Malikism in Morocco
Sidna al-Imam Malik ibn Anass (93/712-179/795), may Allah be pleased with him, the Imam of Dar al-Hijra -Madina- and the eponymous founder of the Maliki school, was born sometime between 708 and 715 in Medina, where he spent most of his life and where he died. Imam Malik studied with a number of well-known scholars of Medina and then, as his fame spread, acquired many pupils of his own. In 762 he lent the weight of his reputation to the revolt of Sidna Mohammed Nafs Zakiyya (called “the pure soul”; 145/730) against the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur. When that failed, he was punished by the governor of Medina. He openly stated that Sidna Mohammed Nafs Zakiyya had more right to the title of caliphate...Continue Reading
Although Maliki jurisprudence was introduced as early as the second/eighth century in Ifriqiaya (present Tunisia) by the faqih Ali ibn Zayyad al-Ifriqi (d. 183/768) and others, it had not yet become the official legal school (madhab) of Idrissid Morocco. The ulama of Fez still practiced Hanafi or "Kufan" jurisprudence —founded by the Companion Sidna Abdellah ibn Masoud (may Allah be satisfied with him) in Iraq, which was favoured by the Idrissi sultans. It was only under the career of the Maliki legist Shaykh Darras ibn Ismail al-Fasi (d. 357/942) that the Maliki School predominated in Morocco since. As an advanced scholar, Darras studied under the greatest Maliki legists of Qayrawan, Tunisia. Qayrawan was first established as a base by Uqba b. Nafi' in 675 during his second return to Maghreb. In line with Islamic military practice, this base was reinforced by a chain of ribatat (small military posts, sing. ribat) especially along the coast of the Maghreb where the danger of Byzantine attack was eminent. A ribat is an out post where the mujahidun keep guard on the Dar al-Islam while occupying themselves with worship and learning. Because of their military and spiritual alertness and their readiness for jihad, the residents of a ribat are called murabitun in the sense the word is used in the Quran. Soon, however, a powerful Muslim navy was developed and the ribatat gradually lost their military significance. The ribatat, however, maintained and in fact enhanced their spiritual character becoming centres of learning and devotion permeated by the spirit of jihad.
Qayrawan itself, feeling more secure, developed its educational and spiritual character receiving students from the ribatat and spreading learning and raising the quality of worship. This role which Qayrawan has received a decisive boost during the time of Omar b. Abdellaziz (d. 125/720) when ten learned Tabi’un (followers of the Sahaba) came to settle there and devote their time to teaching. The presence of these learned and revered scholars literally turned Qayrawan into a city of learning, a kind of university town. It also tilted the balance decisively in favour of orthodoxy in a region where numerous heretical Khawarij and Shi'a groups abound. The arrival of the disciples of Imam Dar-al-Hijra Imam Malik ibn Anass (93/712-179/795) in Qayrawan about fifty years later was soon to see the city turned into the Maliki centre of the Maghreb. Indeed, before the arrival of the Maliki scholars, there were the Hanafi scholars who were largely in the service of the then Aghlabid state. But the Hanafi scholars appear to have been no match for the Malikis. Coming fresh from Madina, the Malikis appeared to have been more learned, pious, discreet and inexpedient. Their coming to Qayrawan appeared to have been motivated not only by the need to spread knowledge but also by their abhorrence to the growing profanity of some of the Caliphs. For they kept their distance from the authorities in Qayrawan, identified with the down trodden, often challenged the government to fulfil it. As with the authorities, the Maliki scholars were firm and resolute in their struggle against heresy. They took a position against the Mu'tazila and Qadariyya and bore with dignity the persecution this invoked. They stood against the powerful Fatimid (Shi'a Isma'ili) government, refusing to recognize it with impressive tenacity and even supported the revolt of Abu Yazid, a Khawarij, in the mid-tenth century against the Fatimid. In all these struggles, the Maliki scholars carried along with them the Murabitun and the common folk, whose cause they fully identified with consistently. obligations to the commoners and declined to accept posts.
