Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi Alayh) and Fiqh


1. Is-haaq Bin Raahwaih the famous muhaddith and perhaps, the ustaad who held the most influence over Imam Bukhari says: “We were in Makkah Mukarramah. Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal said to me: ‘O Abu Ya’qoob! Go and sit by this person (referring to Imam Shaafi’)’. I answered: ‘What is the benefit in it? We are of the same age, and should I leave Ibn Uyainah and Sa’eed Al-Maqburi, (sitting rather by Shaafi’)!?’

Imam Ahmad replied: ‘You will not gain the tafaqquh (deep insight and understanding – the understanding of Fiqh) which Shaafi’ possesses. On the other hand, the narrations they (Ibn Uyainah and Al-Maqburi) have will eventually be acquired by you.”

2. Fadhl Bin Ziyaad Al-Bazzaar says that he was looking for Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal during Haj. He found him in the majlis [gathering] of Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) was at that time still a youth.

Fadhl Al-Bazzaar enquired from Imam Ahmad: “Why did you leave the majaalis [gatherings] of the Mashaaikh of Hadith; Ibn Uyainah, Zuhri, and Amr Bin Deenaar for this youth?”

Imam Ahmad retorted: “Keep quiet! If you do not get a Hadith with a short chain (by Imam Shaafi’) you will get a Hadith with a long chain. But if his mind [that is, his intelligence and his understanding of the Hadith] is lost to you, you will never get that anywhere else.”

We can learn from this that understanding the Hadith is more important than mere retention of narrations. For this reason the suhbat (company) of the Fuqaha is emphasised so much. The Fuqaha were those Ulama who had true understanding of the Shariah and deep insight into Deeni matters.

3. Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “One who acquires knowledge haphazardly (thoughtlessly and without order) is like a person collecting firewood in the dark of the night (haatibul lail). There is possibly, in the bundle, a snake which bites him.”

This sagacious advice of Hadhrat Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) is rather pertinent to those who seek their ‘knowledge’ from the internet by jumping from one deviate website to another donkey site picking up snakes and najaasat from every tom, dick and harry who professes knowledge of Islam. True Ilm can only be acquired from the Ulama who fear Allah Ta’ala inwardly and outwardly. The sign of such Ulama is that by keeping their company and studying their writings the yearning for Allah and the Aakhirat increases and detestation for this life on earth grows in the heart.

4. Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “For sixteen years I did not fill my stomach because eating to one’s fill makes the body lethargic, the heart hard, and the intellect slow. It makes one sleepy, and such a person becomes lazy to offer Ibaadat.”

5. “Of all the deviate people I did not find anyone to be greater liars than the Raafidhis [the Shiah].”

6. “In Fiqh people are in need of the Iraqis [referring to the Hanafis].”

7. “An intelligent person is he whose intelligence stops him from all evil acts.”

8. There are four pillars of nobility: beautiful character, humility, generosity, and engrossment in Ibaadat.

9. “Whoever wants the Noor of Hikmat [spiritual light of wisdom] should adopt solitude as far as possible, he should eat less, dissociate from stupid people and stay far away from those ‘ulama’ who are partial and ill-bred.”

10. “Whenever I put forward Shar’i Hujjat (Proof from the Shariah) to anyone and he accepted it, honour for him in my heart increased.”

11. “Whenever I debated or discussed with anyone I desired for him (the one Imam Shaafi’ discussed with) to be given the taufeeq of good, blessed with the Path of Hidaayat, for him to be aided by Allah Ta’ala  and protected by Allah Ta’ala from errors. In my discussions I never worry about the Haqq (Truth) coming from my tongue or from the opposite party’s tongue.”

12. Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Hakam says: “I did not see anyone making a more perfect and beautiful wudhu using the minimum quantity of water than Imam Shaafi’. This was proof of his tafaqquh.”

13. In his young days Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) resided in the Shi’bul Khaif neighbourhood of Makkah Mukarramah. One of his family members was occupied with earning. This family member tried to bring Imam Shaafi’ into business with him. However, Allah Ta’ala wanted to accept Imam Shaafi’ for Ilm and Deeni work, hence his inclination remained towards talab ilm (studying) and in spite of undergoing the hardships of hunger, poverty and being an orphan he studied Ilm Deen.

(Extracted from Imam Shaafi’ Rahmatullahi Alaih – Life-Sketch, Statements and Anecdotes)