- "We are one. As we share the glory of our victories, so too should we share the pain of our defeat. In this way we grow closer. We grow stronger."
- ―Malik forgiving Altaïr for the event in Solomon's Temple.[src]
Raised as an Assassin, Malik learned the fighting arts that struck fear into the hearts of their enemies. He was an excellent swordsman and a devoted acolyte to the Creed, as well as a caring and mature influence for his brother, Kadar.
Malik nurtured a jealousy of Altaïr in their youth, due to Altaïr's exceptional talents and Al Mualim's favor toward him. This envy was stoked into rage when Altaïr ignored the tenets of the Creed during their mission to the Jerusalem Vault beneath the remains of Solomon's Temple, an action which eventually led to Kadar's death and the loss of Malik's left arm. Despite his injuries, Malik retrieved the Templar treasure that Altaïr had failed to find and delivered it to Al Mualim, viciously indicting Altaïr all the while.
From icy beginnings, Malik and Altaïr's relationship improved greatly during Altaïr's hunt for nine influential Templars to restore his Master Assassin rank, as Malik felt he matured greatly and was deserving of forgiveness. Malik subsequently came to Altaïr's aid against Al Mualim's brainwashed forces, and was made his second-in-command after his ascension to Mentor of the Levantine Assassins. As such, Malik was eventually deemed a temporary leader in the case of Altaïr's absence.
Many years later, Altaïr traveled to Mongolia with his wife and son to assassinate Genghis Khan, leaving Malik in charge of the Order. During their ten year absence, Abbas Sofian overthrew and imprisoned Malik in Masyaf's dungeons for close to two years, with the false charge of murdering Altaïr's second son, Sef. When Altaïr returned to Masyaf in 1228 and rescued his friend, Abbas ordered Malik's execution and delivered his severed head to Altaïr.
Malik's brother Kadar was also born into the Order, but possessed a lower rank. Protective of his young sibling, Malik was always cautious to not involve Kadar too heavily in missions, and coached him on the proper behavior of an Assassin.
Quest for the Apple
- Malik: "He will teach you how to disregard everything the Master's taught us."
- Altaïr: "And how would you have done it?"
- Malik: "I would not have drawn attention to us. I would not have taken the life of an innocent. What I would have done is follow the Creed."
- —Malik criticizing Altaïr.[src]
In 1191, Malik, Kadar and Altaïr were tasked with a mission that Al Mualim regarded as "more important than any that has come before": retrieving a priceless treasure from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. The three stealthily infiltrated the mines until they came across an elderly man, whom Altaïr assassinated with his Hidden Blade.
Malik scolded him for the unnecessary murder, citing the first tenet of the Creed, which said that an Assassin must never harm an innocent. Altaïr dismissed him, claiming that his own way of accomplishing the mission was better. Frustrated both by Altaïr's indifference and Kadar's admiration for the man, Malik moved ahead of his brothers to scout the area.
The three eventually found themselves in an alcove overlooking a section of Solomon's Temple, and were awestruck by the sight of the "Ark of the Covenant". Altaïr dismissed it as "just a story," but they were interrupted by the arrival of Robert de Sablé and four of his knights.
Malik advised Altaïr to keep his distance, but the man ignored him and confronted de Sablé directly. De Sablé easily overpowered Altaïr and threw him from the room, destroying the exit and trapping Malik and Kadar inside. The Templars then descended on the two, killing Kadar and badly injuring Malik.
During the scuffle, Malik managed to retrieve the Templar treasure and escape with de Sablé's army in pursuit. He returned to Masyaf and immediately reported to Al Mualim despite his obvious injuries. He found Altaïr already in audience with the Mentor and furiously admonished him, blaming Altaïr for his brother's death and saying he nearly cost them victory.
Malik then presented Al Mualim with the treasure that "his favorite" had failed to retrieve. However, he lamented that the Piece of Eden was not the only thing he had returned with, revealing that the Templars had followed him to the fortress. Below, the enemy force unleashed an attack on Masyaf village. Parting ways with Altaïr and Al Mualim, Malik was treated for his injuries; however, Masyaf's surgeons were unable to save his arm, and were forced to amputate.
