The home side were forced back early on as Luis Enrique's men dominated possession, but they did hit them on the counter-attack as Nordin Amrabat broke free down the left. The striker cut in from the flank although his effort was saved by Claudio Bravo.
Barcelona were working the ball around the pitch well but in the final third they struggled to carve out the clear-cut chance they needed to break the deadlock, as Lionel Messi and Neymar were squeezed out of space.
Messi came close to finding the net when he escaped the attentions of his marker at the near post, but was forced to chest Jordi Alba's cross at goal, which went just wide of the target.
The Argentine was given the chance to threaten when Barcelona were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area, but unusually for the forward he fired his effort straight into the hands of Carlos Kameni.
In the second half, Barcelona began to press higher upfield and that nearly opened space for Neymar as he got in between two defenders, but he failed to hit the target as he latched on to Ivan Rakitic's cross.
The visitors went close again as Rakitic delivered a pinpoint corner from the right which was attacked by Marc Bartra as he escaped the attentions of his marker, but his header went wide of the target.
Malaga came within inches of taking the lead when they won a free kick just outside the box. Luis Alberto drilled an effort towards the near post, but Bravo was on hand to make a reaction stop to palm the ball away.
The home side were lucky to not be reduced to 10 men late in the game when Weligton grabbed Messi by the face and the Argentine fell to the ground. The referee booked the defender for the altercation and also Gerard Pique for his furious reaction.
Barcelona pressed late on but were unable to find the breakthrough as Malaga held firm to earn the point.