Son of the great Mawlay Ismail, Abdalmalik was earmarked as his father's successor until he fell from favour and was replaced as heir by his half-brother Ahmed ed Dehebi in 1727. Ahmed ed Dehebi proved quite ineffective as a ruler, and when it became public that he was a drunkard, he was overthrown in a coup instigated by his own wives. Abdalmalik was proclaimed Sultan, but failed to prevent his brother's escape and made the mistake of criticising the fiercely loyal bukhari (the imperial black bodyguards). The bodyguard then threw their support behind the ousted Ahmed ed Dehebi, thus throwing Morocco into yet another civil war.
A compromise was reached between the brothers after bloody fighting, splitting Morocco into two kingdoms. Ahmed ed Dehebi was to have Meknes for his capital while Abdalmalik was to rule from Fez. Not content with this however, Abdalmalik arranged a face-to-face meeting with his brother with the intention of assassinating him.
The attempt failed and Abdalmalik was sent off under guard to a remote prison, where several weeks later he was assassinated.