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The Shafi'i (Arabic: شافعي Šāfiʿī ) school of thought is one of the schools of jurisprudence within the Sunni branch of Islam, adhering to the teachings of the Muslim Arab scholar of jurisprudence, Al-Shafi'i of the prestigious Quraysh tribe. Originally part of the early Ahl al-Hadith and Athari movement, the mainstream of school is now associated with the Ash'ari school of theology. The Shafi'i school is the dominant school of jurisprudence amongst Muslims in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the North Caucasus, Kurdistan and Maldives.
It is also practised by large communities in Saudi Arabia (in the Tihamah and Asir), Kuwait, Iraq, the Swahili Coast, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan (by Chechens) and Indian States of Kerala (most of the Mappilas), Karnataka (Bhatkal, Mangalore and Coorg districts), Maharashtra (by Konkani Muslims) and Tamil Nadu.
The Shafi'i 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 the Islamic prophet Muhammad, ijmā' ("consensus"), and qiyas ("analogy").
The Shafi'i school also refers to the opinions of Muhammad's companions (primarily Al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun). The school, based on Shafi'i's books ar-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh and Kitab al-Umm, which emphasizes proper istinbaat (derivation of laws) through the rigorous application of legal principles as opposed to speculation or conjecture.
Imam Shafi'i approached the imperatives of the Islamic Shariah (Canon Law) distinctly in his own systematic methodology. Imam Shafi'i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal almost entirely exclude the exercise of private judgement 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 adapted to the circumstances of any special case.
Shafi'i is also known as the "The Defender of the Sunnah" for his exhaustive efforts in emphasizing solitary hadiths in a systematic methodology to religious science.
Differences with other Madhabs
- The Basmala is considered a verse of Sura Al-Fatiha.
- Touching a marriageable woman invalidates ritual purity.
- The Jus ad bellum for jihad is disbelief, kufr and not injustice, unlike the other schools.
- Although other madhabs forbid playing chess, Some Shafi'is deem it disliked.
- Some Shafi'is endorse the practise of female circumcision.
The Shafi'i school is followed throughout the Ummah and is the official school of thought of many traditional scholars and leading Sunni authorities. It is also recognized as the official school of thought by the governments of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. In addition, the government of Indonesia uses this madhhab for the Indonesian compilation of sharia law.
It is the dominant school of thought amongst Muslims in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Southern Syria and Damascus, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the North Caucasus (mostly in Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia), Kurdistan and Maldives.
It is also practised by large communities in Saudi Arabia (in the Tihamah and Asir), Kuwait, Northern and Sunni Iraq, the Swahili Coast, Mauritius, South Africa, Madagascar,Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan (by Chechens) and Indian States of Kerala (most of the Mappilas), Karnataka (Bhatkal, Mangalore and Coorg districts), Maharashtra (by Konkani Muslims) and Tamil Nadu.
In terms of followers, Shafi'i is the second largest school of the Sunni branch of Islam after the Hanafi madhab. It is practiced by approximately a third (33.33%) of all Sunni Muslims, or around 29% of all Muslims worldwide including the Shia.
The Shafi'i madhab was spread by the Imam's students in Egypt, Mecca, and Iraq until it gained early prominance in Iraq and Khorasan, where two main branches of the school formed. The chief representative of the Iraqi school was Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi whilst Khorasan was represented by al-Juwayni and al-Iraqi. These two branches merged around Ibn al-Salah and his father, before being reviewed and refined by al-Rafi'i and al-Nawawi.
Many early and medieval Shafi'i scholars were strongly associated with the conservative Ahl al-Hadith and Athari movements in theology, following Imam al-Shafi'i's strong aversion and condemnation of speculative theology. Such figures include Al-Lalika'i (Sharh Usul al-I'tiqad), Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, Al-Mizzi, Ibn Kathir, Al-Dhahabi, Al-Darimi, Al-Marwazi, Al-Daraqutni, and Ibn al-Salah. The Khorasani branch of the school championed the Ash'ari school of theology through Al-Juwayni, Al-Ghazali, and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi. This was taken up by a great number of scholars until the Ash'ari school became almost synonymous with the Shafi'i madhab through institutions such as Al-Azhar in Egypt.
The Shafi'i madhab was adopted as the official madhab during periods of the Abbasid Caliphate, in the first century of the Great Seljuq Empire, Zengid dynasty, Ayyubid dynasty and later the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), where it saw its greatest development and application. It was also adopted by the Kathiri state in Hadhramawt and most of rule of the Sharif of Mecca.
Early European explorers speculated that T'ung-kan (Hui people, called "Chinese Mohammedan") in Xinjiang originated from Khorezmians who were transported to China by the Mongols, and that they were descended from a mixture of Chinese, Iranians, and Turkic peoples. They also reported that the T'ung-kan were Shafi'ites, which the Khorezmians were as well.
According to the great Indian Hanafi scholar, Shah Waliullah, the Shafi'i madhab is distinguished among all the Sunni schools in having the most illustrious Islamic scholars in history, in all fields, among its followers. As al-Shafi'i emphasized the importance of muttasil (connected) and Ahad (singular) hadith whilst undermining the relevance of mursal (skipped) hadith, his madhab found particular favour among hadith scholars.
