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Al-Imam Ash-Shafi’s Research Assignment

Mar 9, 2011 by     4 Comments    Posted under: Articles, Seerah / History

The following is a very touching story about Imam Ash-Shafi showing the extent of perseverance that the Salaf had in researching a single issue:

Al-Muzanee said:

(As we sat one day with Imam Ash-Shafi on a bench, he was reclining on a post [next to the bench], a man appeared wearing a jubbah, turban, and a shawl all made of wool. Imam Ash-Shafi sat up, corrected his posture, and straightened his clothes. The elderly [stranger] greeted Imam Ash-Shafi and sat down. Imam Ash-Shafi looked to the old man in esteem and fear.

At that moment, the old man said, “Can I ask you a question?”
Imam Ash-Shafi: “Ask as you please.”
The old man: “What can be used as an evidence in the religion of Allah?”
Imam Ash-Shafi: “The book of Allah.”
The old man: “What else?”
Imam Ash-Shafi: “And the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.”
The old man: “What else?”
Imam Ash-Shafi: “Consensus of the Ummah.”
The old man: “How did you establish that?!”
Imam Ash-Shafi: “From the book of Allah.”
The old man: “Where did you find that in the book of Allah?”

Imam Ash-Shafi sat still and pondered [the Qur’an] for a portion of time. The elderly man interrupted and said, “I will give you three days to find the evidence for this in the book of Allah, otherwise you must repent to Allah!” [When Imam Ash-Shafi heard this] his face turned pale. He (Ash-Shafi) immediately left and didn’t come back for three consecutive days. On the third day, he came out to sit with us at the same time. [When we saw him,] we found that his face, hands, and feet were all swollen, and it looked as if he was chronically ill. The elderly individual arrived immediately after Ash-Shafi’s arrival. He greeted Ash-Shafi and said, “[What happened to] my request?”

Imam Ash-Shafi said, “Of course. I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

And whoever acts hostilely to the Messenger after that guidance has become manifest to him, and follows other than the way of the believers, We will turn him to that to which he has (himself) turned and make him enter hell; and it is an evil resort. [An-Nisa’/115]

Allah wouldn’t make him enter the hellfire for going against the way of believers except because it is obligatory [to follow the way of the believers (i.e., consensus)].”

The stranger replied, “You have spoken the truth.” When the man left Imam Ash-Shafi said, “I read the Qur’an during these three days thrice a day until I came across [the verse I quoted].”) [Tabaqaat Ash-Shafi’yyah Al-Kubra]

Abdul Wahab Saleem
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

4 Comments + Add Comment

  • SubhanAllah May Allah SWT be pleased with them. What beautiful lives these people have left for nations to come. All Praises for Allah The Merciful, who Has Bestowed upon you this way of delivering the good stuff. May Allah SWT keep us on the straight path.

  • You can participate in delivering it on as well brother :D. Just direct people to page! May All reward you for your kind comments.

  • Jazak Allahu Khairan for a great reminder Br. Abdul Wahab, we commit these grave sins on regular basis by quoring evidences that we do not know and do not repent to Allah SWT for our short comings. May Allah SWT save us from the evil of our own Nafs.
    May Allah SWT reward you for these reminders.

    Abdul Rahman

  • Was it an angel who asked him? Really curious.

    Jazakallahu khair

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