It has always been from the norm of the Salaf that whenever they would author books in jurisprudence (fiqh) they would begin by clarifying the creed (‘aqidah). Thus, they would divide it into [two parts]:
1. The greater affairs of jurisprudence (fiqh) al-akbar) which is understanding the correct creed (‘aqidah).
2. The branches of jurisprudence (fiqh) al-furu’) which is the understanding of how to worship Allah and dealings with the people.
He is the Imam the knowledgeable and eminent scholar of North Africa. Abu Mo?ammed ‘Abdullah bin Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani al-Maliki who was given the nick name ‘the smaller Malik’ (Malik as-?aghir). He was upon the methodology of the Salaf as it relates to the fundamental principles of the religion (al-usul) and did not study anything from philosophical speech nor did he fall into negating any of Allah’s attributes.
al-Qadhi ‘Iyadh 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 Maliki school of thought.”
[He died in the year 389H; Refer to Siyar ‘Alam an-Nubala’ (10):17 & (12):17]