The Maliki scholars eventually won over Qayrawan with its ever increasing network of ribatat, turning them into centres of learning. Champions of orthodoxy, guardians of the downtrodden and symbol of piety, independence and militancy, these scholars comfortably combined their zuhd (asceticism) with their pursuits in fiqh. Unlike their brothers in the East, they never had to abandon one for the other. For them there was no conflict between fiqh and zuhd even after the latter had become full blown into tasawwuf (Sufism). There was for them, thus, no cause for the reconciliation which Abu Hamid al-Ghazali's (d. 526/1111) laboured for in the East. Their zuhd never meant withdrawal to the margins of society, they remained its main stream, constituting its main core, wielding overwhelming moral authority, and becoming the true leaders of the people. Some of the leading figures that gave Maliki scholarship its character in the Maghreb and the impact of whose work continued to echo in Morocco for centuries are Sahnoun ibn Said ("Abdessalam Tanukhi Qayrawani al-Ifriqi," d. 240/854) whose Shaykh Asad b. al-Furat (d. 828) studied with Malik b. Anass in Madina before returning to settle and teach in Qayrawan. Sahnun ibn Said ("Abdessalam Tanukhi Qayrawani," d. 240/854), a man noted for his courage in upholding his religious convictions in opposition to rulers, earned himself a place in Maliki scholarship with his famous Al-Mudawwana (the Greater Compendium), a comprehensive digest of juridical Maliki practice. Mohammed Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 389/974), the student of Abul Hassan Ali ibn Abi Matar al-Iskandari (d. 339/924), was another scholar of considerable influence. His Risala, a synopsis of Maliki fiqh, though not his major work, became a leading text and an object of several commentaries.
Back to Darras ibn Ismail. The Shaykh studied with the crème of Qayrawani Maliki scholars including Ali ibn Matar al-Iskandari, Abi Bakr Mohammed ibn Labbad (d. 333/918), Abul Hassan ibn al-Qabisi ("Sidi Ali ibn Mohammed ibn Khalaf Moughafiri Qayrawani," d. 403/988), Abul Faraj Abdous ibn Khalaf, and Khalaf ibn Ahmed ibn Abi Jaafar. In his travels in search of knowledge, he journeyed from Mulsim Spain, where he fought against the Christians, to points as far as Alexandria and Mecca. Upon returning from the Mashriq, Darras built a private mosque on the Andalusian side of Fez, where he introduced al-Mudawwana al-Kubra and taught Maliki jurisprudence to all comers, including those who could not afford the fees normally paid to a faqih, for individual study. The fact that a scholar of Darras' stature did not teach in the major congregational mosques in the city, such as the Al-Qarawiyyine mosque, Shurafa' mosque, or al-Andalus mosque, is evidence of the disputes that must have raged between this Maliki activist and Fez's pro-Idrissite ulama, who resented his criticisms of their Kufan methodology. Among the other disputes mentioned by local historians was the Darras' conflict with the ulama over the direction of prayer (qibla), which he claimed was more accurate that of the Al-Qarawiyyine mosque.
The practice of Islam of using private mosques for the teaching of alternative approaches to the religious sciences goes back to the late eight century, when it became associated with juridical reformers such as Imam Shafi'i (d. 204/820). Apart from ribats, private mosques of the type created by Darras ibn Ismail were the most important institutions of higher learning in early Middle Period Morocco. Independent scholars proffered them over endowed religious schools (madrasa, pl. madaris) because Maliki restrictions on the personal control of endowments (waqf, pl. awqaf) made the creation of family-run endowments all but impossible. Under Maliki law, the founder of an endowment was prohibited from serving as his own beneficiary. In addition, he was required to hand over the control of his endowment to the state upon completion of the deed. A scholar such as Darras who built a mosque on his own initiative could remain free from governmental interference only so long as the building was his own property and was supported by his own funds. If he wanted a descendent or another beneficiary to administer the mosque after his death, he could not leave it behind as a waqf, but instead would have to transfer its title to the new owner as an outright gift (hadiya).
