From his time up to the present, he is regarded as the greatest exponent of traditions and one of the greatest authorities on the habit.
He was not merely a traditionalist but a jurist of a very high order. Malik’s jurisprudence lays emphasis on the Koran and the sunna, the sunna of the Prophet. It is only when traditions came into conflict with each other that he had recourse to the ijma, but again, he relied on the ijma of the mujtahids of Madina exclusively. He also recognized muslahat (public welfare) which was akin to Abu Hanifa’s isttfisan, as a basis for deduction. To the four sources of Muslim law, he added one more, viz.
, istadlal, and principle of logical deduction. In the words of Schacht, “It was Malik’s aim to set forth the accepted doctrine of the school of Madina, and this was to a great extent founded on the individual reasoning of its representatives. In combining extensive use of reasoning with dependence on living traditions, Malik seems typical of the Medinese. In the majority of cases we find Malik’s own reasoning inspired by material considerations, by practical expediency, and by the tendency to Islamicise”. Malik’s book, Kitab al-Muwatta, systematized the law. Another important work is Muwatta which is a record of his teachings compiled by his disciples.
The Maliki School spread westward over practically the whole of North Africa, Central and West Africa and up to Spain. Many Muslims of the eastern coastal areas of Arabia are followers of the Maliki School. At one time, Morocco was also a great centre of the Maliki School, Shahnun, the great disciple of Malik, died in 854 A.D., and by that time, the Maliki School had become well established.