For Shafi’i Islam: A Guide to the Blessed Path to Allah

Andrii Zvorygin yN-PH2196 mtH2a1 & GPT4
attender of Glad Tidings Fellowship, Tara, ON


1 Disclaimer:

Our exploration is deeply rooted in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, reflecting the understanding upheld by the Shafi’i school. Allah says, ”And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran 3:103). We pray for clarity and adherence to the pure teachings of Islam as understood by the Shafi’i scholars.

2 Introduction:

Continuous devotion to Allah is a lifelong commitment, echoing the teachings and practices of Imam al-Shafi’i. Allah mentions in Surah Al-Ankaboot (29:69), ”And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways.” Emulating the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) means embodying sincerity (ikhlas) in every action, a principle deeply cherished in the Shafi’i tradition. Our journey is about earnestly seeking His mercy and forgiveness, not just attaining perfection. ”Whoever treads a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Paradise.” (Hadith, Sahih Al-Bukhari)

3 Trusting in God’s Provision:

”Allah is the best of providers” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Jumu’ah 62:11). Drawing inspiration from the Shafi’i teachings, we understand that every creature’s sustenance comes from Him. ”There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance depends on Allah” (Qur’an, Surah Hud 11:6). Total submission to Allah ensures that He guides and provides in ways beyond our comprehension. This trust extends beyond material needs, reflecting in our spiritual growth and compassion, principles central to the Shafi’i ethos. ”Show mercy to those on earth, and the One above the heavens will show mercy to you” (Hadith, Sunan At-Tirmidhi).

4 Recognizing the Divine Beyond and His Signs Within Creation:

The vast tapestry of existence unfolds the deep-seated Shafi’i perspective on the omnipresence of Allah. ”We have created man, and We know the promptings of his soul,” (Qur’an, Surah Qaf 50:16) serves as a testament to the intricate relationship between the Creator and His creation. In the Shafi’i understanding, every speck of creation, while reflecting the myriad attributes of Allah, is ultimately a testament to His singular, unblemished essence, underscoring the profound monotheistic principle of Tawhid.

The Shafi’i school teaches that Tawhid is not merely an intellectual acknowledgment of Allah’s oneness but extends to every facet of a believer’s life, shaping their interactions, behaviors, and perceptions. The Quranic verse, ”Whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of Allah” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:115), is a reminder of this omnipresence and the inherent sanctity of all creation. This understanding is pivotal when interacting with diverse communities, including non-Muslims. Just as all creation reflects a facet of the Divine, every individual, irrespective of their faith, holds inherent dignity and worth.

In line with the Shafi’i emphasis on Tawhid, recognizing the divine signs in the world around us should be coupled with love, compassion, and respect towards all, including our neighbors. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasized the rights of the neighbor, urging believers to treat them with kindness and consideration. This directive, deeply rooted in the Shafi’i tradition, serves as a guide for Muslims to cultivate harmonious relationships, not only with fellow believers but with the broader community, fostering mutual understanding and coexistence.

As believers journey through life, the Shafi’i tenet of Tawhid serves as a beacon, guiding them to not only recognize the divine signs in the world around them but to also embody the values cherished by Allah in their interactions with all of His creation.

5 Service, Respect, and Love: Emulating the Divine Commands through the Shafi’i Lens

Allah’s wisdom transcends human comprehension, guiding us towards a path of humility and service. The Quran’s words, ”And do not think you are superior,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Fajr 89:11-12), resonate deeply with the teachings of Imam al-Shafi’i, emphasizing humbleness. True service emerges from acknowledging that all power and dominion belong solely to Allah: ”For the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran 3:189).

Emulating the Shafi’i teachings, we recognize the importance of respecting the free will granted by Allah. As He advises against transgression in ”Do not transgress; indeed, Allah does not like transgressors,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190), we’re reminded to approach all matters with justice, fairness, and good conduct.