Historical and biographical sources tell us that Darras was so fond on the prophetic Tradition (Sunna) that his contemporaries called him "Abu Maymuna al-Muhaddith" (the Hadith scholar) —an uncommon epithet at a time when an emphasis on Hadith study had yet to take root in the Maghreb. He is also credited with knowing all of the works of Imam Malik ibn Anass and his disciples by heart. This reputation was more than sufficient for him to be regarded as mujtahid, a specialist in juridical reasoning. Accounts portray him as a "knower of God" ('arif bi'llah), a devoted worshiper ('abid), an ascetic (zahid), and a God-conscious salih who practiced extreme caution (wara') in his behaviour. It was also rumoured that he was clairvoyant and could divine the sincerity or hypocrisy of anyone who spoke to him. There is a little question that Darras was venerated as a saint as well in his lifetime. He was especially revered as a protector of Fez. Equally important was the fact that his baraka (blessing) retained its potency after his death. At the moment of his interment, we are told, the iron gate leading to the cemetery in which he was buried fell off of its hinges and never opened again, thus symbolising the closing of the "gate of independent reasoning" (ijtihad) in Moroccan jurisprudence. Until recently, the most efficacious time for visiting Darras' tomb was around sunset on Thursday evening, when the spirit of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was thought to intercede before God on behalf of those who sought the saint's aid.
The most important proponent of institutionalised Malikism in the tenth/ fourth century Morocco was the grand Fasite legist, Abu Imran Yaqub al-Fasi (d. 430/1015) a contemporary of Abi Yazid al-Qayrawani, who was to become the spiritual father of the al-Murabitun movement (Almoravids). Born between the years 365/975 and 368/978-9 in his family quarter of Darb ibn Ali al-Haj on the al-Qarawiyyine side of Fez, al-Fasi took advantage of his family's wealth and high social position to study under some of the greatest scholars in the Muslim world. He first travelled to Umayyad Cordoba, then in the final years of its glory under the regent al-Mansur ibn Abi Amir. There he attended the lectures of noted scholars in the fields of Hadith, Quranic studies, and jurisprudence. After travelling to Ifriqiya and staying for few years in al-Qayrawan, he journeyed to Baghdad, where his most important teacher was the theologian, jurist and political theorist Abu Bakr al-Baqilani (d. 403/1013). Under him, al-Fasi was introduced to the then revolutionary idea that Ash'arite theology. During his residence at Baghdad, al-Fasi entered the circle of the Sufi Imam Abul Qacem al-Junayd (d. 298/910) who expounded sufficient doctrine in his teachings to make tasawwuf a distinct discipline, authorising al-Fasi to proliferate it in the Maghrib.
Upon returning from Baghdad to Fez, al-Fasi attempted to teach these doctrines in the major mosques of his native city. However, he appears to have been a born activist for he was said to have been expelled from Fez by a heretic Barghawata group due to conflicts arising as a result of his zeal in carrying out al-amr bi al-ma'ruf wa al-nahy 'an al-munkar there. Leaving Fez for a second time, al-Fasi again travelled to al-Qayrawan, where he taught the Junaidi-Sufism as well as his usul-based version of Maliki jurisprudence and Ash'arite theology for the remainder of his life. The Shaykh is said to have distinguished himself with a remarkable memory, mastered the seven recitations of the Quran, the science of the hadith and Maliki fiqh. He wrote a commentary on the Mudawwana of Sahnun. Al-Fasi apparently lived long in Qayrawan and became one of its most leading scholars attracting students from all over the Maghreb and Andalus. He must have imparted on his students not only his vast knowledge and deep zuhd, but certainly his militant spirit.
