An interesting note:
Statements made by Ibn Taymiyya (rahmatullahi alaihi) on the scholars of Madina and the Maliki Madhhab; as good fortune would have it, he was not a follower of the Maliki Madhhab. This, of course, means that this is a more objective view and that he is not influenced by taqlid.
“The school which they established in the ear of the Sahaba (radhi’Allahu anhu aj’ma’in), their followers and their follower’s followers, is the soundest of all such schools, in the East and West, in its roots as well as its branches. Whoever gives careful thought to the fundamentals of Islam and the principles of Islamic Law will find that the fundamentals adhered to by Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaihi) and the inhabitants of Madina were the soundest of all principles and rules. This is a vast topic, and if we were to do a thorough investigation of the merit of Madina’s scholars and the soundness of their principles, we would have a great more to say. This said, there can be no doubt on anyone’s part that of all people, no one has shown greater concern for the Madina school than Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaihi) whether by transmitting the narratives through which it has been passed down by or by explaining its views. Indeed, neither in his own era nor since his era has anyone done more than Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaihi) in this respect.
Based on the foregoing, it will be clear what I mean when I speak of the Maliki Madhhab. It will likewise be clear that it is a school with which the Imam, Malik ibn Anas (rahmatullahi alaihi), was associated and that this Imam was only one of its numerous links. Even so, he was, both in his own era and thereafter, the one who possessed the most thorough understanding of this school and who undertook the most comprehensive collection of its supporting narratives. It will thus be understood that when I speak about fundamentals or principles of the Maliki Madhhab, my intent will be to say not that these principles are somehow Imam Malik’s (rahmatullahi alaihi) possession but, rather, that Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaihi) was their possession, as it were, both in his fiqh and his independent interpretations.”
Taken from Imam Shatibi’s (rahmatullahi alaihi) “Theory of the Higher Objectives and Intents of Islamic Law.”