Islam / Sharia / Madhhab /
The Maliki school is based upon the techniques for law developed by Malik bin Anas in the 8th century. The sources to Malik's life and hence the start of the Maliki school are often unreliable to a degree uncommon to early Islam. Many books have ascribed to him, but most are probably written by other authors who have tried to borrow legitimacy from Malik. But the main work, Kitab al-Muwatta' has its origins with Malik. It is also the oldest surviving Muslim lawbook. The al-Muwatta' does not exist as a book written by Malik, but it contains his teaching written down by others. Today 2 verions, or recensions, have survived, together with fragments from other versions. All in all, sources tell us about 15 recensions.
In the al-Muwatta', a survey is given of law and justice, ritual and the practice of religion according to ijma¢ as this was practiced in Madina. Hence, one could say that Malik's system was a compilation of the law system of Madina at this time. He made use of the actual practice of law, even if this in many cases included pre- or non-Islamic elements. There were in many issues highly different opinions, and Malik had to struggle with finding a "smoothed path" between the many different ideas. It would be correct to say that Malik generally chose the average between the different views.
Malik's main achievement was neither to Islamizate the law system, the essential principles for that were already established before him. His main contribution was to help bring forth a formation of a legal system.
Malik gained much admiration from being strict in his criticism of hadith.
There are several examples from the al-Muwatta' that Malik chose the practice of Madina over hadith, when there were differences. In cases where there were no information from the hadith nor from the Madina practice, he laid down the law independently.
The origins of the school goes back to the 8th century jurist Malik bin Anas of Madina (today's Saudi Arabia).
The Maliki branch of law uses community practice (sunna), prefer traditional opinions (ra'y) and analogical reasoning (qiyas) instead of a strict reliance on the hadith as a basis for legal judgment. But in some cases the hadith is used to slove certain legal questions..
Malik never formed a school. It was really when facing the emergence of the Shafi'i school, the groups using the system of Malik formed their own school.