Imam al-Shafi'i (d. 204 AH) - He was orphaned at two years of age, but went on to become one of the four great imams and founded the Shafi’i school of Islamic law. He was a pioneer of Islamic scholarship and laid down the principles of Islamic law. He was known for his piety and command of the Arabic language.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.240 AH) - He was orphaned in infancy and brought up by his mother. He was one of the four great imams and founder of the Hanbali school of Islamic law.
Imam al-Awza’i (d.158 AH) - An orphan who became a brilliant scholar whose fame spread throughout the Islamic world. He was also noted for his bravery and his willingness to risk his life speaking out against the injustices of the rulers.
Imam al-Bukhari (d.265 AH) - Born in Bukhara, in present day Uzbekistan, his father died in his infancy, but he became one of the greatest collectors of Hadith in history. He was renowned for his photographic memory, sharp intellect, and generosity.
Al-Hafiz Jalal al-Din Suyuti (d. 911 AH) - He was brought up as an orphan in Cairo and went on to become one of the greatest scholars of Islam. His works include one of the most widely read commentaries of the Qur’an.
Rabia al-Adawiyya (d.184 AH) - She was orphaned at an early age, but became well known for her intense spirituality. She was a poet and devoted herself to Allah. She also taught many of the major religious figures of her time. All she owned was a reed mat, a screen, a pottery jug, and a bed of felt which doubled up as her prayer-rug on which she prayed all night.