The sanctity of marriage, echoing the Shafi’i jurisprudence, is beautifully encapsulated in ”And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them,” (Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum 30:21).

Family, a cornerstone in the Shafi’i school, holds a revered place in Islam. Allah’s words, ”And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs [that bore you],” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Nisa 4:1), emphasize the importance of kinship and familial bonds.

Neighbors hold a significant place in Islamic teachings, especially within the Shafi’i school of thought. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) profoundly emphasized the rights and treatment of neighbors, making it a central tenet of social conduct in Islam. He said, ”He is not a believer who eats his fill while his neighbor beside him goes hungry,” highlighting the moral duty one has towards their neighbors regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds.

The Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) interactions with non-Muslims, as well as his teachings, underline the Islamic principles of coexistence, kindness, and understanding. In alignment with the Qur’anic directive, ”There is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:256), the Prophet (peace be upon him) exemplified a behavior of tolerance and respect towards individuals of all faiths.

His interactions with non-Muslim neighbors were not merely gestures but deeply rooted in his teachings that stressed the importance of treating every individual with dignity and respect, regardless of their religious beliefs. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) approach towards his non-Muslim neighbors was not an isolated behavior but was emblematic of his broader message of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect. The Qur’an further reinforces this principle, stating, ”O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujurat 49:13).

Such teachings and actions emphasize the importance of recognizing the inherent human dignity in every individual, irrespective of their religious, ethnic, or social background. It is evident that the Prophet (peace be upon him) not only preached these values but lived them, setting a precedent for all Muslims to follow.

Incorporating these teachings, the Shafi’i school, in line with general Islamic principles, encourages believers to engage with non-Muslims in a manner that fosters mutual respect, understanding, and harmony. The emphasis is on building bridges of understanding rather than erecting walls of division. By reflecting on the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) interactions and teachings, believers are reminded of the importance of maintaining cordial relations with all, fostering an environment of peace, and ensuring that the rights of every individual, including non-Muslims, are upheld.

The Quran’s words, ”There is not an animal [that lives] on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but [forms part of] communities like you,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am 6:38), remind us that every being is a manifestation of Allah’s divine artistry, deserving of our respect, love, and care.

6 Embracing Forgiveness, Love, and Acceptance: A Reflection for Shafi’i Believers

Allah’s Boundless Mercy: The foundational principle of tawhid, the oneness of Allah, is central to our faith. His boundless mercy, a cornerstone of our Shafi’i understanding, is beautifully encapsulated in ”My Mercy encompasses all things, so I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakat and those who believe in Our verses.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-A’raf 7:156). This mercy should guide our interactions, reflecting our devotion and dedication to Allah.

Prayer for Forgiveness: Recognizing our human nature, we consistently turn to Allah, reciting, ”Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we forget or err.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:286). This plea resonates with our Shafi’i ethos, urging us to extend forgiveness to others.

Mandate to Kindness: Upholding kindness is a clear directive from Allah. ”And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good - those will have the good consequence of [this] home.” (Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:22). Embracing this virtue is paramount in our daily interactions and deeds.

Love for the Sake of Allah: The essence of love in Islam is to love for the sake of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, ”None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim). This Hadith emphasizes the importance of sincere and selfless love among believers.

The Call to Forgive: As we ardently seek Allah’s forgiveness, we’re also instructed to forgive others. ”Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not love for Allah to forgive you? Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an, Surah An-Nur 24:22). Emulating this divine attribute strengthens our bonds with fellow believers and fosters harmony in our communities.

7 Prioritizing Divine Guidance

Qur’an Above All: For every believer, Allah’s words in the Qur’an serve as the guiding light. ”This is the Book about which there is no doubt,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:2). The Shafi’i school underscores that while insights from esteemed scholars provide added clarity, they must be in congruence with the Qur’an, ensuring that no interpretation eclipses these divine directives.

