Biography of Imam Shafi
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Idris descends from the Hashimi family of the Quraish tribe to which Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) belongs. He was born in Gaza, Syria in 767 and became famous as Imam Shafi-ee. He lost his father early in life and was brought up by his mother in abject poverty in the city of Mecca. He spent much time among the Bedouins and acquired very great knowledge of Arabic poetry.
Life as Student
At the age of twenty, he went to Madina and remained there as a student of Imam Malik till the later’s death in 796. He also came into contact with other learned men from whom he acquired knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Imam Shafi-ee possessed a very sharp memory and knew the whole of Imam Malik's Muwatta by heart. In 804 he visited Syria and from there proceeded to Egypt where he settled down. As a pupil of Imam Malik he was received with great honor and respect by the Egyptians.
Teachings of Imam Shafi
In 810 he went to Baghdad and there he was surrounded by a large number of students who were eager to acquire knowledge of the faith and practice of Islam from him. The Shafi-ee school of law emerged from these students who practiced and propagated the views and rulings of Imam Shafi-ee through their writings and preaching.
Imam Shafi-ee wrote several books, the most well-known of which is called Kitab-al-Umm, which is a collection of writings and lectures of the Imam. A number of his students have also collected his writings, lectures and rulings in the form of books, or quoted him in their books. Baghdad in Iraq and Cairo in Egypt were the chief centers of Imam Shafiee's activities. It is from these two cities that teachings of the Shafi-ee school spread in the 9th century of the Christian era.
During the time of Sultan Salahuddeen (Saladin), the Shafi-ee doctrine was the most prominent in Egypt, and to this day the Imam of the Al-Azhar Masjid is always a Shafi-ee and the Shafi-ee Madhhab is industriously studied along with that of the other three schools of the Sunnis.
During his life Imam Shafi-ee also suffered from political intrigues. For instance, after studying under Imam Malik in Madina he was sent to fill an office in Yemen, where he was accused of political involvement which resulted in his arrest. He was taken as prisoner to Harun al-Rasheed. The Khalifa however found him innocent and the Imam was honorably released.
Imam Shaafi-ee died in the year 820 in Egypt.
Article Contributed by: itsIslam Staff