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Question: Who was Nafeesatul Misriyyah?

Nafisah alal-Misriyyah, more commonly known as al-Ssayyidah Nafisah, was an eminent woman whose lineage is traced back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, through his grandson Hasan b. Ali, the son of Prophet’s daughter Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with them all. Nafisah arrived with her husband in Cairo finally setting down there. She died in the year 208 A.H. When Imam Shafi arrived in Cairo she welcomed him and they both enjoyed extremely cordial relations, and benefited from each other. We are also told that Imam Shafi’i used to lead her in taraweeh. She was reputed for her piety, generosity and exemplary qualities. Popular imagination has woven many fictitious stories around her personality; most of them have been considered as pure fabrications by authentic scholars. While we are to love the pious men and women we must stay clear of excessive reverence bordering on shirk (paganism). One who is keen to preserve his tawhid intact must never be complacent about shirk, which is undoubtedly the most unforgivable sin in Islam. Having said this, let us quote the words of the poet, “I love righteous people, even though I am not one of them; for perchance by virtue of my love for them, Allah may grant me virtue.”

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