By the time of his death, Abu Imran al-Fasi had arguably become the most influential authority on Malikism in all of North Africa. Because of his Arabised Berber background, he encouraged also encouraged students from the rural and desert regions of the Maghreb to attend his study circle in al-Qayrawan. Among his most influential disciples were Mohammed ibn Sa'dun al-Qayrawani (d. 485/1070) and Waggag ibn Zallu al-Lamti (d. 445/1030). Perhaps Abu Imran al-Fasi is best remembered in the historical record as the person who encouraged Yahya ibn Ibrahim, chief of the Gudala Sanhaja pastoralists of the Sahara desert, to seek a teacher among his disciples in Morocco. Eventually, this desert chieftain was put in touch with ibn Zallu's pupil Abdellah ibn Yassin al-Jazouli (d. 451/1036), who was to become the direct spiritual leader of Almoravid movement. Wajjaj b. Zallu, the Shaykh of Abdellah b. Yasin, the leader of Al-Murabitun, studied with al-Fasi in Qayrawan and later returned to the Sus al-Aqsa to start his own ribat. In the words of al-Tadili: “(Wajjaj b. Zallu al-Lamti) of the people of the furthest Sus. He traveled to al-Qayrawan and studied with Abu Imran al-Fasi. Then he returned to the Sus and built a house which he called Dar-al-Murabitin (the house of the Murabitun) for students of religious learning and reciters of the Quran. The Masamida used to visit him in order to be blessed by his prayer. If a drought befell them, they asked him to pray for rain.” The extension to southern Morocco of Maliki brand of Islam have well have gone beyond there. For the ascetic and devout Wajjaj must have been one among many of al-Fasi's students, who may have operated similar ribatat in the wide expanse of the Maghreb and beyond.
Another towering figure of considerable influence is al-Qadi Abul Fadl Iyyad al-Yahsubi Sabti (d. 544/1129), the premier Hadith scholar of the late Almoravid period and qadi al-jama'a of the cities of Granada and Sabta. His most famous work, Kitab as-shifa bita'rif huquq al-mustapha (The Antidote in knowing the rights of Chosen Prophet), is a tradition based treatise that promotes the veneration of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) as the universal archetype of humanity. In his introduction of book, al-Qadi Iyyad asserts much perfection to Prophet’s heirs who speak about the unseen, enjoy divine protection, exercise exceptional judgement, and pose an intuitive sense of propriety and ethics. These holy persons who most closely conform to the Prophetic example are extolled by al-Qadi Iyyad as " God-conscious saints" (awliya' Allah al-muttaqun): "Those on whom Allah confers honour through the bestowal of His holiness, who are estranged from mankind because of their intimacy [with Allah], and who are set apart by means's of [Allah's] knowledge, the vision of His earthly dominion, and the effects of His power".
Once Malikism became policy in Marrakech and Fez, as well as in Cordoba and Seville, Arab jurists acting under the authority of Al-Murabitun governors set out to suppress dissenting opinions. As a part of this crackdown, all copies of al-Ghazali's I'hya' 'ulum ad-din were ordered confiscated and publicly burned. According to most historians, the banning of this work was due to al-Ghazali's Shafi'i-inspired critiques of non-usuli legal traditions. Another reason, perhaps, was al-Ghazali's belief, following his teacher Abul Ma'ali Abdelmalik Jawayni (d. 499/1105), that all knowledgeable Muslims—and not just the official ulama—could act as representatives of the Muslim community. According to this theory, all learned men had a right to be considered as "those who loosen and bind" (ahl al-hall wal 'aqd) and could have a voice in the conformation or rejection of claimants to the throne. Since this wider group of ulama included both usuli dissidents and juridically-oriented Sufis, such views would not have been popular at the Almoravid court. Rather than viewing this critic of insular Malikism as a part of an ongoing debate within the ulama class, the Almoravid emirs viewed the usul movement as an attack upon the legitimacy of their state.
