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Islamic Law
Maqasid Shariah
Case Study

:: In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Kind ::


How do we exercise our intellectual faculties to resolve the current divergence between the modern world and the traditional presentation of Islamic Law and theology?

What we aim to do is deploy the techniques and tools of ijtihad in a way that is compatible with our time and the new explosion in knowledge, the sciences and means of learning, and restore the role of Shariah in modern life. There is no doubt that the role of ijtihad is to regulate and guide man’s actions to accomplish his role as the vicegerent of God on earth, as God intended.

The pivotal issue here, then is the nature, value, quality and purpose of man’s actions. This is the fundamental objective of legislation now and in the past, divine or man-made. All divine doctrines were aimed at guiding man’s actions to fulfill the purpose of his being which is to serve God in the widest possible sense of the word. Such fulfillment shall be reflected in life in the form of prosperity and advancement, and in the human heart as pure monotheism, tawhid, and as good and constructive behavior.

Another Muslim legal theorist, al ‘Alwani writes that al maslahah (or the maqasid that ensure the implementation of public good) is extremely important in Muslim legal practice and thought. He believes that al maslahah is part of qiyas (analogical reasoning) which he in turn equates with ijtihad. Al Alwani (1988, p. 5) cites Prophet Muhamamd’s hadith…

Thus the importance of and the exercise of reason is strongly encouraged by the Prophet, who implies that the judge could not go wrong if the public good or the maqasid (i.e., preserving the religion, the self, the mind, and the property) are taken into account when deciding a case.

Al Darini (1982, p. 275) add in a footnote:

If we make al maslahah and the end goals of the Shariah the basis on which we make decisions, it would exemplify the realistic relation that exist between the Shariah and our everyday life, regardless of place and time. Al maslahah means the protection of the needs and the wants of individuals as well as states. Therefore building decisions upon al maslahah is the only solution for ensuring the protection and the realistic implementation of such needs.

There are three degrees of Ijtihad:

1. Ijtihad fi'sh-Shar', absolute independence in legislation.

2. Ijtihad fi'l-Madhab, authority in the judicial systems founded by the Mujtahidun of the first class.

3. Ijtihad fi-l-Masa'il, authority in cases which have not been decided by the authors of the four systems of jurisprudence.


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