- Al-Ghazali, Authority in Sufism, Aqidah, Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, and Logic.
- Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, Sunni's second highest authority in Hadith, principal Shafi'i jurist; author of the Sahih Muslim commentary.
- Al-Suyuti, Sunni authority in Quran, Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith, Aqidah, Usul al-Fiqh and History
- Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
- Ibn al-Nafis
- Ibn Kathir, top-notch Sunni expert in Tafsir, Hadith, Biography, History and Fiqh.
- Ibn Majah, complier of Sunan ibn Majah
- Al-Darimi, complier of Sunan al-Darimi
- Al-Bayhaqi, Sunni authority in Hadith; Shafiite authority in Fiqh
- Hakim al-Nishaburi, Sunni authority in Hadith
- al-Tabarani, Sunni authority in Hadith
- Al-Baghawi, Also known as "Reviver of Sunnah"
- Ibn Khuzaymah
- Abu Nu`aym
- Ibn al-Salah, hadith specialist
- Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi
- Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi
- Dhahabi, Sunni authority in Hadith
- Zayd al-Din Abd al-Rahman al-Iraqi
- Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Sunni's foremost authority in Hadith, author of the authoritative commentary of Sahih Bukhari.
- Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami, complier of Majma al-Zawa'id
- Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, A renowned Sunni expert in Hadith methodology and jurisprudence
- Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi
- Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami
- Muhammad al-Sumali
- Al-Baghawi, Also known as "Reviver of Sunnah", well known for his Ma'alim Al-Tanzil in Tafsir.
- Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha'labi
- Said Nursî
- Al-Mawardi, Sunni authority in Legal ordinances, history and Islamic governance.
- Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi
- Zakariyya al-Ansari
- Ibn Hajar al-Haytami
- Sayf al-Din al-Amidi
- Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri
- Zainuddin Makhdoom al-Mallibari I and II, The Jurist and Historian (respectively) of Kerala
- Ibn Nuhaas
- Abdallah al-Qutbi
In Arabic Language Studies:
- Ibn Malik, author of the Alfiyat Ibn Malik
- Ibn Hisham, deemed the greatest grammarian since al-Sibaweyh by Ibn Khaldun
- Ibn Aqil, commentator on Alfiyat Ibn Malik
- Fairuzabadi, Arabic lexicographer
- Murtaḍá al-Zabīdī
- Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn
- Harith al-Muhasibi
- Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin Qushayri
- Abu Talib al-Makki
- Abu Nu`aym
- Imam al-Haddad
- Ahmad Ghazali
- Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani
- Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi
- Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi
- Yusuf Hamdani
- Ahmed ar-Rifa'i
- Shams Tabrizi
- Safi-ad-din Ardabili
- Kamal Khujandi
- Yusuf an-Nabhani
- Shaykh Sufi
- Abd Al-Rahman bin Ahmad al-Zayla'i
Contemporary Shafi'i Scholars
- Wahba Zuhayli - Professor of Jurisprudence at Damascus University.
- Ali Gomaa - Grand Mufti of Egypt.
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz - Founder of Dar al-Mustafa, a leading Islamic educational institute in Tarim, Yemen.
- Habib Ali al-Jifri - Popular scholar from Yemen.
- Abdullah al-Harari (1910 – September 2, 2008) - Started the Ahbash or Habashi movement, also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects at AICP.org.
- Afifi al-Akiti - University Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford.
- Hasyim Muzadi - Former chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation in Indonesia.
- Aboobacker Ahmad - Sunni leader in Kerala and General Secretary of the Sunni Scholars’ Organisation of India.
- Nuh Ha Mim Keller - Translator of Imam Nawawi's Al-Maqasid and Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri's Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik.
- Mohammad Salim Al-Awa - Leading Islamist thinker from Egypt.
- Ahmed Kuftaro - Former Grand Mufti of Syria.
- Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif - Prominent Indonesian intellectual.
- Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas - Leading Malaysian intellectual.
- Taha Jabir Alalwani - Leading scholar in the United States.
- Zaid Shakir - Prominent American scholar.
- Cherussery Zainuddeen Musliyar - Prominent Scholar in Kerala
- The Word of Islam - Page 102, John Alden Williams - 1994
- The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture p 436, Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, Muḥammad Maʻrūf al- Dawālībī - 1998
- Self-Determination and Women's Rights in Muslim Societies - Page 129, Chitra Raghavan, James P. Levine - 2012
- Roerich Museum, George Roerich (2003). Journal Of Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute, Volumes 1-3. Vedams eBooks (P) Ltd. p. 526. ISBN 81-7936-011-3. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Yahia, Mohyddin (2009). Shafi'i et les deux sources de la loi islamique, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, ISBN 978-2-503-53181-6
- 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
- Shafi'i Fiqh Legal Resource with Questions and Answers etc.
- 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
- Review of Imam Shafi'i's al-Risala