The Story Of Imaam Malik And His Student
Explained by Shaykh Salih Aali Shaykh
Shaykh Salih Aali Shaykh:
Imaam Malik—was reading in the Masjid, narrating the hadith of the Prophet عَلَيْهِ الصَّلاَةُ والسَّلاَمُ—and with him was Yahya ibn Yahya Al Layth the narrator of his Muwatta—he and the other students were around Imaam Malik.
A caller screamed out: Great elephants have come to Al Medina!
The people of Al Medina had not seen elephants because elephants do not live in this country. All of the students rushed to see the elephants and they left Malik; except for Yahya ibn Yahya Al Layth; only.
Malik said to him: Why? Have you seen elephants before?
He said: I travelled to see Malik not to see elephants.
And for this reason Allah the Exalted rewarded him such that the narration which is now spread throughout the East of the earth and the West of it, and relied upon for the Muwatta of Imaam Malik, it is the narration of Yahya ibn Yahya Al Layth; despite him being from his minor students. There are narrations from people greater than him, but it was not written that they be granted acceptance.
Taken from: Clinging to the Book and the Sunnah by Shaykh Salih ibn Abdul Aziz Aali Shaykh
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee