This sect was named after its founder Imām Muhammad bin Idrīs bin ‛Abbās bin ‛Uthmān al-Shāfi‛ whose lineage traced back to Hāshim, the son of ‛Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet's (s) grandfather.
Imām Shāfi‛ī was born in the 150thA.H., the same year that Abī Hanīfah died. He was an orphan and his mother raised him in Yemen. When he reached 10 years of age he went to Mecca to learn reading and writing. He then lived in the desert for 17 years before becoming a religious student. He studied under the scholars of his time such as Muslim bin Khālid al-Makhzūmī and Mālik bin Anas (the founder of the Mālikī sect and the author of al-Mūattā'.) When Imām Mālik passed away he returned to Yemen.
During Rashīd's reign, he was charged with helping the ‛Alawī movement along with others by the governor of Yemen. He was then sent to Baghdād to be tried. Many were killed but Shāfi‛ī was saved.
He then migrated to Egypt and preached his sect there. His sect was also spread by his students in other parts of the Islamic world. Imām Shāfi‛ī died in the 198thA.H.
He has said: "If there is a prophetic tradition in opposition to my view, throw my view against the wall."