Malik ibn Anas

Malik ibn Anas

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Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik ibn Abī 'Āmir al-Asbahī (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 مالك بن أنس) (c. 711 – 795) (93 AH
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

 – 179 AH ) is known as "Imam Malik," the "Sheikh of Islam
Sheikh ul-Islam
Shaykh al-Islām is a title of superior authority in the issues of Islam....

", the "Proof of the Community," and "Imam of the Abode of Emigration." He was one of the most highly respected scholars of fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 in Sunni Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 Shafi`i
Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i
Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafiʿī was a Muslim jurist, who lived from 767 CE to 820 CE. He was active in juridical matters and his teaching eventually led to the Shafi'i school of fiqh named after him. Hence he is often called Imam al-Shafi'i...

, who was one of Malik's students for nine years and a scholarly giant in his own right, stated, "when scholars are mentioned, Malik is the star." The Maliki
Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

 Madhab, named after Malik, is one of the four schools of jurisprudence that are followed by Sunni Muslims to this day.

Biography


His full name was Abu Abdullah Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik Ibn Abī 'Āmir Ibn 'Amr Ibnul-Hārith Ibn Ghaimān Ibn Khuthail
Ibn 'Amr Ibnul-Haarith
.

Malik was born the son of Anas ibn Malik (not the Sahabi
Anas ibn Malik
Anas bin Malik ibn Nadar al-Khazraji Al-Ansari was a well-known sahabi of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.He was an Ansar of the Banu Khazraj . He is not to be confused with Malik ibn Anas. Anas ibn Malik, the last of the Companions of the Prophet died at al-Basrah in 93 AH aged 103.-Muhammad's...

) and Aaliyah bint Shurayk al-Azdiyya in Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 circa 711. His family was originally from the al-Asbahi tribe of Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, but his great grandfather Abu 'Amir relocated the family to Medina after converting to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in the second year after hijra (623). According to Al-Muwatta, he was tall, heavyset, imposing of stature, very fair, with white hair and beard but bald, with a huge beard and blue eyes.
He was a good man.

Teachers


Living in Medina gave Malik access to some of the most learned minds of early Islam. He memorized the Quran in his youth, learning recitation from Imam Abu Suhail Nafi' ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman, from whom he also received his Sanad, or certification and permission to teach others. He studied under various famed scholars including Hisham ibn Urwah
Hisham ibn Urwah
Hishām ibn ʿUrwah was a prominent narrator of hadith, son of Urwah ibn al-Zubayr, grandson of Zubayr ibn al-Awwam and Asma bint Abu Bakr. In Medinah, his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas....

, Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri
Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri
For the geographer from Al-Andalus see Mohammed Ibn Abu Bakr al-ZuhriMuhammad ibn Muslim ibn Ubaydullah ibn Shihab al-Zuhri , usually called simply Ibn Shihab or al-Zuhri...

, and—along with Imam Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi Sunni Madh'hab--under the 6th Shiite Imam Jafar al Sadiq  This fact may explain the mutual respect and relative peace that has often existed between the Hanafi and Maliki Sunnis, on one hand, and the Shias on the other.

Golden Chain of Narration


Imam Malik's chain of narrators was considered the most authentic and called Silsilat ul-Zhahab or "The Golden Chain of Narrators" by notable hadith scholars including Imam Bukhari. The 'Golden Chain' of narration (i.e., that considered by the scholars of Hadith to be the most authentic) consists of Malik, who narrated from Nafi', who narrated from ibn Umar, who narrated from Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

Reluctance in rendering religious verdicts


Malik took advantage of the fact that he was contemporary to many of the Tabi‘in
Tabi‘in
The Tābi‘ūn are the generation of Muslims who were born after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad but who were contemporaries of the Sahaba "Companions". As such, they played an important part in the development of Islamic thought and philosophy, and in the political development of the...

 to formulate his school of thought, which gave precedence to the acts of the people of Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 over the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 if they were in conflict. This was done due to the sizeable amount of scholars, and companions of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 residing in the city where Malik's reputation grew immensely. Malik nevertheless showed hesitancy in issuing religious verdicts explaining in one of his more famous statements that:
The shield of the scholar is, 'I do not know,' so if he neglects it, his statement is attacked.

