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This section is comprised of three topics:

The first topic: The lexical meaning of “needs”

The second topic: The technical definition of “needs”

The third topic: The laws that have been enacted in order to attend to needs


The First Issue: The Lexical Meaning of “Needs”

Haajiyaat is the plural of haaji, related to the word al-haajah, which means wish and object. Its plural is haajaat, hawaa`ij, hooj and haaj, without the letter ha at the end.


Ibn Faaris said, “Ha, waw and jeem form one root. It is being driven to need something.” 229


One says, haaj, yahooj, hoojan230 , that is ihtaaj (to need something). And “ahoojuhu to something” or “so and so ahwiju” all mean “in need of.” Tahawwaja for something means to need and want it. Al-hauj is the wish. Al-Tahawwuja is the seeking of one’s need. One says, “So and so went out yatahawwaju,” meaning, “he went out to seek what he needs for his life.” One also says, “In my soul are haajaat (wants).” “Take haajataka (your needs) of the food,” “This is hajaati,” that is, “this is what I need and want.” 231


The Technical Meaning of “Needs”

As a technical term, needs refers to those masaalih that people are in need of but to an extent that does not reach a necessity. Their purpose is to make matters easier for people and to remove hardships from them. If they are missing, the entire system of life is not damaged, as is the case with necessities, but it is met with hardship and difficulties.


Al-Shaatibi has defined needs as, “As for needs, what is meant by them are things that are needed to make things easier and to remove constraints that usually lead to difficulties and hardships that are encountered when something desired is lost. If they are not attended to, humans, in general, will face difficulties and hardships. However, the level of its expectant, normal evil does not reach the level of the general masaalih.”232


The meaning of, “in general…” is that not all humans will meet some harm due to the loss of these needs. For example, there are a number of business transactions, such as forward purchases, loans, leasing, credit, guarantors, sharecropping and so on, upon which the preservation of the necessities do not depend. If these types of transactions were not sanctioned by the law, a specific group of the people, such as farmers, manufacturers, creditors and so on, would feel some harm and hardship while the rest of the people would not experience such harm.


Similarly, there are a number of legal concessions, such as shortening the prayers, combining the prayers, breaking one’s fasts [for a number of reasons] and so on, that a large number of people are not in need of because they do not experience the causes for these concessions, such as traveling which is one of the causes for receiving such concessions. We can find a countless number of people who spend their whole lives without traveling. They would never face any hardship if the special concessions for traveling were never sanctioned. This is different from the situation with necessities, for every place, era, community and individual is in need of them.


As for his words, “However, the level of its expectant, normal evil does not reach the level of the general masaalih,” the meaning of the “general masaalih” is the necessities. In other words, needs are at a lower level than the necessities, concerning which the needs reach up to the limit of necessities. The necessities are a must to ensure the religious and worldly masaalih that can establish the proper life in both this world and the Hereafter. As for the needs, even though they fall into the realm of what is needed by people, they do not reach the level of necessity.


The laws that have been enacted in order to attend to needs

Islamic Law is comprised of an uncountable number of laws that have specifically legislated to attend to the needed masaalih. It has been noted that all of the various branches of Islamic law show clear signs of the phenomenon of removing harm. Scanning the laws of the Shareeah, one finds that this type of law exists in matters of worship, mundane acts and customs, transactions and penal punishments.


In the realm of the acts of worship, numerous legal concessions can be found that make matters easier upon humans. These include the permission to make tayammum [“dry ablution”] in the absence of water or when one is not able to use water, the permission given to the ill and traveling to break their fast during the month of Ramadhaan, the permission given to the traveler to shorten his prayer, the dropping of the obligation of prayer upon the menstruating and post-partum women, the permission to wipe over splints and socks while either resident or traveling, the permission to pray sitting when one does not have the ability to stand.


The scholars have investigated the difference types of lessening of legal responsibility that are based on human inabilities, falling under the concept of legal concessions. They have found that they all can be placed into one of seven types. They are:


(1)     A lessening of obligation by dropping the obligation completely, such as dropping the obligation of the Friday prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, lesser pilgrimage and jihad due to the well-known excuses.

(2)     A lessening by shortening, such as the shortening of the prayer for the traveler, shortening of what a sick person cannot do of the prayer, such as shortening the bows and prostrations to a manner that he can perform it.

