Maalik Ibn Anas (d. 179H)
He is the Shaykh of Islaam, the evidence of the Ummah, the Imaam of Daarul-Hijrah (i.e. al-Madeenah), Aboo ‘Abdullaah Maalik Ibn Anas Ibn Maalik Ibn Abee ‘Aamir Ibn ‘Amr Ibnul-Haarith Ibn Ghaymaan Ibn Khuthayl Ibn ‘Amr Ibnul-Haarith – and he is Dhoo Asbah Ibn ‘Awf Ibn Maalik Ibn Zayd Ibn Shaddaad Ibn Zur’ah. And he is Himeer al-Asghar al-Himeeree, then al-Asbahee al Madanee, an ally from the tribe of Taym from Quraysh. So they were the allies of ‘Uthmaan the brother of Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaydullaah, one of the ten (guaranteed Paradise). And his mother is ‘Aaliyah Bint Shareek al-Azdiyyah. And his maternal uncles are Aboo Suhayl Naafi’ and Uways, and ar-Rabee’ and an-Nadr, the children of Abee ‘Aamir.
Abul-Hasan ‘Alee Ibn ‘Abdul-Ghanee al-Mu’dal informed us, ‘Abdul-Lateef Ibn Yoosuf informed us, Ahmad Ibn Ishaaq informed us, Muhammad Ibn Abil-Qaasim al-Khateeb informed us, saying, Abul-Fath Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Baaqee informed us, ‘Alee Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Anbaree informed us, ‘Abdul-Waahid Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mahdee informed us, Muhammad Ibn Makhlad informed us, Aboo Yahya Muhammad Ibn Sa’eed Ibn Ghaalib al-’Attaar informed us, Ibn ‘Uyaynah informed us from Ibn Khurayj, from Abuz-Zubayr, from Abee Saalih, from Abee Hurayrah reaching the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) who said, “The people will mount the backs of camels in search of knowledge. So they will not find a Scholar more knowledgeable than a Scholar in al-Madeenah.” [Related by Ahmad (2/299), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2682), Ibn Hibbaan (no. 2308), al-Haakim (1/91) and al-Bayhaqee (1/286). So at-Tirmidhee declared it hasan and it was authenticated by Ibn Hibbaam and al-Haakim, and adh-Dhahabee agreed.]
And Abul-Mugheerah al-Makhzoomee said that it means the people will keep seeking knowledge. They will not find anyone more knowledgeable than a Scholar in al-Madeenah. So this could be Sa’eed Ibnul-Musayyib, then whoever is after him from the teachers of Maalik, then Maalik, then whoever comes after him in knowledge, and he was the most knowledgeable of his contemporaries.
Ibnul-Madeenee said, ‘I heard ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Mahdee saying, Wuhayb – and he was from the most perceptive of people in hadeeth and narrators – informed me that he arrived in al-Madeenah.’ He said, ‘So I did not see anyone except that he was being commanded and prohibited, except for Maalik and Yahyaa Ibn Sa’eed al-Ansaaree.’ [From the introduction to al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (1/13)]
‘Abdur-Rahman said, ‘No one has preceded Maalik in the authenticity of hadeeth.’
Ibn Mahdee said, ‘The imaams of the people in their time were four: ath-Thawree, Maalik, al-Awzaa’ee and Hammaad Ibn Zayd.’ And he said, ‘I have not seen anyone more intelligient than Maalik.’ [From the introduction to al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (1/13)]
And from Maalik who said, ‘The shield of a Scholar is ‘I do not know,’ so if he neglects it, his statement is attacked.’ [al-Intiqaa’ (p.38)]
And al-Haytham Ibn Jameel said, ‘I heard Maalik being asked about eighty-four issues. So he answered thirty two of them with, ‘I do not know.” And from Khaalid Ibn Khadaash who said, ‘I came to Maalik with forty issues. So he did not answer me anything except for five issues.’
Ibn Wahb relates from Maalik, that he heard ‘Abdullaah Ibn Yazeed Ibn Hurmuz saying, ‘It is befitting for the Scholar that he passes on to his students the statement, ‘I do not know,’ until that becomes the foundation that they flee to.’
Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr said, ‘It is authentically related from Abud-Dardaa’ that ‘I do not know,’ is half of knowledge.’[Refer to Tarteebul-Madaarik (1/144) and Jaami’ Bayaanul-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi (1/54)]
Muhammad Ibn Rumh said, ‘I saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) [in a dream], so I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, verily Maalik and al-Layth differ, so from which of the two should I take? He said, ‘Maalik, Maalik.” [al-Intiqaa’ (p.38)]
Muhammad Ibn Jareer said, ‘Indeed Maalik was beaten with the whip, and there was differing in regards to the reason for that. So al-’Abbaas Ibnul-Waleed related to me, Ibn Dhakwaan related to us from Marwaan at-Tataaree that Ja’far prohibited Maalik from the hadeeth, “There is no divorce for the one who is forced.” Then he plotted to ask him about it, so he related it to the leaders of the people. So he was beaten with the whip.
And al-’Abbaas informed us, Ibraaheem Ibn Hammaad informed us that he used to look at Maalik when he stood for his gathering. He would carry one hand with the other.
And al-Qa’nabee said, ‘I heard them saying, ‘Maalik’s age was eighty nine years, he died in the year one hundred and seventy nine.”
And Ismaa’eel Ibn Abee Uways said, “Maalik became sick, so I asked some of our people about what he said at the time of his death. They said, ‘He recited the tashahhud (testification of faith), then he recited,
“Their affair is for Allaah, before and after.” [Sooratur-Room 30:4]‘
And he died on the fourteenth of Rabee’ul-Awwal, in the year one hundred and seventy nine. So the leader, ‘Abdullaah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Alee Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas al-Haashimee prayed over him.
And Aboo Mus’ab az-Zuhree said, “He died after the tenth of Rabee’ul-Awwal, after ninety years.” Muhammad Ibn Sahnoon said, “He died upon the thirteenth of Rabee’ul-Awwal.”
[Taken from Siyar A’laamun-Nubalaa (8/47-130), slightly adapted, from the book, The Creed of the Four Imaams]