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Book Review: Imam Shafi’i: Scholar and Saint

In Muslim Views, Review, Scholar on July 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Published at Muslim Views

Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafiʿi (d. 204/820) was one of Islam’s foundational legal thinkers. Drawing on the most recent scholarship on Shafi’i’s work as well as her own investigations of his life and writings, Kecia Ali explores Shafi’i’s innovative ideas about the nature of revelation and the necessary if subordinate role of human reason in extrapolating legal rules from revealed texts. This study sketches his life in his intellectual and social context, including his engagement with other early figures including Malik and Muhammad al-Shaybani.

Ali studies the life and works of Shafi’i from his early life through to his death, looking specifically at his travels and their influence on his thought, his metamorphosis from student to Shaykh to saint, the development and refinement of his legal theory and substantive law as well as his rise to sainthood posthumously, and his contemporary image as one of great popular interest and veneration.

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