Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“O Allah! Guide the Quraysh, for the science of the scholar that comes from them will encompass the earth. O Allah! You have let the first of them taste bitterness, so let the latter of them taste reward.”
The Scholars agreed, among them Abu Qilaba (rahimahullah) and Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah), that the narration signified Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah)
Is the Hadith quoted above authentic and did it signify Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah)?
This Hadith is reported by a few Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) with varied wordings and chains which support each other sufficiently.
The one you have cited is reported by Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu’anhu) with a weak chain in Tarikh Baghdad and other sources.
(Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 675, Al-Madkhal of Bayhaqi, after Hadith: 77)
Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah) did indeed mention that it refers to Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) as is cited in the above references.
This is one of a few interpretations.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar