IMAM MALIK r.a. (93 A.H. - 179 A.H.)
Imam Malik r.a . was born in 93 A.H. [712 C.E.]. He was born in the period of the Ummayyad Dynasty. His full name is Malik ibn Anas.
Imam Malik's r.a. grandfather and uncle were great scholars of Hadith. Imam Malik r.a. learnt Ahadith from his uncle, Abu Suhail Nafi. The Imam was a very keen scholar from his childhood days.
Imam Malik r.a. had many illustrious teachers. Most of them were great Tabi'i scholars who learnt under the Sahaba. Some of his teachers used to teach in Masjidun Nabawi. He learnt how to read the Holy Quran from Abu Radim Nafi Abdur Rahman.
He also learnt Hadith under Nafi, Jafer Saadiq, Mohammed ibn Yahya Ansari, Abu Haashim Salmah, Yahya ibn Said and Hishaam ibn Urwah.
Imam Malik's r.a. fame spread far and wide and many great scholars sat in his company learning Ahadith and other Islamic legal issues. Some 1300 scholars sat at his feet. They copied the "Muwatta" from him. The "Muwatta" is a collection of Ahadith by Imam Malik r.a.. Many of his pupils copied the Muwatta, the famous among them being: Yahya ibn Yahya Al Masmudi, Ibn Wahab Abu Mohammed Abdullah and Abi Abdullah Abdur Rahman Abdur Rahman.
AS A TEACHER
Even Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa, his teacher, held Imam Malik r.a. in great regard and respect and should sit in his study circle. Imam Malik r.a. liked his students to read aloud while he listened. He used to sit on a tall chair with students all around taking notes.
AS A MUHADDITH AND A JURIST
He was a great "Muhaddith" (Scholar of Hadith). He was very careful in selecting Hadith, and after examining them thoroughly used to record it in his Muwatta.
As a Jurist, he was not afraid of giving a "Fatawa" (Legal Islamic Ruling) even if it was against the Caliph and he was once flogged for doing so.
He passed away on the 11th of Rabi-ul-Awwal in the year 179 A.H. [795 C.E.]He was 86 years old. Imam Malik r.a. is buried in Janatul Baqi in Madinatul Munawwarah.
He never wore shoes whilst in Medinatul Munawwarah [Medina]. He never sat on a horse or used the toilets in this blessed city. He always went out of the city to relieve himself. He used to kiss the old buildings and the remains of old foundations, saying that Sayyidina Rasulullah s.a.w.a. [the holy Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w.s] may have walked by, touched it or saw it. Such was his adoration for Sayyidina Rasulullah s.a.w.s.