Imām Mālik

The Importance of Knowing Different Opinions Before Giving Fatwa

Saʿīd b. Abī ʿArūbah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever has not heard the differences of opinion, then do not consider him a scholar.

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmiʿ Bayān Al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihī no. 1521.

It is reported that Sufyān b. ʿUyainah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The most audacious people in giving verdicts (fatwā) are those who know the least about the differences of opinion amongst the scholars.

Op. cit. 1527.

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked:

“Which kind of person is allowed to give verdicts (fatwā)?” He replied, “It is not allowed to give verdicts except for the person who knows what people have differed over.” He was asked, “Do you mean the differences of the people of (mere) opinions?” He replied, “No, the different opinions of the Companions of Muḥammad ﷺ, and the one who also knows the abrogating from the abrogated [texts] in the Qurān and in the ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ – such a person can give fatwā.”

Op. cit. 1529.

It is reported that Yaḥyā b. Sallām – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is not right for the one who does not know differences of opinion to give verdicts, and it is not allowed for the one who does not know about the various statements [of the scholars] to say: I prefer such-and-such opinion.

Op. cit. 1534.

Teaching Children To Love Abu Bakr & Umar

It is reported that Imām Mālik said:

The Salaf used to teach their children to love Abū Bakr and ʿUmar like they used to teach them a sūrah of the Qurān.

Al-Lālakāʾī, Sharḥ ʾUsūl ʾIʿtiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah #2325.

The Behavior of The Seeker of Knowledge

It is reported that ʿAlī – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

When you learn knowledge, preserve it, and do not mix it with laughter and falsehood, such that the hearts refuse (dislike) it.

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Jāmiʿ li-Akhlāq Al-Rāwī wa Ādāb Al-Sāmiʿ 1:232

It is reported that Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is upon whoever seeks knowledge to have a solemn, dignified demeanour, fearful [of Allāh]; and to follow in the footsteps of those who went before him.

ibid.

ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān b. Mahdī reports:

A man laughed in [the circle of] Hishām Al-Dustawāʾī, so Hishām said to him, “Young man! You seek knowledge laughing?” He replied, “Is it not Allāh who makes [us] laugh and cry (as stated in the Qurʾān)?” So Hishām replied, “Then go and cry.”

Op. cit. 233

Ismāʿīl b. Yaḥyā reports:

Sufyān once saw me joking with a man from Banī Shaybah at the House (Kaʿbah). I laughed, so he said to me, “You laugh here? A man used to hear a single ḥadīth and its demeanour and guidance would be seen on him for three days.”

Op. cit. 234

Just Playing

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whatever you fool around with, don’t fool around with your dīn (religion).

Al-Lālakāʾī, Sharḥ ʾUṣūl ʾIʿtiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah 1:163

Required Learning [What is a Muslim Required to Study?]

It is reported that Hasan b. Rabī’ asked ‘Abdullāh b. Al-Mubārak – Allāh have mercy on him – about the meaning of the hadith, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim”. He replied:

It is not [the expert knowledge of hadith and fiqh] you are seeking. Seeking knowledge is an obligation when a man comes to something concerning his religion (dīn): he is to ask about it until he knows it.

Al-Khatīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Faqīh wa Al-Mutafaqqih article 162.

It is reported that ‘Alī b. Al-Hasan b. Shaqīq asked ‘Abdullāh b. Al-Mubārak – Allāh have mercy on him, “What knowledge is considered obligatory upon people to learn?” He replied:

A man must not proceed to do anything except upon knowledge, He is to ask and learn. This is what is obligatory upon people as regards learning knowledge.

He explained further:

If there is a man who has no wealth, it is not obligatory upon him to learn Zakāh. When he has 200 dirham, it becomes obligatory upon him to learn how much (Zakāh) he has to pay, when he has to pay, and who he has to pay. This is also the way with everything else.

Al-Baghdādī, op. cit. article 163.

It is reported that Ibn Wahb once mentioned knowledge, to which Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – commented:

Knowledge is surely good, but look to what is binding upon you from the beginning of your day to its end, and from the end of your day to the following morning, adhere to that and do not give preference to [learning] anything else.

Al-Baghdādī, op. cit. article 165.

It is reported from ‘Abdullāh b. Ahmad b. Hanbal that he asked his father (Imām Ahmad) – Allāh have mercy on him – whether it is obligatory upon a man to seek knowledge. He replied:

As for [the knowledge] through which he can uphold his prayers, and other matters of his religion like fasting, Zakāh – and he mentioned the other main aspects of the religion – then a man should know about that.

Al-Baghdādī, op. cit. article 166.