Islamic belief: Imam Malik's doctrine of faith and practice
Rhil, Salim Faraj Salih
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Imam Malik b. Anas (d. 179 A.H.) is an important intellectual figure in Islam. He is the author of the first hadith collection, the Muwatta, and is the founder of one of the four major Sunni schools of law. His contribution towards formulating a distinct legal school allows millions of Muslims daily to perform their daily rituals of worship. Previous research, however, has not given enough attention to a systematic study of his beliefs. This study intends to address this shortcoming. My thesis examines the belief of imam Malik, particularly his concept of faith and the external expression thereof. It examines the first two eras of Islam, that of the Companions and Followers, which preceded him and their influence on his methodology of formulating his theological and legal views. It further looks at his approach to the textual evidences and his attitude towards speculative reasoning (kalam) regarding theological issues. This study further aims to verify the statements attributed to imam Malik regarding what constitutes correct faith and whether it increases or decreases. It also looks at the conflicting statements attributed to him regarding the increase and decrease of faith and tries to resolve them. Furthermore, it sources reliable biographical information on imam Malik to determine his attitude towards the diverse theological trends such as the Qadarites and Murji’ites prevalent during his time. In addition, the study compares the views of imam Malik with that of the other three founders of the Sunni Sunni legal schools.