The Fundamentals Principles of the Science of Maqāšid: The First Principle: Ta‘līl (Rationalisation)

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Ahmed Raissouni

Acceptance of ta‘līl is the starting point for acceptance of the science of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah, i.e. it is the fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the doctrine of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah and for studying it in all its aspects. Whoever acknowledges that Islamic Law has rationales that can be known, will go on to search for these rationales, whether they be general, overarching ones or related to specific rulings, and whether they be obvious or obscure; they will then go on to benefit from them. On the other hand, whoever rejects the idea of rationales, also rejects whatever results from studying them, and views all talk of maqāšid as a form of conjecture and foolishness.

We therefore see al-Shāŧibī opening his discussion of maqāšid in al-Muwāfaqāt with this issue of ta‘līl. He states:

“Let us begin, before embarking on our subject, with an incontrovertible theological[i] introduction: laws have been established purely for the benefit of God’s servants, both in this life and the next. This is a claim, for which evidence must be provided as to its truth or falsehood.”[ii]

I will deal with the principle of ta‘līl in three sections, as follows:

  • Ta‘līl and the Evidence for it,
  • The Rulings of the Sharī‘ah: Devotional or Rational,
  • Ta‘līl and its Effect on Formulating and Explaining  Rulings.

Section 1: Ta‘līl and the Evidence for it

The definition of ta‘līl is: discovering and clarifying the ‘illah (rationale) behind a legal ruling.

Above and beyond this, ta‘līl means: to view legal rulings as having ‘illahs that are either understood or capable of being understood.

By ‘illah I mean the definition understood by those within the field of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah and used by early scholars. This is the meaning chosen by al-Shāŧibī when he states:

“As for the ‘illah, what is meant by it is the wisdom and benefit associated with a compulsory or permissible act, or the harm associated with an illicit act. I.e. it is the wisdom and benefit for which, in order to achieve it, the particular law was established.”[iii]

These definitions for ‘illah and ta‘līl are not those commonly understood by scholars of fiqh and ušūl al-fiqh, i.e.  the precise, obvious, superficial sign, which is likely to be the cause of an individual ruling attained by means of qiyās (analogy). Rather what is intended is that reasoning undertaken to bring benefit and in line with the maqāšid (objectives) of the Sharī‘ah, as was the practice of the Prophet’s Companions. As Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī states:

“Whoever studies the discussions of the Companions, will know for sure that the conditions that present-day jurists hold dear when formulating their criteria, and the conditions considered important with regard to the ‘illah, the ašl, and the far‘[iv] were of no concern to the Companions. Instead they were interested in bringing about benefit, knowing that the goal of the Sharī‘ah is to bring about benefit.”[v]

When it has this meaning, ta‘līl is the primary foundation and greatest distinguishing feature of the science of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah and maqāšid thought, which is, first and foremost, concerned with understanding rationales. We must therefore begin our study with ta‘līl, so it can be an introduction and foundation for all that follows.

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Ta‘līl: from Early Consensus to Late Consensus

Over 70 years ago, Sheikh Muħammad Mušŧafā Shalabī wrote his excellent book Ta‘līl al-Aħkām,[vi] which was the first comprehensive study on the issue of ta‘līl. Shalabī managed to accurately distil the essence of this issue and elucidate it in a manner not typical of theologians or legal theorists. He could only achieve this after freeing himself of the disputes and intricacies of the latter.

He (may God show him mercy) states at the start of his work:

“I found myself in the situation that I had always wanted to avoid. I found myself studying ušūl al-fiqh, which to my mind usually takes the form of theoretical studies that are the product of their age. Those who follow a school of law have been forced to invent them to ascertain the methodology of their founder and defend it in debates. They therefore develop unevenly depending upon the specific arguments and attacks faced.”[vii]

Having studied the methodologies used by the legal theorists when dealing with this issue, he found that theirs is:

“a long road, on which different ideas are conveyed, too long for one to traverse, and the one who travels it reaches nothing of benefit...”[viii]

He also states:

