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This work is comprised of four chapters:
          Chapter One: The meaning of “the goals of the Shareeah”
          Chapter Two: The meaning of maslahah, which is the intent of the Lawgiver
          Chapter Three: The Shareeah’s fulfillment of the needs and interests of humans
          Chapter Four: The types of maslahah intended by the legislation
Chapter 1
The meaning of “the goals of the Shareeah”
This chapter contains two sections:
          Section One: The lexical meaning of the word maqsad (????).
          Section Two: The  meaning of the maqsad of the Shareeah
 
The Lexical Meaning of the Word Maqsad
Maqsad is the singular of maqaasid. It is the Mimi verbal noun1  of three letter root verb qasada.  One says, qasadtuhu qasdan wa maqsadan. Hence, one says, “I betook myself (or went towards) you (ilaika qasdi or maqsadi).” Maqsid is a noun of place, as in the statement, “Your door is my maqsid,” that is, it is the place of my intent and direction.
 
The verb is transitive by itself or by the use of a preposition. Thus one can say qasadtu al-sha`i, qasadtu lahu or qasadtu ilaih.
 
Al-Qasad is reliance and foundation, bringing something, seeking it, affirming it and direction one’s intent towards it2.
 
Al-Zamakhshari stated,
Figuratively, [one says] “qasada or iqtasada in his livelihood” or “qasada in a matter” when he did not go beyond the proper limit and was pleased with being moderate. This is said because he intended what was most pertinent. [Thus one also says,] “He is upon al-qasd” or “the qasd of the path” in reference to a person who is rightly guided. [Similarly one says], “He has a path of qasd or qaasidah,” as opposed to being upon of path of injustice and wickedness. One also says sair qaasid (“a direct journey”), between us is a qaasidah night, that is, an easy journey. One also says, “You should follow what is most just and most direct.” One also speaks of a qaasid arrow, meaning one rightly directed towards the target3.
 
The Meaning of Maqsad in the Shareeah
 The Islamic Shareeah came to fulfill a general, universal goal: the fulfillment of the well-being of humans in both this life and the Hereafter. There is no ruling in the law of Allah for His servants except that it produces some benefit, repels some harm or both produces a good and repels a harm at one and the same time.
 
Imam al-Shaatibi stated, “It is known from the Shareeah that it was legislated for the benefit of the servants [that is, humans]. All of the legal responsibilities are meant to repel an evil, produce some good or do both of them together.”4  At another place, he also stated, “The Lawgiver meant by His legislation the establishment of the good of the next life and of this world, and this in a way that the way of life will not be faulty.”5
 
Al-Izz ibn Abdul-Salaam stated, “We know from the sources of the law that the goal of the law is the well-being of humans in both their religion and their worldly affairs.”6
 
Al-Amidi stated, “The goal of prescribing a law is either bringing about a benefit, repelling a harm or the both of them together. [These are] in relation to the humans only, for the Lord is above receiving any harm or benefit [from such laws]… And such will either be in this world or in the Hereafter.” 7
 
Shaikh Abdul-Wahhaab Khalaaf stated, “We do not know of any difference of opinion among the Muslim scholars whose opinions are taken into consideration that the purport of the laws of the Islamic Shareeah are the fulfillment of the benefits of mankind.” 8
 
Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah stated, “The jurists have agreed that the Shareeah has come to protect the accepted interests of mankind, that can be rightfully called maslaha9  and not a capricious desire or short-term pleasure or deviant lust.”10  On another occasion, he stated, “The jurists as a whole have agreed that the Shareeah rules are the ‘container’ of the true benefits. There is no ruling that Islam came with except that it contains benefits for mankind.”11
 
Shaikh Muhammad Taahir ibn Ashoor said, “The greatest goal of the Shareeah is to bring about good and prevent evil. This is achieved by rectifying the state of the people and repelling their harm. When it was ruling over the affairs of the world, it was in their interest and the interest of the world and its state.”12  Elsewhere he stated, “The goal of the Shareeah, from its being legislated, is to safeguard the system of the world and to put proper controls on the behavior of the people, such that it is protected from ruin and destruction. This can only be done by bringing about the good and avoiding evils according to what is determined by the meaning of maslahah and mafsadah.” 13
 
Imam al-Ghazaali stated, “As for goals, they can be divided into worldly and religious. Each one of them is further divided into achieving [something] and preserving [something]. Achieving something is referred to as bringing about a benefit while preserving [something] is referred to as repelling a harm, that is with respect to what is intended to be preserved as its discontinuance would be harmful and its remaining repels harm. Attending to the goals includes preserving and keeping something from being discontinued and it also includes achieving the beginning [of some good].” 14
 
Therefore, the purpose of the law is the fulfillment of the worldly and after-life well-being of humans. Its actualization is via bringing about beneficial matters and preventing harmful matters. This shall be explained in more detail later.
 
