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The Other Rabī': Biographical Traditions and the Development of Early Shāfi'ī Authority

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This article examines the biographical traditions that developed around al-Rabī b. Sulaymān al-Jīzī (d. 256/872) who, by the Mamlūk period, was widely viewed as a disciple of Muhammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfi'ī (d. 204/820). Against this view, I demonstrate that scholars working in the 4th/10th century depicted al-Jīzī as a follower of the Mālikī movement in Egypt. These scholars also suggested that some traditions transmitted by al-Rabī' b. Sulaymān al-Murādī (d. 270/884) were mistakenly attributed to al-Jīzī. By the 5th/11th century, new legal ideas had surfaced that conflicted with those said to have been transmitted by al-Murādī from al-Shāfi'ī. In order to save al-Murādī's reputation as the faithful and trustworthy transmitter of al-Shāfi'ī's final legal views, al-Jīzī was reinvented as a companion of al-Shāfi'ī so that legal ideas that conflicted with those found in the Kitāb al-umm could be attributed to him instead of al-Murādī.

Affiliations: 1: 230 Sycamore Hall, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405


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