How To Study The Maliki Madhab

These works are studied after completing the basic works Mukhtasar al-Akhdari, al-Ashmawi, al-‘Izziyah (esp. Marriage and Commerce), and Murshid al-Mu’in. The main text is studied, with the chief commentaries and marginal notes used as reference by the teacher and students.

al-Risalat al-Fiqhiyah by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (310-386)

This text has the distinction of being continuously taught for over a thousand years. One unique feature is that the author often uses hadiths to construct the wording of the text. It is the second most popular Maliki matn in the manuscript tradition, boasting 238 known copies. The teacher may choose from one of the following commentaries:

Hashiyat al-‘Adawi

al-Thamr al-Dani by al-Azhari

Kifayat al-Talib al-Rabbani by al-Manufi (d. 939)

Sharh Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq (d. 889) with Hashiyat Fath al-Rabbai by al-Bannani (d. 1194)

Aqrab al-Masalik by Ahmad al-Dardir al-‘Adawi (d. 1201)

Sidi Ahmad al-Dardir abridged this text from al-Khalil’s Mukhtasar, leaving out the differences of opinion, and clarifying some difficult passages. In that sense it is somewhat similar to Minhaj al-Tullab in the Shafi’I madhab. It serves as an excellent preparation for Khalil. The teacher may use either of the following commentaries:

Sharh al-Saghir and/or al-Sawi’s (d.1241) hashiyat Bughyat al-Salik li-Aqrab al-Masalik

Tabyin al-Masalik li-Tadrib al-Salik by Muhammad al-Shaybani al-Shanqiti

Mukhtasar Khalil b. Ishaq al-Jundi (d. 776)

The Mukhtasar of Sidi Khalil has an unrivalled position in the later Maliki School and is the mu’tamad and mufti bihi text today. It is still memorized in Mauritania. Its popularity is attested to by 348 manuscript copies, making it the most popular non-Hanafi fiqh text in the pre-modern period. It uses unique phrases to indicate differences of opinion among major authorities of the School: ‘fiha’ for Sahnun’s Mudawwana; ‘al-ikhtiyar’ for al-Lakhmi; ‘al-tarjih’ for Ibn Yunis; ‘al-zahir’ for Ibn Rushd, etc.

However, the text is pregnant in meaning and difficult in expression. Therefore, it invariably is studied with commentary. Teachers would refer to a variety of the countless commentaries such as al-Zarqani, al-Bayan wa al-Taklil, and al-Hattab’s magnificent Mawahib al-Jalil. Students, on the other hand, may refer to the following:

Sharh al-Kabir by Ahmad al- Dardir (d. 1201) – the mu’tamad sharh in the madhab, with hashiyyat al-Dasuqi (d. 1230)

Nasihat al-Murabit by Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin al-Shanqiti (d.1325) is an excellent work, popular in Mauritania

One modern work which has found great popularity and acceptance among contemporary Malikis is al-Fiqh al-Maliki fi Thawbihi al-Jadid by Muhammad Bashir Shaqfah. It is based on the major commentaries of Mukhtasar al-Khalil and is thus a reliable summary of the mashur of the school, with the added bonus of mentioning evidences. Most Malikis agree that is incredibly accurate in transmitting the relied upon views of the school. It is studied in the UAE in the Shari’ah colleges after being commissioned by Shaykh Zayed in the late 1960s. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf also studied from this text during his study there. It should ideally be studied alongside Sharh al-Saghir with references made to Sharh al-Kabir (for the fiqh) and al-Ma’una with al-Ishraf by Qadi Ibn Abd al-Wahab (for the evidences).

Two other modern works which are great, in my view, are Fiqh al-Maliki wa Adilatihi by al-Habib b. Tahir (which is a tahdhib and ta’dil for Sharh al-Saghir) and al-Ghiryani’s Mudawwanat al-Fiqh al-Maliki wa Adilatihi (which is based on Mawahib al-Jalil, the large works of Ibn Rushd and other expansive Maliki works).

Reference works:

al-Kafi by Ibn Abd al-Barr

al-Talqin by Qadi Abd al-Wahab

al-Ma’una by Qadi Abd al-Wahab

al-Ishraf by Qadi Abd al-Wahab

al-Dhakhirah by al-Qarafi

al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah by Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi (abridged it seems from Bidayat al-Mujtahid)

Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Ibn Rushd (abridged from Ibn Abd al-Barr’s al-Istidhkar)

Works on al-Mudawwanah:

al-Lakhmi, Ali b. Muhammad al-Rabi’i al-Qayrawani (d. 478) – al-Tabsirah (ta’liqa)

Ibn Yunus – al-Jami’ (sharh)

Ibn Rushd al-Jadd (d.520) – al-Muqadimat al-Mumahhidat (a sharh)

Al-Baradhi’i – al-Tahdhib (mukhtasar)

Works on al-‘Utbiyah:

Ibn Rushd al-Jadd – al-Bayan wa al-Tahsil (sharh)

The rank of sources of Malik’s statements

al-Mudawannah al-Kubra by Suhnun

al-Muwatta’ in its various transmissions

al-‘Utbiyyah or al-Mustakhrajah by al-‘Utbi

al-Mawwaziyyah by Ibn ul-Mawwaz

al-Wadihah by Ibn Habib (no longer extant but available in sections of al-Nawadir wa al-Ziyadat and other works)

How to find the mashur in the Maliki school

This is a simplified generalization. Nevertheless, it highlights the importance of al-Mudawwanah, which takes precedence over the various transmissions of al-Muwatta’.

Ibn al-Qasim’s narrations from Malik in al-Mudawwanah

Others’ narrations from Malik in the Mudawwanah

Ibn al-Qasim’s opinions in the Mudawwanah

Others’ opinions in the Mudawwanah

Ibn al-Qasim’s narrations from Malik outside the Mudawwanah

Others’ narrations from Malik outside the Mudawwanah

Ibn al-Qasim’s opinions outside the Mudawwanah

The opinions of the major scholars of the madhab outside the Mudawwanah

The importance of the Mudawwana is that it’s a collection of what Ibn Al Qasim learned in the last 20 years of Imam Malik’s life, which means it’s the final ijtihad of Imam Malik.

For development beyond the Mudawwana, one looks at the different historical schools of the madhab, which formed in the generation of Malik’s students. I must add that is is traditionally said that only four schools developed, but the reality is that it was at least six, if one counts the offshoots as independent schools.

The Egyptians were most authoritative because their leaders were senior students of Malik: Ibn Wahb, Ibn al-Qasim, Ashab, and Ibn Abd al-Hakim. They were strong advocates of Malik and preferred Madinan amal over ahad hadith.

The Madinans are next in precedence because of the blessing of Madinah. Mutraf and Ibn Majshun were from there, as well as Ibn Nafi’. They were unique in that they apparently preferred ahad hadith over Madinan amal.

The Maghribis (North-West Africans) are next in precedence because they developed they preserved Madhab quite extensively. However, as they held full dominance in their lands, with no opposition, they gave little attention to evidences. There was no need to justify positions beyond what what mashur. The notables of this school were Sahnun, Asad b. Furat, Ali b. Ziyad, Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, and al-Lakhmi.

The Andalucians tended to mix the hadith approach of the Madinans with the mashur approach of the Egyptians and Maghribis. This perhaps might have resulted from the presence of other schools in Spain such as those of al-Awza’i and al-Zahiri. As such, Spain produced such figures as Yahya b. Yahya al-Laythi, Ibn Abd al-Barr, al-Baji, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn Habib.

The Sicilian school was somewhat of an extension of the Maghribi school and boasted such luminaries as Ibn Yunus and al-Maziri.

The Iraqis are ranked last, although Qadi Abd al-Wahab is seen to have a similar strength to Ibn Rushd with the latter scholars of the madhab. The Iraqi school is said to have been somewhat of an extension of the Madinan school. As a result of being in Iraq, where all the other schools were present, the Iraqis tended to focus on evidence to defend the school in debates with others. Ibn al-Jullab and al-Abhari are other notables of this school.