An immediate result of the suppression of al-Ghazali's works was the spread of the usuli dissidence throughout Morocco. The most significant exponent of this movement was the Masmuda Shaykh Mohammed al-Mahdi ibn Tumart (d. 524/1130) himself who were to become the founder of Almohad (al-Muwahhidun—"unitarian") movement. It is important to note here that despite the claim of some scholars that Ibn Tumart was essentially an adherent of Dhahiri theology (like the school of the Almohads, that of the Dhahiris was a madhhab fiqhi rather than a madhhab kalami), the acceptance, in principle, of the exercise of istinbat and ta’wil indicates an attitude toward deductive reasoning (and by implication, toward analogy, qiyas) much more open-minded than that displayed by Dhahiri ideologues like Ibn Hazm. The great Asharite theologian Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni opposed knowledge to jahl, shakk, and dhann in a way strikingly similar to that described above. When we read in the works of medieval historians that Ibn Tumart's teachers, Abu Bakr Shashi and al-Ghazali were both students of al-Juwayni, the correspondences between Almohad fiqh fi-Sunna and the jurisprudence advocated by these more famous scholars becomes easy to understand. Knowledge, for Ibn Tumart as well as for al-Ghazali and other neo-Asharites, was elevated to the level of a first principle—the source for both faith and all acts of obedience. For Ibn Tumart “those with knowledge" (the ulama) occupy the same rank as the ulu al-albab mentioned in the Quran, and serve the function of guiding Islamic society as the elite "Party of God" (Hizbullah).
Practical knowledge, the primary concern of Ibn Tumart, was considered a finite quantity, directly linked to the sources from which it is derived. As such, its value and usefulness is directly related to the accuracy and verifiability of these sources, and thus stands or falls on the soundness of their content. But since knowledge of the rules of God is in itself seen to be the main source of truly "Islamic" behaviour, the question of the verification and analysis of Hadith and reports of the Sahaba becomes crucial. Indeed an important key to the Almohad philosophical and ethical system can be found summed up in a phrase of Ibn Tumart's hidden within a discussion on procedure: “al-idrak um al-istita’a” (Understanding is the mother of ability). Ibn Tumart's discussion of the relationship between a root (asl) and its branches (furu'), far from being imitative and simplistic, can clearly be regarded as logically reasoned and even innovative, so long as the reader is aware that the "knowledge" in question is not a metaphysical concept, but rather is the knowledge of fundamental principles applies to the exercise of legal judgments. It is indeed far from hyperbolic to claim that in the Mahdi's writings the modern scholar is faced with an example of medieval structuralism that would please even a modern anthropologist like Levi-Strauss.
Besides his well-known attack on Maliki taqlid ("Establishment of rules without the shari’a is impossible, establishment of the shari’a without the Prophet is impossible, and establishment of furu’ without asl is impossible"), Ibn Tumart attacked the assumptions underlying medieval rationalism as well. This was not accomplished by doctrinaire sloganeering, but rather by a reasoned discussion of the limits of intellectual thought. He saw the human mind, in contradiction to the ideas of the philosophers, to draw forth from itself no obligatory way of thinking. Because of the mind's ability to conceive of infinite possibilities, supposition and doubt (in the sense of ethical relativism) is inevitable. The mind cannot, therefore, by its very nature reach ultimate perfection in that it is seen to operate as an adaptive rather than as a generative mechanism. Since, to Ibn Tumart, adaptation can proceed indefinitely, the rational mind is seen to produce an "infinite loop" of thoughts, ideas, and possibilities, and is consequently unable to transcend its own limitations. Only God Almighty Himself is al-Bari' (the Creator, surpassing by His nature such limitation), a fact which makes revelation necessary in order to orient mankind, lost in vain cyclical reasoning, toward social harmony and personal salvation. Revelation, then, becomes the essence of Divine guidance (huda), and by its Divine nature is distinguished by justice (al-'adl) and goodness (ihsan). God's knowledge of affairs is absolute; "Every bounty is most excellent and every punishment is just." Consequently, for the true muwahhid the essence of faith (iman) is to know one's finite limits.
