Biography of Sayyiduna Muhammad Bin Idrees Shaafi’i رحمۃ اللہ تعالٰی علیہ / Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رحمۃ اللہ تعالٰی علیہ

Some aspects of his life

As a Muslim, it is an honourable fact that our history is adorned with such respectable personalities who are admired around the globe for their thorough knowledge and scholarly eminence. Amongst these shining personalities, ‘Aalim-ul-‘Asr, Naasir-ul-Hadees, Faqeeh-ul-Millat, Sayyiduna Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad Bin Idrees Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه also holds a prominent position. He was a Mujtahid and the founder of Shaafi’i Fiqh [school of Islamic Jurisprudence], and he had a great spiritual personality. He was born in Gaza (Palestine) in 150 Hijri on the same day when Sayyiduna Imam-e-A’zam رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه passed away. (Wafyaat-ul-A’yaan, vol. 4, pp. 23)

His grandfather’s grandfather Sayyiduna Shaafi’ رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ was a Sahabi (companion) of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه is called Shaafi’i because of this relationship. (Al-Muntazam, vol. 10, pp. 164; Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 8, pp. 378; summarized)

His father had passed away when he was very small. Therefore, his mother raised him up and gave him tarbiyyat [upbringing]. (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 8, pp. 377)

In his childhood, he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه had great interest in archery and acquiring knowledge. He was so expert in archery that his ten out of ten arrows would hit the target. (Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 2, pp. 57)

Difficulties faced in acquiring knowledge

Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه faced such great financial problems in the beginning that his mother would not be able to even pay stipend to his teacher. As Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه would not have sheets of paper, he would sometimes write blessed Ahadees on the bones and sometimes on the sheets of paper taken from others. (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 8, pp. 379)

He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه had to sell his entire wealth thrice for acquiring knowledge, because of extreme poverty. (Tareekh Dimashq, vol. 51, pp. 397; summarized)

Despite such difficult circumstances, he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه kept acquiring knowledge. For acquiring knowledge, he spent twenty years in the villages of Arab and gained expertise in the languages spoken over there and their poetry. (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 8, pp. 379)

Excellent memory

Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was a very intelligent person. He had memorised the Holy Quran at the age of 7, and at the age of 10, he had memorised the blessed Hadees book Muwatta Imam Maalik in only 9 nights. (Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 2, pp. 60; Ad-Deebaaj-ul-Muzhib, vol. 2, pp. 157)

He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه had been granted the permission to issue Fatwa at the age of 15. (Al-Muntazam, vol. 10, pp. 136)

However, being cautious, he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه did not start issuing the Fatwa until he memorised ten thousand Ahadees. (Ibid, pp. 135)

Teachers and students

Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه acquired knowledge from great and highly respectable ‘Ulama (scholars) and pious personalities of his era. Amongst them, the blessed names of Sayyiduna Imam Maalik, Sayyiduna Muslim Bin Khalid, Sayyiduna Sufyan Bin ‘Uyaynah and Sayyiduna Fudayl Bin Iyaad رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـهُ تَـعَالٰی are worth mentioning. Moreover, amongst his students are some of the most intelligent personalities of his era like Sayyiduna Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Sayyiduna Imam ‘Abdullah Humaydi and Sayyiduna Imam Hasan Za’frani رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـهُ تَـعَالٰی. (Ad-Deebaaj-ul-Muzhib, vol. 2, pp. 157)

Taking his thorough knowledge and scholarly eminence into account, he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was appointed as the Qadi [judge] of Najraan in Yemen. (Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol. 7, pp. 255)

Apart from other pious personalities, Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه also acquired knowledge from Sayyiduna Imam Muhammad رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه, a highly respectable student of Sayyiduna Imam-e-A’zam رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه. (Ibid)

Books of Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i

While he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was still acquiring expertise in the “common fields of knowledge” of his era, he started propagating and writing books on his Fiqh (i.e. Fiqh-e-Shaafi’i) in Iraq. (Tarteeb-ul-Madarik, vol. 3, pp. 179)

He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه is the first person to write a book on the topic of Usool-e-Fiqh (Principles of Fiqh). Moreover, he divided the chapters of Fiqh and its rulings into different categories. (Mirat-ul-Jinaan, vol. 2, pp. 14; summarized)

Sayyiduna Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه greatly spread the knowledge of Deen through teaching, delivering Dars and writing books, and his great endeavours have been benefitting the people until today. His famous books are ‘Al-Umm [اَلاُمّ]’, ‘Ar-Risalah [اَلرِّسالَۃ]’, ‘Ikhtilaf-ul-Hadees [اِخْتِلافُ الْحَدِیث]’, ‘Adab-ul-Qadi [اَدَبُ الْقاضی]’, ‘As-Sabaq war-Ram [اَلسَّبَق و الرَّمْی]’, etc. (A’laam lil-Zarkali, vol. 6, pp. 26)

Worship, asceticism and contentment

Along with being a Mujtahid of his era, Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was a great worshipper of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and a frequent reciter of the Holy Quran. He would recite the complete Holy Quran once daily and in Ramadan-ul-Mubarak, he would recite the complete Holy Quran 60 times. He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was a beautiful reciter of the Holy Quran having a very pleasant voice; his recitation would move the people to tears. (Al-Muntazam, vol. 10, pp. 135)

Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه also held a high status in asceticism and contentment. He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has stated: I have never eaten my fill since 16 years. (Lubab-ul-Ihya, pp. 32)

Acknowledgement of his dignity by the pious personalities

He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was well-known for his dignity and nobility. Even the pious personalities of that era have praised him. Sayyiduna Sufyan Bin ‘Uyaynah رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has stated: Imam Shaafi’i (رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه) is the most Afzal [superior] person of his era. (Al-Intaqa, pp. 120)

Sayyiduna Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has stated: Imam Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه is like the “sun” for the world and like “peace and safety” for the people. As there is no substitute for both of them, similarly, there is no substitute for him as well. (Ibid, pp. 125)

Blessed demise

At the age of 55, the shining sun of his scholarly life set in Egypt during the night of Thursday in Rajab, 204 Hijri. (Ad-Deebaaj-ul-Muzhib, vol. 2, pp. 160; Al-Intaqa, pp. 160)

His blessed shrine is located in Qarafah Sughra (Cairo, Egypt), near Jabal Maqtam, which is visited by the common people as well as important personalities.

May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ have mercy on him and forgive us without accountability for his sake!

اٰمِيۡن   بِجَاهِ   النَّبِيِّ  الۡاَمِيۡن   صَلَّى  اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى  عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

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Biography of Sayyiduna Muhammad Bin Idrees Shaafi’i رحمۃ اللہ تعالٰی علیہ / Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رحمۃ اللہ تعالٰی علیہ

The great Taabi’i pious personage Sayyiduna Abu ‘Abdullah Sufyan Bin Sa’eed Bin Masrooq Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was incredibly eminent scholar of Hadees and Fiqh, pious and an ascetic person. He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was a contemporary of Sayyiduna Imam-e-A’zam Abu Hanifah رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه. He was born in 97 AH. (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 7, pp. 175)

Acquisition of knowledge

Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه, initially, acquired the knowledge from his blessed father, and then in Kufa, he sought the Dars of Hadees and Fiqh from the renowned Shaykhs of Hadees especially ‘Imam A’mash’ and Abu Ishaaq Sabee’i رَحِمَهُمَا الـلّٰـهُ تَـعَالٰی. In addition to it, he travelled to many countries for seeking knowledge. (Muhaddiseen ‘Uzzam Hayat-o-Khidmaat, pp. 105)

Having seen the strong eagerness for seeking knowledge, the blessed mother of Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: O my dear son! Keep seeking knowledge! I will meet your expenses by carrying out the spinning work. (Sift-us-Safwah, Juz: 3, vol. 2, pp. 125, Raqm 468)

Teachers and students

According to one narration, Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه, had acquired knowledge from 600 teachers. (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 7, pp. 177) A big number of Ashaab-e-Kutub Sattah (authors of 6 authentic books of Hadees) and other narrators are amongst those who took narrations from Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه. (Ibid, pp. 175, 178)

Parable

Imam Abul Musanna رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: Once I heard a noise of people in Marw city saying, ‘Sawri is coming! Sawri is coming’. I came out and saw a boy who hardly had a few beard hairs. Imam Zahabi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said, ‘People were saying loudly because he رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه was incredibly intelligent and had a strong memory; furthermore, he used to describe blessed Ahadees right from the days of his early youth.’ (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 7, pp. 179)

Halqah of Dars (teaching session)

Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه had a remarkable expertise in Islamic knowledge. He launched a proper Halqah of Dars (teaching session) in Bukhara when he was 18 years old and that Halqah used to be crowded with students. (Muhaddiseen ‘Uzzam Hayat-o-Khidmaat, pp. 111)

Scholarly status

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Bin Mubarak رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: I acquired the knowledge of Hadees from 1100 Shaykhs (teachers), and found Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه most distinguished of all. (Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 9, pp. 158)

Sayyiduna Imam Maalik رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: Previously, we used to receive dirhams and clothes from Iraq, now since Sufyan has arrived, we have started receiving knowledge. (Tahzeeb-ut-Tahzeeb, vol. 3, pp. 400, Raqm 2519)

Imam Sha’bah, Ibn ‘Uyaynah and Yahya Bin Ma’een رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـهُ تَـعَالٰی gave Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه with the sacred title of ‘امیرُ المؤمنین  فی  الحدیث’. (Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 9, pp. 165)

Blessed saying

Whoever remembers grave abundantly, (it is hoped) that he will find it (grave) a garden from the gardens of Jannah and whoever will remain heedless of the remembrance and mentioning of the graves then (it is feared), he will find his grave a pit of Hell. (Ihya-ul-‘Uloom-id-Deen, vol. 5, pp. 238)

Blessed demise

Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه departed this life in Sha’ban-ul-Mu’azzam 161 AH in Basra. (Tabqat li Ibn Sa’d, vol. 6, pp. 350)

May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ have mercy on him and forgive us without accountability for his sake!

اٰمِيۡن   بِجَاهِ   النَّبِيِّ  الۡاَمِيۡن  صَلَّى  اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى  عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

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