups attended by a number of famous scholars like Abu-Thawr and Al-Zafarani. He also hosted AlKarabisi. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal also joined his study circle and was studying with Al-Shafi’ee.

Imam Shafi – The last place of duty that was assigned to Al-Shafi’ee was Egypt where he resided until his demise. He was greeted with great respect and honor by the scholars and people of Egypt because of his status as a disciple from Imam Malik and due to his fiqh-related fame.

8. His Teachers:

Imam Shafi’ee studied with scholars of various cities including Makkah, Madinah, Kufa, Basrah, Yemen, Syria and Egypt. The following are the names of prominent scholars who taught Al-Shafi’ee

  • Muslim bin Khalid Al-Zangi (in Makkah)
  • Sufyaan bin Uyainah Al-Hilaali (in Makkah)
  • Ibrahim bin Yahya (in Madinah)
  • Imam Maalik bin Anas (in Madinah)
  • Wakee bin Al-Jarraah bin Maleeh Al-Kofi (in Kufa)
  • Muhammad bin Hasan Al-Shaibaani (in Basrah)
  • Hammaad bin Usama Al-Haashimi Al-Kofi (in Kufa)
  • Abdul-Wahhab bin Abdul-Majeed al-Busri (in Basrah)

9. His Students:

Al-Shafi’ee taught a variety of talented students, many who became famous masters. Some of his most outstanding students include:

  • Imam Abu Yaqub Al-Buwayti
  • Abu Ibrahim Isma’il ibn Yahya Al-Muzani
  • Rabi bin Sulayman Al-Muradi
  • Abu Ali Al-Karabisi
  • Ibrahim bin Khalid Abu ThawrH

6. He also had a meeting with Imam Ahmad bin HambaI and shared knowledge with them. The Imam Ahmad Hambal Hambal once stated: “Had it not been for Ash-Shafi’ee, we would not have known the understanding of Hadith.”

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A Scholar of Quraish:

Imam Shafi – Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal is believed to have said “When I am questioned about some matter that I do not know of I say to myself Imaam Shafi’ee knows about this and he will have some say in it, because he is an ‘Alim (Scholar) of Quraish.

Al-Raazi affirms, “This Hadith is attainable by someone who has three qualities: 1. the fact that he’s from Quraish 2. that he has a lot of knowledge among scholars of religion 3. the fact that his vast knowledge will truly be able to reach across the entire east-west region of the globe.

After this, Al-Raazi declares, “The man described above is no other than Al-Shafi’ee.” (Musnad in Abu Dawood Al-Tabalusi, p. 39-40)

The Imaam originates of Quraish as well. The following Ahadith (narrations) provide evidence to him:

2. Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) declared, “O’Allah, Guide the Quraish, for verily a scholar from there fills the earth with knowledge. O’Allah, just you have made them taste your punishment, now let them taste your gift and favor.” The supplication was repeated three times. (al-Khateeb fee al-tarikh V.2, P.61)

3. Imaam Al-Shafi’ee is Quraishi and Muttalibi. One hadith says “Indeed Banu Haashim and Banu al-Muttalib are one (ie. from the same lineage of family). It is said that the prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) then placed his fingers of both hands in a tizzy. (Al-Sunan Al-Kubra’ V.6, P.340)

4. In one of the narrations, in one of the narrations, Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) stated, “Indeed, at the beginning of each hundred years, Allah SWT will send a reformer from the Ummah who will bring back the Ummah in its religion. (Al-Mustadrik, V.4, P.522 Al-Khateeb Fee Al-tarikh, V.2, P.61)

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The last days of his life and death:

Imam Shafi – Imam Al-Shafi’ee was able to continue his routine every day until his illness forced him end his teaching career and retire. In the final days prior to the time of his passing, Imam said:

He then began crying. He was very sick towards the close in his lifetime. Imam Al-Shafi’ee remained in the company of scholars to the close of his life and it is reported that he may be spending his last days with Abdullah Ibnul Hakam, a famous scholar of his time. 

It is believed that he died on a Friday of the Islamic calendar month of Rajab aged 54, in that year, 204 AH (820 AD). the Governor of Egypt at the time praised his academic achievements in not only attending his funeral, but also conducting the funeral prayers. The two sons of the Governor, Abul Hasan Muhammad and Uthmaan attended the funeral ceremony.

His Writings and Books:

  • Al-Risalah al-Qadeemah (Kitaabul-Hujjah)
  • Al-Risalah al-Jadeedah
  • Ikhtilaaful-Hadith
  • Ibtaal-al-Istihsaan
  • Ahkaam-ul-Qur’an
  • Biyaadhul-Fardh
  • Sifatul-al-Amr wal-Nahiy
  • Ikhtilaaf Malik wal-Shafi’ee
  • Ikhtilaaf-al-Iraqiyeen
  • Ikhtilaaf Muhammad bin Hasan
  • Fadha’il Quraish
  • Kitaabul-Umm 13. Kitaabul-Sunan

His Burial Place:

Imam Shafi – The Imaam was very sick towards the end of his life , suffering from the pain of his hemmariodal glands and died in Egypt on Thursday night following Isha’ Prayer after performing Maghrib Prayer on the final date of Rajab. 

Imam Shafi – We were burial at Cairo, Egypt on Friday in the year 204 A.H. (819/820 A.D.) His Masjid in Cairo is accessible within Cairo’s Imaam Al-Shafi’ee Neighborhood. May Allah be happy with his soul. Ameen. Translation in the hands of Adil Khan on the 11th of Shabaan 1422 A.H. from Kitaabul-Umm, printed at Beirut, Lebanon. The Lord may Allah bless the Imam’s soul and allow him to enter His wide-ranging paradise.

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