Intro

The Shafi'iyyah school of Islamic law was named after Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i [Shaafi`ee] (767-819). A member of the Quraysh tribe of the Prophet, he was brought up in Mecca. He later taught in both Baghdad and Cairo and followed a somewhat eclectic legal path, laying down the rules for analogy that were later adopted by other legal schools.

The Shafi'i school is considered the easiest school and the Hanbali is considered the hardest in terms of social and personal rules. Tradition, the consensus of the Muslim community and reasoning by analogy are characteristics of this school

History and Development

Imam Shafi’i was a descendant of the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, and came to Egypt in the 9th century. Saladin who founded the first madrasa, dedicated to the Shafi'i rite near the tomb of its founder, Imam al-Shafi'i. Al-Shafi`i was known for his peculiar strength in Arabic language, poetry, and philology.

Then at the time of Al-Shafi'i, the Prophet's ahadith were gathered from different countries, and the disagreements among the scholars increased until Al-Shafi'i wrote his famous book, Al-Risalah, which is considered the foundation of Islamic jurisprudence. The Shafi'i tradition is particularly accessible to English speaking Muslims due to the availability of high quality translations of the Reliance of the Traveller.

Shafi’is Today

The Shafi'i school is predominant in east Africa, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Al Shafi’is (d. 855) thought influenced Indonesia, Southern Arabia, Lower Egypt, parts of Syria, Palestine, Eastern Africa, India and South Africa. The school remains predominant in Southern Arabia, Bahrain, the Malay Archipelago, East Africa and several parts of Central Asia. Shafi'i is practiced in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is followed by approximately 15% of Muslims world-wide.

 

 

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