“I thought long about what I should do. I found that the only outlet that I was content with was to return to ta‘līl as it existed before the formation of ušūl al-fiqh; as it was in the age of the Companions, their Successors, and those that followed them, may God be pleased with them; and even prior to this, to the methodology of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, in the face of which all stand silent and accepting. So I started to search for ta‘līl in Qur’anic verses and ħadīths relating to law, as well as in the opinions (fatwas) of the Companions and their Successors. All the time I shunned the various approaches and constraints set by the legal theorists, avoided the technical terminology and those that compile it, and paid no attention to conditions and methodologies. I turned instead to the earliest works on Sharī‘ah...and I found an alternative methodology to that offered in the books of ušūl al-fiqh. There I saw that rulings were concerned with the attainment of benefits, and that each rule or legal opinion was based upon the benefit or harm that resulted from it.”[ix]

After stopping to consider the disputes on ta‘līl raised by the legal theorists and the theologians, he states:

“I had no need to embark on this study given the texts on ta‘līl shown above from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the statements of the Companions, their Successors, and those that followed them. They neither differed nor disputed amongst themselves in this regard. This is the clearest evidence that the rules set by God are intended for the benefit of His servants. There was total or near total consensus about this before the emergence of those who argued to the contrary.”[x]

A number of other scholars have also reported and affirmed that there is consensus on this issue.[xi]

Throughout the centuries, scholars interested in the science of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah [xii] have reiterated that the Sharī‘ah is intended for the benefit of God’s servants, and on this basis that they have establish their principles and theories of maqāšid.

In our time, this issue has been thoroughly studied, corroborated, and applied, and no one any longer disputes the principle of ta‘līl.

Even more important than this, in my opinion, is the practical consensus that has prevailed amongst jurists of all ages and places. For these jurists, ta‘līl was not merely an idea they would express and then abandon. It was a continuous practice, on which they based their legal understanding and in accordance with which they imparted legal rulings.

“Their clarification of legal rationales increased in all areas of the Sharī‘ah, whether related to rights of worship, customs, social interactions, crimes, or other areas. This demonstrates a deep-rooted belief amongst the majority of scholars that the religion of God, His Law, and His rulings are founded on rationales which are comprehensible. They are all based on profound wisdoms and highly esteemed benefits, on which human life, happiness, and spiritual purification all depend.[xiii]

Ta‘līl in the Qur’an and Sunnah

The reality is that the existence of “total or near total consensus”[xiv] on the ta‘līl of the Sharī‘ah is evidence enough of its reality. So how much more is this the case given that this consensus has become unequivocal and beyond doubt? This said, given that our aim here is not just to prove the existence of ta‘līl but to offer understanding and clarification, it is beneficial, in fact necessary, for us to present some of the Qur’anic verses and prophetic hadiths that demonstrate the concept of ta‘līl, both in general and when dealing with specific points of law.

1.       Verses Mentioned by Imam al-Shāŧibī

Imam al-Shāŧibī (r) states:

“It is confirmed that we have examined the Sharī‘ah and found that it has only been established for the benefit of God’s servants. This is something that neither al-Rāzī nor anyone else disputes.[xv] For God, Most High, says about His sending messengers – this being the foundation [of the Sharī‘ah]:

  • {They were messengers bearing good news and warning, so that mankind would have no excuse before God, once the messengers had been sent.} (4:165)
  • {It was only as a mercy that We sent you [Prophet] to all people.} (21:107)

God also says, regarding the beginning of creation:

  • {It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six Daysand His throne was on water – so as to test which of you does best.} (11:7)
  • {I created jinn and mankind only to worship Me.} (51:56)
  • {Who created death and lifeto test you [people] and reveal which of you does best.} (67:2)

As for the rationales of specific rulings in the Qur’an and Sunnah, there are too many to count, but by way of example:

  • After the verse regarding ablution (wuđū’), God says: ‘God does not wish to place any burden on you: He only wishes to cleanse you and perfect His blessing on you.’ (5:6)
  • Regarding fasting He says: ‘Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.’ (2:183)
  • About prayer God says: ‘Prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behaviour.’ (29:45)
  • Regarding the direction of prayer, we find: ‘Wherever any of you may be, turn your faces towards it [the Sacred Mosque], so that people may have no argument against you.’ (2:150)
  • On jihad, God says: ‘Those who have been attacked are permitted to take up arms because they have been wronged.’ (22:39)
  • About retribution (qišāš), He says: ‘Fair retribution saves life for you, people of understanding.’ (2:179)
  • And regarding humanity’s bearing witness to God’s unity, we find: ‘He said, “Am I not your Lord?” and they replied, “Yes, we bear witness.” So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, “We were not aware of this,”’ (7:172) – the purpose here being to draw people’s attention.