Ibn Tumart was joined to his opposition to the Al-Murabitun by a number of Andalusian and Moroccan Sufis, whose journeys to the East had brought them into contact with Shafi'i jurists, Ash'ari theologians and other representatives of Sunni internationalism. Among these Sufis were al-Qadi Abul Fadl Iyyad, Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi (d. 543/1128), Abul Fadl ibn Nahwi (d. 513/1098), Ahmed Ibn al-Arif Tanji (d. 536/1121) and Abul Hassan Ali ibn Harzihim (d. 559/1144). As had earlier been the case in the days of Darras ibn Ismail, scholars from the city of Fez were instrumental in furthering this latest attempt of reform. Abul Hassan Ali ibn Harzihim was one of the most influential Moroccan Maliki Sufis of the formative period. Biographical sources reveal him to have been a highly complex individual whose teaching represented the work of the giant masters of the Maghrib: his uncle Salih ibn Harzihim, Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi, and Ali Boughaleb (d. 568/1153). He was an accomplished legal scholar and well-versed in the sciences of hadith and Quranic exegeses and had a fondness for Kitab ar-Ri'aya li-huquq Allah, al-Muhasibi's treaties on Sufi psychology and ethics. This work, along with al-Ghazali's of I'hya', was a required text for Ibn Harzihim's disciples. Ibn Harzihim initially disproved of I'hya' and even agreed with its banning, until his opinions were changed by a dream in which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) wiped him for his mistaken beliefs. Henceforward, and especially after he affiliated to the path of al-Ghazali’s disciple Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi, Ali ibn Harzihim Ali ibn Harzihim (d. 544/1129) became one of the most outspoken defenders of al-Ghazali in Morocco and devoted the rest of his life to teaching the I'hya' to his students, who had to copy the full text of the book every year. Largely because of his role in disseminating the works of al-Ghazali.
An important associate of Ali ibn Harzihim in Fez was a legist and a teacher of usul al-fiqh named Abul Fadl Yusuf ibn Mohammed ibn Yusuf at-Tutri at-Tilimsani, know with Abul Fadl ibn Nahwi (d. 513/1098). Originally from the tribe of Tutra near al- Qayrawan, Ibn Nahwi lived for a time in the caravan centre of Sijilmasa and then moved to Fez, from which he was eventually expelled by the city's Almoravid governor. After being exiled from his adopted home, he settled Qal'at Bani Hammad, where he died in 513/1098. His main teachers are Abul Hassan Ali al-Lakhmi, Abu Abdellah Mohammed al-Maziri, Abu Abdellah Mohammed Ibn ar-Rammama, Abu Zakariyya Shaqratisi, and Abdelljalil ar-Rab'i. Ibn Nahwi advocated an usul-based prioritisation of the texts that formed the basis that for juridical decision-making. According to this method, each mujtahid, an interpreter if Islamic law, had to search for the answer of a juridical problem (mas'ala) in the Quran or the hadith. If these sources were not sufficient, he could then consult the traditions of the Prophet's Companions and others among as-salaf salih. Only when these primary sources failed to provide guidance could the mujtahid resort to the traditional guidance of his legal school or his own reasoning.
Because of his fondness for the usul method, Ibn Nahwi shared with Ibn Harzihim a preference for al-Ghazali's Ihya' ulum ad-din. His devotion to this work was so great that he had it copied in thirty sections of equal length, so that he could read a section each evening in the month of Ramadan. He particularly agreed with al-Ghazali's emphasis on the Quranic verse commanding Muslims to "enjoy the good and forbid the bad" (amr bil ma'ruf wa nahy 'ani al-munkar), an attitude that allied him with the Almohad Mohammed al-Mahdi ibn Tumart (d. 524/1130), who was similarly expelled from Fez for preaching his doctrine. At-Tadili reports that Ibn Nahwi even went so far to write a letter to the Sultan disputing the order to burn the Ihya'. When sympathetic jurists in Fez informed him that Ali ibn Yusuf had ordered the Sufis to publicly swear that they did not possess any copies of the condemned book, he issued a fatwa in which he claimed that the Sultan's command was not legally binding. By asserting that Ali ibn Yusuf's order did not reflect the unanimous opinion (ijma') of the ulama, he was treading on a dangerous ground, for his fatwa implied that the Sultan's decree was fasid, illegitimate.
