It is considered to be from the earliest extant collections of Hadith that form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence alongside the Qur'an. Nonetheless, is not merely a collection of Hadith; many of the legal precepts it contains are based not on Hadith at all. The book covers rituals, rites, customs, traditions, norms and laws of the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[peace be upon him]
It is reported that Imam Malik selected for inclusion into the Muwatta just over 1900 narrations, from the 100,000 narrations he had available to him.