Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idrees bin al-Abbas al-Shafi’i (150-204 A.H.), better known as Imam Shafi’i, was the leader of the Shafi’i School of Jurisprudence. He was born in Gaza of Palestine and moved to Makkah when he was 2 years old. He was 13 when he moved to Madinah and started acquiring knowledge under Imam Malik bin Anas, the founder of the Maliki School of Jurisprudence. At a young age, he memorized the Glorious Qur’an and got acquainted with different religious sciences. He learnt Fiqh under Ibn Abbas, who was one of the students of Imam Ali (a.s.). He also lived in Iraq and Egypt.
He was the most prolific writer, and attained mastery in Arabic literature, etymology, and jurisprudential sciences. He authored 114 books, most of them in Fiqh. Two of his works are most famous. They are Al-Resala, about sources of jurisprudence, and Kitab Al-Umm, his main surviving book on Shafi’i Fiqh.
He had love and respect for Imam Ali (a.s.). He says about Imam Ali (a.s.): “Ali had four virtues and if someone other than him had one of these virtues, he deserved to be respected. They are piety, knowledge, bravery, and dignity. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) reserved Ali for knowledge of Qur’an and ordered him (Ali) to judge among people.”
One of the subjects seen visibly in his works and is well-known and he emphasizes upon greatly is superiority of Ahlu Bayt (a.s.) and love of them.
In one of Hajj rituals at Mina, he addressed the pilgrims saying:
“O’ Pilgrims! On your way to the House of Allah, pause shortly on the sands of Muzdalifa. At dawn, when the caravans of Pilgrims move to Mina, like a roaring river, call upon them and say: “If love of the Prophet’s family means “Rafz”, then let mankind know, that surely I am Rafzi.”
One of the points raised in Imam Shafi’i’s poems is love of Ahlu Bayt (a.s.), which he deems obligatory. He maintains that if a person does not declare salawat for him (s.a.w.as.) and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), his prayer is incomplete and will not be accepted. He says:
“O Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet of Allah! Love for you has been made obligatory for us by Allah, as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. It is sufficient for your dignity that if one does not send salutations to you in ritual prayers, his prayers will not be accepted.”
In one of his poems about Imam Ali (a.s.), he says:
“I am the servant of that young man about whom Surah Hal-Ata was revealed. How long should I conceal it?” There is much love and respect for the greatest leader (Imam Ali). If loving Wali of Allah is Rafz, then I am Rafzi of the first rank!
In other poems, he makes tangible reference to the intercession of the Ahlu lBayt (a.s.) of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.):
“If loving of the House hold of the Prophet is a sin, then I will never repent on this sin! Of course, on the Day of Judgment, they (Ahlul Bayt) will be my intercessors on the Day when I shall be resurrected. That is when my sins are too many on that Day.”
The Fourth Imam of Sunnah wa al-Jamaah by Muhammad Rauf
Collections of Imam Shafi’i Poetry Dara al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut
Al-Aqeedah wa ash Shariah al-Islam by Muhammad Jawwad Mashkoor