The welfare of humans falls into one of three categories only. They are, in order of strength, importance and need for them in establishing the worldly and after-life well-being: necessities, needs and amenities. Each of these shall be discussed in further detail later in the third chapter.
 
Al-Shaatibi stated under the heading, “Explaining the intent of the Lawgiver in laying down the Shareeah,” “The legal requirements of the Shareeah relate to the preservation of their goals among the creation. These goals do not go beyond one of three categories, being: (1) necessities, (2) needs and (3) amenities.” 15
 
Shaikh Abdul-Wahhaab Khalaaf wrote, “The general goal of the Lawgiver from legislating the laws is the fulfillment of the well-being of humankind, by guaranteeing their necessities and providing for their needs and amenities.” 16
 
The legal responsibilities and obligations, then, are related to the preservation of these three goals, which ensure the well-being of humankind. If the people possess their necessities, needs and amenities, then their well-being has been fulfilled and their true happiness, security and tranquility in this world and the Hereafter will be provided for them.
 
Imam al-Ghazaali explained the goals of the Shareeah in his statement, “The goals of the law among the creation are five: that their religion, lives, mental capacity, familial ties and wealth are all protected. Everything that provides protection to these five goals in itself is a good (maslahah). Anything that allows these to be vanished is in itself an evil (mafsadah), and its repelling is therefore a good (maslahah).” 17
 
Note that in this definition, he mentioned as the goals of the Shareeah only the protection of the necessities, without mentioning the needs and amenities. Even though, it is an acceptable and sound definition. This is because the necessities are the foundation of worldly and after-life well-being. The other needs and amenities are simply branches of them. They serve and complement the necessities, such that the necessities are fulfilled in the best fashion and most complete manner. This will also be discussed in further detail in the third section.
 
This is the general, comprehensive goal for which the Islamic Law came with all of its responsibilities and laws to fulfill. This is what the legal theorists have been concerned with and spoke about in more than one place in the books on Islamic legal theory.
 
If this is understood, then it is appropriate to note that the Shareeah also has partial goals that fall under the umbrella of the general, comprehensive goal. They are considered branches and complements to the main goal. These are the specific goals concerning each topic of law. They are derived by the jurists from the clear texts and implications of the Law, from the relevant ways in which the particular laws are attended to, which the juists present while discussing analogies and comparisons of different rulings, and from the pointers that show the way things are similar or dissimilar. They also present these goals throughout the texts of their books and chapters to explain the major goal of each issue.
 
They have mentioned in each chapter of the chapters of fiqh the main goal that the rulings of the chapter revolve around and what they seek to fulfill and preserve. This is what they term the “wisdom” (hikmah) of such and such command or prohibition. They may also call it that which is decreed by reasoning or introspection or other similar terms.
 
Then they follow up the main goal of the chapter with the partial goals that are meant to be served, protected and perfected.
 
In fact, every ruling of the Shareeah has a particular goal to it. But this is simply a branch of the major goal of that general topic; it serves and complements that major goal. Similarly, the main goal of that particular topic follows, serves and complements the general, main goal of the Shareeah.18
 
This will be made clear by the following example:
 When one considers financial contracts, one finds that they fall under the category of needed beneficial acts  that have been legislated to make things easier upon the people and to remove the hardships and difficulties that would occur if they were not legislated. That is one of the three general, comprehensive goals of the Shareeah.
 
If one considers the act of buying and selling, for example, which is one of these types of contracts, one will find that the scholars justified its legality by saying: common sense and wisdom demands it because people are in need of what others possess and, in general, the others will not give up what they possess without receiving something in exchange. Thus in permitting buying and selling, the Law has permitted the means by which each one of them can meet his goals and satisfy his needs. If buying and selling to exchange one benefit for another were not legal, that would lead one to take the other’s property by force or through begging or each party not being able to meet its needs. The harm and evil from that is clear.19
 
Upon consideration, it can be seen that this goal is not inconsistent with the general, comprehensive goal mentioned earlier.
 
