This is the introduction to a short essay in jurisprudence (fiqh) by the Imām and Hāfiẓ ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmān ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī upon the treatise of which he authored concerning the jurisprudence (fiqh) of Imām Mālik.
It has always been from the norm of the Salaf (X) that whenever they would author books in jurisprudence (fiqh) they would begin by clarifying the creed (‘aqīdah). Thus, they would divide it into [two parts]:
1. The greater affairs of jurisprudence (fiqh) al-akbar) which is understanding the correct creed (‘aqīdah).
2. The branches of jurisprudence (fiqh) al-furū’) which is the understanding of how to worship Allāh and dealings with the people.
He is the Imām the knowledgeable and eminent scholar of North Africa. Abū Moḥammed ‘Abdullāh bin Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī al-Mālikī who was given the nick name ‘the smaller Mālik’ (Mālik as-Ṣaghīr). He was upon the methodology of the Salaf as it relates to the fundamental principles of the religion (al-usūl) and did not study anything from philosophical speech nor did he fall into negating any of Allāh’s attributes.
al-Qādhi ‘Iyādh said concerning him:
“He attained leadership in the religious and worldly affairs. Students from every corner of the world traveled to seek knowledge from him and he was distinguished over his peers. He had many students and it was he who abridged the Mālikī school of thought.”
[He died in the year 389H; Refer to Siyār ‘Alām an-Nubalā’ (10):17 & (12):17]