English Translation by Aisha Abdarahman at-Tarjumana and Yaqub Johnson.
Imam Maliks Muwatta is a collection of sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (SAW... Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), also known as the sunnah. The reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds are called ahadith.
Imam Malik was a prominent scholar of Islam, and is the originator of the Maliki judicial school of thought. He is reputed to have had over one thousand students. During Imam Maliks lifetime, he steadily revised his Muwatta, so it reflects over forty years of his learning and knowledge. It contains a few thousand hadith.
A great number of scholars and muhadditheen have spoken and referred to Imam Maliks great knowledge and literary works. Amongst his various literary compilations (Muwatta) is the most eminent.
Imam Shaafi'ee has stated regarding Maliks Muwatta : "On the face of the earth there is no book(s) more authentic than Muwatta." It should be borne in mind that Imam Shafi'ee passed away in the year 204 A.H. before the compilation of Sahih Bukhari. Today, it is a unanimously agreed opinion that Sahih Bukhari is ranked as No.1 in this field.
It is important to realize, however, that Imam Maliks collection is not complete: there are other scholars who worked as Imam Malik did and collected other reports.