Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally
Question: Assalam alaykum,
I have heard previously in some lectures that in the Shafi’i school, there are quite a lot of older opinions (Qawl Qadim) considered authoritative in the school. Can you provide me all of them or those you know?
What does the Old and New Refer to?
The “Qawl Qadim,” or the old opinion, refers to the legal opinions that Imam al-Shafi’i recorded in Baghdad, whereas the “Qawl Jadid,” or the new opinion, refers to instances of revised opinions he held after moving to Egypt. The school’s default is that the later opinions of al-Shafi’i are given precedence, because he specifically changed his mind on certain rulings.
Giving Precedence to his Older Opinions
There are, however, a relatively few rulings in which the school lends precedence to al-Shafi’i’s older opinions, usually because later scholarship considers the evidence for the older position stronger. The precise number is subject to disagreement; it has been put as high as approximately twenty, while others hold that the number is much lower.
Examples of Older Opinions Given Precedence
Imam al-Nawawi mentions a number of such instances, including the following:
-Saying “Prayer is better than sleep” in the Fajr call to prayer is recommended;
-Reciting a surah in the last two rakats is not recommended;
-The time for Maghrib extends until Isha (as you’ve mentioned);
-A follower’s saying “Amen” aloud is recommended;
-If one dies without having made up their fasts, their guardian can fast it for them.
More examples can be found in Nawawi’s Majmu’.