Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Abu Abdullah ash-Shafi'i
Arabic: abū ¢abd allāhi 'ash-shāfi¢ī

(767-820) Muslim legal scholar, founder of the Shafi'i school of Sunni Muslim Law, Sharia.
Shafi'i came to play a central role not only by forming one of the Sunni legal schools, but also by defining much of the methodology of fiqh, the usul al-fiqh, the science of developing laws.
The legal technique of Shafi'i can be named eclectic, wherein he used incongruous ideas of other scholars, structuring them into an intermediate position. He established his madhhab while in Baghdad from 810 until 814. His main influences were the works of Abu Hanifa and Malik ibn Anas.
Shafi'i is noted for having divided bid'a into good and bad, where good bid'a is an innovation which does not diverge from the regulations as understood by the Koran and the hadiths.
Much of the information about Shafi'i is legendary in nature, and it is hard to distinguish the historical facts.

767: Possibly born in Gaza, belonging to the Quraysh tribe.
769: His father dies, and he moves to Mecca together with his mother.
787?: Moves to Madina to study under the legal scholar Malik ibn Anas.
795: Malik dies, and Shafi'i moves to Yemen, where he allegedly becomes a secret follower of Zaydi imam Yahya Abdullah. This validity of this is doubted by many scholars.
803: Is arrested together with other Zaydi sympathizers, and brought to Raqqa.
804: Moves to Fustat in Egypt.
810: Returns to Baghdad where he starts teaching.
815 or 816: After two years in Mecca, he returns for good to Egypt.
820 January 20: Dies in Fustat, Egypt. His tomb would remain a place of veneration for centuries.

By Tore Kjeilen