Maliki is one of the four schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam, named after Malik ibn Anas (ca. 710-95), a leading jurist from Medina. This school recorded the Medina consensus of opinion, and uses hadith (tradition) as a guide. Following the tradition of Imam Malik, this school appeals to "common utility...the idea of the common good."

History and Development

Imam Malik did not record the fundamental principles on which he based his school and to which he limited himself in the derivation of his rulings. In that respect he resembled his contemporary, Abu Hanifa, but not his student, ash-Shafi'i, who did record the principles he used in derivation and defined them precisely, specifying the motives which moved him to consider them and their position in deduction.

Malikis Today

Maliki is practiced in North Africa and parts of West Africa. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims. Arabia, North and West Africa, Upper Egypt and the Sudan is the location.

In Morocco the colonial legal system influenced the development of Morocco’s legal system while shari’a courts continued to apply Maliki fiqh to matters of family law also to local tribunals applying customary law. Following independence in 1956, a Code of Personal Status (al-Mudawwana) was issued, based on dominant Maliki doctrine.  The Maliki is predominant in north, central and west Africa and Egypt.


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