Friday, 18 November 2011

Maqasid Shariah: Definitions

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Pao Gong, a justice figure of China's Song dynasty who serves the court during the reign of emperor Renzong

Once again we are in Yom al-Jumu'ah which is the day we congregate together as brothers and sisters. The sermon delivered in the masjid today is once again about Shariah Islamiah. After my first part thesis being rejected over and over and considering that I have to do it once again after few times struggling, I think that I hate human idealism. This human idealism that I am studying is making me far from my Beloved One!!! 

I regret that I could only get C in my Shariah paper recognition for STPM (A-Level). I just learned it in a framed one year after returning from pilgrimage in holy Mecca where I've got His guidance while it needs me two years for basic understanding. Last time, I had escaped Thanawi papers because I didn't believe in Islam as I had misunderstanding regarding society and the religion though I know about basic principles and memorized things. I learned both Islamic studies and Hindu-Buddhism sastras in the same time but I just practiced Buddhism rituals while I was alone. If I could not be a Qadhi in the future, perhaps I could still be a transmitter of Shariah sciences as apart of my Qurbana (sacrifice) for Him. It's not for myself but only for Him. It's all my fault because I was not patient. Please forgive me dear Good Lord, please don't hate me : (

Coincidentally, the sermon today also talked about the weaknesses of human idealism as compared to Revelation from the God according to our nature. I lament it in myself while returning to my room because I am not a believer of Western idealism nor feeling amazed at their values. I can't even use anything from Revelation in my research which could harmonize and purify, at least my own mind if not useful for others.

Let us continue on few other definitions of maqasid shariah...

Definitions of Maqasid Shariah

Contemporary scholars such as al-Imam al-Shatibi who is synonymous with maqasid science never provide specific definitions for the term maqasid shariah or objective of the way. It is because he thought that everyone understood the concept and the term itself.  

Definition of Ibnu Ashoor for Maqasid 

Ibnu Ashoor has defined maqasid as: "referring to every understanding which could be seen at legislation that had been provided through Revelation as a whole as parts of it." It means that maqasid does not really defined with the specific meaning of observation for the legislation. It refers to these examples such as bringing benefits, rejecting evil and crimes, and there lies the concept of equality among human-being in every prescription of the legislation in the Way.

Ibnu Ashoor had divided maqasid into general maqasid and specific maqasid...

i. General Maqasid

It has been seen in obligatory legislation which generally involves individual.

ii. Specific Maqasid 

It refers to methods used in Shariah to brings public necessities into realization through individuals' acts. For example, the legislation on the act of recording debt negotiations in financial area.

Definition of Maqasid by I'lal al-Fasi

He defines maqasid as: "The goal of Shariah and the secrets of the legislation for every judgement in Islam." Al-Fasi has also divided this into two which are the general and specific objectives. The general objective refers to the goal of Shariah while the specific objective is referring to the secrets of the legislation.

The definition however was criticized by Dr. Iwad bin Muhammad al-Qarni. He criticizes that the definition by saying that the usage of the word "secret" is not suitable because the word does not representing maqasid in an absolute way. Sometimes secret could be an objective while in certain times secrets are not objectives for something.  

Definition by Ahmad al-Raysuni

Maqasid refers to goals of the Way which everyone is striving to achieve for the benefit of human nations. Al-Raysuni had divided objectives more discreetly compared to the above definition setters. He divided it into three which are the general objective, specific objective, and branches objective.

i. General Objective

Objective which is taken into account through the light of the Way in order to decide on all or the majority of legislation of Shariah. For example, the concept of al-Musawah (equality) which exists in all of the Shariah legislation.

ii. Specific Objective

It has been taken into account by the Way in order to decide on something or few groups of specific legislation. For example, legislation related to family and matrimonial.

iii. Branches Objective

It is taken into account by the Way in order to decide over specific legislation such as the legislation decision on matrimonial as a tradition. 

Further Discussion on Definitions

What had been discussed in the science of the origin of jurisprudence and the objective science is concerning the general objective. Specific objective became the topic of discussion by the legislators and jurists of the Way (Shariah).

Among those definitions proposed by scholars, al-Raysuni's one is considered as compact, precise, and covering over the concept of maqasid (objective) after being analyzed by today's scholars.

Conclusion of Definition

Maqasid (objective) of Shariah are the goals which is deemed by the Shariah to be achieved for the benefit of human civilization and society. 

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace, and love, amin!

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