1- Mālik’s Character
Mālikīyah is the second Sunni school, in terms of time, and the third one in terms of population. It is founded by Mālik b. Anas b. Mālik b. ‘Āmir Aṣbahī Madanī, a scholar of the third category of Successor jurists of Medina. He was born circa 90-97 in Medina. He passed almost his whole life in Medina. Mālik learned jurisprudence from Rbī‘ah b. Furūkh, Ibn Shahāb Zuharī, Nāfi‘ Mawlá ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar b. Hurmuz, Imam Ja‘far Ṣādiq (A.S.), and Abū al-Zannād. He studied under the leading scholars of the school of ḥadīth. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. Hurmuz and ‘Abd al-Raḥmān known as Rbī‘ah al-Ra’y (d. 136 A.H.). When he was 17, after receiving certification and permission for jurisprudence and ḥadīth from his teachers, he started teaching and issuing fatwas in Medina that lasted through about seventy years. He usually sat in Masjid al-Nabī for teaching and issuing fatwas and pointed to the grave of the Prophet (S.A.W) while narrating ḥadīths.
Mālik adopted a soft policy towards caliphs, but his silence on the rebellion of Nafs Zakīyah (145 A.H.) aroused the suspicion of Medina’s ruler and was punished. Manṣūr, the caliph of the time, apologized Mālik when got informed about this event, which has happened without informing him. In addition, the caliph Ḥārūn, during his hajj trip in 179 A.H. visited Mālik in last year of his life. Nevertheless, Mālik was generally dissatisfied with Abbasid Caliphs, which inclined Andalusian Umawīyah to him. Mālik was a pioneer of the science of ḥadīth. His most important jurisprudential book is al-Muwaṭṭa’ that he wrote in response to Manṣūr’s request. His other book is Risālah ilá al-Rashīd.
Mālik’s jurisprudential school is not as a school of thought; therefore, its jurists’ ijtihād is limited to Mālik’s opinions. Mālikīs follow the school of Ash‘arīyah regarding their ideological beliefs.
Before the appearance of Shāfi’īyah, it was the predominant sect in Hejaz, Egypt and the African regions around it, Andalusia, and Sudan; and also, it was famous in Baghdad. However, it fell into decline since 400 A.H.
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onwards. By the appearance of Shāfi’īyah in Egypt, it decreased there to the second place, but, it held its possession in eastern Africa. Nowadays, Mālikīyah is the leading sect in the regions like northern parts of Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, alpine regions of Egypt, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. The Mālikīyah presence is negligible in Palestine and Saudi Arabia, especially Iḥṣā’.