The Maliki School of law was founded by Imam Malik bin Anas Malik bin Abu ‘Amir al-Asbahi, Imam of Medina.
He was born in 93 AH in Medina. He had great reverence and respect for his birthplace and to show his respect, he never rode an animal inside Medina. He studied under the finest teachers like Nafi’, Hisham bin Urwah bin Zubayr, Abdullah bin Dinar, Rabi’ah bin Abu Abdur-Rahman, Muhammad bin Muslim bin Shihab al-Zuhri and a number of other notables.
Al-Muwatta “The Approved” is his seminal work that contains the most authentic and sound ahadith and sayings of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Imam al-Shafi’i considered it the most correct and the most beneficial book on earth after Quran. According to Imam Malik, he had seventy jurists of Madinah examine The Muwatta and each one of them approved it. He was extremely careful in narrating hadith and said,
“I do not accept knowledge from four types of people: a person well-known to be foolish, even though all the other people narrate from him, a person involved in committing heresy and calling others towards innovation in religion, a person who lies in regular conversation with people, even though I do not accuse him as a liar in regards to the Hadith, a person who is pious worshipper or scholar, but does not properly and correctly memorise what he narrates.”
His chain of narration (from Malik from Nafi’ from Ibn Umar) was called “the golden chain of narrators” by Imam al-Bukhari. He was regarded in the highest esteem by the other three great imams. Imam al-Shafi’i says, “If Malik and Ibn Uyaynah were not here, the knowledge of Hijaz would be gone.”