This isolation felt by Ibn Nahwi as the proponent of an innovative doctrine is unreceptive environment is poignantly evoked in the following lines of poetry:I have fallen among those who have religion without manners, And those who have manners [but are] devoid of religion I have fallen among them—an isolated species—alone, Like the verse of Hassan in the compendium of Sahnun.
Ibn Nahwi was not content, however, with writing bitter lines of poetry. He actively promoted the teaching of usul throughout Morocco and spoke out against the injustices that, in his opinion, arose from a lack of concern for the Prophetic Sunna. Even his opponents accorded him a reluctant respect for his persistence and stubbornly held convictions. A common saying in the twelfth-century Fez was: "I seek refuge in God from the curse of Ibn Nahwi!" to illustrate the truth of this saying, at-Tadili reports that when Ibn Nahwi lived in Sijilmasa he stayed at a certain mosque, where he taught usul al-fiqh. One day an official notary ('adil) passed by the door to the mosque and asked, "What is the discipline that this person is teaching?" When told that Ibn Nahwi was conducting lessons on the scripturally passed sources of jurisprudence, the notary, who followed only the early unreformed-Maliki tradition, replied derisively, "How is this one allowed to teach us subjects we do not know of?" and ordered the Shaykh to be thrown out of the mosque. Before leaving, Ibn Nahwi rose to his feet and said to his tormentor, "You killed knowledge. Now God will kill you in this very place!" The next day, when the man went to the mosque in order to notarise a marriage contract, he was killed by a tribesman whose clan was feuding with his own.
Another prominent examples of usuli-oriented mystic and Sunni internationalist in Spain was Ahmed ibn Mohammed b. Mousa b. Ataillah Sanhaji Tanji (d. 536/11211), better known to posterity as Sidi Ahmed Ibn al-Arif Tanji (d. 536/1121). The Almoravid rulers of al-Andalus had also suspected Ibn al-Arif and saw a political motive to lay behind his activities. These fears were exacerbated when a spirited defense of usul methodology sprang up among Sufis and hadith scholars in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. These concerns were heightened after a former Mufti of Almeria, Abul Hassan al-Barji (d. 509/1194) issued a juridical opinion (fatwa) condemning the pro-Almoravid chief justice (qadi al-jama'a) of Cordoba for ordering the confiscation and destruction of al-Ghazali's I'hya'. In the decades following the promulgation of this decree, accusation of sedition were directed against most of al-Barji's network, including Ibn al-Arif. These accusations plus the revolt of the Shaykh's purported disciple Ibn Qasi caused anti-Almoravid activists in Morocco to consider Ibn al-Arif as an ally. He was eventually arrested and brought in chains to the Almoravid capital Marrakech, where he died of poisoning in 536/1121. Immediately after his death, he was hailed as a martyr by the Almohads and other opponents of the Sanhaja state. In the succeeding generation, Ibn al-Arif's posthumous "political correctness" helped to spread his doctrines from al-Andalus to as far away as Ifriqiya.
