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The Four Great Imaams - Imaam Maalik ibn Anas

Imaam of Darul-Hijrah, the Imaam of Madinah, a great muhaddith and mujtahid.

Imaam Abu ‘Abdullah Maalik ibn Anas ibn Maalik al-Asbahi (may Allah have mercy on him) was born in Madinah in 93 H. Such was his love for the City of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that he spent his entire life there and acquired all his knowledge within the city. He would not leave the city for any travel other than the obligatory Hajj for fear of dying outside of Madinah. His love for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was such that he never recited a hadeeth unless he had wuduu’.

He acquired knowledge of Qur’an from Naafi’ and his teachers also included Zuhri, Aamir ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr and Rabee’atur-Raa’i (may Allah have mercy on him). Hazrat Qaadi Ayyaad (may Allah have mercy on him) has recorded that he had over 1,300 students, including ‘Abdullah ibn Mubaarak, Sufyaan Thawri, Sufyaan ibn Uyaynah, Awzaa’i and Imaam Shaafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him).

His collection of hadeeth, named al-Muwatta, was labeled by Imaam Shaafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) as “the soundest book after the Book of Allah.” This appellation held until the compilation of Saheeh al-Bukhaari. His other works include Tafseer Ghareebil-Qur’aan, Kitaabus-Sirr and al-Mudawwanatul-Kubraa.

Imaam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) was very cautious in passing rulings. He was never too proud to say that he did not know when asked about matters that he was not sure of. Once the khaleefa asked that his Muwatta be displayed in the Ka’baa so that all Muslims could be forced to follow his rulings. Imaam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) refused to do so saying that the Sahaabah themselves had held differing opinions and that all such reliable opinions were upon the righteous path. He loathed innovations and kept away from the many sects that arose in his time.

Imaam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) had two sons, Yahyaa and Muhammad, and one daughter named Faatimah. His son Yahyaa grew to become a great scholar. During the month of Rabiul-Awwal in 179 H. he left this world after an illness which had plagued him during the last few years of his life. He was buried in Jannatul-Baqee’ in his beloved city of Madinah and the Ameer of Madinah, ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Muhammad led his Janaazah prayer. Just before his death, Imaam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) recited the tashah-hud and then recited the verse of Surah Rum:

“With Allah is the Command in the past and in the future.”

[Scholars of the Maalikiyyah include Haafiz Ibn ‘Abdul-Birr, Imaam al-‘Arabi, Haafiz Ibn Rushd and others (may Allah have mercy on him).]