The four Imam's - Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam
Ahmed bin Hanbal and Imam Shafi - are the main figures who's interpretation
of the Hadith and Qur'an are followed by the majority of Sunni Muslims all
over the world. They are therefore of great importance to the correct
practice of Islam.
ABU ABDULLAH, Malik bin Anas, was born in Medina in the year 715 AD.
He comes from a Yemeni origin, but his grandfather settled in Medina after
embracing Islam. He received his education in Medina, which was the center
of Islamic learning, and where the immediate descendants of the Companions
of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) lived.
Imam Malik devoted his entire interest to the study of Fiqh. It is said that
he sought out over three hundred Sahaba (those who saw the Companions of the
Holy Prophet). From them he acquired the knowledge of the Holy Prophet's
Hadith- and the Holy Prophet's Deeds, - Sunnah.
The Imam was known throughout the world of Islam for his self-control and
great patience. One a band of Kharijis armed with swords forced their way
into a mosque of Kufa, where he was praying, people ran out of the mosque in
panic but he stayed there undismayed. It was customary with all those who
waited on Khalifah Mansur in his durbar to kiss his hands but Imam Malik
never stooped to his humiliation. He gave great respect to the learned
people and once, when Imam Abu Hanifa came to see him, he offered him his
Imam Malik studied Fiqh through one hundred Sheikhs who were residing in the
city of the Prophet (PBUH) at the time. Among Imam Malik's work is the great
book entitled Kitab-al-Muwatta, which is the earliest surviving book of
Islamic law and Hadith. It quotes Sayings as well as the practices according
to the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Although Imam Malik wrote many treatises dealing with religion and ethics,
Kitab-al-Muwatta is considered as the most important among his writings.
Imam Malik had originally recorded ten thousand Ahadith in this book, but in
a revised edition the Imam reduced the number to only one hundred and
seventy-two. Imam Malik was well known for his piety and honesty and
courageously stood up, and was prepared to bear stand in the face of all
difficulties for his convictions. For example, when the governor of Medina
forced people to take the oath of allegiance to Khalifah al-Mansour, Imam
Malik issued a Fatwa that such an oath was not binding, because it was given
under pressure. This encouraged a lot of people to be strong and courage to
express their opposition, but the Imam was arrested, found guilty of
defiance and publicly flogged.
When al-Mansour, learnt of this outrage, he apologized to the Imam and
dismissed the governor. Sometime later the Khalifah sent him three thousand
Dinars for his travelling expenses and invited him to come and reside in
Baghdad. Imam Malik refused the offer and indicated that he preferred to
continue his residence in Medina where the Holy Prophet was buried.
When the Khalifah Haroun-al-Rasheed visited Medina when he came to perform
Hajj, he asked Imam Malik to visit him and give a lecture. But Imam Malik
politely refused to go to the ruler and instead invited him to join the
class of students to whom he delivered regular lectures. And indeed the
Khalifa, accompanied by his two sons, accepted the invitation and sat among
the students to hear the Imam's lecture.
Imam Malik died in the year 795 AD at Medina and was buried in the famous
al-Baqie cemetery in the Medina with the noble Prophet Companions.
Imam Malik's followers and disciples developed the Fiqh science based on his
books which came to be known as the Maliki Madhhab (approach). Most of the
people who follow the Maliki Madhab are found in North and West Africa, -
Tunis, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.
Syria like many other countries around the world
witnessed, during this period, the flood of refugees
from war troubled nations like Somalia, arrival of
people from Algeria during the brutal struggling between
the Mujahidun and the government, resettlement of the
Palestinians fleeing from sophisticated guns of the
Israelis as well as adventure of African migrants for