Life of Imam Malik (RA)
Imam Malik (RA) is an intellectual figure in Islamic history. His famous Mota Imam Malik is the first book of hadiths. His contribution is exemplary in understanding Islam and Fiqh.
1. Family of Imam Malik (RA)
He belonged to a Yemeni tribe. His grandfather migrated to Madina due to some personal reasons and settled there. His grandfather met many companions of the messenger of Allah, which means he was among the Tabieen. It is commonly narrated that father of Imam Malik was not well educated. At a very early age, he had memorized the whole Quran. Later, upon his mother’s encouragement, he started visiting the famous scholar Rabi‘a bin Abdur Rahman.
2. Teachers and Imam Malik (RA)
Abdur Rehman bin Hurmuz was another teacher of Imam Malik (RA). He spent almost 13 years in the company of this teacher. Imam Malik learned history, fiqh, and Islamic knowledge from his teacher. He was honored to be a student of Imam Jafar Sadiq, Muhammad Bin Shihab al Zuhri, and Nafi Mawla ibn Umar. Imam Malik (RA) also studied Hadith and fiqh from Yahya bin Saeed al-Ansari, but Ibn Hurmuz and Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri inspired him the most.
3. His Struggle for Hadith collection
He was very careful, and on one of the occasions, he said,” “I have seen more than 70 scholars who would sit between two pillars of Masjid al-Nabawi and deliver lectures on what the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said. They were all pious, honest, and in financial matters, trustworthy. However, I never learned a thing from them on the subject of Hadith as they were, in my view, not fit to be called muhadith.”
This is the name of his famous book Muwatta Imam Malik (RA), in which he compiled hadiths. According to some researches of Islam, Muwatta is the most reliable book of Hadith because it was the first book written by an authentic author. Still, his book Muwatta is not included in the seven books of Ahaadiths, which are considered the most reliable books. His book has a highly literary form of classical Arabic. This helps readers develop the ability to understand the language of prophetic traditions.
5. His students
Imam Malik (RA) began to teach in Masjid Nabavi after completing his education. His learning center got popularity over time, and his lessons about hadiths were highly praised. Because of his proven abilities, he got various titles from people. Students from various parts of the world, like Spain, Africa, and Turkistan, were attracted to this place. They used to go back and spread knowledge in their homeland after acquiring knowledge. His famous Egyptian student was Abdullah Bin Wahab.
6. His Fiqh
According to him, the fatwas of the companions of the messenger of Allah and views existed in Medina were considered more reliable and authentic. He used to refrain from innovations in the religion, instead used to focus on Ijtihad. After Ijtihad, he would give his opinions. Imam Malik’s students gathered his fiqh-related views with great depth, like Al-Mudawwana li-Sahnun, Kitab-ul-Majalisat li-Ibn Wahb, Al-Mukhtasir al-Kabir li-Ibn Abdul Hakam.
In conclusion, the work of Imam Malik for Islam have a special place; his knowledge and research will be remembered forever.