Maliki School: The Timbukti Syllabus

The Timbukti syllabus is an old method of teaching; it was the exact method of teaching adopted by scholars in Medina before and after Imam Malik: A student reads before the scholar, just like children read to the teacher, and if he makes a mistake, the teacher corrects him. The teacher interprets and explains the sacred texts to the student. The order that is followed in teaching the series of books of jurisprudence (fiqh)—according to the Maliki school—differs from place to place and from one school to another. However, the most common order is as follows:

  1. Qawāʿid aṣ-Ṣalāh (or Kawaʿidi) is a treatise of about thirty pages by an unknown author. It concerns the principles of prayer and articles of faith.
  2. Mukhtaṣar al-Akhḍarī by Abū Zaid ʿAbdur-Raḥmān al-Akhḍarī, which is an introduction to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) with emphasis on purification of the heart (taṣawwuf), ritual purity (tahārah) and prayer (ṣalāh).
  3. Al-ʿAshmāwiyyah by ʿAbd al-Bārī al-ʿAshmāwī ar-Rifāʿī, which is an introductory text that covers ritual purity (tahārah), prayer (ṣalāh) and fasting (ṣawm). It is studied alongside:
  4. Manẓūmah al-Qurṭubī fiʾl-ʿIbādāt by Yaḥyā al-Qurṭubī, which is another introductory text covering the five pillars of Islam: creed (ʿaqīdah), prayer (ṣalāh), fasting (ṣawm), alms (zakāh) and pilgrimage (ḥajj) to the holy sanctuary.
  5. Al-Muqaddimah al-ʿIzziyyah by Abul Ḥassan ʿAlī ash-Shādhilī is an intermediate text that concerns the jurisprudence of worship (ʿibādāt), commercial transactions (muʿāmalāt), as well as social ethics. It is studied alongside:
  6. Naẓmu Muqaddimah Ibn Rushd by ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ar-Rāfiʿī, which is an intermediate text that adds to Manẓūmah al-Qurṭubī. It explains the jurisprudence concerning the five pillars of Islam in detail.
  7. Al-Risālah by Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdullāh ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī is another intermediate text in the school. The first half is on worship (ʿibādāt), the second concerns aspects of jurisprudence such as marriage (nikāḥ), divorce (ṭalāq), commercial transactions (muʿāmalāt), inheritance (mīrāth), punishments (ḥudūd) and social ethics. This text has the distinction of being continuously taught for over a thousand years—the only fiqh text to have reached us with tawātur (mass-transmission). One unique feature is that the author often uses prophetic traditions (ahādīth) to construct the wording of the text.
  8. Al-Murshid al-Muʿīn by Ibn ‘Āshir, which is an extensive text, categorised into three sciences: Ashʿarī Theology (ʿaqīdah), Maliki Jurisprudence (fiqh) and Spirituality (taṣawwuf) based on the spiritual path of Imam Junaid al-Baghdādī.
  9. Miṣbāh al-Sālik by ʿAbd al-Waṣīf Muḥammad is one of the first advanced books of the Maliki school that is studied before studying later advanced works. This book covers theology, all chapters of jurisprudence (worship, marriage, transactions, commerce, judicial law etc.), and social ethics (akhlāq).
  10. Aqrab al-Masālik by Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Aḥmad ad-Dardīr is an advance text that is an abridgement of al-Khalil’s Mukhtaṣar. The author leaves out the differences of opinion, and clarifies some difficult passages from Mukhtaṣar.
  11. Mukhtaṣar Khalīl by Khalīl ibn Isḥāq al-Jundī is the last advance text that is covered by the students of the Maliki school.  It concerns the differences of opinion among major authorities within the school. It has an unrivalled position in the later Maliki school and is the relied upon and mufta bihi text today.


Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century, edited by Catherine M. Coles, Beverly Mack
Maliki Law: The Predominant Muslim Law in Nigeria, by Barr. Abdullahi Ghazali

Etiquettes of the Teacher and the Student

By Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi

The student should start with purifying his own soul and steer clear of evil manners, for knowledge is the worship of the heart. He should dedicate his life for seeking knowledge. The early Muslims used to give precedence to knowledge over anything else. For example, Imam Ahmad did not marry except after the age of 40.

To the student, the teacher should be how a physician is to a patient. The student should serve his teacher. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, in his Jami’ Bayan al-‘Ilm wa Fadlih, states that Ibn ‘Abbas—may Allah be pleased with him—used to hold the reins of Zayd ibn Thabit’s mount and drive it. Zayd ibn Thabit—may Allah be pleased with him—would say to him, “Don’t, O cousin of the Prophetﷺ!” Ibn Abbas would then say, “This is how we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us.”

The student should be on his guard against feeling pride, for it is the flaw of the ignorant. He should evaluate all matters and give preference to his teacher’s opinion over his own. In Al-Jami’ li-Akhlaq al-Rawi wa Adab as-Sam’, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi reported that ‘Ali—may Allah be pleased with him—said, “It is the right of the scholar to greet the public in general and to be greeted in particular. You should sit before him and avoid overburdening him with questions. You should not divulge his secrets, nor backbite people in his presence, nor find his shortcomings…”

The student, at the beginning of seeking knowledge, is recommended not to occupy his mind with the differences of scholars in order not to perturb his mind.

As for the teacher, he should be patient and forbearing. He should dedicate his efforts in teaching knowledge for the sake of Allah and not to seek rewards or gratitude from people. Early Muslim scholars used to refuse gifts from students. The teacher should offer advice to his students and follow the best manners in this regard.

Furthermore, the teacher should teach his student what the latter can understand and comprehend. More importantly, the scholar should behave according to his knowledge. Allah, the Most High, says:

“How can you tell people to do what is right and forget to do it yourselves, even though you recite the Scripture? Have you no sense?” [Surah al-Baqarah 2, Verse 44]

[See Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi, Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin (Dar al-Manarah) pg 9-10]

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s Book Recommendations

[compiled 6 April, 2009]

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Timothy Winter
Sheikh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies
University of Cambridge

Timothy John Winter (born 1960), aka Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad, is a British Muslim thinker, professor, and translator. Winter has written about the interaction between Islam and secular issues spanning a wide range of disciplines. He has held a number of lectureships and administrative posts in British academia having to do with theology, the intellectual history of Islamic civilization, and international academic cooperation…[Read More]


  1. Abdel, Haleem M. A., trans. The Qurʼan (New York: Oxford UP, 2005).
  2. Du Pasquier, Roger. Unveiling Islam (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1990).
  3. Emre, Yunus. The City of the Heart: Yunus Emre’s Verses of Wisdom and Love. trans. Süha Faiz (Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element, 1992).
  4. al-Haddad, Abdullah. The Book of Assistance (London: Quilliam Press, 1989).
  5. Hammad, Ahmad Zaki. Lasting Prayers of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (Bridgeview, IL: Quranic Literacy Institute, 1996).
  6. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Islam: the alternative (Reading: Garnet, 1993).
  7. Ibrahim, Izzedien and Denys Johnson-Davies. trans. Forty Hadith (Beirut, 1983).
  8. Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin. Islam and Peace (New Delhi: Goodword, 1999).
  9. Lawrence, Bruce. The Qur’an: a biography (New York, 2007).
  10. Lings, Martin. Muhammad: his biography based on the earliest sources (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1986).
  11. Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris. The Muslim Marriage Guide (London: Quilliam, 1995).
  12. Masri, Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad. Animal Welfare in Islam (3rd ed. Leicester: Islamic Foundation, 2007).
  13. Murad, Abdal Hakim. Muslim Songs of the British Isles, Arranged for Schools (London: Quilliam Press, 2005).
  14. al-Nawawī, Yaḥyā Ibn-Šaraf. Al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam. trans. Noah H. Keller (Evanston: Sunna Books, 1994). English translation and appendices by Sheikh Noah Ha Mim Keller.
  15. Schleifer, Aliah. Mary the Blessed Virgin of Islam (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1998).
  16. Shalabi, Abdul Wadod. Islam Religion of Life (London: Quilliam Press, 1990).
  17. Stockton, Peter. Transcending Jerusalem (Stockton, 2008). Web. <>.
  18. Tawfiq, Idris. Gardens of Delight: A Simple Introduction to Islam (London: Stacey International, 2007).
  19. Winter, Tim, and John A. Williams. Understanding Islam and the Muslims: The Muslim Family and Islam and World Peace. (Louiville KY: Fons Vitae, 2002).
  20. Wolfe, Michael. The Hadj: an American’s pilgrimage to Mecca (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993).
  21. Wolfe, Michael, ed. Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim their Faith (New York: Rodale, 2002).
  22. Yusuf, Hamza. The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi (Hayward CA: Zaytuna, 2007).