(3)     Lessening by substituting the act with another act, such as substituting a “dry ablution” for the ablution or complete washing, substituting sitting for one who cannot stand in the prayer, substituting lying down for one who cannot sit, substituting lying down with simply motioning, substituting fasting for freeing a slave, and substituting some of the obligatory acts of the pilgrimage and lesser pilgrimage with expiation for one with the proper excuse.

(4)     Lessening by allowing something to be done ahead of time, such as praying the Afternoon prayer earlier with the Noon prayer, praying the Night prayer earlier with the Sunset prayer when one combines the prayer in the earlier time of the two, paying the zakaat before the lapse of a year, paying the Zakat al-Fitr before the day of Eid [at the end of the fast of Ramadhaan], and performing the expiation before breaking one’s oath.

(5)     Lessening by allowing something to be delayed beyond its regular time, such as combining two prayers at the time of the later prayer, delaying the fast of the days of Ramadhaan to later days due to illness, traveling and so on.

(6)     Lessening by a special exemption, such as the prayer of the one who is still physically defiled, the drinking of alcohol by one dying of thirst and the statement of words of disbelief under compulsion. This is what they term, “releasing [the ruling] in the presence or a preventive factor” or “permission in the presence of a prohibiting factor.”

(7)     Lessening by changing the mode of something, such as changing the mode of prayer during times of fear, wherein it is different from what preceded it. 233


Among the aspects of lessening the burden for the laws of worship, Allah has made the beginning and ending times of the prayers related to an obvious sign that can be seen by the majority of the people: the sun passing the meridian being the beginning of the time for the Noon prayer, a thing’s shadow being equal to its length being the sign of the end of the time for the Noon prayer and the beginning of the time for the Afternoon prayer, sunset being the beginning of the time for the Sunset prayer and the leaving of the redness in the sky being the ending of the time for the Sunset prayer and the beginning of the time for the Night prayer, the coming of dawn is the sign of the beginning of the time for the Dawn prayer. All of this is to make things easier upon the humans and remove hardships from them.


Similarly to that is the beginning and ending of the month of Ramadhaan as well as the month of Dhul-Hijjah and the other months, which begin with the sighting of the moon or the passing of thirty days from the beginning of the previous month. There are many examples of this nature.234


As for the mundane acts, the Lawgiver has permitted hunting, the eating of the dead animals from the sea, benefiting by consuming the pure things as food, drink, clothing, housing, means of transportation and so on.


With respect to transactions, many forms of business contracts and dispositions that meet the needs of people have been sanctioned, even though the need for them does not reach the level of necessity. There are also loans, forward purchasing, mortgaging, guaranteeing, money transfer, sharecropping, different forms of sale, leasing, partnership, profit-sharing ventures and other types of contracts upon which the necessities of life are not dependent.235


Concerning these and similar matters, it is not a given that if any of them are missing that one of the necessities would be lost. However, humans are in need of them to make life easier and remove restrictions and hardships in their transactions and the exchanging of benefits.


Similarly, the laws related to marriage have a large number of aspects to them that remove hardships and difficulties from the people and fulfill the masaalih of husbands and wives. These laws would include the requirement of a dower and guardian for marriage, seeking the permission of the virgin woman, taking the decision of a non-virgin with respect to her marriage, and the permissibility of a guardian marrying off an underage girl if he fears that a qualified groom would be lost. Similarly, the permission to have a divorce or khula236 when needed and when marital life becomes difficult is part of meeting the needs of the people.


With respect to penal punishments, the law of paying blood money by the male relatives in the case of unintentional manslaughter, making matters easier upon the killer, as well as giving the heir the right to forgive the killer are laws meant to meet the needs of the people. Similar is true for the law of warding off a prescribed punishment in the face of any kind of substantial doubt. The law of a people taking an oath that none of their members did not commit a murder is yet another example of a law that is set to make life easier upon the people.237


In sum, these needed masaalih are in accord with every goal of the five, comprehensive goals. The intent here was simply to give some examples and not to go into details and explanations.



