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Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn 'Amr (714 - 796) was one of the most highly respected scholars of fiqh in the Sunni sect of Islam. Also known as "Imam Malik," "the Shaykh of Islam," "Proof of the Community," and "Imam of the Abode of Emigration."  Imam Malik wrote Al-Muwatta , "The Approved," which was said to have been regarded by Imam Shafi'i to be the soundest book on Earth after the Qur'an. The Maliki Maddhab is one of the four schools of jurisprudence that remains popular among Sunni Muslims to this day.
Imam Malik was born in Medina in 714. His family was originally from Yemen, but his father moved to Medina after converting to Islam. Living in Medina gave Malik access to some of the most learned individuals on Islam of the period. He was especially interested in law, and he took to learning the Qur'an and Hadith. He studied for a time under Imam Jafar as Sadiq.
Malik was also outspoken. He issued fatwas against being forced to pledge allegiance to the Caliph Al-Mansur, and was punished via flogging for his stance. Al-Mansur apologized to Malik, and offered him money and residence in Baghdad, but Malik refused to leave the city of Muhammad. Later, Harun Rashid asked Malik to visit him while Rashid was performing the hajj. The Imam refused, and instead he invited the new caliph to his class.
Imam Malik died in Medina in 796 and is buried in the famous Jannat ul-Baqi cemetery across from the Masjid al Nabawi.
Last updated: 05-15-2005 13:53:10