The following short lecture series by Shaykh Taha Karaan methodologically covers the historical development of the Shafi’i school of Islamic Law (Madhab): http://www.shafiifiqh.com/audio-video/audio/ [See update below]. This includes the Usuli development in the school, major figures that propagated the madhab, evolution of the madhab in different geographical locations including the impact they had on the outlook of the school, and the personalities that undertook the task of synthesizing or refining the variant opinions within the madhab.
This is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to gain deeper appreciation for the intricate details and the complex machinery that went into the development of the Shafi’i madhab and by extension similar efforts in 3 other existing Sunni Schools of Law (Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali).
Additionally, even if one is not a Shafi’i in Fiqh it is instructive nonetheless to listen, benefit, and learn from this lecture series. This is due to the overwhelming influence Shafi’i Usul has had on the development of Usul Al Fiqh. Setting the trend for leading personalities in other three existing schools (Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali) to codify their own. However, it is little known to many that Shafi’i Usul Al Hadith (hand in hand with Usul Al Fiqh) had a tremendous impact on the direction of the science of hadith verification. In this case it can be added that Shafi’i Usul Al Hadith was further refined by Muhaddiths and has now assumed the role of the defacto Usul Al Hadith. Hence, it is often lost to the layman that when one verifies hadith using the existing tools of Jarh Wa Ta’dil they are doing so based on what can be broadly termed a developed Shafi’i Usul Al Hadith, just like there was Hanafi Usul Al Hadith and Maliki Usul Al Hadith to go with the respective schools of Usul Al Fiqh.
Update (February 8th, 2015): The link above is broken, however interested listeners can access Shaykh Taha Karaan’s lectures on this topic via the embedded links below:
- Legacy of the Shafi’i madhab in South Africa
- Maintaining our Islamic Identity
- The curriculum beginning
- The Shafi’i Madhab and it’s scholars
- Question And Answer (Public – 01)
- Question And Answer (Public – 02)
- Question And Answer – 01
- Question And Answer – 02
- Question And Answer – 03
- Question And Answer – 04
Please leave a comment below if any of the above links are broken or improperly linked to a different audio than what the lecture topics read. We will try our best to fix the problem as soon as possible, insha’Allah.