Similarly, if one considers the salam [forward purchase] contract, a type of business contract, one will find that the wisdom behind its legality is “that people are in need of it. The owners of produce, fruits and merchandise are in need of spending upon themselves and their families to complete their ventures. They may be in need of that money and therefore it is allowed for them to make a forward sale in order to benefit from that money and so that the forward purchaser may benefit from a cheaper price.”20
 
This goal falls under the basic goal of business transactions, which in turn is in accord with the general goal of the Shareeah as a whole. In fact, every ruling from the rulings of business transactions, with regards to the salam contract or otherwise, contain a wisdom and purpose, which is considered a complement to the basic goal of business transactions and which, in turn, is consistent with the general Shareeah goal.
 
The scholars have given these [particular] purposes or goals a number of names, including: the wisdom of the legislation, the wisdom of the rulings, the beauty of the legislation, the goals of the legislation, the philosophy of the legislation or its underlying reason, goal, purpose and so on.21
 
In the same way that jurists were concerned with these types of purposes in order to explain the wisdom of the rulings, the preachers, callers to Islam and reformers were also concerned with it. When they preached, propagated or reformed, they needed, in order to accomplish their role, to explain to the people the excellence, goals and reasons for the legislation and how it meets the needs of humans for both this life and the Hereafter.
 
It is actually these [partial] goals [and not the all-comprehensive goal] that are meant by some of the later scholars in their definitions of the goals of the Islamic Shareeah.
 
(1) Some defined the goals as, “The meaning of the purposes of the Shareeah is: the goal of it and the reason for which the Lawgiver has laid down each particular law.” 22
(2) Others defined them as, “It is the observable meaning, goals and wisdom of the Lawgiver in all or most of the rules of law.”23
(3) Another defines the goals as, “The noble ethical standard that exists behind the words and texts and which is the purport of the legislation, in both its universal and particular [rulings].”24
(4) Yet another defines them as, “They are the purposes, goals, results and meanings which were brought by the Noble Shareeah and which are affirmed by the Shareeah rules, which is flexible enough to actualize, produce and reach them in every time and place.” 25
 
What has led me to reproduce these definitions here is that when I was attempting to explain the meaning of “the goals of the Shareeah,” I gathered together the scholarly sources on this material and I found that some of the definitions of the later scholars were problematic for me. This is because the general goal of the Shareeah encompasses all of the rules of the Shareeah, without any exception. Thus, every law has been legislated to bring about some good or repel some evil, as was explained earlier. However, some of the later scholars stated in their definitions that it is the clear wisdom of the Legislator in all or most of the rules of the law and another stated, “in all of the rules of the Law or most of them.”
 
After exerting effort in pondering, reading and comparing, I discovered that the starting point of the former definitions—which I approved of above—differs from that of the latter definitions. The former group intended the general, comprehensive goal which comprises the whole of the Shareeah with all of its obligations and rules. The latter group intended the goals and wisdom of particular laws that exist in every topic of the Shareeah and in every ruling, as was explained earlier. But for some rulings of the Shareeah, this wisdom or goal may not be apparent to us. The scholars have agreed that there is no Shareeah ruling without some wisdom behind it. However, that wisdom may be kept hidden from us,26 perhaps due to our own shortcomings, our ignorance, our inability to understanding or our lack of researching the wisdom sufficiently. It could even be the case that the Wise Lawgiver has intended that such wisdom be hidden from us, as a trial from Him for His servants and a test for them, as we are required to worship Him by implementing His commands regardless of whether we understand the wisdom behind them or not. Thus, the scholars say about a rule whose wisdom is hidden, “The wisdom behind it is a matter of worship,” [that is, we do not know its wisdom but we submit to its ruling as a matter of servitude and submission to Allah].
 
This discussion could be a lengthy one but the goal here is simply to point out this fact.
 
After the above discussion, I must say that restricting one’s definition of “the goals of the Islamic Shareeah” to explaining the partial goals, without stating the general, comprehensive goal, must be considered insufficient and a restriction that is inappropriate. And Allah knows best.
 
