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Islamic Law
Maqasid Shariah
Case Study

After defining the four bases of Islamic Law, Esposito (1988, p. 24) writes of other sources of law:

While all [fuqaha’] came to accept the four sources of law, Islamic jurisprudence recognized other influences, designating them subsidiary principles of law. Among these were custom [‘urf], public interest [istislah], and jurist preference or equity [istihsan]. In this way, some remnant of the inductive, human input had characterized the actual methods of the law schools in their attempt to realize the Shariah’s primary concern with human welfare, justice and equity were acknowledged.

In commenting on supplementary sources of law in Islam, Sardar (1985, pp 114-115) explains the reason for their importance as follows:

Beyond these limied parameters, the Shariah is completely open: it can be developed and shaped according to the needs of society and time by any number of its other sources: ijma’, qiyas, ijtihad and istislah. The sources of the Shariah that supplement the Quran and the Sunnah are problem-solving tools; they provide a methodology for adjusting to change.

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