I wanted the reference for the following statement:
Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) said:
My sin burdened me heavily. But when I measured it against Your Grace, O Rabb, Your forgiveness came out greater.
Hafiz Khatib Baghdadi and Imam Ibn ‘Asakir (rahimahumallah) have recorded a narration wherein Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) has attributed these couplets to Abu Nuwas Hasan ibn Hani, a poet.
(Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 8 pg. 489, Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 13 pg. 458)
Imam Bayhaqi, Imam Ibn ‘Asakir (rahimahumallah) and others have also recorded this as the statement of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) which he uttered on the day of his demise/in his final illness.
(Manaqibush Shafi’i, vol. 2 pg. 111, Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 50 pg. 331, Tabaqatush Shafi’iyyah, vol. 1 pg. 295/296. Also see: Siyaru A’alamin Nubala, vol. 10 pg. 76)
It is highly likely that Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) uttered these words after hearing them from Abu Nuwas (rahimahullah).
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist.