The Shāfi‘ī madhab ( _ar. شافعي) is one of the four schools of fiqh, or religious law, within Sunni Islam. The Shāfi‘ī school of fiqh is named after its founder, Imām ash-Shāfi‘ī. The other three schools of thought are Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali.


The Shāfi‘ī School of thought stipulates authority to four sources of jurisprudence, also known as the Usul al-fiqh. In hierarchical order the "usul al-fiqh" consist of: the Quran, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, ijma' "consensus", and qiyas "analogy". The Shāfi‘ī school also refers to the opinions of Muhammad's companions (primarily "Al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun"). The school, based on Shāfi‘ī's books "ar-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh" and "Kitāb al-Umm", which emphasizes proper "istinbaat" (derivation of laws) through the rigorous application of legal principles as opposed to speculation or conjecture. It is considered one of the more conservative of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

Imam Shāfi‘ī approached the imperatives of the Islamic Shariah (Canon Law) distinctly in his own systematic methodology. Imam Shāfi‘ī, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal almost entirely exclude the exercise of private judgment in the exposition of legal principles. They are wholly governed by the force of precedents, adhering to the Scripture and Traditions; they also do not admit the validity of a recourse to analogical deduction of such an interpretation of the Law whereby its spirit is adopted to the special circumstances of any special case. Their followers are accordingly designated as "Ahlu l-Hadith" or "Traditionalists "par excellence", while the followers of Abu Hanifa are called "Ahlu r-Ra'i" - the "People of Private Judgement".

Shāfi‘ī is also known as the "First Among Equals" for his exhaustive knowledge and systematic methodology to religious science. His approach to Islamic jurisprudence has become the standard reference of the scholars not only among his School but among others as well. There is a famous Fiqh maxim, "The Shāfi‘iyy are the Pillars of Knowledge of this Religion".

Among the giants of Islam who adopted this school are:-

Imams of Aqidah:

* Abu Al-Hasan Ash'ari

Imams of Hadith:

* Imam Muhammad al-Bukhari
* Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj
* Imam Nasa'i
* Imam Bayhaqi
* Imam Tirmidhi
* Imam Ibn Majah
* Imam Ibn Hibban
* Imam Daraqutni
* Imam Tabari (who later became independent Mujtahid)
* Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
* Imam Abu Dawud
* Imam Nawawi
* Imam As-Suyuti
* Imam Ibn Kathir
* Imam Dhahabi
* Imam Al-Hakim

Imams of Fiqh:

* Sheikh Khatib Shirbini
* Ibn Hajar Haytami
* Imam Al-Rafi'ie
* Imam an-Nawawi
* Al-Hafiz Izzuddin Abdus-Salam
* Imam Daqiequl-Eid

Imams of Tafser and Seerah:
* Imam Mawardi
* Imam Al-Baghawi
* Imam Fakhruddin ar-Razi
* Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir
* Shaykh Khatib al-Baghdadi
* Imam al-Baydhawi

Other Leading Scholars and Religious Experts:

* Imam Jalaluddin al-Mahally
* Imam Taqiyuddin as-Subki
* Imam Tajuddin as-Subki
* Sheikhu l-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari
* Imam Ramli
* Imam al-Ghazzali

The Imam

"Main article: Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i"

Shāfi‘ī's full name is Abū ‘Abdu l-Lāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs ibn al-Abbās ibn ‘Uthmān ibn Shāfi‘ī ibn as-Sa'ib ibn ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Abd al-Yazīd ibn al-Muttalib ibn ‘Abd Manaf. ‘Abd Manaf was the great grandfather of Muhammad. Based on this lineage, he is from the Quraish tribe. [Ibn Hazm, Jamharah Ansab al-'Arab] He was born in 150 AH (760 CE) in Gaza in the same year Imam Abū Hanifa died. [al-Zubaidi, Taj al-'Urus under the header 'Shafa'a'] .

As a member of the school of Medina, ash-Shāfi‘ī worked to combine the pragmatism of the Medina school with the contemporary pressures of the Traditionalists. The Traditionalists maintained that jurists could not independently adduce a practice as the "sunnah" of Muhammad based on ijtihad "independent reasoning" but should only produce verdicts substantiated by authentic hadith.

Based on this claim, ash-Shāfi‘ī devised a method for systematic reasoning without relying on personal deduction. He argued that the only authoritative "sunnah" were those that were both of Muhammad and passed down from Muhammad himself. He also argued that "sunnah" contradicting the Quran were unacceptable, claiming that sunnah should only be used to explain the Quran. Furthermore, ash-Shāfi‘ī claimed that if a practice is widely accepted throughout the Muslim community, it cannot be in contradiction of "sunnah".

Ash-Shāfi‘ī was also a significant poet. His poetry is noted for its beauty, wisdom, despite the fact that during his life time he stood off becoming a poet because of his rank as an Islamic scholar. He said once:

:و لولا الشعر بالعلماء يزري:لكنت اليوم أشعر من لبيد:"For scholars, if poetry did not degrade,:finer than Labīd's I would have said."

However, the beauty of his poetry made people collect it in one famous book under the name Diwān Imām al-Shāfi‘ī. Many verses are popularly known and repeated in the Arab world as proverbs:

:نعيب زماننا و العيب فينا:و ما لزماننا عيب سوانا:و نهجو ذا الزمان بغير ذنب:و لو نطق الزمان لنا هجانا:"We blame our time though we are to blame.:No fault has time but only us.:We scold the time for all the shame.:Did it have tongue, it would scold us." [Citation
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title =Diwān Imām al-Shāfi‘ī
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Verses are translated by Salma al-Helali.

