Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
Imam Malik bin Anas is one of the "four Imams" known by their schools of thought. The merits of this Imam is so great that they could hardly be covered in this Fatwa; the tributes paid to him by the great scholars are more than could be summarized in this Fatwa.
Imam Shafi'e said: 'Imam Malik is a shining star among other scholars'. Imam Shafi'e also said: 'everyone is dependent on Imam Malik in the field of Hadith'. Imam Ahmad was asked about the Hadith reported by Imam Malik and his opinion compared to others. He gave the preponderance to the Hadith reported by Imam Malik and his opinion over others.
Imam Ahmed said: ' Malik is very authentic in everything'. Imam Ibn Oyaynah said: ' Malik was the scholar of Ahl Al-Hijaz and was the authority during his time'.
Abdur Rahman Ibn Mahdi said: 'I do not give anyone priority over Malik as far as the matter of authenticity of Hadith is concerned'.
Imam al-Bukhari said: 'the most authentic chain of Hadith is that which is reported by Malik from Naf'i from Ibn 'Umar '.
It is also said that if a Hadith is reported by Imam Malik it means that the screen between you and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) is unveiled.
Moreover, many scholars have stated in the explanation of the Hadith; the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "Soon people will travel on their camels searching the knowledge; they will not find any scholar better than the scholar of al-Madina" . [al-Tirmizi] They say the Hadith refers to Imam Malik .
Imam Ibn Taymiyah confirmed this opinion in his Fatawa and said: 'No doubt the Hadith refers to Malik more than anyone else. Indeed, there was no scholar whether in his period or after him to whom journey was made as much as made to Imam Malik . The people from all categories kings, the scholars, the Zuhhad (devotee for the sake of Allah) and the common people visited him more than anyone else. His book al-Muwatta has spread all over the world so much that there was no book (except the Qur'an) in his period which spread more than his book'.
Once the Caliph al-Mansoor al-Abbasi requested Malik to give him some copies of his book al-Muwatta to send them to all the cities and then to impose upon them to comply only with this book, leaving all others books. Imam Malik disagreed with him explaining that various Hadith and opinions of the companions have reached people and they have been acting according to them; turning them back from their attitude is very difficult so, leave them in this matter'.
This statement gives a clear sign about the knowledge, Fiqh, and justice of Imam Malik .
Imam Malik was born in the year 73 A.H and died in the year 179 A.H. He began studying when he was a teenager and became able to deliver Fatwa and began this work when he was twenty-one years old.
Imam Zahabi said: 'many reporters stated that he was tall, giant, with a big head and fair-haired. His beard was thick and he did not use to shave his moustache and believed that one who shaves his moustache, must be punished'.
We cannot give all the details of such a great Imam in this Fatwa. So, please refer to the books written in this concern. There are many references from among them are 'al-Siyar for Imam al-Zahabi and al-Hilyah for Abu Nuaim.
Allah knows best.