Definitions

Maliki

Maliki

[mal-i-kee]
Maliki, Nuri Kamal al-, 1950-, Iraqi political leader. A Shiite who worked as an education official in Hilla, he was a member and, later, deputy leader of the Dawa party, a Shiite religious party that engaged in armed resistance to Saddam Hussein. Sentenced to death, Maliki fled Iraq (1980) and spent more than two decades in exile. Returning secretly to Iraqi in 2002, he was appointed to the National Council established after the United States invaded and overthrew Hussein, and was involved (2003-4) in the de-Ba'athification of the Iraqi government and civil service. Elected to the transitional National Assembly in 2005, he was involved in writing the new constitution. After the 2005 parliamentary elections, when interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari proved unacceptable to Sunnis and Kurds, Maliki, a close adviser to Jaafari and the spokesman for a coalition of religious Shiite parties, emerged (2006) as a U.S.-supported compromise candidate for prime minister. Regarded as tough-minded, Maliki vowed to integrate the militias into the army, but his ability to tackle Iraq's sectarian violence was hampered by his fractious "unity" government's dependence on the support of Moktada al-Sadr and of Sunni leaders with ties to insurgents. The withdrawal of Sadr's party from the government, the disillusionment of many Iraqi Sunnis with the insurgency, and the establishment (Dec., 2008) of a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraqi subsequently benefited Maliki.

The Maliki madhhab (Arabic مالكي) is one of the four schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the third-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 15% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa and West Africa.

Madhabs are not sects, but rather schools of jurisprudence.The other three schools of thought are Shafi, Hanafi, and Hanbali.

The basis for the School of the City of Light, Medina Munnawara

The Maliki school derives from the work of Imam Malik, primarily the Mu'watta and the Mudawana. The Mu'watta is a collection of hadiths which are regarded sound and find their place in Bukhari, and with some commentary from Imam Malik regarding the practice of the people of Madina, i.e. 'amal, and where the 'amal is in complience with or in variance with the hadiths reported. This is because Imam Malik (and what would later be the school after his name) regarded the 'amal of Madina (the first three generations) to be a superior proof of the 'living' sunnah than isolated, although sound, hadiths. The second main source, the Mudawana al-Khubrah, is the collaborator work of Imam Malik's longtime student, Ibn Qasem and his brilliant mujtahid student, Sahnun. The Mudawana is the notes of Ibn Qasem from his sessions of learning with Imam Malik, and answers to legal questions raised by Sahnun in which Ibn Qasem quotes from Imam Malik, and where no notes existed, his own legal reasoning based upon the principles he learned from Imam Malik. These two books, i.e. Mu'watta and Mudawwana, along with other primary books taken from other prominent students of Imam Malik, would find their way into the Mukhtasar Khalil which would form the basis for the later Maliki madhab.

It differs from the three other schools of law most notably in the sources it uses for derivation of rulings. All four schools use the Qur'an as primary source, followed by the sunnah of Muhammad, transmitted as hadiths (i.e. sayings) (while in the Maliki Madhab, sunnah includes not only what was recorded in hadiths, but the legal rulings of the four rightly guided, or Rashidun caliphs, primarily Umar ibn al-Khattab, ijma (consensus of the scholars) and Qiyas (analogy), and urf, or local custom which is not in direct conflict with established Islamic principles; the Maliki school, in addition, relies heavily upon the practice of the Salaf people of Medina as a source (composed of the sahabahs, tabiyeen, and the older successors, i.e. the best of generations as reported in the authentic hadith. This is because their collective practice, along with the derivative rulings from the salafi scholars, are considered mutawwatir, or known and practiced by so many people that it can only be of the sunnah. In other words, the practice of the first three generation of Muslims who resided in Medina, i.e. the salaf or righteous predessors form the normative practice of the 'living sunnah' that was preserved from Muhammad. When forced to rely upon conflicting, authenticated hadiths to derive a ruling, Malikis would then choose the hadith that has a 'Medinian' origin, meaning the transmitter(s) resided in Medina. To summarize, in the Maliki madhab the 'living sunnah' of the salaf of Medina substantiates the single reported hadith, not the other way around. This is probably what distinguishes the Maliki madhab the most from the Shafi, Hambali, and Hanafi madhabs respectively.