  1. Akhtar, Shabbir. A Faith for All Seasons: Islam and the challenge of the modern world (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1990).
  2. al-Akiti, Shaykh Muhammad Afifi. Defending the Transgressed by Censuring the Reckless against the Killing of Civilians (U.K.: Aqsa Press, and Germany: Warda Publications, 2005).
  3. Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Quran (new edition, London: The Book Foundation, 2008).
  4. Ayub, Muhammad. Understanding Islamic Finance (New York: Wiley, 2008).
  5. Burckhardt, Titus. Art of Islam: language and meaning. Commemorative edition (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2009).
  6. Esposito, John and Mogahed, Dalia. Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (New York: Gallup Press, 2007).
  7. Hallaq, Wael B. Islamic Legal Theories: an introduction to Sunni usul al-fiqh. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
  8. al-Hanbali, Ibn Rajab. The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (London: Turath Publishing, 1428/2007).
  9. Helminski, Camille Adams. Women of Sufism: a Hidden Treasure (Boston: Shambala, 2003).
  10. Izetbegovic, Alija. Islam between East and West (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1984).
  11. al-Jawziyya, Ibn Qayyim. The Invocation of God: al-Wabil al-Sayyib min al-Kalim al- Tayyib. Tr. Michael Abdurrahman Fitzgerald and Moulay Youssef Slitine (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2000).
  12. Kamali, Mohammed Hashim. The Dignity of Man: An Islamic Perspective (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2002).
  13. Legenhausen, Muhammad. Islam and Religious Pluralism (London: Al-Hoda, 1999).
  14. Lumbard, Joseph E.B. ed. Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Bloomington IN: World Wisdom, 2004).
  15. Mahmutcehagic, Rusmir. The Mosque: the heart of submission (Fordham: Fordham University Press, 2007).
  16. Momen, M. An Introduction to Shii Islam (London: George Ronald, 1999).
  17. Roald, Anne Sofie. Women in Islam: the Western experience (London: Routledge, 2001).
  18. Sheikh, Aziz and Gatrad, Abdul Rashid. eds. Caring for Muslim Patients. Second edition (Abingdon: Radcliffe, 2008).
  19. Siddiqi, Muhammad Zubayr. Hadith Literature: its origin, development and special features (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1993).
  20. Tura, M. Nusret. The Path of Love (Istanbul: Insan, 2008).
  21. Winter, Timothy. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
  22. Yaran, Cafer S. Understanding Islam (Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2007).


