From infanthood he was surrounded by the very gardens of Madinah Munawwarah. Imam Malik did not set foot outside Madinah Munawwarah for purposes of acquiring knowledge. His own household was a resort of knowledge.
He acquired Qur’anic teachings from Naafe’ and Abdur Rahmaan other than Naafe’; He sought knowledge from others too.
Namely, Abdur Rahmaan Ibn Hurmuz, Safwaan Ibn Sulaym, Ibn Shihaab Zuhri etc.
Due to his intelligence, efforts, zeal and determination, upon reaching the age of 17, he had acquired a vast amount of Islamic knowledge which was of great standard and it was at this very age, with the approval of his teachers and scholars that he commenced teaching and conducting theories.
He would appoint his specific writer; Habeeb, to recite ahadith from Muwatta (prestigious hadith book(s) compiled by Imam Malik himself). The other students and participants would silently listen attentively, due to the fear and respect of him. No student would look into his book(s) or ask any questions. If Habeeb would make an error within the recital, Imam Malik would promptly rectify the error. If the door was crowded with students he would call them inside. Occasionally, he would read himself from Muawtta. Yahya Ibn Bukayr has stated: “I have heard the book(s) Muwatta recited directly by Imam Malik a number of 14 times…”
Within Imam Maliks teaching groups, the number of students is great. Qaazi Ayaadh has recorded over 1300, amongst this group were Imam Maliks own teachers, scholars, peers and subordinates – Namely a few are Ibn Shihaab Zuhri, Yahyaa Ibn Saeed Al-Qaari, Yazeed Ibn Abdullah, Sufyaan Thawri, Awzaa’i, Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah, Abdur Rahmaan Ibn Mahdi, Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, Imam Shaafi’ee, Ibn Qaasim, Abu Aasim etc. (May Allah be pleased with them all).
Imam Maliks son Yahyaa later grew to become a great man of knowledge. He also journeyed to Egypt and conducted lessons of ahadith. His daughter Fatima had memorised the Muwatta; during lessons she would stand behind the door, if the recitor made an error, she would tap her nails on the door. Imam Malik would understand her action and rectify the error.