Imaam Shafi’ee (R.A) was a great scholar of his time. He acquired a great amount of knowledge at a very tender age. Imaam Sahib (R.A) was highly ranked for his knowledge and understanding of jurisprudence.
He held teachings which due to their great effect, people from afar would come to attend. Imaam Sahib (R.A) respected and honoured his pupils with utmost kindness.
Imaam Sahib (R.A) did not commit himself to worldly affairs and was very intimate. He himself is the author of many momentous kitaabs, which due to their usefulness are read widely amongst people.
GENEOLOGY : Imaam Abu Abdullah Muhammed Ibn Idris Ibn Abbas Ibn Uthman Ibn Shafi’ee Ibn Saa’ib Ibn Ubayd Ibn Abd Yazeed Ibn Hashim Ibn Muttalib Ibn Abd Munaf Qurayshi Muttalibi Hashimi (R.A).
BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD : Imaam Sahib (R.A) has stated that, “I was born in 150 A.H, in a town in Syria called Gazah. When I was two years old I was brought to Makkah.”
BLESSED FORETELLING : Imaam Sahib’s (R.A) mother reports of an incident before the birth of Imaam Shafi’ee (R.A) where in her dream she sighted the Jupiter star emerging from her womb and embarking in the province of Egypt. She distinguished a radiant light emitting from this star illuminating the entire city. She questioned the wise men of the city to interpret this dream, who notified her that in the near future she was due to give birth to a learned scholar whose knowledge would be beneficial far and wide.
PRIMARY EDUCATION : In Makkah Imaam Sahib (R.A) started an elementary religious school after which he gained education in Madinah. With the training of archery and horse riding and with the knowledge of religious education, he lived in the tribe of Banu Huzayl in Makkah, and he gained a high degree of Arabic poetry. Apart from this he listened to hadith narrated by his uncle, Muhammad Ibn Shafi’ee and Muslim Ibn Khalid Zanji.
ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE : Imaam Sahib (R.A) states, “I was an orphan, my mother used to support me, I never even used to have enough money to pay my fees. When the teacher used to teach the children I used to listen and learn it off by heart straight away. So in the teacher’s absence I used to teach, because of this the teacher was very happy with me, so in return he agreed on teaching me free.
As it was very hard for my mother to pay for my stationary I used to choose bones, stones and palm leaves to write on. At the age of seven I knew the whole Qur’an with knowledge of its meaning and I learnt Mu’atta Imaam Maalik at the age of 10.
A SMALL REPRESENTATION OF IMAAM SHAFI’EE’S ( R.A.) TEACHERS :
1. Muhammed Ibn Ali Ibn Shafi’ee, Imaam Sahib’s (R.A) uncle. He narrated a hadith from Abdullah Ibn Ali Ibn Saa’ib Ibn Ubayd.
2. Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah Makki, Imaam Sahib’s (R.A) teacher from Makkah.
3. Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (R.A); Imaam Shafi’ee’s oldest teacher from Madinah.
A few other teachers of Imaam Shafi’ee ( R.A.) : Muslim Ibn Khalid Zanji Haatim Ibn Ismail, Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Yahya, Hishaam Ibn Yusuf Sinani, Marwan Ibn Mu’aawiyah, Muhammad Ibn Ismail Dawood Ibn Abdul Rahman, Ismail Ibn Ja’far, Hisham Ibn Yusuf etc.
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS: Imaam Shafi’ee ( R.A.) keenly practiced upon attributes that were praised within Ahaadeeth and Qur’an, and was a flawless exemplary character. Many incidents have been recorded manifesting these attributes:
INDEPENDENCE AND GENEROSITY: Imaam Shafi’ee (R.A) restrained himself from the rest of the world, he was independent, generous, broad-minded and very understanding.
Imaam Sahib (R.A) left the Yemeni Government and came to Makkah, he had 10,000 dinars with him. On the outskirts of the city there was an encamp, people came out to meet Imaam Sahib (R.A), amongst them there was a group of poor, needy people. He distributed the whole amount to them and after entering Makkah he asked for a loan.
Rabi’ has related that Imaam Sahib (R.A) used to give Sadaqah daily and in the Holy month of Ramadhan he used to give away clothes and large amounts of money to the poor and indigents.
INTELLIGENCE AND ELOQUENCE: Abu Ubayd has related that, “I have never seen anyone as knowledgeable and talented as Shafi’ee (R.A), and no-one as perfect as him.” Haroon Ibn Saeed Ayli states that if Imaam Sahib (R.A) wanted to prove that a stone pillar is a stick, it would be possible for him.
DESCRIPTION AND APPEARANCE: Muzani has narrated, “I have never seen anyone as handsome as Imaam Shafi’ee (R.A). The complexion of his cheeks was fair, and when he used to stroke his beard it was never more than a handful. Imaam Sahib (R.A) used to dye his hair with ‘henna’. He liked scent. Whichever pillar he used to lean against whilst teaching, the fragrance would linger onto the pillar.”
WORSHIP AND MYSTIC EXERCISE: Every night Imaam Sahib (R.A) used to complete the Qur’an, and in Ramadhan throughout the day and night he used to complete the Qur’an twice. It is stated that in Ramadhan he used to finish the Qur’an 7 times in salaah.
AGE AND DATE OF DEATH : 58 years of age: 204 A.H. in the month of Rajab on Friday, in Egypt.
BURIAL : Imaam Sahib (R.A) spent his last days in the world with Abdullah Ibnul Hakam.
The Governor of Egypt led the Janazah prayers. His two sons Abul Hasan Muhammad and Uthmaan were present for the funeral rites. Imaam Shafi’ee (R.A) who has followers all over the world was buried near Mount Mukatram.