Imam Malik composed the Muwatta’ over a period of forty years to represent the “well-trodden path” of the people of Madinah. Its name also means that it is the book that is “many times agreed upon” -about whose contents the people of Madinah were unanimously agreed – and that is “made easy and facilitated”. Its high standing is such that people of every school of faith and all of the imams of hadith scholarship agree upon its authenticity Ash-Shafi’i said, “There is not on the face of the earth – after the Book of Allah – a book which is more sahih than the book of Malik.”Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said: “The unqualified truth is that all of the Muwatta’ is sahib without any exception.” Shah Wali Allah ad-Dihlawi (11141176 AH) said, “My breast expanded and I became certain that the Muwatta’ is the most sahih book to be found on the earth after the Book of Allah.”
Imam Malik is the imam of the imams, the leader of the people of knowledge of Madinah, Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Abi Amir al-Asbahi al-Madam, born in 94 AH, 95 AH or even 99 AH. He was called the Man of Knowledge of Madinah. People of knowledge understood that it was him the Prophet indicated in the hadith from Abu Hurayrah, “People will soon beat the livers of their camels [in travelling in search of knowledge] but they will not find a man of knowledge more knowledgeable than the man of knowledge of Madinah.” Among his pupils were the Imams Sufyan ath Thawri, Sa’id ibn Mansur, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, Abd arRahman al-Awza’i who was older than him, Layth ibn Sa’d who was one of his peers, Imam ash-Shafi’i Muhammad ibn Idris, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ashShaybani, the Malikis Abd ar-Rahman ibn al-Qasim, Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi, Ibn Wahb, and Dhu’n-Nun al-Misri. He died in 179AH on the morning of the 14th of Rabi’ al-Awwal.
He is Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Farqad ash-Shaybani. Muhammad was born in Wasit in 132 AH, and grew up in Kufa. He was a pupil of Abu Hanifah. Ash-Shafi’i said, “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than him. I used to think when I saw him reciting the Qur’an that it was as if the Qur’an had been revealed in his language.” He also said, “I have not seen anyone more intelligent than Muhammad ibn al-Hasan.” Adh-Dhahabi said, “He narrated from Malik ibn Anas and others, and he was one of the great oceans of knowledge and fiqh, and he was strong [when he narrated] from Malik.” Muhammad said, “I stood at Malik’s door for three years and I heard [the Muwatta’] from him [with] more than seven hundred hadith.” He died in Ray in 189 HA.