Arab5008m muslim Intellectual Encounter with Contemporary Thought Module summary

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2.4 Shafi'i

The Shafi'i (Arabic: شافعي‎ Šāfiʿī ) 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.

2.4.1 Principles

The Shafi'i school of thought stipulates authority to four sources of jurisprudence, also known as the Usul al-fiqh. In hierarchical order, theusul 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.

2.4.2 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:

و لولا الشعر بالعلماء يزري

لكنت اليوم أشعر من لبيد

For scholars, if poetry did not degrade,

I would have been a finer poet than Labīd.

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:

نعيب زماننا و العيب فينا

و ما لزماننا عيب سوانا

و نهجو ذا الزمان بغير ذنب

و لو نطق الزمان لنا هجانا

We 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.

2.4.3 Importance of the Shafi'i School Demographics

The Shafi`i madhhab is predominant inKurdistan, 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 Coorgdistricts), 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 andHijaz.

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.


  • 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

  • Hakim al-Nishaburi, 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

In Arabic Language Studies

  • Raghib Isfahani

  • Fairuzabadi

  • Ibn Hisham al-Ansari


  • Saladin

  • Nizam al-Mulk

2.4.4 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

  • 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.

2.4.5 Notes

    1. ^ Ibn Hazm, Jamharah Ansab al-'Arab

    2. ^ 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.

    3. ^ al-Nawawi, Yahya ibn Sharaf (2005). Ali Mu`awwad and Adil Abd al-Mawjud. ed (in Arabic). Tahdhib al-Asma wa al-Lughatal-Asma. Beirut: Dar al-Nafaes. pp. 314–6.

    4. ^ Diwān Imām al-Shāfi‘ī. Damascus, Syria: Karam Publishing House Verses are translated by Salma al-Helali.

    5. ^ 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.

2.4.6 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

2.5.7 External links

  • Shafi'i Fiqh Legal Resource with Questions and Answers etc.


  • Detailed Biography of Imam Shafi'i


  • Short Biography of Imam Shafi'i


  • Concise Summary of Imam Shafi'i


  • Contribution of Imam Shafi'i


  • Urdu Translation of Imam Shafi'is Kitaab-ur-Risala by Mubashir Nazir


  • Review of Imam Shafi'i's al-Risala

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