This section is comprised of three topics:

The first topic: The lexical meaning of “amenities”

The second topic: The technical definition of “amenities”

The third topic: The laws that have been enacted in order to attend to amenities


The lexical meaning of “amenities”

“Amenities” (tahseeniyaat) are the plural of “amenity” (tahseeni), related to the word al-tahseen, which means to make attractive and beautiful. Hasan is the opposite of “ugly.” It is an adjective for what is good. One says, “a hasanaa or hasanah or hassaanah woman,” meaning beautiful and possessing attractiveness. Hassanat something and tahseen it means to beautify it. Allah says, for example,


“Speak good to people” (al-Baqarah 83), that is speech that contains goodness. This kind of expression is found often in the Quran. 238


The technical definition of “amenities”

As a technical term, the “amenities” are those masaalih that are in the form of beautification and attractiveness. They are concerned with the most beautiful ways of performing the acts of worship and social transactions and are built upon noble behavior and the best of customs.239


In other words, they are masaalih that do not reach the level of necessities or of needs. However, they are demanded by chivalry, manners and noble character. If they are missing, the system of life is not put at a loss, as is the case with necessities, nor do people face any harms or hardships, as is the case with needs. But life will be devoid of nobility and the exhibition of beauty and perfection. Life will be displeasing in the view of sound thinking and natural disposition. In essence, these are a type of completion of what is appropriate and refraining from what is not appropriate. They include things such as the etiquette of speech, eating and drinking. They also include being moderate in outward appearance, just with respect to expenditures, without extravagance nor niggardliness and so on. These can all be gathered together in what is known as nobility of character. 240


The laws that have been enacted in order to attend to amenities

Islamic Law has come with many rulings that attend to the complementary and beautifying masaalih. As with the previous topic, these rulings are in accord with every goal of the five, comprehensive goals. Therefore, such rulings exist in the categories of worship, mundane practices, transactions and penal punishments.


In matters related to worship, Allah has legislated the purifying of the body, clothing and place, the covering of the private parts, the wearing of proper apparel to the mosques, keeping clear of impurities, protecting oneself from urine and other aspects of purity.


Similarly, He has sanctioned the voluntary acts of worship, such as prayers, charity, fasting and other deeds, that bring one closer to Him. With every act of worship, in addition to its prerequisites and its pillars, there is certain etiquette that should be performed. These train the people to behave with the best manners and guide them to the best and most upstanding way of life.


With respect to mundane activities, a number of manners and rules of etiquette have been sanctioned. These include etiquette related to eating and drinking, keeping the place of eating and the drinks free of impurities, and being free of extravagance and waste. There is also etiquette for sitting, sleeping, speaking and so on.


With respect to transactions, fraud and deception have been forbidden. It is also prohibited to sell impurities. It is also prohibited to sell one’s excess water or grass. One is also not supposed to compete against a brother’s offer or a brother’s marriage proposal. It is forbidden to go out and meet the riders [before they are able to bring their wares to the marketplaces and know their prices]. Price-fixing is also illegal. And there are many other aspects that make the people’s transactions in the best manner possible.


Furthermore, the Law protects the woman from having to directly arrange for her marriage. Instead, her guardian takes care of that. This is because if the woman has to find her own spouse, it will take her into behavior that is not appropriate for her, leading her to lose her modesty and shyness and to present herself to the men. This has all been prohibited in order to make people’s characters upon the best way and their mode of life in the most beautiful manner.


Also under this topic is the legislating of setting slaves free as well as their making contracts for their freedom or being freed upon the death of the owner and so on.


In the realm of penal punishments, mutilating someone, striking the face, burning the deceased or living people and other acts have all been prohibited.


These examples in turn point to other rulings which are similar in nature.


As can be seen, these are not a matter of necessity or need. Instead, they fall in the place of beautification and enrichment, attending to the best manners in worship and interactions and driving towards the most noble of character and beautiful customs. 241

It would take a lot of space to explain and show what these examples point to. The goal here is simply to mention the examples and not to go into any detail concerning them. They are discussed in detail in the appropriate places in the books of Islamic legal theory.


A study of the aforementioned examples would demonstrate that the beautifying types of laws are at different levels with respect to being obligatory or less than obligatory. Some of them are considered sought after and praiseworthy but not demanded [or required]. This is the case with some of the etiquette related to eating, drinking and so on. Some of them are considered sought after and obligatory in the sense of being required. This would include covering one’s private parts. This difference is because when something is from the beautifying acts, it means that people can live without it in their lives without facing any harm or difficulty. However, the etiquette and behavioral norms may lead to people being required to act with such behavior. 242


The Complementary and Completing Components for the Intended Masaalih


This section is comprised of two topics:

The first topic: An explanation of what are the complementary and completing rulings

The second topic: Necessary conditions for taking into consideration a complementary ruling


An explanation of what are the complementary and completing rulings

This section has three parts to it.

The first part: What has been legislated as complements to the necessities.

The second part: What has been legislated as complements to the needs.

The third part: What has been legislated as complements to the amenities.


