I was once told by a Shafei scholar that Imam Ash-Shafei rejected hadith narrated by two Sahaba. I distinctly remember one of them to be Amr ibn Al-Aas, and the second one was Abu Sufiyan or one his sons. I tried to look for references for this claim, but have failed so far.

Is there any truth to this claim?

  • This would mean that Imam ash-Shafi-i was guided by his nafs while he is one of the first who recorded rules on how to accept and refuse a hadith. AFAIK Imam ash-Shafi-i was not that "strong" in Hadith sciences (especially in ilm-ar-rijal, even if he was known to have much knowledge in ilm ansab al-'arab=arabic family trees) so he was dependent to some extent to his teachers Imam Malik and Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah ... and his students like Imam Ahmad!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 7:03
  • In my answer on islam.stackexchange.com/questions/35602/… I've quoted an example and the reason for the rejection of ahadith rejected by imam a-Shafi'i and also other examples of ahadith rejected by abu Hanifa, Malik and imam Ahmad. Note that the example given is a hadith of 'Aisha not Amr ibn al-'Aas nor Abu Sufyan (I'm pretty sure you mean Mu'awiya ibn abi Sufiyan instead of his father).
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 17:26

4 Answers 4


I am not sure where this opinion is coming from, and I do not claim that it never existed, but I have not come across it. On the contrary, Ahmad ibn 'Abdul-Wahhāb Ash-Shanqīti in his book Khabar al-Wāhid. pp. 249 quoted Ar-Risāla by Imam Ash-Shafi'i with him saying that there is no known disagreement among Muslim jurists that ahād hadiths are acceptable for jurisprudence, then he added he did not deny or reject any of them [the companions], as this would have reached us as did his teachings.

As examples of Ash-Sahfi'i using hadiths narrated by 'Amr ibn al-'Ās, refer to one of his multiple debates, with this one being documented in both Al-Umm 7/99 and Ar-Risāla al-Jadīda 2/493-495, Imam Ash-Shafi'i proved ijithād by referring an ahād hadith by 'Amr ibn al-'Ās, which he also documented in his Musnad, pp. 244. Note that 'Amr ibn al-'Ās did not narrate a lot of hadiths (fewer than 40, and even fewer that touched jurisprudence).

As examples of what Imam Ash-Sahfi'i said about Mu'awiyah is what he mentioned in his Musnad, pp. 86 about the story of Kuraib [ibn Abi Muslim] when he saw Mu'awiyah pray the nafl of the 'ishā' prayer as one rak'ah only. Kuraib informed Ibn 'Abbās, who told him that there is no one more knowledgeable among them than Mu'awiyah. The testimony of one the Muslims greatest scholars of all time, Ibn 'Abbās, is a credit to Mu'awiyah. Imam Ash-Sahfi'i documented it in his Musnad obviously because he trusted it. The examples are numerous, but here are two more examples. In Al-Umm 1/108, Imam Ash-Sahfi'i quoted Mu'awiyah about what to say at the time of adhān as attributed to the Prophet. Again, in Al-Umm 5/125, he narrated a story where Mu'awiyah had a different opinion about how to handle the marriage dispute of 'Aqīl ibn Abi Tālib and Fātima bint 'Utba ibn Rabī'a — in contrast to the opinion of Ibn 'Abbās — and how Mu'awiyah's opinion was right.

The confusion about the acceptance of what Imam Ash-Shafi'i said in his old books (Arabic: أقواله في القديم) versus his new books (Arabic: أقواله في الجديد), as documented by scholars of fundamentals of jurisprudence about proof by a ruling of a companion (i.e., a hadith that is mawqūf on the companion, in the companion's own words). There are three rumors floating around:

  1. He used them as proof in his old books, but not his new books.
  2. He used them as proof in his new books, but not his old books.
  3. He neither used them as proof in his new books nor his old books.

The closest to reality is option 2. This is not in relation to their narration of hadiths but in relation to their ijtihād or their qiyās.

In his old book, Ar-Risāla al-Baghdādiyya (see As-Sunnan al-Kubra, pp. 109), he said — in disagreement with Imam Malik — that if two companions disagreed about a matter, then one needs to examine their opinions in light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah to see who agreed with which companion. If there is no evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah, then the sayings of Abi Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman are taken as reference. If there is no tradition through Abi Bakr, 'Umar, or 'Uthman, then it is the ijmā' (consensus) of the jurists of his time or the preceding times (before 200 A.H.). If any of the four previous methods fail, then it is a matter of ijtihād.

In his later years, in a debate with Mohammad bin Al-Hassan (see Adāb Ash-Sahfi'i, pp. 119-120), he debated that after the Qur'an and the Sunnah, he would revert to qiyās based on the sayings of the companions. He changed his view after his trip to Egypt as was documented in his book Al-Umm 2/31 saying that the sayings of the companions are his fourth source (Arabic: قُلْت إنَّمَا الْحُجَّةُ فِي كِتَابٍ، أَوْ سُنَّةٍ، أَوْ أَثَرٍ عَنْ بَعْضِ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ - صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ - أَوْ قَوْلِ عَامَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ لَمْ يَخْتَلِفُوا فِيهِ، أَوْ قِيَاسٍ دَاخِلٍ فِي مَعْنَى بَعْضِ هَذَا ثُمَّ أَنْتَ تُخَالِفُ بَعْضَ مَا رَوَيْت عَنْ هَؤُلَاءِ). In his new book, Ar-Risāla al-Jadīda 2/596, he said after the Qur'an and the Sunnah and ijmā', if the sayings of the companions, even if it is one of them only, he would take it, or he would do qiyās.

In conclusion, in his earlier years, Imam Ash-Shafi'i accepted the hadiths (including ahād) from all companions, and did not doubt them, but did not use their ijtihād as proof. In later years,m he continued to accept the hadiths (including ahād) from all companions and added their ijtihād as a fourth source of jurisprudence.


He may have rejected a hadith as evidence for a portion of fiqh. His character was not such that he would reject the existence of an authentic hadith.

e.g. He may have had some other evidence for a fiqhi opinion that was stronger in relation to the hadith mentioned. For example a verse of the Qur'an or a later hadith.

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    – III-AK-III
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 0:09

In the era of `The Greatest Fitna', many of the prophet's companions, after 25 years if his death, were divided into two political groups: Ali's and Muawiya's. During this sad era, there were media campaigns against leaders from both parties. Some sayings were true, others are not. Both sayings are documented in books.

What you have heard was said, and goes to the surface every now and then. The claim authenticity is of doubt.

Muslims, in general, prefer to skip this era as a whole, and think positively. The outcome of such claims is always negative. Muslims are normal people, mistakes may have happened all along our history.


He is not of those expected to reject hadith without reason. That reason can be, a chain of the hadith being weak, even though another chain of narration existed whether similar or same wording, which the scholar did not know of. Hence, it might have appeared that he is rejecting a sahih hadith, while in fact, the hadith may have reached him at that time in a weak chain.

And so on. Therefore, it is better not to speculate and try to find fault with the known and great Imams whom have been testified for through other great people and through their life-long sacrifices and actions for Islam. Rather, they can be correct or incorrect, as they themselves said: To take the authentic even if it goes against their words/fatawa.

I hope that is enough of an explanation. If you want something deeper, then study the science of Ikhtilaf in Islam, which deals with how scholarly differences arise and how they are resolved. Alhamdulillah that nothing in this Deen is hidden, there is sincerity in every sphere of Islam, and we have guidelines for disagreements and etiquettes.

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