Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi’i (d. 820) on the Martyrdom of al-Husayn b. Ali (d. 680)

As the eponymous founder of the Shafi’i school of law, Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfi‘ī is perhaps the most influential jurist in the entire history of the Islamic world. His work on legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) was revolutionary and played a major role in the development of Sunni jurisprudence. Among his most important teachers was Mālik b. Anas (d. 795), the eponymous founder of the Maliki school who was himself a student of Ja‘far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq (d. 765), the sixth Shi‘i Imam. His love and attachment to the Family of the Prophet was well-known even in his own lifetime and is particularly evident in his poetry. He was accused by several of his contemporaries of being a Shi’ite, something that he flatly denied but without backing away from his devotion to the Family of the Prophet: “They say that I have become a Shi’ite. By God, I have not! I am neither a Shi’ite nor do I believe in its doctrine. But I have unhesitatingly taken as my supreme authority and my leader the best of Imams and the best of guides (i.e. ‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib). If Shi’ism consists of the love of ‘Alī, then I am the staunchest Shi’ite on earth!” The following is another example of al-Shāfi‘ī’s commitment to the Ahl al-Bayt and their cause. It can easily be found within various editions of al-Shāfi‘ī’s collection of poetry.

Arabic Text

قال الإمام الشافعي حول شهادة الامام الحسين عليه السلام:

تأوه قلبي والفؤاد كئيب ** وأرق نومي فالسهاد عجيب

ومما نفى نومي وشيب لومتي** تصاريف ايام لهن خطوب

فمن مبلغ عني الحسين رسالة **وان كرهتها انفس وقلوب

ذبيح بلا جرم كأن قميصه**صبيغ بماء الارجوان خضيب

فللسيف إعوال وللرمح رنة**وللخيل من بعد النصهيل نحيب

تزلزلت الدنيا على آل محمد **وكادت لهم صمم الجبال تذوب

وغارت نجومواقشعرت كواكب**وهتك استار وشق جيوب

يصلى على المبعوث من آل هاشم** ويغزى بنوه إن ذا لعجيب

لئن كان ذنبي حب آل محمد** فذلك ذنب لست عنه أتوب

هم شفعائي يوم حشري وموقفي** اذا ما بدت للناظرين خطوب


My heart sighed, for my innermost being was in dejection;
Sleep no longer came, and sleeplessness was bewildering.
O who shall be the bearer of a message from me to Husayn,
(Though the hearts and minds of some may disapprove!)
Slaughtered, though without sin himself,
His shirt as if dyed through with crimson.
Now the sword itself wails, and the spear shrieks,
And the horse which once only whinnied, laments.
The world quaked for the sake of the Family of Muhammad;
For their sake, the solid mountains might have melted away.
Heavenly bodies sunk, the stars trembled,
Oh veils were torn, and breasts were rent!
He who asks blessing for the one sent from the Tribe of Hashim,
But attacks his sons; truly, that is strange!
And if my sin is love of the Family of Muhammad:
Then that is a sin from which I do not repent
Verily, they shall be my intercessors on the Day of Resurrection


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