Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi)

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Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi)



Imaam Shaafi’ee’s (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) name was Muhammad ibn Idris. He was born in the year 150 A.H. (the very year Imaam Abu Hanifah passed away) and passed away in the month of Rajab, 204 A.H.[1]

His Expertise

Imaam Ahmad (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) said: “Anyone who used ink and a pen (for the knowledge of Deen) is undoubtedly indebted to Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) in some way or the other.” Imaam Ahmad (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) also said: “For forty years I have been supplicating for Imaam Shaafi’ee after Salaah.” Once Imaam Ahmad’s (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) son asked him: “What type of a person was Imaam Shaafi’i? I hear you supplicating for him so much?” He replied: “O my beloved son! Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) was like the sun for the world and a safety for the people. Think about it, do these two (bounties) have any substitute?” [2]

Abdur Rahmaan bin Mahdi says: “I do not perform any salaah, except that I also make Duaa for Imaam Shaafi’ee.” [3]

Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) was titled in Baghdad as ‘Naasirus Sunnah’ (the saviour of the Sunnah). Ibn Katheer (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says: “He memorized the Quraan when he was only seven, the Muwatta of Imaam Maalik when he was ten, and his Shaikh, Muslim ibn Khallaad az-Zanji permitted him to pass verdicts (Fatwa) when he was only fifteen. (Some narrations state that he was eighteen). Abu Thowr (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), one of the Mujtahideen of that era, says: “We never saw anyone like Imaam Shaafi’ee.[4]

Abu Ubaid (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says: “I never saw anyone more eloquent, intelligent and cautious (referring to his state of Wara’) than Imaam Shaafi’ee. Imaam Ahmad (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) would relate the Hadith narrated by Abu Dawood (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) wherein Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Verily Allah appoints for this Ummah, upon every hundred years, a reviver for its Deen.” Imaam Ahmad (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) would then comment: “Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was sent at the end of the first hundred years and Imaam Shaafi’i was sent at the end of the second century (as a reviver).”[5]

Ibrahim bin Abi Taalib says that I once asked Abu Qudaamah As-Sarakhsi regarding Imaam Shaafi’ee, Imaam Ahmad, Abu Ubaid and Ibn Raahway (Rahimahumullah). He replied: “Imaam Shaafi’ee is the most diligent amongst them in fiqh.[6]

Yahya bin Ma’een once came to Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi Alaihi). Whilst he was seated with him, Imaam Shaafi’ee passed by on his mule. Imaam Ahmad hastily stood up to greet him. He then followed him and remained for a while with Imaam Shaafi’ee, while Yahya remained seated. When he returned, Yahya asked him: “O Abu Abdillah, why did you behave in this manner?” Imaam Ahmad replied: “If you really want to know why I behaved in this manner, then the reason is that if you want to acquire the true understanding of Deen, then hold on firmly to the tail of the mule of Imaam Shaafi’ee and do not separate from him.” [7]

Ayyoub bin Suwaid says: “I did not think I would live to see a man as great as Imaam Shaafi’ee.”[8]

Ahmad bin Abu Surayj Ar-Raazi states: “I did not see anyone more articulate than Imaam Shaafi’ee. [9]

Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal said: “Imaam Shaafi’ee was from amongst the most eloquent of people.[10]

His Piety

Rabi’ (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says: “Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) used to divide his night into three portions. The first third was for writing, the second third for Salaah and the last third for rest.” Rabi’ (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) also said: “In the month of Ramadhaan, Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) used to complete the recitation of the Quraan sixty times. It is not however possible to calculate how much of it was accomplished in Salaah.” Rabi’ (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) once said: “Imaam Shaafi’i used to complete thirty recitals of the Quraan in every month, but during the month of Ramadhaan, he used to complete sixty besides what he recited during Salaah.”[11]

Ibrahim bin Muhammad As-Shaafi’ee says: “I never saw anyone perform salaah better than Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alayh). The reason for this is that he had learnt how to perform salaah from Muslim bin Khaalid, who learnt from ibn Jurayj, who learnt from Ataa’, who learnt from ibn Zubayr, who learnt from Abu Bakr (Radhiallahu Anhu), who learnt from Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).[12]