Serving as Bureau leader
- Altaïr: "Safety and peace, Malik."
- Malik: "Your presence here deprives me of both."
- ―Malik and Altaïr in Jerusalem.[src]
Unable to act in the field any longer due to the loss of his arm, Malik was assigned to serve as the leader of the Assassin bureau in Jerusalem. When Altaïr's mission brought him to the city, Malik regarded the man with disdain and made no effort to disguise his hatred. He pointed out flaws in Altaïr's technique and attitude as they discussed the assassination of Talal, and though the mission was a success, Malik heavily criticized Altaïr for triggering the city alarm and alerting the citizens of Jerusalem to their activities.
Malik met with Altaïr again when the latter was tasked with the assassination of Majd Addin. Though Malik had still not forgiven Altaïr for his mistakes, he expressed a small level of satisfaction when Altaïr asked for his advice instead of demanding it. Once Majd Addin had been assassinated, Malik remarked that Altaïr had performed just as an Assassin should.
When Altaïr arrived at the Jerusalem bureau for a third time, Malik responded to his presence quite positively, treating Altaïr with respect. Before his departure, Altaïr apologized for his failure at Solomon's Temple. Malik refused to accept, but clarified that this was because he felt that Altaïr was no longer the man he had been when they visited Solomon's Temple, and so should bear no guilt. Malik claimed that they were brothers under the Creed, and as such, were one.
After the skirmish at the funeral of Majd Addin, Altaïr returned to the bureau, informing Malik of de Sablé's ruse and the information obtained from his double. Malik urged Altaïr to return to Masyaf and consult with Al Mualim, but Altaïr refused, arguing that Malik used the Creed as a shield and did not see the entire truth. Shaken and indecisive, Malik was not sure how to respond, and Altaïr urged him to learn more about the Templar treasure from the people of Jerusalem while he himself hunted down de Sablé.
As Altaïr journeyed to Arsuf, Malik returned to Solomon's Temple and discovered the journal of Robert de Sablé. It recorded the finding of the Piece of Eden by ten Templars, including Al Mualim. Finally convinced of their Master's betrayal, Malik traveled to Masyaf to aid Altaïr in retaking the fortress, bringing along several Assassins under his command.
Retaking of Masyaf
- Altaïr: "Safety and peace, Malik."
- Malik: "Your presence here will deliver us both."
- ―Altaïr and Malik parting ways during the invasion of Masyaf.[src]
Malik arrived in Masyaf in time to rescue Altaïr, who was under attack by a small army of hypnotized Assassins. The loyal Assassins threw knives at the attackers, forcing them to flee, and giving Altaïr the chance to converse with Malik. They greeted each other warmly, claiming that each other's presence brought peace to the battleground.
Following the duel between Altaïr and Al Mualim, Malik arrived in time to witness the Apple display a holographic map of the world marking the location of other Pieces of Eden. He remained speechless, at first running to his friend's side, but slowing to a stop as he looked upon the map. Right after, Altaïr sent Malik to Jerusalem to bring news of Al Mualim's death to the Assassins stationed there.
Becoming Altaïr's right-hand man
- "I have also worked with Malik to describe new methods of assassination: from on high, from ledges, and from hiding places. Basic movements, but critical nonetheless."
- ―Altaïr's Codex, page 13.[src]
Following Al Mualim's defeat and Altaïr's ascension to Mentor, Malik became Altaïr's close colleague and right-hand man. Together, the two worked to design new assassination techniques, which Altaïr recorded in his personal journal.
Altaïr also began to delve into the secrets of the Apple of Eden, studying it for days at a time. Both Malik and Altaïr's wife, Maria Thorpe, were uncomfortable with the Apple's effect on Altaïr, as it distracted him from food and rest. They insisted that Altaïr lock it away, but their advice was ultimately ignored.
Leading the Order
- "I should have anticipated Abbas' plans. For years after your departure he worked to undermine me. I had no idea he had managed to command such support."
