Muwatta Imam Malik

Hadith terminology Malik ibn Anas Hadith
Muwatta Imam Malik
AuthorImam Malik ibn Anas
Original titleموطأ الإمام مالك
LanguageArabic
GenreHadith collection

The Muwaṭṭaʾ (Arabic: الموطأ‎, "well-trodden path") or Muwatta Imam Malik (Arabic: موطأ الإمام مالك‎) of Imam Malik (711-795) written in the 8th-century, is the earliest collection of hadith texts comprising the subjects of Islamic law, compiled by the Imam, Malik ibn Anas.[1] Malik's best-known work, Al-Muwatta was the first legal work to incorporate and combine hadith and fiqh (except possibly for Zayd ibn Ali's Musnad).[2]

Description

It is considered to be from the earliest extant collections of hadith that form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence alongside the Qur'an.[3] Nonetheless, it is not merely a collection of hadith; many of the legal precepts it contains are not based on hadith at all. The book covers rituals, rites, customs, traditions, norms and laws of the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[citation needed]

It is reported that Imam Malik selected for inclusion into the Muwatta just over 1900 narrations, from the 100,000 narrations he had available to him.[citation needed]

History

Due to increase in juristic differences, the Caliph of the time, Abū Ja‘far al-Manṣūr, requested Imām Mālik to produce a standard book that could be promulgated as law in the country. The Imam refused this in 148 AH, but when the Caliph again came to the Ḥijāz in 163 AH, he was more forceful and said:[citation needed]

“O Abū ‘Abd Allāh, take up the reign of the discipline of fiqh in your hands. Compile your understanding of every issue in different chapters for a systematic book free from the harshness of ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Umar, concessions and accommodations of ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās and unique views of ‘Abd Allāh b. Mas‘ūd. Your work should exemplify the following principle of the Prophet: “The best issues are those which are balanced.”[citation needed] It should be a compendium of the agreed upon views of the Companions and the elder imāms on the religious and legal issues. Once you have compiled such a work then we would be able to unite the Muslims in following the single fiqh worked by you. We would then promulgate it in the entire Muslim state. We would order that no body acts contrary to it.” [4]

Historical reports attest that another ‘Abbāsī caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd too expressed similar wishes before Imām Mālik who remained unmoved.[citation needed] He, however, compiled Muwaṭṭa’, keeping before himself the target of removing the juristic differences between the scholars.[citation needed]

Authenticity

Composed over a forty-year period, Malik's 'Muwatta' ("Well-trodden Path")—i.e. of the people of Medina. An alternative interpretation of its title as "Many times agreed upon", refers to the unanimous agreement by the people of Medina on the authenticity of its content, and the general acceptance reflected in its high standing across schools of fiqh and imams of hadith scholarship.[citation needed]

The Muslim Jurist, Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i also called Imam Al Shafi`i famously said, "There is not on the face of the earth a book – after the Book of Allah – which is more authentic than the book of Malik."[5]

Over one thousand disciples of Malik have transmitted this work from him. This has resulted in differences in the text in various instances. There are thirty known versions of the work of which the most famous is the one transmitted by Yahya al-Laithi.[citation needed]

Composition of al-Muwatta

Al-Muwatta consists of approximately 1,720 hadith divided amongst the following hadith terminology as follows:[3]

Distinguishing characteristics

Amin Ahsan Islahi has listed several distinguishing characteristics of the Muwatta:[6]

  1. Its briefness (in size) yet comprehensiveness (in coverage).
  2. Malik did not accept any marfū‘ hadīth (ascribed to the Prophet) if it was not verbatim transmission of the words of the Muslim prophet Muhammad (he even gave consideration to letters, prepositions and particles like wāw, tā, bā etc. in them).
  3. No acceptance of Hadith from any innovator - this is a stricter standard than many other muhaddithun.
  4. Highly literary form of the classical Arabic. This helps readers develop the ability to understand the language of the prophetic traditions.

Commentaries on Al-Muwatta

Due to the importance of the Al-Muwatta to Muslims it has often been accompanied by commentaries, mostly but not exclusively by followers of the Maliki school. It's said that on the version transmitted by Yahya al-Laithi alone there are around a hundred commentaries.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ al-Kattani, Muhammad ibn Ja`far (2007). Muhammad al-Muntasir al-Kattani (ed.). al-Risalah al-Mustatrafah (in Arabic) (seventh ed.). Beirut: Dar al-Bashair al-Islamiyyah. pp. 9, 41.
  2. ^ Swartz, Merlin (1991). "Review of Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik translated by Aisha Bewley". Review of Middle East Studies. 25: 102–103. doi:10.1017/S0026318400024056. ISSN 0026-3184.
  3. ^ a b "The Hadith for Beginners", Dr. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi, 1961 (2006 reprint), Goodword Books
  4. ^ Ibrāhīm b. ‘Alī b. Muhammad b. Farhūn al-Ya‘murī al-Mālikī, al-Dībāj al-Madhhab fī Ma‘rifah A‘yān ‘Ulamā’ al-Madhhab, 1st ed., vol. 1 (Beirut: Dār al-Nashr, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996), 25.
  5. ^ Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhīd limā fī al-muwattā min al-ma‘ānī wa al-asānīd, vol. 1 (Morocco: Dār al-Nashr, 1387 AH), 76.
  6. ^ Mabadi Tadabbur-i-Hadith, Amin Ahsan Islahi
  7. ^ Shaykh Ahmad ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz Al Mubarak, "Introduction" in Malik ibn Anas, Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik Ibn Anas: The First Formulation of Islamic Law, Routledge (2016), p. xxxv
  8. ^ "Abu al-Walid al-Baji". Sunnah.org. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  9. ^ "Ibn Hazm". Sunnah.org. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  10. ^ "Al-Albani Unveiled". Masud.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-05-11.