Four great legal theorists dominate the history of Islamic Sacred Law. In this lecture, we meet Imam Malik ibn Anas (d.795), celebrated as the ‘Imam of the City of Emigration’ (Imam Dar al-Hijra).
Revered for his great love of the Sunna of the Chosen One (a.s.), Imam Malik dedicated his life to preserving the great treasure of Prophetic wisdom for future generations. As the honoured scholar of the City of Light, he knew that the Sunna was to be learned not only from the Hadith, but from the lived practice of the great people of Madina. His fiqh is therefore rooted in community practice, which gives it great flexibility and humanity.
Close to many of the Second Generation (the Tabi’un), he narrated the famous ‘Golden Chain’: his own teacher Nafi had learned hadiths from Ibn Umar, who reported directly from the Holy Prophet himself.
A sage who always made wudu before quoting a hadith, the Imam once remarked: ‘Allah places the gift of knowledge wherever He will. It does not consist in narrating a large amount.’