Imām Ash-Ṣhāfi‘ī رحمه الله
Full Name: Muḥammad ibn Idrīs Ash-Shāfi‘ī
Born: Gaza, 150AH
Appellation: Abū ‘Abdillāh
Teachers Include: Imām Mālik, Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Ash-Shaybānī, Muslim ibn Khaliq Az-Zanjī, Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah رحمهم الله
Students Include: Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal and other prominent ‘Ulamā رحمهم الله
Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله started off learning the Arabic language until someone reprimanded him and advised him to study aḥādīth and Fiqh. He was very poor in his childhood, and when he was still very young, his father passed away. He could not afford to buy paper to write on, and would therefore resort to writing on bones.
He himself says, ‘I memorised the Qur’ān when I was 7 years old’. He memorised the ḥadīth collection of Imām Mālik رحمه الله - Al-Muwaṭṭā - when he was just 10 years old. He was very god-fearing and pious.
A pious person by the name of Abū Bayān رحمه الله said, “I saw the Prophet ﷺ in a dream and he told me that he requested Allāh not to take account of Imām ibn Idrīs Ash-Shāfi‘ī. So I asked the Prophet ﷺ, ‘For what reason?’ He replied, ‘He would send a salutation upon me that no-one else would’. I then asked, ‘And what was that salutation O Messenger of Allāh?’ He replied, ‘He would say:
اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ كُلَّمَا ذَكَرَهُ الذَّاكِرُوْنَ وَصَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ كُلَّمَا غَفَلَ عَنْهُ الْغَافِلُوْنَ
Trans: ‘O Allāh! Send salutations upon Muḥammad each time people remember him, and send salutations upon him each time the neglectful ones neglect his remembrance.
His Stature in Knowledge
When he had not yet reached twenty years of age, his teacher, Muslim ibn Khālid Az-Zanjīy رحمه الله instructed him to start issuing fatāwā to people, saying, ‘By Allāh! The time has come for you to start issuing fatāwā.’
Ar-Rabī‘ ibn Sulaymān رحمه الله states that Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله would split the night up into three parts: the first third he would spend in writing, the second in ṣalāh and in the third part he would sleep.
He also relates that Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله would complete the Qur’ān sixty times outside ṣalāh during the month of Ramaḍān, and he would complete thirty completions every other month.
Imām Al-Ḥumaydī رحمه الله mentioned that Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله once came from Yemen, and he had with him twenty thousand dinars (gold coins). He pitched his tent outside Makkah and did not get up until he had distributed the whole lot [in charity].
It has been narrated from Imām Al-Muzanī رحمه الله that he visited Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله during the illness in which he passed away. He asked him regarding his health, to which he replied, “I have entered the morning travelling from this world; parting from my brothers; drinking from the glass of death; meeting my bad deeds, and standing before Allāh. I do not know whether to congratulate my soul because it is to go into Jannah, or to pay it my condolences because it is destined for Jahannam.” He then wept.
The Imām passed away on Thursday night, after the ‘Ishā ṣalāh, and was buried on the day of Jumu‘ah, on the final day of Rajab, 204AH, at the age of 54.
May Allāh shower his grave with His Mercy and elevate his ranks on the Day of Judgement, and grant us all the likes of his pious company in the Hereafter.
Ar-Rabī‘ ibn Sulaymān states that I once saw Imām Ash-Shāfi‘ī رحمه الله after his demise in a dream, so I asked him what Allāh had done with him. He replied, “He sat me on a golden chair and showered me with fresh pearls.”
Ṣifat-Aṣ-Ṣafwah of Ibn Al-Jawzī رحمه الله
Siyar-A‘lām-An-Nubalā, Imām Adh-Dhahabī رحمه الله