Imām Al-Shāfiʿī

Four Rewarding Exhortations about People

Al-Muzanī reports:
I heard Al-Shāfiʿī say:

A man once asked Ubay b. Kaʿb – Allāh be pleased with him, “Exhort me with something I can benefit by and by which I will be rewarded.” He replied, “Be brotherly with brothers according to how righteous they are, do not expend your speech on those who are not interested in it, do not seek anyone to meet your need who does not care if he does not fulfil it, and do not envy the living except for something you would envy the dead.”

Al-Ājurrī, Juz fīhi Ḥikāyāt ʿan Al-Shāfiʿī article 24.

Lands of Scholars and Doctors

It is reported that Imām Al-Shāfiʿī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Do not live in a land in which there is neither a scholar to inform you about your religion, nor a doctor to tell you about your body.

Al-Bayhaqī, Manāqib Al-Shāfiʿī 2:115

The Humble Elite

It is reported that Imām Al-Shāfʿee – Allāh have mercy on him – said, The loftiest in status are those who do not know their own status, and the most virtuous of them are those who do not know their own virtue.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 10:99

How Imam Al-Shafi Spent his Nights

Al-Rabī’ b. Sulaymān reports:

Al-Shāfi’ī used to divide the night into three parts: he would write (knowledge) for the first third, pray during the second third and sleep during the last third.

It is reported from Ḥusayn Al-Karābīsī that he said:

I spent the night with Al-Shāfi’ī. He would pray for about a third of the night. I hardly ever saw him recite more than fifty verses (in the prayer), one hundred at most. Whenever he came to a verse about mercy, he would ask Allāh for His Mercy, for himself and for the believers; and whenever he came to a verse about punishment, he would seek Allāh’s refuge from it, and ask salvation for himself and for all the believers. So it is as if both hope and fear were brought together for him.

Al-Bayhaqī, Ma’rifatu Al-Sunan articles 362, 365.

From the Beauty of Knowledge

It is reported that Imām Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Al-Shāfi’ī saw me sitting in his circle, and there was some ink on my shirt I was trying to hide. He said, “Young man, why are you hiding it? Having ink on ones clothes is a sign of lofty conduct: to the sight it is black, but to the insight it is white (with the light of knowledge).”

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Al-Mubārak – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Ink on the clothes is the perfume of the scholars.

– Some put this in verse (from Arabic):

The ink-pot’s ink is the perfume of men
As saffron is the perfume of women
So the former befits the garments of those men
As the latter the garments of wives

It is reported that Imām Aḥmad said, seeing the students of ḥadīth approaching with their ink-pots:

These are the lanterns of Islām.

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Jāmi’ li-Akhlāq Al-Rāwī, articles 508, 509, 512 .