Textualist interpretation of hadith on God's attributes


Malik adhered to a textual interpretation of hadith in relation to God's attributes. Ad-Daraqutnee relates that Malik was asked about the attributes of Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, to which Malik answered, "Pass them on as they come." Furthermore, Qadi Iyad relates that Malik was asked whether people would be looking toward Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 given the narration, "And some faces shall be shining and radiant upon that day, looking at their Lord." Malik ensuingly answered, "Yes, with these two eyes of his," though his student replied, "there are a people who say he will not be looking at Allah, that 'looking' means a reward" to which Malik answered, "They lied, rather they will look at Allah."

Opposition to bid'ah or innovation in beliefs


Malik was vehemently opposed to bid'ah and even directed others not to extend the Islamic greeting of Salam
S-L-M
Shin-Lamedh-Mem is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root itself translates as "whole, safe, intact".-Salam "Peace":...

 to the people of bidah, stating, "how evil are the People of Innuendo, we do not give them felicitations." Malik explained that "he who establishes an innovation in Islam regarding it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as God says, 'this day have I perfected for you your religion'. And whatsoever was not part of the religion then, is not part of the religion today."

Prohibiting Kalam


Malik sternly prohibited theological rhetoric and philosophical speech, frequently referred to as kalam
Kalam
ʿIlm al-Kalām is the Islamic philosophical discipline of seeking theological principles through dialectic. Kalām in Islamic practice relates to the discipline of seeking theological knowledge through debate and argument. A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim...

. Malik believed that Kalam
Kalam
ʿIlm al-Kalām is the Islamic philosophical discipline of seeking theological principles through dialectic. Kalām in Islamic practice relates to the discipline of seeking theological knowledge through debate and argument. A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim...

 was rooted in heretical doctrines taken up and followed by controversial theologians such as Jahm bin Safwan
Jahm bin Safwan
Jahm ibn Safwān was a controversial Islamic theologian who attached himself to Hārith b. Surayj, a rebel in Khurasan towards the end of the Umayyad period, and who was put to death in 128/745-6 by Salim b. Ahwaz.-Biography:...

. When asked about an individual who delved into Kalam, Malik answered, "He establishes his innuendo with kalaam, and if kalaam had been knowledge, the Companions
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 and the tabi'in would have spoken about it, just as they spoke about the rules and regulations.

Controversy


Despite his reluctance to render religious verdicts, Malik was outspoken. He issued fatwas against being forced to pledge allegiance to the Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Al-Mansur
Al-Mansur
Al-Mansur, Almanzor or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur was the second Abbasid Caliph from 136 AH to 158 AH .-Biography:...

, and received a flogging for his stance. Al-Mansur apologized to Malik, and offered him money and residence in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, but Malik refused to leave the city of Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. Later, Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid
Hārūn al-Rashīd was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph in Iraq. He was born in Rey, Iran, close to modern Tehran. His birth date remains a point of discussion, though, as various sources give the dates from 763 to 766)....

 asked Malik to visit him while Harun was performing the hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

. The Imam refused, and instead he invited the new caliph to his class.

Death


Imam Malik died at the age of 84 in Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 in 795 and is buried in the famous Jannat ul-Baqi cemetery across from the Masjid al Nabawi. Malik's last words were related by one Isma'il Ibn Abi Uways who said, "Malik became sick, so I asked some of our people about what he said at the time of his death. They said, `He recited the shahadah (testification of faith), then he recited:
Their affair is for Allah, before and after.

Works


Imam Malik wrote Al-Muwatta, "The Approved," which was said to have been regarded by Imam Shafi'i to be the soundest book on Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 after the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

.
  • Al-Muwatta
  • Al-Mudawwana
    Sahnun
    Sahnun ibn Sa'id ibn Habib at-Tanukhi was a jurist in the Maliki school from Qayrawan in modern-day Tunisia.-Biography:...

     al-Kubra

Quotes


"The reform of the later generations of this Ummah
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

will take place in the same way as reformed its earlier generations." taken from Islahi Khutbat (Discourse on Islamic Way of Life)

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