- ―Malik talking about Abbas' actions to Altaïr.[src]
In 1217, Altaïr, Maria, and their son Darim left for Mongolia to deal with the rising threat of Genghis Khan, and Malik was left in temporary control of the Order. Altaïr and Maria's second son, Sef, also remained behind to care for his young children, and worked with Malik to govern the Order.
In 1225, Abbas Sofian, another high-ranking Assassin, staged a coup d'état in which he had Sef killed and the murder weapon placed in Malik's bed. In addition, one of Abbas' spies claimed to have heard Malik and Sef arguing about who would retain control of the Order upon Altaïr's return. Malik was thus framed for Sef's murdered and imprisoned in the dungeons below Masyaf.
- "It would not have happened to a stronger leader."
- ―Malik blaming himself for letting Abbas take control.[src]
When Altaïr and his family returned in 1228, Abbas attempted to trick them into believing that Malik had murdered Sef. Altaïr, distraught at his son's death, was nearly convinced of Malik's treason. Maria, however, admonished Altaïr for believing in Abbas more than Malik, prompting him to reconsider. He then infiltrated Masyaf's prison, finding Malik in extremely poor condition, and brought him to their quarters.
As Maria tended to Malik, he revealed how Abbas had worked to undermine him for many years and ultimately framed him for Sef's murder. He lamented that he had not been a better leader, and that this would not have happened to Altaïr.
After waiting for Malik to fall asleep, Altaïr and Maria left to speak with Abbas. In their absence, Abbas' spy Swami killed and beheaded Malik, then delivered the severed head to Abbas in a burlap sack. Abbas presented it to Altaïr and Maria when they confronted him, seeking to indict them for treason.
Many years later, upon his return from exile, Altaïr noticed a young Assassin trailing him throughout Masyaf village. The boy revealed himself to be Malik's son, Tazim Al-Sayf, bringing Altaïr to tears. He swore loyalty to Altaïr and wished to help him reclaim the Order and avenge his father's death. Together with other Assassins still loyal to Altaïr, they led an uprising against Abbas, regaining control of the Order once again.
Personality and characteristics
- "You cannot know anything. Only suspect. You must expect to be wrong, to have overlooked something."
- ―Malik to Altaïr, before the assassination of Majd Addin.[src]
Malik was a harsh but wise man who based his life and work completely on the Assassin's Creed and its tenets. He adhered to and protected those laws, believing that the righteousness his Master claimed was the foundation of all things. This unwavering devotion and faith partially blinded him to his Mentor's treachery; only when Altaïr challenged him to think for himself and not use the Creed as an excuse for ignorance did he begin to reconsider his stance and search for the truth.
Malik found proof of Al Mualim's treachery recorded in a diary left within Solomon's Temple – the details written "broke his heart," but prompted Malik to rebel and side with Altaïr, acting as pivotal support.
Despite his sometimes disdainful and sarcastic behavior, Malik was deeply loyal to those he cared for, always seeking to protect his younger brother and support his friends. This loyalty was later instilled in his son, who joined Altaïr's cause in his father's memory.
- In Arabic, "Malik" means "king" or "owner," while "Al-sayf" means "the sword." Put together, "Malik Al-Sayf" means "King/Owner of the Sword."
- Malik's name in the in-game credits of Assassin's Creed is written as "A-Sayf," the way it is pronounced.
- Malik is the only Assassin seen wearing an almost identical outfit to Altaïr in Assassin's Creed. While wearing this outfit, he is also equipped with a Hidden Blade, though his ring finger is still intact. The reason for the outfit is unknown, but it presumably corresponds to Malik's rank. The ring finger was likely an oversight.
- It is unknown how Malik climbed into or out of the Bureau after the loss of his left arm.
- It is possible to throw Malik off the cliff right before he and his men run past Altaïr before the fight against Al Mualim. Doing this has no effect on the game, and he still reappears during the credits to look at the Apple of Eden.
- In The Secret Crusade, Malik is described as having a beard when he was freed from the dungeons by Altaïr just moments before his death. In the Initiates art of Malik's decapitated head, however, he does not have said beard.
- In The Secret Crusade, Malik's head is shown in a burlap sack to Altaïr by Swami. Why this never happens in Assassin's Creed: Revelations is unknown.