Imam Malik’s (r.a.) Caution in Ahadits

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Malik (r.a.) practiced extreme care in regards to narrating ahadits, and did not take ahadits from just anyone.  He 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 the innovation in Diyn, a person who lies in regular conversation with people, even though I do not accuse him as liar in regards to ahadits, and a person who is pious worshipper or scholar, but does not properly and correctly memorise what he narrates.”

It was asked of Imam Malik (r.a.), “Why do you not take narrations from ‘Amr ibn Di’ar?”

He replied, “I went to him and I found him narrating ahadits to others while in a standing position.  So, I thought to myself that the ahadits of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is too great and majestic to take them in a standing position.”

He would take great caution and narrate only from authentic and reliable sources.  Even other great scholars and companions of his time bore witness to this.  Imam Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah (r.a.) said, “May Allah have Mercy upon Malik.  He is extremely critical of the men,” meaning in regards to the chain of narrators of a hadits.  He also said, “Malik only used to narrate to others authentic ahadits.  He would not report except from the most reliable narrators.  I do not see Madina but in decrease after the death of Malik.”

One of his greatest pupils, Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) said, “When Imam Malik was in doubt over a hadits, he would totally disregard it.”

Eminent narrators in Imam Malik’s (r.a.) al-Muwaththa’ include, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Yusuf at-Tunisi (r.a.); Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Muslimah al-Qa’nabi (r.a.); Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Wahhab al-Miswri (r.a.); Imam Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laytsi (r.a.) and Shaykh Abu Musw’ab az-Zuhri (r.a.).


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