Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfiʿ (767-820 CE, 150-204 AH) was theologian, writer, and scholar, who was the founder the Shafi’i school of fiqh (or Madh’hab). He was the most prominent student of Imam Malik ibn Anas and he also served as the Governor of Najar. Born in Gaza Asqalam, Syria, He also lived in Mecca, Medina, Yemen, Egypt, and Baghdad.
Apprenticeship under Imam Mālik: Al-Shāfi‘ī moved to Al-Medinah was taught for many years by the famous Imam Malik ibn Anas, who was impressed with his memory, knowledge, and intelligence.
The Yemeni Fitna: Al-Shāfi‘ī nat age of 30, was appointed as the ‘Abbasid governor in the Yemeni city of Najran. He proved to be a just administrator but soon became entangled with factional jealousies. In 803 CE, al-Shāfi‘ī was accused of aiding the ‘Alawīs in a revolt and was thus summoned in chains with a number of ‘Alawis to the CaliphHarun ar-Rashid at Raqqa. Whilst other conspirators were put to death, al-Shafi’i’s own eloquent defense convinced the Caliph to dismiss the charge. Other accounts state that the famous Hanafijurist, Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī, was present at the court and defended al-Shāfi‘ī as a well-known student of the sacred law.
Apprenticeship under Al-Shaybānī, and exposure to Hanafī Jurists: Al-Shāfi’ī traveled to Baghdad to study with Abu Hanifah’s acolyte al-Shaybānī and others. It was here that he developed his first madh’hab, influenced by the teachings of both Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik bin anas
Departure to Baghdad and Egypt: Al-Shāfi’ī eventually returned to Baghdad in 810 CE. By this time, his stature as a jurist had grown sufficiently to permit him to establish an independent line of legal speculation. Caliph Al-Ma’mun is said to have offered al-Shāfi’ī a position as a judge, but he declined the offer.
Death: One authority states that al-Shāfi’ī died as a result of injuries sustained from an attack by supporters of a Maliki follower. Al-Shāfi’ī died at the age of 54 on the 30th of Rajab in 204 AH (20 January 820 CE), in Al-Fustat, Egypt, and was buried in the vault of the Banū ‘Abd al-Hakam, near Mount al-Muqattam.