The full name of the scholar is Muhammad bin ldris b. al-'Abbas b. 'Uthman b. Shafi'ee b. As-Sa'ib b. 'Ubaid b. 'Abd Yazid b. Hashim. He was considered to be one of the most learned persons amongst the Muslim Ummah, unique, learned and the founder of the science of Usul Al-Fiqh (the principles of jurisprudence).
He was born in the town Ghazzah on the Mediterranean coast of what was then known as Shaam in the year 150 AH/767 CE, but travelled to Madeenah in his youth to study Fiqh and Hadeeth under Imaam Maalik. He succeeded in memorizing the whole of Maalik’s book, al-Muwatta’, and recited it to him from memory, word perfect.
At the age of twenty, he went to Madinah and remained there as a student of Imam Malik till the latter's death in 796CE. He spent a total of nine years with Malik during which he managed to learn everything Malik had to offer. He also came into contact with other learned men from whom he acquired more knowledge of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Imam Ash-Shafi'i possessed a very sharp memory and knew all ofImam Malik's Muwatta by heart.
Ash-Shaafi’ee remained under Maalik until the latter died in 801 CE. Then he went to Yemen and taught there.
The most important of Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee’s students are al-Muzanee, ar- Rabee’ and Yoosuf ibn Yahyaa.
The famous book of Hadith written by Imam Shafi'i is Musnad of Shafi’I.Imaam Shafi’ee’s one more famous book, ar-Risaala on Usool al-Fiqh has also been translated to English (Islaamic Texts Society - UK, 1961).
He died naturally in the year 204 AH/820 CE in Egypt.