Ahmad bin Abbas An-Nasaai says that I heard Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal saying on many occasions: “The slave of Allah Ta’ala, Imaam Shaafi’ee, said: “I did not see anyone follow the Hadith as strictly as Imaam Shafi’ee did.”[13]

Glad Tidings

Hafiz Jalaalud Deen Suyooti (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says that the Ulama have mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had issued glad tidings in favour of Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) in the following manner: “Do not talk ill of the Quraysh, as an Aalim of the Quraysh would (in the near future) fill the entire world with ilm (knowledge).” The Ulama say that this glad tiding was in reference to Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi).[14]

Ibnu Abdil Hakam says that when the mother of Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) was pregnant with him, she saw a dream as though she gave birth to a star that became apparent in Egypt, and thereafter a piece of it landed in every town. The interpreters of dreams interpreted this dream as meaning that she will give birth to an Aalim, whose knowledge will be exclusive for the people of Egypt at first, and then it will spread throughout the world.”[15]

His intelligence

Imaam Muzani (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) reports: “On one ocassion we were present by Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) when an old man wearing woollen clothing appeared. The old man then asked Imaam Shaafi’ee: May I ask a question?” Imaam Shaafi’ee gave him permission. He then asked: “What are the Shar’ee proofs in the Deen of Allah Ta’ala?” Imaam Shaafi’ee replied: “The Kitaab of Allah Ta’ala.” He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ee replied: “The Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ee replied: “The consensus of the Ummah.” He then asked: “What is your proof for this?” Imaam Shaafi’ee thought for a while. The old man then said: “I give you respite for three days, either you bring me proof from the Qur’an, or seek forgiveness and repent to Allah Ta’ala.” The facial complexion of Imaam Shaafi’ee changed. He then went and did not come out until the third day between Zuhr and Asr, in the condition that he was extremely sick. He hardly sat down when the old man came, greeted him and sat beside him. He then asked for his proof. Imaam Shaafi’ee said: “Yes”, and he began reciting the verses:

وَمَن يُشاقِقِ الرَّسولَ مِن بَعدِ ما تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الهُدىٰ وَيَتَّبِع غَيرَ سَبيلِ المُؤمِنينَ نُوَلِّهِ ما تَوَلّىٰ وَنُصلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَساءَت مَصيرًا  (سورة النساء: 115)

And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil it is as an abode. (Surah Nisa, 115)

The man said: “You have spoken the truth.” The man then left. Imaam Shaafi’ee said to those seated around him: “I recited the entire Qur’an thrice daily for three days, until the proof finally dawned upon me.”[16]

Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal said: “A scholar of Hadith can never get satiated from studying the kitaabs of Imaam Shaafi’ee (due to the abundant and profound knowledge contained in it). [17]

Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal said: “The fuqahaa were the doctors, and the Muhadditheen were the pharmacists. Muhammad bin Idrees (Imaam Shaafi’ee) came as both a doctor and a pharmacist.[18]

His Ikhlaas, Humility and Love for Brotherhood

Imaam Rabee’ mentions that Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) said: “It is my desire that people learn and take benefit from the knowledge (in my kitaabs), without anything being attributed to me.”[19]

Younus As-Sadafi says: “I did not see anyone more intelligent than Imaam Shaafi’ee. I debated with him on one occasion regarding a certain mas’ala, then we separated. He thereafter took hold of my hand and said: “O Abu Musa, why can’t we still remain closely attached as brothers, even though I notice that we do not agree on certain issues.[20]

Rabi’ bin Sulaymaan (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says that his ustaadh Imaam Shafiee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) would say to him out of love and affection, “If I could transform Ilm (knowledge) into food and feed it to you I would do so.” [21]

Allamah Subki (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) mentions that on one occasion Imaam Shaafi’ee explained a mas’ala to Rabee bin Sulaymaan Al-Muraadi thirty nine times, yet he still did not understand it. Rabee then woke up and left the gathering out of shame. After the lesson Imaam Shaafi’ee called him in seclusion and explained to him with extreme love and affection in the manner he had explained it during the thrity nine times. On the fortieth time, Rabee bin Sulaymaan understood it.[22]

