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Maqasid is an Arabic word for goals or purposes. In an Islamic context, the term can refer to the purposes of Islamic faith, zakat (charity tax), pilgrimage, or of the Qur'an's and Sunnah's text.

In terms of Shariah, there are five foundational goals (maqasid al-Shariah). These are the preservation of:

Historical context[edit]

The above represents the commonly understood conception of maqasid developed by the 12th century Islamic scholar Al-Ghazali (d. 1111 CE). The most significant development of the maqasid occurred in the 14th century through the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah[citation needed] (d. 1328 CE). Jurist Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi (d.1388) also wrote on Maqasid Al-Sharia in his work Al-Muwafaqaat fi Usool al-Sharia. He defined maqasid al-shariah as "the attainment of good, welfare, advantage, benefits and warding off evil, injury, loss of the creatures".[3] According to al-Shatibi, the legal ends of Islamic law "are the benefits intended by the law. Thus, one who keeps legal form while squandering its substance does not follow the law."[4]

However, it was not until modern times that Islamic scholars have shown a renewed interest in the maqasid. This scholarship began with the work of the Tunisian scholar Muhammad Al-Tahir Ibn Ashur (d. 1973 CE). Since the turn of the century, a number of Islamic scholars including Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Professor Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Ahmad Raysuni, Halim Rane, Jasser Auda, and Tariq Ramadan have all advocated the maqasid approach and contributed to its development.

Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zahra believed that Shariah was a "mercy to humanity" with three major goals: "nurturing the righteous individual", "establishing justice", and "realization of benefits".[5][6]


Yazid et al. state that objective of sharia in Islamic finance is to provide rules and regulations from the Quran and Sunnah.[7]

Modern era[edit]

On 10 July 2014, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak gave a speech calling for an end to conflict between Shia and Sunni. He stated that Malaysia can be an "example for other Muslim nations on what it means to be a progressive and developed nation based on the five objectives of Shariah - to uphold the faith, life, intellect, progeny and property." "Our government's policies have always been based on these five principles of maqasid shariah... let us be an example of a Muslim country that is developed and progressive based on maqasid shariah".[8]

Islamic finance[edit]

Islamic scholars working in Islamic finance have attempted to elaborate on the objective of wealth (mal) or financial transaction. A contemporary scholar (Laidin) postulates five objectives:

  1. continuity of the circulation of the wealth,
  2. continuity of the investment of wealth,
  3. achieving comprehensive communal prosperity,
  4. financial transparency and
  5. validation of financial ownership.[9][10]


  1. ^ Malik, Maszlee; Nordin, Musa Mohd (29 September 2012). "Whistleblowing: A Shariah imperative". The Malaysian Insider. Edge Insider Sdn Bhd. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Chapra, M.U. (2000), The Future of Economics: An Islamic Perspective, Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, p.118
  3. ^ Khan, M.F. and Ghifari, N.M. (1985), Shatibi's Objectives of Shariah and some Implications for Consumer Theory. Islamabad: International Institute of Islamic Economics and International Islamic University.
  4. ^ Al-Raysuni, A. (1997) Nazariyyat Al-Maqasid ‘inda Al-Imam Al-Shatibi (Dar Al-Kalimah, Mansoura, Egypt, p. 129). Cited in: el-Gamal, Mahmoud A. (2006). Islamic Finance : Law, Economics, and Practice (PDF). New York, NY: Cambridge. p. 44. ISBN 9780521864145. 
  5. ^ Abu Zahra, Muhammad. Tarikh al-Madhahib al-Islamiya fi al-Siyasah wa al-cAqa'id wa Tarikh al-Madhahib al-Fiqhiyah. pp. 291–3.  (online)
  6. ^ Hamza, Wael (28 February 2015). "Objectives of Shari`ah". Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.  ()
  7. ^ MOHAMAD YAZID, I; ASMADI, M.N; MOHD LIKI, H (March 2015). "The Practices of Islamic Finance in Upholding the Islamic" (PDF). International Review of Management and Business Research. 4 (1): 286–287. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Sipalan, Joseph (10 July 2014). "Najib calls for Muslim unity, months after Shia witch hunt". Malay Mail Online. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Laidin, M.A. (2012). "The shariah objectives in contemporary sciences." incontemporary-sciences[dead link]
  10. ^ quoted in MOHAMAD YAZID, I; ASMADI, M.N; MOHD LIKI, H (March 2015). "The Practices of Islamic Finance in Upholding the Islamic" (PDF). International Review of Management and Business Research. 4 (1). Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  • Kamali, Hashim, "Shari'a, Goals and Objectives of", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), edited by Coeli Fitzpatrick and Adam Hani Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol. II, pp. 552–557. ISBN 1610691776

See also[edit]

  • Al-Maqasid, an introductory book on Islamic principles