This sect is named its founder Imām Mālik bin Anas bin Mālik al-Asbahī who was a member of the Yemenite al-Asbah tribe.
Mālik bin Anas was born in Medina in the 93rdA.H.. He was a student of some of the Islamic jurists of his time including Nāfi‛, Mawla ‛Abduallah bin ‛Umar and Ibn Shahāb al-Zahrī. He also studied under Imām Ja‛far al-Sādiq (a) and related traditions from him. He said: "I have not seen anyone better than Ja‛far bin Muhammad."
He lived under the Umayyad rule for forty years and during this time he did not portray himself as a scholar.
When the Umayyad dynasty fell and the Abbasid dynasty came to power he showed inclination towards the family of ‛Alī bin Abī Tālib (a) and ruled that they were the legitimate rulers and that rule khalafah was their right. He passed a verdict making it obligatory to aid Muhammad bin ‛Abd Allah bin al-Hassan bin ‛Alī bin Abī Tālib who revolted against the Abbasid dynasty. As a punishment, Ja‛far bin Sulaymān, the Abbasid governor of Medina at the time, ordered him to be lashed 50 times. The lashes were so hard that his shoes fell off.
Later on, the Abbasid khalīfa, Abū Ja‛far al-Mansūr changed his mind and improved his relations with Imām Mālik. He asked Imām Mālik to write a jurisprudential book, in accordance to his sect, to be published. Imām Mālik wrote the book Al-Mūattā', the book of religious verdicts, and the Mālakī jurisprudential sect became the official sect of the Abbasid Empire and missionaries were sent as far as Africa and Indonesia to preach Al-Mūattā' and the Mālakī sect. Imām Mālik differed from Abī Hanīfah on his views regarding voting and syllogism as valid sources of religious rulings. He died in the 179thA.H.