Bookmark and Share



























Open the online Arabic language course






Malik ibn Anas
Arabic: abū ¢abd allāh mālik ibn anas ibn 'al-hārith 'al-asbahī


(Born between 709 and 716, dead 795) Muslim jurist, and founder of the Maliki school of Shari'a, Muslim law. He is sometimes referred to as the Imam of Madina.
We know fairly little about Malik's life considering the how detailed Muslim historical sources from this period are, and how important he was for the development of the Shari'a.
As a matter of fact, many of the stories relating to his early life are of the legendary type, or just propaganda. They tell about him spending 3 years in his mother's womb, and his coming was foretold by none less than Muhammad. Originally, we are told, he wanted to become a singer. But as he was unusually ugly, his mother recommended him to study law, fiqh, instead.
We know that he lived most of his life in Madina, and that he acted as a teacher for adult students in Sharia.
He is known for having been involved in politics as well, and declared Malik declared that nobody was obliged to act loyal to the Caliph as long as homage had been given under compulsion. Some years later, Malik made peace with the central governments.
Malik produced one major book, the Muwatta', claimed to be the oldest surviving Muslim law book. Here he codifies and systemizes the customary law of Madina. Central to the Muwatta' is that it seeks to find the average point of view in disputed matters.
There are different versions of the Muwatta', which probably is a result of Malik not always having made the same conclusions to all of his classes. We know that there were 15 different versions of the Muwatta', but only 2 have survived in complete form.

Biography

Between 709 and 716: Born, probably in Madina.
730's or 740's: Studies with the famous Rabi'a bin Farrukh.
From 730's or 740's: Starts teaching adult students in the science of law.
762: During the rebellion of Muhammad bin Abdullah in madina, Malik gave him moral support. As the rebellion was crushed, Malik was punished by flogging by the governor of Madina for this statement.
776 or 777: Caliph al-Mahdi consults Malik on alterations of the sanctuary in Mecca.
795: Caliph al-Rashid visits Malik during his pilgrimage to the holy cities of Islam.
— Dies in Madina, and a kubba is built over his grave.
Around 1800: The kubba of Malik is destroyed by Wahhabis.




By Tore Kjeilen