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The Shafi‘i
(Arabic: شافعي‎ Shāfiʿī, alternative spelling Shafei) madhhab is one of the four schools of Islamic law in Sunni Islam.[1][2] It was founded by the Arab
scholar Al-Shafi‘i, a pupil of Malik, in the early 9th century.[3][4] The other three schools of Sunni jurisprudence are Hanafi, Maliki
and Hanbali.[1][2] The Shafi school predominantly relies on the Quran and the Hadiths for Sharia.[3][5] Where passages of Quran and Hadiths are ambiguous, the school first seeks religious law guidance from Ijma
– the consensus of Sahabah
(Muhammad's companions).[6] If there was no consensus, the Shafi‘i
school relies on individual opinion (Ijtihad) of the companions of Muhammad, followed by analogy.[3] The Shafi‘i
school was, in the early history of Islam, the most followed ideology for Sharia.[citation needed] However, with the Ottoman Empire's expansion and patronage, it was replaced with the Hanafi
school in many parts of the Muslim world.[5] One of the many differences between the Shafi‘i
and Hanafi
schools is that the Shafi‘i
school does not consider Istihsan (judicial discretion by suitably qualified legal scholars) as an acceptable source of religious law because it amounts to "human legislation" of Islamic law.[7][not specific enough to verify] The Shafi‘i
school is now predominantly found in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, eastern Egypt, the Swahili coast, Hijaz, Yemen, Syria, Kurdish regions of the Middle East, Dagestan, Chechen and Ingush regions of the Caucasus, Palestine, Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kerala and some coastal parts of India, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines.[8]


1 Principles 2 Shafi‘i

2.1 History 2.2 Demographics 2.3 Taught today

3 Notable Shafi‘is

3.1 Contemporary Shafi‘i

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Principles[edit] The Shafi‘i
school of thought regards five sources of jurisprudence as having binding authority. In hierarchical order, these are: the Quran, the hadiths — that is, sayings, customs and practices of Muhammad, the ijmā' (consensus of Sahabah, the community of Muhammad's companions),[9] the individual opinions of Sahaba with preference to one closest to the issue as ijtihad, and finally qiyas (analogy).[3] Although al-Shafi‘i's legal methodology rejected custom or local practice as a constitutive source of law, this did not mean that he or his followers denied any elasticity in the Shariah.[10] The Shafi‘i
school also rejects two sources of Sharia that are accepted in other major schools of Islam— Istihsan (juristic preference, promoting the interest of Islam) and Istislah (public interest).[11][12] The jurisprudence principle of Istihsan and Istislah admitted religious laws that had no textual basis in either the Quran or Hadiths, but were based on the opinions of Islamic scholars as promoting the interest of Islam and its universalization goals.[13] The Shafi‘i
school rejected these two principles, stating that these methods rely on subjective human opinions, and have potential for corruption and adjustment to political context and time.[11][12] The foundational text for the Shafi‘i
school is Al-Risala ("The Message") by the founder of the school, Al-Shafi‘i. It outlines the principles of Shafi‘i
fiqh as well as the derived jurisprudence.[14] Al-Risala became an influential book to other Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
fiqhs as well, as the oldest surviving Arabic work on Islamic legal theory.[15][page needed] Shafi‘i

An approximate color map showing where the Shafi‘i
school (dark blue) is the most prominent.

History[edit] The Shafi‘i
madhhab was spread by Al-Shafi‘i
students in Cairo, Mecca
and Baghdad. It became widely accepted in early history of Islam. The chief representative of the Iraqi school was Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, whilst in Khorasan, the Shafi‘i
school was spread by al-Juwayni and al-Iraqi. These two branches merged around Ibn al-Salah and his father.[citation needed] The Shafi‘i
jurisprudence was adopted as the official law during the Great Seljuq Empire, Zengid
dynasty, Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
and later the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), where it saw its widest application. It was also adopted by the Kathiri
state in Hadhramawt
and most of rule of the Sharif of Mecca.[citation needed] With the establishment and expansion of Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in West Asia and Turkic Sultanates in Central and South Asia, Shafi‘i
school was replaced with Hanafi
school, in part because Hanafites allowed Istihsan (juristic preference) that allowed the rulers flexibility in interpreting the religious law to their administrative preferences.[7] The Sultanates along the littoral regions of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula adhered to the Shafi‘i
school and were the primary drivers of its maritime military expansion into many Asian and East African coastal regions of the Indian Ocean, particularly from the 12th through the 18th century.[16][not specific enough to verify][17][not specific enough to verify] Demographics[edit] The Shafi‘i
school is presently predominant in the following parts of the Muslim world:[8]

Africa: Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, eastern Egypt
and the Swahili Coast.[18] Middle East: Yemen, Kurdish regions of the Middle East, Caucasus region, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Egypt Caucasus: Chechnya, Ingushetia
and parts of Azerbaijan[19] Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, western coast of Indian peninsula, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, and the southern Philippines.