What has been legislated as complements to the necessities

The masaalih that have been intended by the Lawgiver in laying down laws are of three grades, as explained earlier: necessities, needs and amenities.


Each one of these grades has laws added to them which act like complements or completing components. If it were hypothesized that these were lost, they would not lead to the loss of the foundation. However, these rulings have been legislated in order to preserve and protect the foundations in the most complete manner.


As for the necessities, many laws have been laid down to complement the goal of preserving religion. These include the prohibition of heresies and the strong punishment for the heretic who calls to his heresy. These are done such that the evils of such heresies can be repelled and the religion can be protected.


Included in this category is also the public display of the rituals of the faith, such as congregational prayers, Friday Prayers, Eid Prayers, so that the establishment and preservation of the religion can be even greater by public displays and gatherings.


Such is also the case with the call to the five daily prayers, which signifies the beginning of the time for prayers, is a call to the people to perform the prayer, is an announcement of the oneness of Allah and worship of Him alone, is an expression of Allah’s greatness and praiseworthiness and, finally, is a distinguishing feature between the land of Islam and the land of disbelief.


There are many other such laws that are complements and completions for the intended wisdom of the various forms of ritual worship.


With respect to the necessity of preserving life, there is the law of retaliation for injuries and the obligation that the penalty be of a similar kind to the act itself. This is not called for out of necessity. However, it is a complement to the wisdom of the law of retaliation. This is because if the punishment is more or greater in intensity than the original crime, it may lead to the negation of the intended goal of the law of retaliation. Due to loyalty and honor, it may lead to bloodshed and fighting from the side of the family that is required to suffer the greater punishment.


The law has also laid down a number of rules that act as complements for the necessity of familial ties. These include the prohibition of looking at the opposite sex, the prohibition of being alone with a member of the opposite sex, the prohibition of touching the opposite sex. These all have a discretionary punishment for them. These are forbidden because they are all acts that lead to and drive one to illegal sexual intercourse. The law has blocked any and any all means that lead to the committing of the forbidden act [of illegal sexual intercourse].


With respect to mental capacity, the complementary laws would include the prohibition of drinking a small amount of intoxicant and the resulting prescribed punishment for such drinking. This is because a small amount leads to a larger amount. Thus, the Lawgiver has forbidden it and prescribed a punishment for it, such that people do not fall into drinking an amount that can intoxicate them.


As for the necessity of wealth, there are a number of complementary laws related to it also. These include the obligation of paying a equitable wage, return a loan in like form, the punishment for the usurper, the prohibition of interest, the prohibition of bribery and so on.243


In sum, the All-Wise Lawgiver has blocked all the means that would lead to any kind of transgression against any of the five necessities. He has legislated protecting measures that guarantee the protection, preservation and safeguarding of the necessities against any possible type of harm against them.


These measures will be discussed in greater detail in the second and third parts, Allah willing.


What has been legislated as complements to the needs

Many rules have been legislated as complements and completions for needs. These include ensuring that the prospective groom is suitable and that there is an equitable dower for the underage bride. The need for these kinds of rulings is not the same as the need for permitting the marriage of the underage woman as a whole. However, ensuring that the groom is suitable and that the dower paid is equitable brings one closer to meeting the intended goal of the marriage. These acts exemplify proper marital relations, the continuance of love and the fulfilling of the wife’s rights. It is very rare that proper relations are kept between one spouse from one class or background and the other spouse from a different class or background. Similarly, not paying an equitable dower is a violation of the woman’s rights and shows disdain for her.


A number of various forms of transactions, such as different forms of sales contracts, leasing, profit-sharing investments and so on, have been permitted as a way of opening the doors for people to meet their needs and to remove hardships form them. However, such permissibility has been complemented by the prohibition of speculative transactions, sales with unknown factors, sale of non-existent items and the allowing and disallowing of specific stipulations in the contract. Similarly, regulations concerning witnesses, collateral and guarantees have been implemented. All of these are types of complements to needs.


Similar is the case with options related to buying and selling. The actual intent of buying and selling could have been met without legislating for such options. However, these options make things easier and less restrictive upon the people. Through these options, they have the opportunity to reconsider or return their purchases, thus being protected from fraud and cheating. This is all complementary to the intended wisdom of business transactions.244


What has been legislated as complements to the amenities

With respect to amenities, those regulations that have been laid down as complements to them include: manners related to relieving oneself, recommended acts of purification, the obligation of completing an act once started even though it is not an obligatory act, spending from one’s goodly earned wealth, choosing the best available when it comes to sacrifices, feasts after a birth, setting slaves free and so on. 245


Thus, it is made clear that every law of the Islamic Shareeah has been legislated to protect necessities, needs or amenities, or it acts complementary to those in protecting one of them.


Also included in this discussion is the fact that the needs are complements and completions for the necessities. Similarly, the amenities act like complements to the needs. Truly, the necessities are the foundation of all masaalih. All of these complementary laws are considered only for the purpose of preserving the necessities in the most perfect and complete manner, as I shall explain shortly.


Necessary conditions for taking into consideration a complementary ruling

It is a condition upon the complementary laws that they do not lead to the voiding of its foundation.


Al-Shaatibi stated,

Every complement—since it is only a complement—has a condition to it. This is that attending to it does not end up in voiding the foundation. Actually, one cannot consider a complementary act as validly meeting its conditions if it leads to the voiding of the foundation. This is for two reasons. First, in voiding the foundation, the complementary act is also voided. This is because the complementary law with its complement is like an attribute to an object. If attending to the attribute leads to the removal of the object, then that also must mean that the attribute will be gone. Therefore, attending to that complementary law leads to actually not [being able] to attend to it. Such is an impossibility and unimaginable. If it is inconceivable, the complementary law cannot be taken into consideration and only the foundational principle will be left without any addition to it. Secondly, even if we assume that the complementary maslahah can be achieved with the loss of the fundamental maslahah, achieving the fundamental one would take precedence due to the difference between them.246


He further elaborated upon this point by presenting a number of examples, including:

1.       The essentials of business transactions are a necessity. Prohibiting speculative deals and non-specifying of quantities in a contract are complementary laws. If denying speculative acts were set as a condition as a whole, we would not destroy the area of business transactions.

2.       In a mutually onerous contract, there is a condition that both things to be exchanged must be present and existing. This law is a type of complementary law. However, in renting, this is impossible because it would imply requiring the presence of the usufruct. This would put an end to such a contract. However, renting is something that is needed, even if one of the exchanged items is not present or does not exist.

3.       The scholars say it is permissible to make jihad under an unjust ruler. This is because abandoning jihad would be harmful to the Muslims. Jihad is a necessity. Having a leader for it is also a necessity. However, the leader being righteous is simply a complement to the necessity. If, though, a complementary law voids the original law, it is not to be taken into consideration. Therefore, there has come from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a number of hadith the order to perform the jihad even under unjust rulers.247

4.       Completing the pillars of the prayer in a complete fashion is a complementary law for the necessity. However, if its obligation leads one to not praying, such as with the ill person who does not have the ability, the complementary law is dropped. This is true even if it leads to hardship. The hardship will be removed from the one who cannot complete the prayer in the proper fashion and the person will pray in the manner he is able to according to the relaxing concessions.

5.       Covering the private parts is part of the beautification of the prayer. If it were absolutely demanded, the one who cannot find anything to cover himself would be excused from the prayer. However, according to the soundest view, the one who has nothing to cover himself with prays in the nude. This is so he does not miss out on the goal of the prayer simply to cover his private parts, which is nothing more than an amenity and complementary regulation.


This list of examples could go on ad nauseum. All of them are of this nature.248


The Relative Importance of the Masaalih and the Building of the Needed and Amenity Masaalih Upon the Necessities

This section has two parts to it.

The first part: The relative importance of the Masaalih

The second part: The building of the needed and amenity masaalih upon the necessities


The relative importance of the Masaalih

Based on what has preceded explaining the meaning of necessity, need and amenity, it is clear that the necessities are the most important of the masaalih and are the first to be attended to. Then comes the needs and then comes the amenities.


Due to this, the laws that have been legislated to preserve the necessities are the most important laws and have the most right to be observed. After that come the laws that have been laid down to attend to the needs. Then come the laws that are related to the amenities.


In fact, the laws that are enacted to attend to the amenities are but complementary to the laws legislated for the needs. Similarly, the laws legislated to attend to the needs are like complementary laws to those legislated to preserve the necessities.


Thus, it is a must to preserve all three categories to the maximum. However, if there is some conflict between them such that the preserving of one means the loss of another, then, in that case, necessities will take precedence, then needs and then amenities. One cannot attend to a rule meant for needs if in so doing one causes the loss of a ruling that attends to the necessities. Similarly, one cannot attend to a rule meant for amenities if in so doing one causes the loss of a ruling that attends to the necessities or the needs. This is because the needs, as just mentioned, are complements to the necessities while the amenities are complements for the needs. It is a condition for the consideration of a complementary law, as noted earlier, that it not lead to the voiding of the object that it is supposed to be complementary to. If it does lead to such nullification, then the complementary law itself is to be considered void.


