IMAM SHAAFEE (150 A.H. - 204 A.H.) :
Mohammed bin Idris Al Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu) famously known as Imam Shaafa'ee was born in 150 A.H. and belonged to the Quraish tribe.
When he was 10 years old, he came to Makkatul Mukarramah from Palestine where he grew up.
He was very intelligent and had an excellent memory. He memorized the entire Holy Quran at the age of 7.
By the age of 15, he had memorized the entire Muwatta of Imam Maalik (radi Allahu anhu).
Before the age of 20, he studied Islamic Jurisprudence under the Mufti of Makkatul Mukarramah, Sayyiduna Muslim bin Khalil al Zanji and also Sayyiduna Sufyaan bin Uyayana (radi Allahu anhuma).
When the Governor of Iraq visited Madinatul Munawwarah, he was so impressed by Imam Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu) that he persuaded him to become an Administrator.
As Imam Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu) was in conflict with the Government officials, he was deported to Iraq and brought in front of Haroun Rasheed who was very impressed with Imam Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu).
He now studied Islamic Jurisprudence under Imam Mohammed Ash Shaybaani (radi Allahu anhu), who was the student of Imam Abu Yusuf (radi Allahu anhu), who was the student of Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa (radi Allahu anhu).
Thus, Imam Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu) became a master of both the Hanafi and Shaafa'ee School of Fiqh.
On his way to Egypt, he lectured in Makkatul Mukarramah in the Haram Shareef.
Imam Ahmed bin Hambal (radi Allahu anhu), who was studying at the time in Makkatul Mukarramah found great benefit from these lectures.
Imam Shaafa'ee (radi Allahu anhu) then went to Baghdad where he spent 3 or 4 years and finally went to Egypt. He was now 50 years old.
In Egypt, scholars from all over the world came to study at his feet. His famous pupils were Sayyiduna Rabi bin Sulayman, Sayyiduna Abu Yacoob Al Ruwayta and Sayyiduna Abu Ebraheem bin Yahya Al Muzani R.A.
Imam Shafaee Relation with Tasawwuf
Imam al-Shafi'i Rahmatullahi alaih said:
faqihan wa sufiyyan fa kun laysa wahidan
fa inni wa haqqillahi iyyaka ansahu
(Be both) a faqih and a sufi: do not be only one of them,
Verily, by Allah's truth, I am advising you sincerely.
[al-Shafi'i, Diwan, (Beirut and Damascus: Dar al-fikr) p. 47]
The muhaddith al-'Ajluni also relates in his book Kashf al-khafa wa muzil al-albas (1:341 #1089) that Imam Shafi'i Rahmatullahi alaih said:
Three things in this world have been made lovely to me: avoiding affectation, treating people kindly, and following the way of tasawwuf.
Ibn al-Qayyim in his Madarij al-salikin (3:128) and al-Suyuti in his Ta'yid al-haqiqa al-'aliyya (p. 15) also relate that Imam al-Shafi'i Rahmatullahi alaih said:
I accompanied the Sufis and received from them but three words: their statement that time is a sword: if you do not cut it, it cuts you; their statement that if you do not keep your ego busy with truth it will keep you busy with falsehood; their statement that deprivation is immunity.
He passed away on the last day of Rajab in the year 204 A.H.in Egypt.