Sayyid Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki (1947-2004) was, during his lifetime, one of the most prominent intellectual opponents of the official Saudi religious orthodoxy, known as Salafism.
Born into a scholarly Hijazi family, he authored close to a hundred books on Islamic belief, law, spirituality, Quran, Hadith, history and biography. His views brought him into frequent conflict with the religious authorities and he was forced to relinquish his university post and ancestral chair of teaching within the precincts of the Masjid ul Haram in the 1980's. But because of his considerable stature he continued to enjoy a significant degree of royal support and was appointed head adjudicator of the official national Qira'ah competition. He passed away in Ramadan 2004 after complications arising from diabetes.