Perhaps one of the most important feature of formative Morocco is the opportune blend of fiqh and tasawwuf, which echoed the asceticism and militancy of the Murabitun scholars and their mentors in Qayrawan. We had earlier noted that in the Islamic orient where the Sufi -Faqih dichotomy became pronounced, fiqh tended to be dry and rigid while Sufism drifted away from the Shari’a and acquired a strong propensity to live in a world of its own, where some pantheistic ideas find accommodation - a problem which al-Ghazali sought to rectify through his Ihya' 'ulum al-Din. This mix of fiqh and tasawwuf is best symbolized in the scholars of Fez, who were to set both the tone as well as the pace of scholarship in the kingdom. Until the emergence of the Shadhiliya Sufi order in the kingdom, no scholar is known to belong to a Sufi order as such. But, as almost every page of Abu Yaqub at-Tadili's Kitab at-Tashawwuf ila rijal at-tasawwuf (Insight into the tradition bearers of Sufism) bear evidence, Moroccan early scholars of were all ascetics who combined their asceticism with an impressive knowledge of fiqh, among other disciplines. Thus at-Tadili saw no necessary connection between Sufism and mysticism, nor did he show much interest in metaphysics. Instead, his concern was to memorialise regional exemplars of piety and virtue whose defining attribute was their adherence to the behavioural example (sunna) of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), his family (ahl al-bayt), companions (as-sahaba), and successors (at-tabi'in). In fact this mix became the whole mark of scholarship in Morocco. The city of Fez itself, despite being the commercial capital of Morocco, was known and respected largely for its learning, and owed much of its reverence and political autonomy to its piety.
This blending meant that the scholars, at least during the period under study, never had to pursue Sufism at the expense of fiqh or the latter at the expense of the former. But more importantly, it meant that while asceticism restrained the appetite and worldly ambitions of the scholar and gives him the power and resolve to strive against the currents of the time, his fiqh insured that his asceticism did not go beyond the limits determined by the Shari’a. It is in the cache of this blend that we find the seeds of overhaul preserved in a way that enabled them to retain their potency through the rhythm of time. Another feature, which is common to all Islamic traditions of learning, but which seemed to have gained a special place in Morocco, was yet another blend, this time of intellectuality and morality. This blend in the Morocco scholars gave their learning a sense of purpose and endowed them with a great sense of responsibility. From this emanated a special relationship between the teacher on the one hand and his students and the wider community on the other. The scholar carried on his shoulders the heavy burden of his students and the wider society, always concerned with their individual and collective welfare, ready and willing to give a helping hand.
- Kitāb al-Muwatta’ (The Smoothed Path) by Imam Malik ibn Anass
- Kitāb al-Muwatta’ (in English) by Imam Malik ibn Anass
- Al-Mudawwana (The Compendium) by Sahnun ibn Said ( d. 240/854)
- Risalat (in Arabic) by Mohammed Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 389/974)
- Risalat (in English) by Mohammed Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 389/974)
- On the Risala of Abi Zayd by Dr. Omar al-Jaydi
- 'Ibadat according to the School of Imam Malik by Abderrahman al-Akhdari
- The Fundamental Principles of Imam Malik's Fiqh by Mohammed Abu Zahra Rulings and Sentences in the Maliki School by Shaykh Ali al-Iraqi al-Husseini
- Tazyin al-Mamalik bi-Manaqib al-Imam Malik by Shaykh Jalalddin Sayuti
- Shar'h Tu'hfat al-A'hkam by Shaykh Mohammed at-Tawdi ibn Suda al-Fasi (d. 1209/1794)
- Khasais al-Madhab Maliki by Dr. Mohammed Tawil
- Aqida Achiriya by Shaykh Abdelwahid Ibn Achir al-Fasi (d. 1040/1625)
- Husn Tafahhum Wa Darak by Shaykh Abdellah ibn Siddiq Ghumari Idrissi
- Talqin fi-l Fiqh al-Maliki by al-Qadi Abdelwahhab ibn Ali Baghdadi Maliki
- Fatwa in Mailiki Jurisprudence by Dr. Omar al-Jaydi
- The Muwattaa Interpretations by Dr. Omar al-Jaydi
- Moroccan Contributions to usul al-fiqh by Dr. Omar al-Jaydi
- Al-Masalih al-mursala by Dr. Yusuf al-Kattani
- The Impact of the Environment on Maliki Textile by Dr. Abdellah Amrani
- Bibliography of Sidi Ahmed b. al-‘Iyyashi Skirej (d. 1366/1940)