school is the second largest school of Sunni madhhabs by number of adherents, states Saeed in his 2008 book.[2] However, a UNC publication considers the Maliki
school as second largest, and the Hanafi
madhhab the largest, with Shafi‘i
as third largest.[8] The demographic data by each fiqh, for each nation, is unavailable and the relative demographic size are estimates. Taught today[edit] The classic primer in Shafi‘i
fiqh or jurisprudence, written by the Qadi Abu Shuja al-Asfahani: Matn al-Ghayat wa al-Taqrib is taught online on Qibla Academy by Sheikh Farid Dingle. This text, simply known as Matn Abu Shuja, is taught all over the Shafi‘i
world, from Egypt
to Indonesia, as the first book that covers the full breadth of legal topics—from the fiqh of worship, to marriage, trade, inheritance, justice, government, etc. Notable Shafi‘is[edit]

Al-Ghazali Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi Fakhr al-Din al-Razi Ibn al-Nafis Ibn Kathir Izz al-Din ibn 'Abd al-Salam Ibn Daqiq al-'Id Al-Suyuti

In Hadith:

Ibn Majah, compiler of Sunan ibn Majah Al-Bayhaqi[20] Hakim al-Nishaburi Al-Baghawi Al-Daraqutni Ibn Khuzaymah[21] Abu Nu‘aym Ibn al-Salah Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi Dhahabi Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, author of a commentary on Sahih Bukhari. Al-Sakhawi Ali
ibn Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
al-Haythami, compiler of Majma al-Zawa'id Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Al-Qastallani Ibn Hajar al-Haytami

In Tafsir:

Al-Baghawi Baidawi Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha'labi Said Nursî Hamka

In Fiqh:

Al-Mawardi Al-Juwayni Al-Ghazali Al-Baghawi Baidawi Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi Zakariyya al-Ansari Ibn Hajar al-Haytami Sayf al-Din al-Amidi Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri author of Reliance of the Traveller Zainuddin Makhdoom Ibn Nuhaas Abdallah al-Qutbi

In Arabic language
Arabic language

Ibn Malik – Author of the Alfiyat Ibn Malik Ibn Hisham ʻAbd Allah ibn ʻAbd al-Rahman ibn ʻAqil – Commentator on Alfiyat Ibn Malik. Fairuzabadi Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn

In Aqidah:

Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad

In Sufism

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

In history

Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn Ali
ibn al-Athir Al-Dhahabi Ibn 'Asakir Ibn Khallikan Abadir Umar
Ar-Rida Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti


Saladin Nizam al-Mulk

Contemporary Shafi‘i

Wahba Zuhayli Ali
Gomaa Habib Umar
bin Hafiz Habib Ali
al-Jifri Abdullah al-Harari Afifi al-Akiti Hasyim Muzadi Aboobacker Ahmad Nuh Ha Mim Keller Mohammad Salim Al-Awa Ahmed Kuftaro Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Taha Jabir Alalwani Zaid Shakir Cherussery Zainuddeen Musliyar

See also[edit]

Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
portal Politics portal

Adhan Apostasy in Islam Blasphemy in Islam Islamic views on sin Islamic schools and branches Sharia Salat Wudu


^ a b Hallaq 2009, p. 31. ^ a b c Abdullah Saeed (2008), The Qur'an: An Introduction, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415421256, p. 17 ^ a b c d Hisham M. Ramadan (2006), Understanding Islamic Law: From Classical to Contemporary, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 978-0759109919, pp. 27-28 ^ Hashim Kamali 2008, p. 77. ^ a b Shafi‘iyyah Bulend Shanay, Lancaster University ^ Syafiq Hasyim (2005), Understanding Women in Islam: An Indonesian Perspective, Equinox, ISBN 978-9793780191, pp. 75-77 ^ a b Wael B. Hallaq (2009), Sharī'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521861472, pp. 58-71 ^ a b c Jurisprudence
and Law - Islam Reorienting the Veil, University of North Carolina (2009) ^ Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi (1393), Al-Bahr Al-Muhit, Vol 6, pp. 209 ^ A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 39. ISBN 978-1780744209.  ^ a b Istislah The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press ^ a b Istihsan The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press ^ Lloyd Ridgeon (2003), Major World Religions: From Their Origins to the Present, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415297967, pp. 259–262 ^ Majid Khadduri
Majid Khadduri
(1961), Islamic Jurisprudence: Shafi‘i's Risala, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 14–22 ^ Joseph Lowry (translator), Al-Shafi‘i: The Epistle on Legal Theory, Risalah fi usul al-fiqh, New York University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0814769980 ^ Randall L. Pouwels (2002), Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521523097, pp 88-159 ^ MN Pearson (2000), The Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, in The History of Islam in Africa (Ed: Nehemia Levtzion, Randall Pouwels), Ohio University Press, ISBN 978-0821412978, Chapter 2 ^ UNION OF THE COMOROS 2013 INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT U.S. State Department (2014), Quote: "The law provides sanctions for any religious practice other than the Sunni Shafi‘i
doctrine of Islam and for prosecution of converts from Islam, and bans proselytizing for any religion except Islam." ^ Islam in Azerbaijan
(Historical Background), Altay Goyushov, CAUCASUS ANALYTICAL DIGEST No. 44, 20 November 2012 ^ A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-78074-420-9.  ^ A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-78074-420-9. 