Adab (Respect)

Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) used to say, “I would turn the pages of the kitaabs in a soft and silent manner in the presence of Imaam Maalik (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), so that the sound of the pages turning would not disturb him.”[23]

Imaam Rabee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) mentioned, “I did not have the courage to even drink a sip of water in the presence of my ustaadh, Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) out of respect for him.”[24]

The Statement of Imaam Shaafi’ee

Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says:

الجد يدنى كل امر شاسعٍ           والجدّ يفتح كل باب مغلقٍ

After making an effort, man is able to accomplish any difficult task he wishes, just as a closed door is opened after some effort.[25]

The Durood of Imaam Shaafi’ee

Ibn Bunaan Asbahaani (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) says: “I once saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream and asked him, ‘O Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), has any special honour been granted to Muhammad ibn Idrees Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), who is the son of your ‘uncle’? (‘Uncle’ has been mentioned because Imaam Shaafi’ee’s ancestory meets Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)’s ancestory at Abd Yazeed ibn Hishaam. Hishaam was the great grandfather of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “Yes indeed. I have supplicated to Allah Ta’ala that he be saved from the reckoning on the day of Qiyaamah.” I then asked, “O Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), on account of which deed did he become worthy of such a favour?” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “It is because he has recited such a durood upon me that no one else ever recited.” I then enquired: “O Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), what is that durood?” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied:

اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ كُلَّمَا ذَكَرَهُ الذَّاكِرُونَ وَ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ كُلَّمَا غَفَلَ عَن ذِكْرِهِ الْغَافِلُونَ

O Allah Ta’ala! Bestow special mercy upon Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) equivalent to the number of times that he was remembered, and bestow special mercy upon Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) equivalent to the number of times that the neglectful forgot to remember him. (Fazaail Durood)

It is mentioned that after the demise of Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), someone had seen him in a dream and asked him the reason for being pardoned by Allah Ta’ala. Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) replied: “It is because of these five durood upon Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that I used to recite every Friday night (i.e. the night preceding Friday)

اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد بِعَدَدِ مَن صَلَّى عَلَيه وَ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ بِعَدَدِ مَن لَم يُصَلِّ عَلَيه وَ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا اَمَرتَ بِالصَّلَوةِ عَلَيهِ وَ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا تُحِبُّ اَن يُّصَلَّى عَلَيه وَ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا يَنبَغِي اَن يُصَلَّى عَلَيه

O Allah, shower your choicest mercy and blessings on the master of the worlds, Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) according to the number of people who recited durood upon Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). And shower your choicest mercy and blessings on the master of the worlds, Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) according to the number of people who did not recite durood upon Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). And shower your choicest mercy and blessings on the master of the worlds, Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the manner that You have commanded that durood be recited upon him. And shower your choicest mercy and blessings on the master of the worlds, Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the most befitting manner which pleases You. And shower your choicest mercy and blessings on the master of the worlds, Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the manner he should be remembered and durood be recited upon him.

It is possible that Imaam Shaafiee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) had gained forgiveness on account of both these above-mentioned duroods.[26]

[1] Sifatus Safwah 439/1

[2] Sifatus Safwah 435/1

[3] Siyar 394/8

[4] Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah 276/10

[5] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 40

[6] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 37

[7] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 38

[8] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 39

[9] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 40

[10] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 41

[11] Sifatus Safwah 437/1

[12] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 37

[13] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 42

[14] Uqoodul Jumaan pg. 56

[15] Siyar 379/8

[16] Siyar 414/8

[17] Muqaddamah of Deewaan of Imaam Shaafi’ee pg. 41

[18] Ibid

[19] Siyar 386/8

[20] Siyar 382/8

[21] Ma’aalimul Irshaadiya pg. 78

[22] Ma’aalimul Irshaadiya pg. 77

[23] Aadabul Muta’allimeen

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Fazaail – Durood

Imaam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alaihi)