  1. Açar, Halil Rahman. Is Scientific Knowledge Rational? (Istanbul: Insan, 2008).
  2. Açıkgenç, Alparslan. Being and Existence in Sadra and Heidegger (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1993).
  3. Akhtar, Shabbir. The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam (London: Routledge, 2007).
  4. Bakar, Osman. Classification of Knowledge in Islam (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1998)
  5. Hacinebioglu, Ismail Latif. Does God Exist? Logical foundations of the cosmological argument (Istanbul: Insan, 2008).
  6. Iskenderoglu, Muammer. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and Thomas Aquinas on the Question of the Eternity of the World (Leiden: E.J.W. Brill, 2002).
  7. Jackson, Sherman A. On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s Faysal al-Tafriqa (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2002).
  8. Kamali, Muhammad Hashim. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1997).
  9. Koshul, Basit Bilal and Kepnes, Steven, eds. Scripture, Reason and the Contemporary Islam-West Encounter: Studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’ (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  10. al-Misri, Ibn Naqib. Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. Trans. Nuh Keller (Beltsville: Amana, 1993).
  11. Murad, Abdal Hakim. Bombing without Moonlight: the Origins of Suicidal Terrorism (Bristol: Amal Press, 2008).
  12. Murata, Sachiko. The Tao of Islam: a sourcebook on gender relationships in Islamic thought (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992).
  13. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein and Leaman, Oliver, eds. History of Islamic Philosophy (New edition. London: Routledge, 2001).
  14. al-Said, Labib. The Recited Koran: a history of the first recorded version (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1975).
  15. Sentürk, Recep. Narrative Social Structure: Anatomy of the Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005).
  16. al-Shafi’i. Al-Shafi’i’s Risala: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence, tr. Majid Khadduri (Repr. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1987).
  17. Shihadeh, Ayman, ed. Sufism and Theology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007).
  18. Shihadeh, Ayman. The Teleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (Leiden: E.J.W. Brill, 2006).
  19. Yazdi, Mehdi Ha’iri. The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy (Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 1992).

Most Popular Pearls on Splendid Pearls

Seeing as we have just reached our 100th post, this feels like the appropriate time to reflect over the past few years and see what has been of interest to our readers. Here is a list of our 10 most popular posts:

  1. The Pious “Drunkard” and “Fornicator”
  2. ISIS and The End of Times
  3. Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s Book Recommendations
  4. How Watching Pornography Changes The Brain
  5. The Secrets of Surah al-Kahf
  6. The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith—Imam al-Bayhaqi [d.458 AH]
  7. “Who is God? What is God”—The response of Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib
  8. RIP: What does it actually mean and is it a suitable statement—theologically—to use on the occasion of a death?
  9. Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa’s Book Recommendations
  10. The Damage of Pseudo-Scholars in our Times—Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud

Intentions for Attending The Spring Lodge Retreat

The Envoy of Allah  ﷺ said, “Verily actions are only according to intentions and every man shall have according to what he has intended…”

Yahya ibn Abi Kathir said, “Learn about the intention, for verily it is of greater import than the action.”

Sidi Amin Buxton advises the following intention for the Spring Lodge:

You should return with a renewed desire to seek Allah, worship him, follow the Prophet ﷺ and his inheritors, and serve Allah and His Prophet ﷺ. You should have an increased awareness of your shortcomings and faults.

You should have a desire to share what you learnt and experienced with your family first and foremost and then others.

What is the Spring Lodge?

The key aim of the retreat is for students to gain a proper, principled, and purposeful understanding of the Prophet, may the mercy and peace of God be upon him, in person, as well as fluid familiarity with his life and times, in a manner that has both relevance and applicability to the current age in which we live.

With this aim in mind, the retreat will thereby endeavour to explore the overarching themes and underlying principles that are said to govern the life and times of the Prophet, may the mercy and peace of God be upon him. This inaugural retreat will aim to elucidate these over-arching and fundamental themes and principles, with subsequent retreats providing an opportunity for each of the themes in question to be explored and clarified in greater depth.

This thematic approach is a principled approach and can serve as a basis for the proper grounding of Islam in the age in which we live; an age in which the cry for relevancy has never been louder.