This source, according to Malik, sometimes supersedes hadith, because the practice of the people of Medina was considered "living sunnah," in as much as Muhammad migrated there, lived there and died there, and most of his companions lived there during his life and after his death. The result is what would appear to be a much more limited reliance upon sahih hadith than is found in other schools, but in actuality, serves to strengthen hadiths related to actual practice.

Imam Malik was particularly scrupulous about authenticating his sources when he did appeal to them, however, and his comparatively small collection of ahadith, known as Al-Muwatta ("The Approved"), is highly regarded. Malik is said to have explained the title as follows: "I showed my book to seventy jurists of Medina, and every single one of them approved me for it, so I named it ‘The Approved’."

Imam Malik, Imam of the abode of Hijrah

Malik was once sentenced to a lashing by the caliph Abu Ja`far al-Mansur for narrating a hadith to the effect that a divorce obtained under coercion was invalid. The hadith in question had momentous political implications, because it supported those who argued that the caliph's authority was similarly invalid -- because it, too, had been secured by means of coercion.

Eventually, Malik was paraded through the streets in disgrace and ordered to insult himself publicly. He is reported to have said: "Whoever knows me, knows me; whoever does not know me, my name is Malik ibn Anas, and I say: The divorce of the coerced is null and void!" When the incident was reported to the governor of Medina (who was also the cousin of al-Mansur), Malik was ordered released.

Differences in prayer from other madhabs

There are slight differences in the preferred methods of salaat, or prayer, in the Maliki school.

  • The dominant, or mashur position, is to leave the hands to dangle at one's sides during prayer. It has eroneously been ascribe that the reason was Imam Malik prayed this way because his arms were dislocated due to the public lashing he received as mentioned above. The actual reason for this practice, i.e. sadl, being the dominant position in the school was when Sahnun asked Ibn Qasem about the hadith of folding the right hand over the left mentioned in the Mu'watta, Ibn Qasem quoted Imam Malik as saying, 'I do not know of this practice (i.e. qabd) in the obligatory prayer (i.e. meaning, I did not see the people of Medina practicing this), however it is allowed in the superogoratory prayers if the standing has been prolonged'.Mudawwana. The common Sunni practice of joining the hands beneath the chest (or below the naval as is the case with the Hanafi madhab, right hand over left, does not invalidate the prayer, since leaving the hands down is a recommended act (while folding them in the obligatory prayer is regarded as offensive in the obligatory prayer, except for those who regard doing so to be sunnah). It should be noted several famous Maliki scholars, including Qadi Iyad and Hafidh Ibn `Abdul Barr, were of the opinion that the hands should in fact be folded like other Sunnis do).
  • Looking straight ahead at eye-level (i.e. literally "facing" the Ka'aba) during the standing and sitting parts of the prayer, rather than looking down towards the place of prostration (there is disagreement on this point, with many famous Maliki scholars holding that one should look at the place of prostration, however, these are minor points related to concentration and humility before Allah).
  • Not reciting any supplications before the Fatihah in obligatory prayers (the Bismillah, reciting "in the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful" before the Fatihah, is frowned upon in obligatory prayers).
  • Turning the right-handed fist is on its side (such that smallest finger is touching the thigh) and moving the right index finger back and forth horizontally during the sitting parts of the prayers
  • Saying the ending tasleem only once ("As-salaamu 'alaykum" while turning the head to the right); anything more is frowned upon (except for followers behind an imam, who are recommended to face the front again and say "wa 'alaykum as-salaam" to the imam and, if anyone is to their left, turn their head to the left and say "wa 'alaykum as-salaam" to the person on their left).

Notable Malikis

See also

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