Hallaq, Wael B. (2009). An Introduction to Islamic Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521678735.  Hashim Kamali, Mohammad (2008). Shari'ah Law: An Introduction. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851685653.  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

Further reading[edit]

Joseph Lowry (translator), Al-Shafi‘i: The Epistle on Legal Theory (Risalah fi usul al-fiqh), New York University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0814769980. Cilardo, Agostino, " Shafi‘i
Fiqh", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014. ISBN 1610691776.

External links[edit]

Shafi‘iyyah Bulend Shanay, Lancaster University Al-Shafi‘i
Risala Majid Khadduri
Majid Khadduri
(Translator), 1961 Music and Its Effects Ahmed Sheriff, Tanzania, "Why it was forbidden?", pp. 50–55

v t e


by century (AH CE)


Al- Shafi`i
(founder of the school)


Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari Al-Humaydi Al-Nasai Harith al-Muhasibi Ibn al-Mundhir Ibn Khuzaymah Ibn Majah Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj


Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi Abu Nuaym Abu Talib al-Makki Al-Daraqutni Al-Hakim Nishapuri Ibn Furak


Abu Isḥāq ash-Shirazi Ahmad Ghazali Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha`labi Al-Baghawi Al-Bayhaqi Al-Juwayni Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Al-Mawardi Al-Qushayri Yusuf Hamadani


Ahmed al-Rifa`i Al-Ghazali Al-Shahrastani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi Ibn al-Salah Ibn `Asakir Sayf al-Din al-Amidi Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi


Ahmad al-Badawi Al-Baydawi Al-Nawawi Ibn Abil-Hadid Ibn Daqiq al-Id Ibn Khallikan Izz al-Din ibn Abd al-Salam Safi-ad-din Ardabili Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi


Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri Ali
ibn Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
al-Haythami Al-Dhahabi Badr Ad-Din az-Zarkashi Ibn al-Jazari Ibn Kathir Taftazani Taj al-Din al-Subki Taqi al-Din al-Subki Zain al-Din al-Iraqi


Al-Qastallani Al-Sakhawi Al-Suyuti Ali
ibn Ahmad al-Samhudi Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani Ibn Nuhaas Zakariyya al-Ansari


Al-Khaṭib ash-Shirbiniy Al-Sha`rani Ibn Hajar al-Haytami


Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad


Muhammad Hayyat ibn Ibrahim al-Sindhi


Abd Al-Rahman bin Ahmad al-Zayla`i Ibrahim al-Bajuri Shaykh Sufi Uways al-Barawi Yusuf an-Nabhani


Abdul Azeez Madani Abdallah al-Qutbi Abdullah al-Harari Afifi al-Akiti Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif Ahmed Kuftaro Ali
al-Jifri Ali
Gomaa Awn Al-Qaddoumi Cherussery Zainuddeen Musliyar Gibril Haddad Hamka Hasyim Muzadi K. Ali
Kutty Musliyar Mohammad Salim Al-Awa Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy Nuh Ha Mim Keller Said Nursî Sayyid Ibraheem Khaleel Al Bukhari Sayyid Muhammad Jifri Muthukkoya Thangal Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Taha Jabir Alalwani Umar
bin Hafiz Wahbah al-Zuhayli Zaid Shakir

Scholars of other Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence

Hanafi Hanbali Maliki Zahiri

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Key books

Crucial Sunni books

al-Irshad al- Aqidah

Buyruks Kitab al Majmu Masnavi Nahj al-Balagha Epistles of Wisdom Risale-i Nur



Ash'ari Maturidi Traditionalism




Abu Muslim Sunpadh Ishaq al-Turk



Babak Mazyar Ismail I / Pir Sultan Abdal
Pir Sultan Abdal
– Qizilbash / Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam



Jarudi Batriyya Alid dynasties of northern Iran

Hasan al-Utrush

List of extinct Shia sects

Dukayniyya Khalafiyya Khashabiyya

Imami Isma'ilism


Sevener Qarmatians Hamza / al-Muqtana Baha'uddin / ad-Darazi – Druzes


Hafizi Taiyabi


Assassins Nizaris

Nasir Khusraw
Nasir Khusraw

Imami Twelver

Theology of Twelvers


Akhbari Shaykhi Usuli


Qutb ad-Dīn Haydar
Qutb ad-Dīn Haydar
– Qalandariyya Baba Ishak
Baba Ishak
– Babai Revolt Galip Hassan Kuscuoglu
Galip Hassan Kuscuoglu
– Rifa'i-Galibi Order


al-Khaṣībī / ibn Nusayr – Alawites Fazlallah Astarabadi (Naimi) / Imadaddin Nasimi
Imadaddin Nasimi
– Hurufism / Bektashism and folk religion



ibn Ibāḍ Jābir ibn Zayd


Ibn Safwan

Murji'ah Karramiyya Qadariyah

Ma'bad al-Juhani Muʿtazila Bahshamiyya


Azariqa Najdat Sufri

Abu Qurra


Abu Yazi