These lines are attributed to Imām Shāfiýī :yukhāţibunī as-safīhu bi kulli qubĥin
fa akrahu an akūnu lahu mujībā
yazīdu safāhatan wa azīdu ĥilman
ka úūdin zādahu’l iĥrāqu ţībāThe idiot talks to me in the ugliest manner,
And i do not like to give him an answer.
His increase in stupidity increases my forbearance
Just like oud – when burnt more, gives more fragrance.[oud = aloeswood]Dīwān ash-Shāfiýī p.144; Aĥsanu’l Qasas 4/105; these have also been attributed to Imām Álī karramaAllāhu wajhuh.

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idhā naţaqa as-safīhu fa lā tujib’hu
fa khayrun min ijābatihī as-sukūtu

fa in kallamtahū farrajta ánhu
wa in khallaytahū kamdan yamūtu

sakattu áni’s safīhi fa žanna annī
áyītu áni’l jawābi wa mā aýītu

If an idiot drags you to a debate, answer him not
To be silent is better than answering him.

If you attempt to answer him, you’ll encourage him
And if you neglect him, he will die in frustration.

I choose to keep quiet rather than answer an idiot, and he imagines –
That I am unable to answer; while I do not lack an answer.

Dīwān ash-Shāfiýī p.155; Adabu’d Dunyā wa’d Dīn p.246; Minhāju’l Yaqīn p.420; Shiýr al-Fuqahā’a p.368

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It is also reported that Imām Shāfiýī said: ‘I have not debated anyone in matters of Kalam except once; and I followed it by doing istighfār.’ [Siyar Aálām an-Nubalā]

aáriđ áni’l jāhili’s safīhi
fa kullu mā qāla fa huwa fīhi
fa mā đarra baĥru’l furāti yawman
in khāđa baáđu’l kilābu fīhi

Keep away from the ignoramus, the imbecile.
All that he accuses you, is present in his own self
The river Euphrates will not get polluted –
If on a day, any of the stray dogs dirties it.

Dīwān ash-Shāfiýī p.417

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It is said that Imām Shāfiýī was asked a question and he was silent for a long time. He was asked again whether he would answer it or not. He replied, ‘I am yet to decide what is better: to answer or to keep quiet’.

qul bimā shiyta fī masabbati írđī
fa sukūtī áni’l laýīmi jawāb
mā ana áādimu’l jawābi walākin
mā mina’l usdi an tujība’l kilāb

Say what you will in abuse,
My silence is an answer to the scoundrel –
I am not devoid of an answer, but:
It is not necessary for a lion to answer dogs.

Dīwān ash-Shāfiýī p.143; Aĥsanu’l Qasas 4/106