Imam Shafi-ee Masjid


Muhammad ibn Idris ibn al-`Abbas, al-Imam al-Shafi`i, Abu `Abd Allah al-Shafi`i al-Hijazi al-Qurashi al-Hashimi al-Muttalibi ,the offspring of the House of the Prophet, the peerless one of the great mujtahid imams and jurisprudent par excellence, the scrupulously pious ascetic and Friend of Allah, he laid down the foundations of fiqh in his Risala, which he said he revised and re-read four hundred times, then said: "Only Allah’s Book is perfect and free from error."
He is the cousin of the Prophet - Allah’s blessings and peace upon him - descending from al-Muttalib who is the brother of Hashim, `Abd al-Muttalib’s father. Someone praised the Banu Hashim in front of the Prophet, whereby he interlaced the fingers of his two hands and said: "We and they are but one and the same thing." Al-Nawawi listed three peculiar merits of al-Shafi`i: his sharing the Prophet’s lineage at the level of their common ancestor `Abd Manaf; his birth in the Holy Land of Palestine and upbringing in Mecca; and his education at the hands of superlative scholars together with his own superlative intelligence and knowledge of the Arabic language.
He was born in Ghazza or `Asqalan in 150, the year of Abu Hanifa’s death, and moved to Mecca at the age of two, following his father’s death, where he grew up. He was early a skillful archer, and then he took to learning language and poetry until he gave himself to fiqh, beginning with hadith. He memorized the Qur’an at age seven, then Malik’s Muwatta’ at age ten, at which time his teacher would deputize him to teach in his absence. At age thirteen he went to see Malik, who was impressed by his memory and intelligence.
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.
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 Shafi-ee died in the year 820 in Egypt. The above photos were taken inside the Imam Shafi'ee mosque in Fustat, Cairo where the tomb of the famous Imam Shafi-ee placed. Let us pray to Allah swt that His blessings will always be with him. Aameen.