Malikiyyah is the second of the Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. The sources of Maliki doctrine are the Qur'an, the Prophet's traditions (Hadith), consensus (Ijma'), and analogy (Qiyas). The Malikis' concept of Ijma' differed from that of the Hanafis in that they understood it to mean the consensus of the community represented by the people of Medina. (Overtime, however, the school came to understand consensus to be that of the doctors of law, known as 'Ulama.)

Imam Malik's major contribution to Islamic law is his book al-Muwatta (The Beaten Path). The Muwatta is a code of law based on the legal practices that were operating in Medina. It covers various areas ranging from prescribed rituals of prayer and fasting to the correct conduct of business relations. The legal code is supported by some 2,000 traditions attributed to the Prophet.

Malikiyyah was founded by Imam Malik ibn Anas (c.713-c.795), a legal expert in the city of Medina. Such was his stature that it is said three 'Abbasid caliphs visited him while they were on Pilgrimage to Medina. The second 'Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur (d.775), approached Imam Malik with the proposal to establish a judicial system that would unite the different judicial methods that were operating at that time throughout the Islamic world.

The school spread westwards through Malik's disciples, becoming dominant in North Africa and Spain. In North Africa Malikiyyah gave rise to an important Sufi order, Shadhiliyyah, which was founded by Abu al-Hasan, a jurist in the Maliki school, in Tunisia in the thirteenth century.
During the Ottoman period Hanafi Turks were given the most important judicial in the Ottoman empire. North Africa, however, remained faithful to its Maliki heritage. Such was the strength of the local tradition that Qadis (judges) from both the Hanafi and Maliki traditions worked with the local ruler. Following the fall of the Ottoman empire, Malikiyyah regained its position of ascendancy in the region. Today Maliki doctrine and practice remains widespread throughout North Africa, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco, Sudan and regions of West and Central Africa.

Maliki is one of the four schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam, named for Malik ibn Anas (ca. 710-95), a leading jurist from Medina. This school recorded the Medina consensus of opinion, and uses hadith (tradition) as a guide. The Maleki is predominant in north, central and west Africa and Egypt. Following the tradition of Imam Malik, this school appeals to "common utility...the idea of the common good."

Malik did not record the fundamental principles on which he based his school and on whose basis he derived his judgements and to which he limited himself in the derivation of his rulings. In that respect he resembled his contemporary, Abu Hanifa, but not his student, ash-Shafi'i, who did record the principles he used in derivation and defined them precisely, specifying the motives which moved him to consider them and their position in deduction. Malik only transmitted from people in whose mursal and balaghat hadith he had absolute confidence. That is why his great concern was with the choice of transmitter. When he had confidence in the character, intelligence and knowledge of the transmitter he dispensed with the chain of narration. Malik clearly stated that he took the practice of the people of Madina as a source. He never wore shoes whilst in Medinatul Munawwarah [Medina]. He never sat on a horse or used the toilets in this blessed city. He always went out of the city to relieve himself.

Maliki is practiced in North Africa and parts of West Africa. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims. Arabia, Maldives, North and West Africa, Upper Egypt and the Sudan is the location. The colonial legal system influenced development of Morocco’s legal system while shari’a courts continued to apply Maliki fiqh to matters of family law. Also local tribunals applying customary law. Following independence in 1956, a Code of Personal Status (al-Mudawwana) was issued, based on dominant Maliki doctrine.










Page last updated: Friday, November 25, 2005 22:04:51 -0500