Introduction of Maliki School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Fiqh Maliki came in to being after the Fiqh Hanafi in historical order. This was a good mixture of Hadith and reason. It was founded in the city of the Prophet Medina and was called Maliki after the name of Imam Malik bin Anas. Medina was the holly city where each and every house was enlightened with the rays of the Prophet. The citizens of Medina had the honour to accompany the Prophet for a long time and they were directly addressed in the revelations and the matters of Shariah. When the Prophet (pbuh) left for his heavenly abode, there were a many companions who stayed at Medina. Specially, the environment of Madinah was resounding with the traditions, narrations and fatawa of Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, Hadhrat Aaishah, Hadhrat Zaid bin Sabit, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah and so on. The Fiqh Maliki is based on the traditions and opinions of these companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Imam Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abu Aamir Asbahi was born in Medina in 93 Hijra. His father, uncle and grandfather were great scholars of Hadith. His great grandfatherAbu Aamir was a companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who embraced Islam in second year of Hijra and participated all the battles with the Messenger except Badr. The environment of Medina was resonating with the voices of Hadith when Imam Malik was born. The elder Tab’een and their students were busy in teaching and learning Hadith. Imam Malik obtained the knowledge of Hadith from senior Tab’een and their successors. First of all, he attended Abdur Rahman bin Hurmuz and benefited from him for a long period. From among his prominent teachers is Hadhrat Nafe’, (the freed slave of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar and his academic heir), Muhammad bin Shihab Zuhri, Imam Jaffar bin Sadiq, Muhammad bin Yahya Ansari etc. He gained the knowledge of Fiqh exclusively by Rabi’ah bin Abdur Rahman who is known as Rabi;atur Rai. Apart from these scholars of Hijaz, selected Ulama, Scholars of Hadith and sheikhs would come from every nook and corner of the Islamic world to Medina at the time of Hajj and there would hold circles and classes of learning and narration. Imam Malik benefited greatly from these occasions and attended the circles of great scholars. When he reached the scholarly position that, according to Sufyan bin Uyainah, the foretelling of the Prophet (pbuh) befitted him that ‘people will travel the world for knowledge and they will not find any scholar greater than that of Medina' and seventy other sheikhs certified that he became able to start his own circle, then he started his circle in the Mosque of the Prophet with a elegance that his circle was an ideal of staidness and sedateness. He would take bath and put on best of dresses, apply perfume and then would go to class. Scented woods and perfumes also were incensed occasionally. He used to give lectures with such an elegance that no noise was heard when the pages were turned. He would not tolerate even a petty improper movement or noise. When anyone posed him a question he used to answer him. Generally, his students used to read out and he would rectify the mistakes. His lectures were attended by many of his significant teachers as well.
Imam Malik was bestowed with special privileges. On one hand, he was a great Muhaddith and has a high and authentic chain of narration. Those who narrated from him were Rabi’atur Rai, Yahya bin Sa’eed and Musa bin Uqbah (from among his teachers), Imam Abu Hanifah, Sufyan Sauri, Lais bin Sa’d, Awza’ee, Imam Abu Yusuf etc (from among his coetaneous). Among his prominent students are Imam Shafi’i, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani and so on. His second characteristic was that he was a great scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence and Mujtahid (authority to interpret in Islamic matters). Outstanding Ulama and Imams of Fiqh have benefited from his Fiqhi views. The Caliphs Haroon Al-Rasheed, Abu Jaffar Mansoor and Mahdi and Mamoon also attended his lectures. In the beginning of Abbasid period he also had to pass through troubled conditions. In the reign of Caliph Mansoor, when Nafs Zakiyyah raised the claim of caliphate, Imam Malik supported him. Mansoor disliked it and tried to look for a pretext to catch him. Imam Malik was of the opinion that forced Bai'ah (pledge of allegiance) conditioned with divorce is unacceptable. The Governor of Mansoor in Medina asked him to avoid issuing such fatwas. When he did not stop he was so lashed at his naked arms that it was disjointed.
He stayed throughout of his life in Medina. He was so conscious about the honour of Prophet’s city that he did not even like to ride at places where the Prophet (pbuh) set his steps. He died in Medina in 179 Hijra and was buried in Jannat-ulBaqee, the famous graveyard of Medina.
Characteristics & Salient Features
Fiqh Maliki has acquired this prominence that it is a beautiful composite of narration and reason. Imam Malik, on one hand, was a great Muhaddith and has absorbed the Ahadith of the companions of Medina. He himself compiled the pioneering Hadith book named ‘Muwatta’. While, on the other hand, he is a torchbearer of Fiqh. He has recorded his Fiqhi views with the views and opinions of the companions and their successors. He derived Mas'alas keeping the commonweal and objective of Shariah in view. He gave commonweal so importance that it is counted one of the characteristics of Fiqh Maliki.
The Style of Derivation
Imam Malik obtained knowledge staying in Medina and there he started teaching. He benefited fully from the Ahadith and fatwas of companions in Medina and get enlightenment from them. He was well aware of the Ahadith of the companions of Medina and he used to trust them more. So this impression seems to overshadow Fiqh Maliki. The people of Medina witnessed the life of Prophet very closely and were directly trained by the Prophet. Hence, a general practice of people of Medina was very important to him and he used to consider their practice as Ijma (consensus). He gave it such importance that if Khabr-e-Wahid (narration of single person) contradicted their practice he would not trust the Hadith of the single narrator.
The style of his derivation was that first of all he looked in to the Quran, then in the traditions of the Prophet. In traditions he used to rely more on the scholars of Hadith from Hijaz and practice of Medina citizens. He preferred the fatwas and rulings of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, then the fatwas of the other companions of Medina and then those of the seven Scholars of Fiqh in Medina. When he did not find any proof in Hadith he would turn to analogy. Also, he tried his level best to shut the door of evil sources. Instead of looking in the incident he would look in to the cause of the matter and prevent the causes that may lead to Haram or evil.
The first and foremost of Fiqh Maliki books is Muwatta of Imam Malik in which he collected Hadith with Fiqhi views. The second book is ‘Al-Mudawwnatul Kubra’ that contains matters that were answered by Imam Malik. First, his pupil Asad bin Furat recorded it from Abdur Rahman bin Qasim. But, Abdus Salam Saeed Sahnoon prepared a copy of it and presented it to bin Qasim who made corrections. This manuscript was known as Mudawwanah. Among the early books of Fiqh Maliki are ‘Al-Waziha’ of Abdul Malik bin Habib, ‘Utaibah’ of Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and ‘Muwaziyah’ of Muhammad bin Muwazi Misri. Among his promninent pupils are Abdullah bin Wahab, Abdur Rahman bin Qasim, Ashhab bin Abdul Aziz and Abdul Malik bin Majishoon.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi