Selections of the Ahadith
Below are from Muwatta’ of Imam Malik, translated by Prof. Muhammad Rahimuddin, those in the brackets and notes are by author, with some addition by others. Numbers at the end of the hadith are those in the original
Prologue, the Author, and the Translator:
With this ends our series of ahadith taken from al-Muwatta’ of al-Imam Malik ibn-Anas ibn-Malik ibn-Abu-‘Amir al-Asbahi (93-170 [A]fter [H]ijrah). He lived in Madinah, and thus had direct access of the Companions of the Prophet, and the companions/successors of the Companions (known as Taba’in in Arabic), from whom he collected originally more than 100,000 ahadith. He selected out of it a thousand and plus, and spread it out in 32 chapters in his work, which took 40 years, according to some historians, to compile.
Following his mother’s advice, he joined the first school and University in Islam, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, where he attended study circles held by no less than 90 scholars, and kept discussing different matters of faith with his colleagues and with scholars.
The word Muwatta’ is a derivative of the root – wa-ta-a’ – to pave, to level (esp. the way), to make smooth and soft, etc. Hence Muwatta’ – the trodden or beaten path, i.e. a path which has been trodden upon by all the Companions of the Prophet, as practiced by the Companions, as shown to them by the Prophet.
The juristic verdicts in al-Muwatta’ reflect the practice and consensus of the Madinan scholars.
“Muwatta’ is not purely a hadith book. It contains the ahadith of the Prophet, legal opinions of the Companions and the Successors and of some later authorities.” Azami, M. M., Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, American Trust Publication, p. 82
[The translator, Professor Muhammad Rahimuddin, started his career as an Assistant Professor of English of Nizam College, then was transferred to Osmania University where he was offered the seat of Professorship. Among many of his work, his translation of Muwatta’ is his last contribution].
1] Abu-Sa’id al-Khudri reported that a man from amongst the Helpers (Ansar) asked of the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him – and he gave. He asked again and he gave, until all was finished. Then the Prophet said: “Whatever should be with me, I shall not hesitate to give; but he who avoids asking, and remains contended with whatever is given to him, puts on an outward show of being well-off, Allah will make him rich. And he who is patient, Allah will give him enough capacity to be patient and there is naught better and more expensive than patience. 
2] ‘Ata’ ibn-Yasar reported: “The Messenger of Allah sent some goods to ‘Umar ibn-al-Khattab and he returned them. When asked why he had returned them, he replied: “Apostle of Allah, you told us that he is a better man who does not take anything from anybody.” The Prophet said: “That meant that you should not ask, but whatever comes without asking, it is a sustenance and Allah gives you sustenance.” ‘Umar then exclaimed: “By Allah, Who possess my soul, I shall never ask for anything from anybody and whatever should come unasked for (of the good things), I shall take it.’” 
3] Abu-Hurayrah reported that the Prophet said: “By Allah who holds my life in His possession, if one of you should tie a bundle of firewood and carry it on his back (and sell it in the market), he would be doing better than go to one on whom Allah has bestowed wealth and beg of him anything and he may or may not give.” 
4] Malik related that it reached him that “Luqman, the Wise, before his death, advised his son saying: ‘O my dear son, associate with the learned and sit respectfully in their presence for Allah gives life to hearts by the light of His wisdom, as He revives the dead earth by sending life-giving rains from the sky.’” 
5] The Prophet said: “My names are five. I am Muhammad (highly praised); I am Ahmad (the most worthy of praise); I am Mahi (destroyer of unbelief); Allah will destroy unbelief through me; and I am Hashir, Allah will make people follow my footsteps; and I am ‘Aqib (the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, the last to come).