BIOGRAPHY OF IMAM MALIK (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)
بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
Imam Malik (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) is one of 4 major Fiqh scholars and founder of Maliki school of thought in Islamic Jurisprudence. Maliki school of thought is popular in North Africa, Egypt and in some parts of Yemen, Syria and other places. He is also one of the greatest scholars of prophetic traditions. His book titled 'Muatta' (الموطأ) is the pioneering work in Sahih Hadith collection. He was born in Madina in 93 AH (711 AD). His father was Anas bin Malik (not the Sahabi) and his mother's name was Aaliyah bint Shurayk al-Azdiyya.
Imam Malik belonged to al-Asbahi tribe of Yemen. His great grandfather Abu Amir relocated from Yemen to Madina after accepting Islam in 2nd Hijri (623 AD). His grandfather Malik bin Abi Amir was a student of Khalifa-e-Rashid, Amir al-Momineen Hadhrat Umar bin al-Khattab (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). It is reported that he was part of the team under Hadhrat Uthaman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), responsible for collecting the parchments upon which Quranic texts were originally written.
Imam Malik memorized Quran in his youth. He learned recitation of Quran from Abu Suhail Nafi bin Abdur Rahman, from whom he also received Ijaza. It is reported that both Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik were the students of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ).
Imam Malik learned from many teachers. Some of his teachers are : (i) Nafi' bin Abdur Rahman, (ii) Abul-Zanaad Adbullah bin Zakwaan, (iii) Hishaam bin Urwah bin Zubair, (iv) Yahya bin Sa'eed al-Ansaari, (v) Abdullah bin Dinaar, (vi) Zaid bin Aslam, (vii) Muhammad bin Muslim bin Shihaab al-Zhuhri, (viii) Abdullah bin Abu Bakr bin Hazm, (ix) Sa'eed bin Abu Sa'eed al-Maqbari, (x) Sumayy, (xi) Ayyub Sakhtiyaani, (xii) Abdur-Rahman bin al-Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, (xiii) Thawr bin Zaid Dabli, (xiv) Ibrahim bin Abi Ablah al-Maqdisi, (xv) Rabi'ah bin Abu Abdur-Rahman, (xvi) Humayd Taweel, etc.
Imam Malik's memory was extraordinary. He said, 'anything I would record in my memory would never be forgotten again'.
After an extensive study during his 20s and 30s, the Imam became a famous teacher in Madina. He started teaching in the Prophet's (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) mosque. It is reported that he used to sit on the pulpit of the mosque with Quran in one hand and his collection of Ahadith in another hand and he used to give fiqh rulings based on these sources. He considered that after Quran and Sunnah, the practices of the people of Madina during the first century AH (his life time) should be seen as an important third source for Islamic fiqh.
Imam Malik's students were in thousands who related Ahadith from him. Ibn Kathir, Dhahabi and Qazi Iyadh mentioned that over 1,300 students narrated Ahadith from Imam Malik. Dar Qutni, Abu Bakr Khateeb al-Baghdadi and others mentioned that over 1000 students have narrated Ahadith from him.
His prominent students include, (i) Imam Muhammad, (ii) Imam Shaf'ii, (iii) Abdullah bin Mubarak (iv) Laith bin Sa'ad, (v) Shu'bah, (vi) Sufyan ath-Thawri, (vii) Ibn Juraij, (viii) Ibn Uyainah, (ix) Yahya al-Qattan, (x) Ibn Mahdi, (xi) Abu Aasim al-nabeel, (xii) Abdur-Rahman Auwzaa'ee, (xiii) Zhuhri Abul-Aswad, (xiv) Ayyub Sakhtiyaani, (xv) Rabi'ah al-Ra'ii, (xvi) Yahya bin Sa'eed Ansari (xvii) Muhammad bin Abi Zi'ab, (xviii) Ibn Jareeh, (xix) A'amash, (xx) Abu Suhail, (xxi) Nafi' bin Malik, etc.
Imam Malik compiled a Hadith collection titled al-Muwatta (الموطأ). This was the first book in the category of 'Sahih'. Imam Malik stated that he showed his book to seventy scholars in Madinah, all of whom approved it. Thus he gave it the name al-Muwatta, (الموطأ), meaning 'The Approved'.
Imam Malik fell ill when he was 86 years old. The illness continued for three weeks, at the end of which he died on 11 Rabia I, 179 AH (June 3, 795 AD). He was buried in Jannatul-Baqi.
Following are some of the scholars' opinions about Imam Malik.(i) Imam Abu Hanifah said, 'I have never seen anyone more fast understanding, correct answering, and test-taking than Imam Malik'.
(ii) Imam Shaf'ii said, 'Knowledge is encircled by three men: Malik bin Anas, Sufyaan bin Uyainah, and Laith bin Sa'ad'.
(iii) Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said, 'I was asked whose Hadith should be memorized by heart, if from anyone? I replied Malik bin Anas'.
(iv) Imam Bukhari said, 'I was asked what is the most authentic chain of narrators. I replied from Malik from Nafi' from Ibn Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہم)'.
(v) Imam Nasai said, 'after the Tabi'een, the most understanding, reliable, trustworthy, person in Hadith is Imam Malik.