Expositions of Al-Shatibi and Ibn Ashur on Methodic Ways of Establishing Maqasid al-Shari’ah (Objectives of Islamic Law)

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Centre for Islamic Studies, Usmanu Dan Fodio Sokoti


The theory of Maqasid al-Shari’ah is based on a very sound proposition namely that the divine Law i.e. Shari’ah is purpose-oriented. It seeks to achieve certain objectives which are conducive for human welfare. Though, the divine Law has such human-centered objectives, the challenge is how to identify them. This paper seeks to explore the methodic ways of knowing the objectives of Islamic law. This shall be done through the lenses of al-Shatibi and Ibn Ashur, the two great jurists whose inputs were greatly instrumental to the evolution and standardization of the theory of objectives of Islamic law in the eighth and the fifteenth centuries of hijrah calendar respectively. While it is important to know the objectives of Islamic law, it is more important to understand how these objectives can be identified. This difficult task was undertaken and explained by the two most important jurists of Maqasid al-Shari’ah in their respective works, namely, al-Muwafaqat and Maqasid al-Shari’ah al-Islamiyyah. The methodic ways propounded by these scholars shall be analyzed together in a complementary manner. Hence analytical method shall be employed.



Maqasid al-Shari'ah, al-Shatibi, Ibn Ashur, Maslahah Mursalah