Understanding Maqasid al-Shari’ah: A Contemporary Perspective
Musfir bin Ali al-Qahtani
Al-Qahtani’s work contributes to the ever growing body of scholarly literature in the field of Maqasid al-Shari’ah (higher aims and objectives of Islamic law). Understanding Maqasid al-Shari’ah calls for the development of a juridical sense that is finely tuned to the higher objectives and purposes of Islamic rulings, the aims of which are the formulation of a new methodology in understanding the revealed texts and the reform of Muslim thought and its application. Al-Qahtani draws attention to the importance of understanding various levels of maqasid, including distinguishing between primary aims (al-maqasid al-asliyyah) and secondary aims (al-maqasid al-tabi’ah). He asserts that a positive understanding of the objectives of the Shari’ah should produce affirmative human as well as cultural development in Muslim societies.
One particular strength of this work lies in the author’s application of the higher objectives and aims of the Shari’ah to different areas of jurisprudence, such as in deriving and issuing religious rulings (Ifta’), and to important social issues and challenges facing Muslim societies today. These include the role and status of women, problems of extremism and laxity, the misapplication and abuse of the Shari’ah, the crisis of Muslim thought, and the need to counter religious excessiveness. In addition issues often overlooked but important for mental well-being and societal welfare are assessed, including the need for recreation and leisure, and the active cultivation and promotion of aesthetics and harmony.
1. Awareness of Maqasid al-Shari’ah and Its Importance for Contemporary Methods of Deriving Level Rulings (al-Ifta’)
2. Understanding Maqasid al-Shari’ah Through Cultural Development
3. Goals Awareness and the Crisis of Religious Extremism
4. Goals Awareness and Its Impact on the Muslim Mindset
5. The Goals Awareness Crisis and Its Impact on Social Action