What is Maqasid Al-Shariah?
(plural: maqasid) means purpose, objective,
principle, intent, goal, end, telos (greek), finalite (French),
or Zweck (German).
the Islamic law are the objectives/purposes behind
Islamic rulings. For some Islamic legal theorists, it is an
alternative term to ‘people’s interests’ (masalih).
Therefore, Maqasid al-Shari'ah or the objectives
of Shari'ah can be defined as follows :
Maqasid al-Shari'ah comprises
those benefits/welfare/advantages for which Allah has
revealed His Shari'ah.
Maqasid al-Shari'ah aims at
the attainment of good, welfare, advantage, benefits,
etcetera, and warding off evil, injury, loss, etcetera,
for the creatures.
The aims and objectives of Shari'ah are
everlasting and unchangeable. They are set by Allah and their
application or interpretation is not left to the sweet will of
any person or class. These aims relate to both the worldly life
and the life hereafter; and to take them only for the worldly
benefits at the cost of the hereafter life's benefits is
prohibited and condemned. However, Shari'ah is considerate in
case of darurah (necessity) and hardships.
Dimensions of Maqasid
They are various
ways of classifying the Purposes, or maqasid of
the Islamic law according to a number of dimensions. Some of the
dimensions are as follows. 
necessity, which is the traditional classification.
Scope of the
rulings aiming to achieve purposes.
Scope of people
included in purposes
universality of the purposes.
Traditional classification of maqasid
classification of the objectives or Maqasid al-Shari'ah is :
Preservation of faith, soul, wealth, mind,
at facilitating life or removing hardships. All such
provisions of Shari'ah which aim at facilitating life,
removing hardship, etcetera, are said to fulfill the
hajiyyah (requirements). For example, permission of hunting
and use of halal goods for food, lodging, and conveyance,
etcetera. Besides, the permission for qirad (profit sharing
through borrowing), musaqat (profit sharing), bai salam
(forward buying of a commodity which does not yet exist),
which are apparently illegal interest bearing dealings, are
the examples of Shari'ah provisions that aim at facilitating
life or removing hardships in the life in this world. The
exploitative, usurious and doubtful dealings and contracts
have also been forbidden for the same purpose. 
beautifies life and puts comforts into it. There are several
provisions of Shari'ah which are meant to ensure better
utilization, beautification and simplification of daruriyyah
and hajiyyah. For example, permission to use beautiful,
comfortable things; to eat delicious food; to have cold
drinks and juices; to wear fine clothing and so on. 
Is There a Problem with the Traditional Classification of
Islamic theories of
goals (maqasid) evolved over the centuries, especially in
the twentieth century. Contemporary theorists criticized the
above traditional classification of necessities for a number of
reasons, including the following.
The scope of traditional
the entire Islamic law. However, they fall short to include specific purposes
for single scripts/rulings or groups of scripts that cover certain topics or
‘chapters’ of fiqh. 
- Traditional maqasid
concerned with individuals rather than families, societies, and human, in
- The traditional maqasid
classification did not include the most universal and basic values, such as
justice and freedom.
- Traditional maqasid
deduced from the ‘fiqhi literature’, rather than the original sources/scripts.
To remedy the above
shortcoming, modern scholarship introduced new conceptions and
classifications of al-maqasid by giving consideration to
new dimensions. First, considering the scope of rulings they
cover, contemporary classifications divide maqasid into
three levels. 
- General maqasid : These maqasid are
observed throughout the entire body of the Islamic law, such as the necessities
and needs mentioned above and newly proposed maqasid, such as ‘justice’ and
- Specific maqasid :
are observed throughout a certain ‘chapter’ of the Islamic law, such as the
welfare of children in family law, preventing criminals in criminal law, and
preventing monopoly in financial transaction law.
- Partial maqasid :
These maqasid are
the ‘intents’ behind specific scripts or rulings, such as the intent of
discovering the truth in seeking a certain number of witnesses in certain court
cases, the intent of alleviating difficulty in allowing an ill and fasting
person to break his/her fasting, and the intent of feeding the poor in banning
Muslims from storing meat during Eid days.
The Public Good and the End Goals of Islamic Law: al Maslahah
and Maqasid al Shariah
is a conjugated word word that shares the same root with
maslahah with saluha as its root word.
: to be good, suitable or befitting.
Shalabi (1943, p
281) of al Azhar University writes in a published dissertation
that ‘maslahah could be dichotomized according to three issues:
was considered or stressed by God, or not
is constant or not
and need for maslahah for reasons of survival and well-being
Shalabi (1943, p
281) gives the different kinds of maslahah in accordance with
the first issue as follows:
- Contemporary/Recognized maslahah (maslahah
mu’tarabah): the maslahah that has been clearly stated in the Quran and Sunnah,
or has gained the consensus of the fuqaha (ijma’)
- Nullified maslahah (maslahah mulgha):
the maslahah that is in clear contradiction to the Quran, the Sunnah, and did
not gain consensus from the fuqaha.
- Conveyed maslahah (maslahah
mursalah): the maslahah that has nothing directly related for or against it in
terms of ijma’ or the Quran and the Sunnah.
is an important notion in Muslim legal thought because it is the
general formula that ties the different schools of Islamic
jurisprudence together. As Sardar (1985, p 113) indicates:
Traditionally, Muslim scholars have focused not on
istislah, but its more general form, maslahah,
which means a cause, a means, an occasion, or a goal
which is good… Its [maslahah’s] uses as a principal tool
of promoting the Shariah is based on the argument
that good is lawful and that lawful must be good. On the
basis such reasoning, traditional Muslim scholars
developed a whole array of maslahah categories,
some of which required direct evidence from the Quran
and the Sunnah while others could lead to binding
legal sanctions on the basis that they clearly promote a
noted ethical criterion such as preservation of life,
property, promotion of Islamic mores and sound reasoning
of the Shariah.
more on Maqasid al-Shariah
Al-Shari'ah: The Objectives Of Islamic Law, by
Mohammad Hashim Kamali