Footnotes: 
 
1 [A “Mimi verbal noun” refers to certain verbal nouns that are formed with the letter mim with a fatha at the beginning.—trans.]
2 See Tahdheeb al-Lughah, vol. 8, p. 352; Mujam Maqayees al-Lughah, vol. 5, p. 95; Asaas al-Balaaghah, p. 367; Mukhtaar al-Sihaah, p. 536; Tahdheeb al-Asmaa wa al-Lughaat, vol. 3, p. 93; Lisaan al-Arab, vol. 3, p. 353; al-Qaamoos al-Muheet, vol. 1, p. 327; al-Misbaah al-Muneer, vol. 2, p. 504; al-Mujam al-Waseet, p. 738.
3 Al-Zamakhshari, Asaas al-Balaaghah, p. 367. Also see Mujam Maqayees al-Lughah, vol. 5, p. 95; al-Misbaah al-Muneer, vol. 2, p. 505.
4Al-Shaatibi, Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 1, p. 199.
5 Al-Shaataibi, Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 3, p. 37. Also see vol. 2, p. 49f. It must be noted that after completely explaining this notion, he mentioned another goal of the Lawgiver in forming the Shareeah: “The goal of the Lawgiver in proclaiming the law was to take humans away from the calls of desires, such that they become servants of Allah by choice in the same way that they are servants of Allah by necessity.” (al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 168.) In reality, there is no contradiction between these two goals. In fact, they are necessarily correlated. The first goal, which is discussed in this research, means the laying down of a system that guarantees happiness and security in both this world and the Hereafter for whoever adheres to it. As for the second goal, it means that the Lawgiver wants the human to enter into and submit to this way of life—and not to follow his desires or lusts. Thus, the criterion for what is in the interest of humans is according to what has been determined by the Lawgiver and not what is craved by the lusts and desires of humans. Allah created the creation, revealed books, sent messengers and prescribed laws for the purpose of Him being worshipped and His unity being adhered to. Allah says, “And I (Allah) created not the
jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)” (al-Dhaariyaat 56), “And We did not send any Messenger before you but We inspired him (saying), ‘None has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah), so worship Me (Alone and none else)’” (al-Anbiyaa 25), and, “And verily, We have sent among every  nation a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid all false deities’” (al-Nahl 36). This is the greater goal for which humans have been created and by which they will achieve their security and happiness in both their lives in this world and in the Hereafter. This is what al-Shaatibi both emphasized and pointed out when he said, “If it is accepted that the Shareeah has been prescribed for the benefit of humans, it then returns to them according to the commands of the Lawgiver and according to the limits that He has set, and not according to the demands of their desires and lusts.” Then he said, “It is not necessary that the benefits of the responsibility [of following the law] return to the humans in the present and future life that this means that they could achieve them by going beyond the limits of the Shareeah or that they could achieve them by themselves without the law being given to them.” Then he says, “This clarifies that there is no contradiction between these words [that is, what he stated about the second goal] and what was previously stated [concerning the first goal that the goal of the Lawgiver is the fulfilling of the good for humans in both this life and the Hereafter] because what was stated earlier was looking at confirming the goal as the Lawgiver has confirmed it, not as is demanded by the desires and lusts. This is what we mean to discuss here.” Al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 172, with slight abridgement. This will be explained further while discussing the meaning of the maslahah which is the goal of the Lawgiver in His Shareeah.
6 Al-Izz ibn Abdul-Salaam, Qawaaid al-Ahkaam fi Masaalih al-Anaam, vol. 1, p. 32.
