Family Background

Imam Malik Ibn Abas (179-179) was born in Madina 93AH. He was born in the same year in which Muhammad Bin Qasim brought Islam to Karachi. His father was a great Muhadis, from whom he narrated some hadiths in his great book titled “Al-Muwatta”.

Imam Malik’s father was paralysed, yet his disability did not prevent him from working in an arrow making factory in Madina. His brother Al Nadhar was also a great scholar, and Imam Malik was initially known as the “brother of Al Nadhar”. Imam Malik was born in Madinah, studied in Madinah, taught in Madina and died in Madina.

Turning Points

Imam Malik was initially not interested in studying. His father once asked him a question in the presence of his older brother and Imam Malik was unable to answer the question. His father informed him that “you are distracted by your pigeons”. Outraged by his fathers comment he went to study with his teacher Ibn Hurmas for seven years.

In another incident, Imam Malik told his mother that that wished to become a singer, his mother informed him that he did not have a good appearance which was vital for becoming a good singer. His mothers comment crushed his spirit and removed any desire he had for becoming a singer.


Imam Malik was very handsome, fair, well built, and tall, he had big eyes and a long beard. The children were in awe of him, and because of his wealth he could afford to wear expensive clothes, he lived in an expensive house and ate good food daily.


Imam Malik disliked debates, but encouraged his students to ask many question until “their teacher starts sweating”. He provided for his students and looked after Imam Shafi for 10 years. He did not care what other people thought of him and could honestly inform the questioner that he did not know an answer to a certain question. He was extremely cautious before answering a question in case he gave the wrong answer and mislead the people. He was extremely humble and modest and spent his nights in worship. He was a powerful person who feared no one. He held Imam Hanifah in high esteem called him a “great jurist” he also said “Imam Hanifah could prove that a wall is made out of gold, he wanted to”.

Once a Sufi who had renounced the world and lived in the jungle sent a letter to Imam Malik telling him to leave the world and worship Allah (swt) in the wilderness. Imam Malik informed him that everyone gains proximity to Allah (swt) through different means. Some gain proximity to Allah (swt) through prayer whilst others gain proximity through seclusion. He felt very close to Allah (swt) whilst teaching others.

Love for the Holy Prophet (saw)

Imam Malik never wore shoes in the streets if Madina nor rode on an animal. Despite living so close to Makkah he only performed his Hajj only once because he wanted to die and be buried in Madina. He passed the Fatwa that whoever says the sand of Madina is bad should be punished. He never related a Hadith whilst standing and used to perform his wudhu, wear his turban and put scent on before transmitting a hadith. He lowered his voice whilst relating them and remained silent when listening to them. He knew the worth and value of the hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) and knew that they were not just words, something that we have reduced them to today.

Prepared by Shaykh Muhammad Ramadhan al Qadri (Minhaj Youth Training Co-ordinator).

Summarised by Alveena Salim