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The Shāfi‘ī madhab (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.
 Intro Part
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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 the Prophet, ijma' (consensus), and qiyas. The Shāfi‘ī school also refers to the opinions of the Prophet'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.
The Shāfi‘ī school is considered one of the more conservative of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, where religious science has evolved around this School and many traditional scholars adopted it to be the soundest School among all. Due to the School's systematic methodology and rigorous approach to religious science, huge arrays and vast majority of Islamic scholars and leading authorities have become staunch adherents of this School. Many among them represent the entire Ahlus Sunnah Wa Al-Jama'ah in their field.
The founder of this School, 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 Shafiites are the Pillars of Knowledge of this Religion." Among the giants of Islam who adopted this School are:-
Imam of Aqidah: 1) Abu Al-Hasan Ash'ari
Imam of Hadith:- Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Nasa'ie, Imam Bayhaqi, Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Ibn Majah, Imam Tabari (who later became independent Mujtahid), Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Imam Abu Dawud, Imam Nawawi, Imam As-Suyuti, Imam Ibn Kathir, Imam Dhahabi, Imam Al-Hakim
Imam of Fiqh:- Khatib Shirbini, Ibn Hajar Haytami, Imam Nawawi
Imam of Tafser & Seerah:- Imam Mawardi, Ibn Kathir
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, or 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.
 Importance of the Shāfi`ī School
The Shāfi‘ī school is followed throughout the Ummah and is the official Madhab of traditional scholars, but is most prevalent by Kurds in Kurdistan (in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran) and by other communities in Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Southen India, Mauritiana, Ethiopia, Palestine, Most parts of Lebanon, Syria and is the official madhab followed by the government of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. As a matter of fact, the entire South East Asia embraced this School. It is followed by approximately 27% 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.
 Famous followers of this school
- Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi - prime minister of Malaysia
- Nizam al-Mulk, the Persian Grand Vizier
- ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, author
- al-Nawawi, jurist
- al-Ghazali, author
- Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi
- Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, author
- 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.
- Imam Shafi And Al-Risalaar:شافعية