7 Al-Amidi, al-Ihkaam fi Usool al-Ahkaam, vol. 3, p. 271. Similarly, see Sharh al-Adhad ala Mukhtasar ibn al-Haajib ma Haashiyah al-Taftizaaani wa al-Jurjaani, vol. 2, p. 239; Sharh al-Mahali ala Jami al-Jawaami ma Haashiyah al-Banaani, vol. 2, p. 276; Taiseer al-Tahreer, vol. 3, p. 302; Fawaatih al-Rahamoot Sharh Musallim al-Thaboot, vol. 2, p. 276; al-Shalbi, Usool al-Fiqh al-Islaami, vol. 1, p. 511.
8 Abdul-Wahhaab Khalaaf, Masaadir al-Tashree al-Islaami Feema La Nuss Feeh, p. 173. Also see Khalaaf, Ilm Usool al-Fiqh, pp. 69 and 198; Muhammad al-Khidhr Hussain, Rasaail al-Islaah, vol. 2, p. 150; Abdul-Azeez al-Rabeeah, Adillah al-Tashree al-Mukhtalafah fi al-Ihtijaaj biha, p. 189.
9The meaning of this term will be discussed in more detail later.
10 Muhammad Abu Zahrah, al-Jareemah, p. 29. Also see p. 30.
11 Muhammad Abu Zahrah, Usool al-Fiqh, p. 370. He stated similarly in his Maalik: Hayaatuhu, Asruhu, Araauhu wa Fiqhuhu, p. 293.
12 Muhammad al-Taahir ibn Ashoor, Maqaasid al-Shareeah al-Islaamiyyah, p. 64.
13  Ibid., p. 78.
14 Muhammad al-Ghazaali, Shifaa al-Ghaleel fi Bayaan al-Shubh wa al-Makhayil wa Masaalik al-Taleel, p. 159.
15 Al-Shaatibi, al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, p. 8. Also see vol. 2, pp. 37 and 49.
16 Abdul-Wahhaab Khalaaf, Ilm Usool al-Fiqh, p. 197. See the similar passage in his Masaadir al-Tashree al-Islaami Feema La Nuss Feeh, p. 173; al-Zaidaan, Usool al-Dawah, p. 60.
17 Al-Ghazaali, al-Mustasfa fi Ilm al-Usool, vol. 1, p. 287. See the similar passage in Abu Zahrah, Maalik: Hayaatuhu, Asruhu, Araauhu wa Fiqhuhu, p. 300.
18 In some cases, such contracts would be considered necessities. However, in general, they are simply needed and that is why they fall under this category. This issue will be discussed in further detail later.
19 See al-Mughni, vol. 6, p. 7; ibn al-Humaam, Fath al-Qadeer, vol. 5, pp. 73-74; al-Mubdi fi Sharh al-Muqni, vol. 3, p. 4.
20 Al-Mughni, vol. 6, p. 385; also see al-Mubdi, vol. 4, p. 177.
21 Many scholars of the past and present have written on this topic. In particular, Imam Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali had a long hand in this discussion as he discussed these issues in many of his books, especially Ihyaa Uloom al-Deen. Ibn al-Jauzi also discussed these points in many of his works. Also see Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abdul-Rahmaan al-Bukhaari al-Hanafi, Mahaasin al-Islaam wa Sharaai al-Islaam; al-Raaghib al-Asfahaani, al-Dhareeah ila Maqaasid al-Shareeah and Tafseel al-Nashatain wa Tahseel al-Saadatain. Ibn al-Qayyim also discussed this issue often in his works, in particular Miftaah Daar al-Saadah, Shifaa al-Aleel fi Masaail al-Qadhaa wa al-Qadar wa al-Hikmah wa al-Taleel and Ilaam al-Muwaqieen. See also Shaikh Ahmad ibn Abdul-Raheem al-Dahlawi, Hujjat-ullaah al-Baalighah and Shaikh Ahmad al-Bajaawi, Filsafah al-Tashree.
22 See Alaal al-Faasi, Maqaasid al-Shareeah al-Islaamiyyah wa Makaaramuhu, p. 3; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Usool al-Fiqh al-Islaami, vol. 2, p. 1017 and Nadhariyyah al-Dharoorah al-Shariyyah, p. 49; Muhammad Aqlah, al-Islaam: Maqaasiduhu wa Khasaaisuhu, p. 99.
23 Muhammad al-Taahir ibn Ashoor, Maqaasid al-Shareeah al-Islamiyyah, p. 51; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Usool al-Fiqh al-Islaami, vol. 2, p. 1017; Khaleefah Babakr al-Hasan, Filsifah Maqaasid al-Tashree, p. 7.
24 Fathi al-Dareeni, Khasaais al-Tashree al-Islaami fi al-Siyaasah wa al-Hukum, p. 194; Muhammad Aqlah, al-Islaam: Maqaasiduhu wa Khasaaisuhu, p. 99.
25 Muhammad Mustafa al-Zuhaili, “Maqaasid al-Shareeah,” Majallah Kuliyyah al-Shareeah wa al-Diraasaat al-Islaamiyyah bi-Jaamiah Umm al-Qura, p. 301.
26 See Aali Taimiyyah, al-Musawwadah fi Usool al-Fiqh, p. 356. Ibn al-Qayyim wrote, “He [Allah] has in everything that He has created, decreed, determined or legislated a far-reaching wisdom and a praiseworthy goal, in accordance with what His complete wisdom and knowledge determine. He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. He does not create, decree or legislate anything except with a far-reaching wisdom, even if the minds of humans are not able to grasp it.” Miftaah Daar al-Saadah, vol. 1, p. 284. For a more detailed explanation, see vol. 1, p. 305.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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