Importance of the Shāfi‘ī School

The Shāfi‘ī school is followed throughout the Ummah and is the official Madhab of traditional scholars and leading authorities of Ahlu s-Sunnah, but is most prevalent amongst Kurds in Kurdistan and by other communities in Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, the Hejaz in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, State of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India, the district of Bhatkal in Karnataka in India, most of Sunni Muslims of Konkan in Maharashtra in India, Mauritania, Ethiopia, among Chechens in Kazakhstan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, most of Lebanon, Syria and is the official "madhab" followed by the government of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. Government of Indonesia also use this "madhhab" for Indonesian Compilation of Sharia. It is followed by approximately 28% of Muslims world-wide, being the second largest School in terms of followers.

The Shāfi‘ī tradition is accessible to English speakers from the translation of the "Reliance of the Traveller".

*Imam Abul-Hasan Ash'ari, Imam of Sunni Dogma and Tenets.
*Imam Jalaluddin Al-Mahally, Sunni authority in Quranic Tafsir (exegesis)
*Imam Suyuti, Sunni authority in history, Quran, Fiqh, Tafsir, and Hadith.
*Imām al-Bayhaqi, Sunni authority in Hadith; Shafiite authority in Fiqh
*Imām ibn Majah, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Imām al-Hakim, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abdu l-Lāh as-Sumālī, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Imam Abu Dawud Al-Tayalisi, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Imām Tirmizi, Sunni authority in Hadith.
*Imam Nasa'ie, Sunni authority in Hadith.
*Imam Daraqutni, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Imam Tabrani, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Imam Al-Mawardi, Sunni authority in Legal ordinances, history and Islamic governance.
*Imām Dhahabi, Sunni authority in Hadith
*Al-Hāfidh ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Sunni's foremost authority in Hadith, author of the authoritative commentary of "Sahih Bukhari".
*Imām an-Nawawi, Sunni's second highest authority in Hadith, principal Shāfi‘ī jurist; author of the "Sahih Muslim" commentary.
*Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, A renowned Sunni expert in Hadith methodology and jurisprudence
*Imam Al-Baghawi, Also known as "Reviver of Sunnah", well-known for his Ma'alim Al-Tanzil in Tafsir.
*Imam Al-Bayhawi, A Major Shafiite Exegete and Juristic Expert.
*Imam Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Sunni most respected exegete
*Imam Bukhari, Sunni's most prominent Hadith authority in verification
*Imam Muslim ibn Hajjaj, student of Imam Bukhari.
*Ibn Kathir, top-notch Sunni expert in Tafsir, Hadith, Biography and Fiqh.
*Sheikhul Islam Zakariyya Al-Ansari, a notable Sunni expert in jurisprudence.
*Imam Daqiequl-Eid, Sunni specialist scholar in Fiqh and Theology
*Sultan Al-Ulama' Izzuddin Abdul-Salam, renowned Sunni authority in legal law.
*Zainuddin Makhdoom I and II, The Jurist and Historian (respectively) of Kerala
*Sheikh Safi al-Din Is'haq Ardabili
*Imam Al-Ghazali, The Early authority in Principles of Fiqh (Jurisprudence), well-known for his Al-Wasit Fi Al-Madzhab" Author of the Incoherence of The Philosophers.

Contemporary Shafi'i Scholars

*Mufti 'Ali Gomaa' - Grand Mufti of Egypt
*Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmad - Kerala, India
*Sheikh Nuh Keller - Translator of Imam Nawawi's Al-Maqasid and Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri's Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik
* Sheikh Nuh 'Ali Salman al-Qudat - Former Mufti of the Jordanian Armed Forces
* Sheikh Al-Habib Umar bin Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafidh - Dean, Dar Al-Mustafa
* Sheikh Al-Habib Ali Mashhour bin Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafidh - Imam of the Tarim Mosque and Head of Fatwas Council, Tarim, Yemen
* Sheikh Al-Habib 'Ali Zain al-'Abideen al-Jifri [ [ Short Biography on Habib 'Ali al-Jifri ] ] - Descendant of The Prophet, Founder of the 'Tabah Foundations for Islamic Studies and Research', lecturer at Dar al Mustafa, Tarim, Yemen
* Sheikh Amjad Rasheed - Islamic scholar from Tarim, Mufti at []
* Sheikh Hamza Karamali - Teacher at []


* Rippin, Andrew (2005). "Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices" (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 90-93. ISBN 0-415-34888-9.
* Calder, Norman, Jawid Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin (2003). "Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature". London: Routledge. Section 7.1.
* Schacht, Joseph (1950). "The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence". Oxford: Oxford University. pp. 16.
* Khadduri, Majid (1987). "Islamic Jurisprudence: Shafi'i's Risala". Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society. pp. 286.
* Abd Majid, Mahmood (2007). "Tajdid Fiqh Al-Imam Al-Syafi'i". Seminar pemikiran Tajdid Imam As Shafie 2007.
*al-Shafi'i,Muhammad b. Idris,"The Book of the Amalgamation of Knowledge" translated by A.Y. Musa in "Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam", New York: Palgrave, 2008

=External links=
* [ Detailed Biography of Imam Shafi'i]
* [ Short Biography of Imam Shafi'i]
* [ Concise Summary of Imam Shafi'i]
* [ Contribution of Imam Shafi'i]
* [ Urdu Translation of Imam Shafi'is Kitaab-ur-Risala by Mubashir Nazir]

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