Imam Malik and the Scholars of al-Madeenah
Fatwa No: 384550

Question

Assalamu Alaikum,Did Imam Malik prefer the practice of people of Medina even after he being convinced about the authenticity of a hadith . Why didn't all the later scholars follow Imam Malik's methodology if his methodology is correct.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, you should know that Imam Maalik is one of the leading scholars of Hadeeth and his narrations from Naafi from Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him is called the Golden Chain due to the greatness of its men; so your saying about him: “…even after him being convinced about the authenticity of a hadeeth” is not an appropriate statement.

Secondly, it is not possible for Imam Maalik or other Imams to leave an authentic Hadeeth unless he finds another stronger Hadeeth that contradicts it in his opinion. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him eloquently spoke on this issue in his book: Raf’ al-Malaam ‘an al-A-immah al-A’laam.

Thirdly, the work of the people of al-Madeenah is one of the issues that are dealt with by the scholars in their books on the principles of Fiqh. This is a long issue which we cannot deal with in this Fatwa.

Ibn Taymiyyah elaborated on the subject of dispute between the majority of the scholars and Imam Maalik, and he clarified that it is specific to the best centuries. He said: “The speech is only in their consensus in that best era. After that, the people agreed that the consensus of the people of al-Madeenah is not an evidence.” [End of quote]

Ibn Taymiyyah also indicated that there were issues in which Imam Maakik agreed with other Imams.

Fourthly, Imam Maalik has his own justification in considering the work of the people of al-Madeenah and leaving the Hadeeth whose evidence is other than what the scholars of al-Madeenah are upon. So, he leaves it based on the fact that most likely the narration is not unknown by them because of the proximity to their homes, their (favored) time, their enormous research, and their strictness in preserving the pieces of evidence of the Sharee’ah. Az-Zarkashi stated this in Al-Bahr al-Muheet and other scholars a well.

Fifthly, the majority of the scholars have their own justification about their disagreement with Imam Maalik in this matter, among which is that they consider that the scholars of al-Madeenah are a portion of the nation but not the entire nation. The evidence lies in the consensus of the scholars and not in the view of one scholar. They also said that it is likely that the information did not reach so of them, so they said contrarily to them [to the scholars of al-Madeenah]. Ibn Hazm ath-Thaahiri has many virtual discussions on this issue in his book: al-Ihkaam fi usool al-Ahkaam.

Sixthly, to conclude, this issue is a matter of Ijtihad that is like all other issues of Ijtihad and the student of knowledge should not be biased by any of them and he should act according to the view that he considers to be the most preponderant while honoring and glorifying all the scholars without distinction.

Allah knows best.

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