Sunnah – The Prophetic Way: The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is integral to the comprehension and practice of our faith. He pronounced, ”I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of Allah and my Sunna.” (Hadith, Maliks Muwatta). This sentiment, deeply rooted in the Shafi’i tradition, delineates our spiritual trajectory.

Role of Eminent Scholars: Pioneering scholars, owing to their dedication and proximity to the primary sources of revelation, serve as beacons in elucidating complex religious matters. Their scholarly interpretations, while pivotal, are not devoid of human fallibility. Allah’s admonition, ”So do not set up rivals for Allah,” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:22), is a stark reminder that while these scholarly interpretations are invaluable, they shouldn’t eclipse the primary tenets of the Qur’an and Sunnah. It’s imperative to approach their guidance with discernment and continually reference the foundational texts.

Beware of Blind Following: The Shafi’i ethos, emphasizing ijtihad (individual juristic reasoning), warns against uncritical adherence. Allah’s assertion, ”And they will say, ’Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way.’” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab 33:67), echoes this sentiment, advocating for informed religious understanding.

Guarding Against Whisperings: Every Shafi’i adherent must be wary of Shaytan’s sly insinuations. Drawing from Allah’s counsel, ”And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing.” (Qur’an, Surah Fussilat 41:36), the Shafi’i tradition accentuates spiritual discernment and unwavering faith. In this context, one of the practices to discern the spirits or intentions behind such whisperings or when in doubt about someone’s faith is to ask them to affirm the Shahada: ”There is no god but Allah, The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate, and Muhammad is His messenger.” This statement of faith acts as a litmus test, guiding believers between genuine divine inspirations and potential misleading influences, ensuring they stay on the righteous path.

Relentless Quest for Knowledge: The Shafi’i school places significant emphasis on the continuous pursuit of knowledge. By regularly consulting the primary sources and seeking diverse scholarly opinions, one can attain a nuanced understanding of the faith.

Championing Unity: Solidarity within the Muslim community (Ummah) is vital. By valuing the collective wisdom of Islamic scholarship and advocating for inclusive discourse, the community thrives.

In conclusion, the Shafi’i tradition, with its profound reverence for the Qur’an and Sunnah, offers a path illuminated by divine guidance. By prioritizing these sacred texts and harmonizing them with scholarly insights, Shafi’i adherents can traverse their spiritual journey with unwavering conviction and clarity.

8 Closing: Holding Mercy and Love Until Our Final Moments

Awareness of Mortality: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, ”Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures - death.” Every believer, regardless of their location, is reminded of life’s fleeting nature by such teachings. The Qur’an reiterates, ”Every soul shall taste death,” (Qur’an, Surah Al Imran 3:185), emphasizing our transient journey in this world.

Continuous Preparation: The teachings of the Shafi’i scholars advocate for a life that consistently prepares for the Hereafter (Hadith, Riyad as-Salihin). It’s not just about our external acts, but the state of our heart — one that overflows with mercy, love, and compassion until our last moment.

Life as a Trust: Life is perceived as a divine trust from Allah. This trust mandates believers to uphold and spread love, mercy, and kindness. Echoing this sentiment, the Prophet (peace be upon him) conveyed, ”The merciful are shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth, and the One above the heavens will be merciful to you.” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).

Facing Our Personal Day of Judgment: While humanity awaits the ultimate Day of Judgment (Qur’an, Surah Al-Haaqqa 69:18), each of us will face our personal reckoning the moment we depart from this world. Did we embody love and mercy throughout our lives? Were our actions reflective of compassion to all of Allah’s creation? Our ultimate aspiration should be to hear Allah’s gentle words: ”Enter My Paradise in peace.” (Qur’an, Surah Qaf 50:34).

In conclusion, our time on earth is brief. Yet, the love and mercy we cultivate in our hearts carry eternal significance. May our hearts, enriched by the teachings of the Shafi’i school, always resonate with Allah’s boundless compassion and love.