Based on this principle, it is permissible to uncover one’s private parts if so required by a medical cure or operation. This is because covering the private parts falls under the amenities while the cure or treatment is a necessity or need.


Similarly, it is allowed to cut open the stomach of a deceased pregnant woman to take out her baby if it is expected that the baby has a chance to live. This is so because saving life is one of the necessities while protecting the honor of the mother is simply an amenity.


Again, it is permissible to take something impure, such as a dead animal, for the purpose of eating or medicine if necessity requires that. This is because remaining away from impurities is an amenity while keeping oneself from dying is a necessity.


One is also allowed not to perform the ablution or full-body wash if he fears some harm to himself. Again, this is because the ablution and full-body wash are from the amenities while preserving one’s body is from the necessities.


These are examples of giving up rulings related to amenities when their enactment leads to a shortcoming in a need or necessity.249


Similar is the case with needs in comparison to necessities. Needs are not taken into consideration if so doing leads to an infringement of any necessity. For that reason, the customary type of effort that is required to perform the Shareeah obligations of worship, transactions and punishments is not to be taken into consideration [as a kind of hardship]. The legally responsible person must still fulfill them and enact them as long as he has the ability to do so. He is not in a situation where it is permissible for him to follow a concession, even if the responsibilities require a good deal of effort on his part.


In fact, every legal obligation entails some effort and hardship. If no form of hardship at all was a principle to be adhered to, it would lead to the cancellation of a number of rulings related to the necessities, be they related to worship, penal punishments and so forth. This is because no implementation of any act is free of all effort and hardship. In any case, though, the necessary masaalih are given preference and attended to above these needed masaalih.250


As for the laws related to necessities, it is a must to attend to them and not allow any infringement upon them at all. The only exception would be if there is some kind of conflict between them, in which case the more important and stronger one would take precedence, as explained earlier in detail.


The three masaalih may all be combined together in one characteristic or act. If one cannot perform all of them together, the stronger of them will take precedence, in the aforementioned order. For example, maintaining oneself is a necessity; maintaining one’s wives is a need; maintaining one’s other relatives is a complement and completing act for the above. Therefore, one takes precedence over the other according to their importance. Thus, maintaining oneself takes precedence over maintaining wives which in turn takes precedence over maintaining near relatives.251 


The building of the needed and amenity masaalih upon the necessities

We have already mentioned in a number of places that the well-being of the religion and the worldly life is dependent upon the preservation of the five necessities.


If that is confirmed, then those necessary masaalih are the foundation for the needs and amenities. The needed and amenity masaalih cannot be anything more than branches of the necessities, serving them and being complementary to them. When the needs and amenities are fulfilled, they remove hardships and people find life easier and accommodating. It will lead to a complete goodness for the intelligent ones among them.


Explaining this point, al-Shaatibi said, “The completion of the necessities will be in a better fashion if the human encounters them with ease and comfort, without hardship or difficult. In this way, along with the necessities one will find the characteristics of beautiful customs, noble characters, with all the parts provided and completed, such that the people of knowledge will consider it a very good situation. However, if such complements are missing, then the necessities meet some hardships and difficulties. They will be characterized by what is not considered the best in the manner of customs. The obligatory necessity will be something difficult to act upon and will not be pure in the manner that the Law wants it to be. This is the opposite of what it has been prescribed for. A hadith states, ‘I have been sent only to perfect the noble behaviors.’252  Thus, if the complementary laws are assumed missing, the obligatory would not occur in its proper manner. Thus, there would be an obvious shortcoming in the obligatory aspect…” 253


Al-Shaatibi spoke about this issue in five separate sections. They are:

First, the necessities are the foundation for what is other than them of needs and completing aspects.


Second, if the necessities are missing, then, as a must, the other two must also be missing. This is because the non-necessities are built upon it like one of its attributes or branches. If the root is missing, the branch will be missing a fortiori.


For example, if we postulated the removing of the basics of business transactions from the Shareeah, there would be no meaning to considering the question of unknown quantities or speculative transactions. Similarly, if the basics of the law of retaliation are removed, there would be no meaning to the consideration of equality as an aspect of the law of retaliation. It is impossible for the attribute to remain if the object it is an attribute of is gone.


