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Mohammad Ibn Idris Alshafei

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 0
  • Curriculum vitae :


Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i was a Muslim jurist, who lived from 767 CE to 820 CE. He was active in juridical matters and his teaching eventually led to the Shafi'i school of fiqh (or Madh'hab) named after him. Hence he is often called Imam al-Shafi'i. He is considered the founder of Islamic jurisprudence.[2]:1

Al-Shafi'i belonged to the Qurayshi clan Banu Muttalib which was the sister clan of the Banu Hashim to which Muhammad and the Abbasid caliphs belonged. Hence he had connections in the highest social circles, but he grew up in poverty.

He was born in Gaza and moved to Mecca when he was about two years old. He is reported to have studied with the "School of Mecca" (which might not even have existed, although some scholars are reported to have been active there). Then he moved to Madinah to teach others of the message of Islam and be taught by Malik ibn Anas.

After that he lived in Mecca, Baghdad and finally Egypt.

Among his teachers were Malik ibn Anas and Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī, whom he studied under in Madinah and Baghdad.

He was appointed as a judge in Najran in the time of Harun ar-Rashid. Sunnis portray that his devotion to justice, even when it meant criticizing the governor, caused him some problems, and he was taken before the Caliph, falsely accused of aiding the Alawis in a revolt. al-Shaybānī was the chief justice at the time, and his defense of ash-Shafi'i, coupled with ash-Shafi'i’s own eloquent defense, convinced Harun ar-Rashid to dismiss the charge, and he directed al-Shaybānī to take ash-Shafi'i to Baghdad. He was also a staunch critic of Al-Waqidi's writings on Sirah.

In Baghdad, he developed his first madhab, influenced by the teachings of both Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik. Thus, his work there is known as “al Madhab al Qadim lil Imam as Shafi’i,” or the Old School of ash-Shafi'i.

Achievements and Awards

Shafi'i developed the science of fiqh unifying 'revealed sources' - the Quran and hadith - with human reasoning to provide a basis in law. With this systematization of shari'a he provided a legacy of unity for all Muslims and forestalled the development of independent, regionally based legal systems. The four Sunni legals schools or madhhabs- keep their traditions within the framework that Shafi'i established.

Shafi'i gives his name to one of these legal schools Shafi'i fiqh - the Shafi'i school - which is followed in many different places in the Islamic world: Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Somalia, Yemen and southern parts of India.

Today, many English speaking Muslims are introduced to the madhab of Imam Shafi’i through the translated works Umdat as Salik (Reliance of the Traveller) and al Maqasid, both done by Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

He authored more than 100 books.

- Al-Risala — The best known book by al-Shafi'i in which he examined usul al-fiqh (sources of jurisprudence): the Qur'an, the Sunnah, qiyas (analogy), and ijma' (scholarly consensus). There is a good modern translation.
- Kitab al-Umm - his main surviving text on Shafi'i fiqh
- Musnad Ash-Shafi'i (on hadith) - it is available with arrangement, Arabic 'Tartib', by Ahmad ibn Abd-Ar-Rahman al-Banna

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