He declared in his Dîwân:
This is similar to Imâm Sufyân al-Thawrî's statement that
Among al-Shâfi`î's sayings on Sufism and S.ûfîs:
Some versions have “three words” and add “their statement that
if you do not keep your ego busy with truth
it will keep you busy with falsehood.”
“If a rational man does not become a S.ûfî he does not reach noon except he is a dolt!” Abû Nu`aym narrates this from Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Rah.mân ibn al-Fad.l, from Abû al-H.asan [Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad ibn al-H.ârith] ibn al-Qattât [al-Mis.rî], from the thiqa Muh.ammad ibn Abî Yah.yâ, from the thiqa Imâm Yûnus ibn `Abdal-A`lâ, from the Imâm.
A contrary version of the latter saying reads: “A rational man does not become a S.ûfî except he reaches noon a dolt!” Al-Bayhaqî narrates this from al-H.âkim, from Abû Muh.ammad Ja`far ibn Muh.ammad ibn al-H.ârith,from al-H.asan ibn Muh.ammad ibn al-D.ah.h.âk (IbnBah.r), both of unknown reliability. For obvious reasons, this is the preferred version of the detractors of Sufis.
Al-Nawawî comments: “This means that it is impossible to know the reality of self-display and see its hidden shades except for one who resolutely seeks (arâda) sincerity. Such a one strives for a long time, searching, meditating, examining at length within himself until he knows, or knows something of what self-display is. This does not happen for everyone. Indeed, this happens only with special ones (al-khawâs.s.). But for a given individual to claim that he knows what self-diplay is, this is real ignorance on his part.”
In Makka al-Shâfi`î was the student of al-Fud.ayl ibn `Iyâd.. It is said that he also took tas.awwuf from the ascetic shepherd Shaybân al-Râ`î. Little is known of the latter and there is no report of the two having ever met but there is a narration that Shaybân went on pilgrimage on foot with Sufyân al-Thawrî who witnessed him tame a lion and tweak its ear 
- Allâh have mercy on them and be well-pleased with them! -
 Narrated from Muh.ammad ibn Muh.ammad ibn Idrîs al-Shâfi`î by al-Bayhaqî in Manâqib al-Shâfi`î (2:208) cf. Ibn al-Qayyim in Madârij al-Sâlikîn (3:128) and al-Jawâb al-Kâfî (p. 208-209) and al-Suyût.î in Ta'yîd al-H.aqîqat al-`Aliyya (p. 15).
 In Abû Nu`aym, H.ilya (1985 ed. 7:68-69) and al-Dhahabî, Siyar (7:203-203=al-Arna'ût. ed. 7:268). Another rare narration reports other of his miraculous gifts (karâmât) in Abû Nu`aym, H.ilya (1985 ed. 8:317 #434=1997 ed. 8:354 #425).