Third, it is not necessary that if the remaining two [needs and amenities] are lacking that the necessities will also be lacking.


Fourth, if the amenities or needs are absolutely lacking, then the necessary will be lacking in some manner or another.


Fifth, it is incumbent to preserve the needs and amenities for the sake of the necessities.


Then he, may Allah have mercy on him, explained these five points and provided examples for them. Then he stated, “This all demonstrates that the greatest goal of the three desired aspects is the preservation of the most important of them first, which are the necessities. It is for this reason that they have been attended to in every religion, such that no religion differs about this, as they differed about secondary points, for it is the foundation of the religion, the basic axiom of the Law and the comprehensive principle of the religion.”


And Allah alone knows best.


Footnotes :

229 Mujam Maqaayees al-Lughah, vol. 2, p. 114.

230 [This is the typical way of expressing an Arabic verb. It is, in order, the third person masculine singular perfect tense, the third person masculine singular imperfect tense and the verbal noun.]

231 See Tahdheeb al-Lughah, vol. 5, p. 134; Ibn Sayidih, al-Muhkam, vol. 3, p. 354; Lisaan al-Arab, vol. 2, p. 242; al-Qaamoos al-Muheet, vol. 1, p. 184; al-Misbaah al-Muneer, vol. 1, p. 155; Asaas al-Balaaghah, vol. 1, p. 204.

232 Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p.10. Also see Sharh al-Jalaal al-Mahali ala Jami al-Jawaami, vol. 2, p. 281; Taiseer al-Tahreer, vol. 3, p. 307; al-Taqreer wa al-Tahbeer, vol. 3, p. 144; Fawaatih al-Rahamoot, vol. 2, p. 262; Irshaad al-Fahool, p. 216; Sharh al-Kaukab al-Muneer, vol. 4, pp. 614-615; Sharh al-Adhid ala Mukhtasar ibn al-Haajib, vol. 2, p. 241; Nibraas al-Uqool, vol. 1, p. 282; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 202; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 2, p. 1022; Muhammad Shalbi, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 1, p. 515.

233 See al-Majmoo al-Muhadhib fi Qawaaid al-Madhhab, vol. 1, p. 27; al-Suyooti, al-Ashbaahu wa al-Nadhaa`ir, p. 82; al-Baahusain, Raf` al-Haraj, pp. 575-576.

234 See al-Dahlawi, Hujjah Allah al-Baalighah, vol. 1, pp. 325-326.

235There are some particular social transactions that may be needed to protect one of the necessities, such as hiring a wet-nurse for a child as it is sanctioned to preserve the life of the child, which in turn is related to the necessity of preserving life. Similarly, purchasing what one needs of food and clothing to sustain one’s life and preserve it during cold and heat and so on would be a necessity. However, due to the relatively small number of these types of transactions, contracts as a whole are still considered needs and not necessities, based on the majority of their cases. On this point, see Sharh al-Adhid ala Mukhtasar ibn al-Haajib, vol. 2, p. 241; Sharh al-Kaukab al-Muneer, vol. 4, pp. 165-166; Salim al-Wusool, vol. 4, p. 85; al-Ibhaaj, vol. 3, p. 56; Sharh al-Jalaal al-Mahali ala Jam` al-Jawaami ma Haashiyah al-Banaani alaih, vol. 2, p. 281; al-Bahr al-Muheet, vol. 5, p. 211; Shifaa al-Ghaleel, p. 166.

236[A form of separation initiated by the wife, where she pays an agreed upon amount to be freed from the marriage.-trans.]

237 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 10; Sharh al-Jalaal al-Mahali ala Jam` al-Jawaami ma Haashiyah al-Banaani alaih, vol. 2, p. 281; Sharh al-Adhid ala Mukhtasar ibn al-Haajib, vol. 2, p. 241; Shifaa al-Ghaleel, pp. 165-166; Sharh al-Kaukab al-Muneer, vol. 4, pp. 165; Irshaad al-Fahool, p. 216; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 202; Abu Zahrah, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 320; Shalbi, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 1, p. 515; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 2, p. 1022; Nadhariyyah al-Dharoorah al-Shariyyah, pp. 53-54; Nidhaam al-Hudood wa al-Janaayaat fi al-Fiqh al-Islaami, pp. 28-29.

 238 See ibn Sayyidih, al-Muhkam, vol. 3, p. 142; Tahdheeb al-Lughah, vol. 4, p. 314; Lisaan al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 114; Mujam Maqaayees al-Lughah, vol. 2, p. 57; al-Misbaah al-Muneer, vol. 1, p. 136.

