Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu
Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn 'Amr al-Isba'i (c. 715 - 796) was one of the most highly respected scholars of fiqh in Sunni Islam. Also known as "Imam Malik," "the Sheikh of Islam," "Proof of the Community," and "Imam of the Abode of Emigration."
Imam Malik Rahmatullahi Alaihi wrote Al-Muwatta, "The Approved," which was said to have been regarded by Imam Shafi'i Rahmatullahi Alaihi to be the soundest book on Earth after the Qur'an. The Maliki Maddhab is one of the four schools of jurisprudence that remains popular among Sunni Muslims to this day.
Imam Malik Rahmatullahi Alaihi was born the son of Anas ibn Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu and Atika bint Shurayk al-Azdiyya RadhiAllahu Anha in Madina circa 715. His family was originally from the Aa-Asbahi tribe of Yemen, but his great grandfather Abu 'Amir RadhiAllahu Anhu relocated the family to Medina after converting to Islam in the second year after hijra (623). Living in Medina gave Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu access to some of the most learned minds of early Islam. He memorized the Quran in his youth, learning recitation from Imam Nafi’ bin Abdur-Rahman RadhiAllahu Anhu, to whom he also received his Sanad, or certification and permission to teach others. He studied for a time under Imam Jafar as Sadiq RadhiAllahu Anhu.
He practiced extreme care in regards to narrating Hadith, saying, “I do not accept knowledge from four types of people: (1) a person known to be foolish, even though others may narrate from him, (2) a person involved in committing heresy and calling others towards the innovation, (3) a person who lies in regular conversation, even though I do not accuse him as liar in regards to Hadith, (4) and a person who is pious worshipper or scholar, but does not properly and correctly memorize what he narrates.” Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu’s chain of narrators was considered the most authentic and called Silsilat ul-Zhahab or “The Golden Chain of Narrators".
Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu was also outspoken. He issued fatwas against being forced to pledge allegiance to the Caliph Al-Mansur, and was punished via flogging for his stance. Al-Mansur apologized to Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu, and offered him money and residence in Baghdad, but Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu refused to leave the city of Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Later, Harun al-Rashid asked Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu to visit him while Harun was performing the hajj. The Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu refused, and instead he invited the new caliph to his class.
Imam Malik RadhiAllahu Anhu died in Madina in 796 and is buried in the famous Jannat ul-Baqi cemetery across from the Masjid al Nabawi.