239 See Shifaa al-Ghaleel, p. 169; al-Mustasfa, vol. 1, p. 290; al-Amidi, al-Ihkaam, vol. 3, p. 275; Sharh Mukhtasar al-Raudah, vol. 3, p. 206; Taiseer al-Tahreer, vol. 3, p. 308; al-Taqreer wa al-Tahbeer, vol. 3, p. 145; Sharh al-Jalaal al-Mahali ala Jam’ al-Jawaami, vol. 2, p. 281; Sharh Tanqeeh al-Fusool, p. 391; Irshaad al-Fahool, p. 216; al-Mahsool, part 2, vol. 2, p. 222; Sharh al-Kaukab al-Muneer, vol. 4, p. 166; Sharh al-Asfahaani ala Minhaaj al-Baidhaawi, vol. 2, p. 685.

 240 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 11; Nashr al-Bunood, vol. 2, pp. 177f; Zakariya al-Barri, Masaadir al-Ahkaam al-Islaamiyyah, p. 126; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 200; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 2, p. 1023; al-Madkhal al-Fiqhi al-Aam, vol. 1, p. 94; Shalbi, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 1, p. 516.

241 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 11-12; al-Mustasfa, vol. 1, pp. 290-293; Nihaayah al-Sool, vol. 4, pp. 84-86; Sharh al-Asfahaani ala Minhaaj al-Baidhaawi, vol. 2, pp. 686-687; Sharh Tanqeeh al-Fusool, pp. 391-392.


242 See al-Madkhal al-Fiqhi al-Aam, vol. 1, p. 95.

 243 See al-Mustasfa, vol. 1, p. 288-290; Shifaa al-Ghaleel, pp. 164-165; al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 12-13; Fawaatih al-Rahamoot, vol. 2, pp. 262-263; Sharh al-Adhid ala Mukhtasar ibn al-Haajib, vol. 2, pp. 240-241; Sharh al-Jalaal al-Mahali ala Jam’ al-Jawaami ma Haashiyah al-Banaani, vol. 2, pp. 280-281; al-Ibhaaj, vol. 3, pp. 55-56; al-Bahr al-Muheet, vol. 5, p. 211; Sharh al-Kaukab al-Muneer, vol. 4, pp. 163-166; Irshaad al-Fahool, p. 216; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, pp. 204-205.

244 Ibid.

245 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 12; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 205.

246 Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 13-14.

 247 See some of those hadith is Jaami al-Usool, vol. 2, pp. 563ff.

 248 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 14-16; Qawaaid al-Ahkaam, vol. 1, p. 87 and vol. 2, pp. 8f.

249 See al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 13, 14, 15; Qawaaid al-Ahkaam, vol. 1, pp. 81, 98; Khalaaf, Usool al-Fiqh, pp. 205-207; Shalbi, Usool al-Fiqh, vol. 1, pp. 518-520; Al-Wajeez fi Usool al-Fiqh, pp. 382-383; Filsifah Maqaasid al-Tashree, p. 25.

 250 See the previously cited references. For more details see Qawaaid al-Ahkaam, vol. 2, pp. 7-14; Abu Zahrah, Usool al-Fiqh, pp. 318-321; Mubaahith al-Hukm ind al-Usooliyeen, pp. 195f; al-Baahusain, Raf al-Haraj fi al-Shareeah al-Islaamiyyah, pp. 578-591.

251 See Sharh Mukhtasar al-Raudhah, vol. 3, p. 385.


252 Recorded by Maalik in al-Muwatta (Book of Good Character: Chapter Concerning what has come done concerning good character, vol. 3, p. 904), with the wording, “I have been sent to complete the most beautiful character.” Its chain is broken. Ahmad also recorded it in his Musnad (vol. 2, p. 381), with the wording, “I have been sent only to complete the righteous character.” Ibn Abdul-Barr stated in al-Tamheed (vol. 24, p. 323), “This is an authentic, Medinese hadith that has sound unbroken chains from Abu Hurairah and others from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” See al-Fath al-Rabbaani, vol. 19, p. 75; and the analysis of the hadith by al-Arnaaoot of Jaami al-Usool, vol. 4, p. 4. Al-Albaani stated in his analysis of the hadith of Miskhaat al-Masaabeeh (vol. 3, p. 1411), “Its chain is good. Al-Haakim declared it authentic and al-Dhahabi conferred with his opinion.”

253 Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 23-24.

254 Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 16-25.



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