Given what our thorough examination demonstrates and that it imparts certainty in the issues mentioned, we can affirm that the same is true of all of the particulars of the Sharī‘ah. Based on this group of issues, qiyās (analogical deduction) and ijtihād (scholarly analysis) have been established,[xvi] so let us act accordingly.”[xvii]

It is clear that each of the verses mentioned above is an authoritative source on the subject it is dealing with, particularly those verses that provide a general rationale.

2.       The Rationale for Sending Messengers and Messages

God, Most High, says regarding this:

{We sent Our messengers with clear signs, the Scripture and the criterion, so that people could uphold justice: We also sent iron, with its mighty strength and many uses for mankind, so that God could mark out those who would help Him and His messengers though they cannot see Him.Truly God is powerful, almighty.} [57:25]

This verse declares that the purpose of sending messengers, with clear signs, the scriptures, and the criteria, was only so that people can uphold justice in all their affairs, circumstances, relations and dealings. This includes their dealings with their Lord and even themselves. The opportunity they have and the realm where all of this happens is the life of this world. As for the Hereafter, people will only reap what they sow in this life: the actions they undertake and their state in the world.

God addresses His Prophet, Muħammad (s),  saying:

{So [Prophet] call people to that faith and follow the straight path as you have been commanded. Do not go by what they desire, but say, ‘I believe in whatever Scripture God has sent down. I am commanded to bring justice between you.} [42:15]

This verse summarises the aims of the Prophet’s (s) message as:

  • Following the straight path,
  • Becoming emancipated from desires,
  • Bringing justice between people.

When explaining this verse, Imam al-Ŧabarī reports Qatādah as saying:

“The Prophet of God (s) was commanded to do justice, so he did justice until he died, may God’s peace and blessing be upon him. Justice is God’s scales on the earth. Through justice the oppressed can take from the oppressor, and the weak from the strong. Through justice God corroborates the truthful and spurns the liar, and through justice He restrains and rebukes the aggressor.”[xviii]

On the same subject, God, Most High, says:

{Whoever follows My guidance, when it comes to you [people], will not go astray nor fall into misery, but whoever turns away from it will have a life of great hardship. We shall bring him blind to the Assembly on the Day of Resurrection.} [20:123-4]

This verse illustrates that any message God sends to His servants is guidance for them, and whoever follows God’s guidance will be protected from straying in this life and from misery in the next. Likewise, whoever turns away from God’s guidance will live a life of hardship in this world, and his misguidance and blindness will become evident in the next. ‘Izz al-Dīn ibn ‘Abd al-Salām states:

“Happiness only comes through following the Sharī‘ah in every aspect and in abandoning any desire that contradicts it. God, Most High, says: ‘Whoever follows My guidance will not go astray nor fall into misery,’ i.e. will not stray from what is right in this life and will not become wretched by being punished in the next.”[xix]

In relation to sending His final Messenger, God says:

{We sent you [Prophet] only as a mercy to all.} [21:107].

This verse unequivocally states that God sent the Prophet (s) for a single, comprehensive reason: his being a mercy for all; there was no purpose besides this. This is also mentioned in the ħadīth: “O people! I am only a mercy that has been given.”[xx]

God, Almighty, also says:

{But He will overlook the bad deeds of those who have faith, do good deeds, and believe in what has been sent down to Muħammad––the truth from their Lord––and He will put them into a good state.} [47:2]

That is to say, God has and will continue to put them in a good state by virtue of their following the revelation given to the Prophet (s).

In the same way, the Prophet (s) is described as the one:

{who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful, and relieves them of their burdens, and the iron collars  that were on them. So it is those who believe him, honour and help him, and who follow the light which has been sent down with him, who will succeed.} [7:157]

The purpose for sending the Prophet Muħammad (s) is also stated explicitly in a number of other verses, one example being:

{It is He who raised a messenger, among the people who had no Scripture, to recite His revelations to them, to make them grow spiritually and teach them the Scripture and wisdom––before that they were clearly astray.} [62:2]

3.       The Messengers as a Source of Benefit

God, Most High, states:

{A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering distresses him: he is deeply concerned for you and full of kindness and mercy towards the believers.} [9:129]

The same is true for all the messengers. Their message and their role is one of service, mercy, and bringing benefit to people, in their religious as well as their worldly affairs, both in this life and the next. The most detailed and perfect manifestation of this can be found in the inspirational biography of the Prophet (s).[xxi] The current study is not broad enough to deal with this, so I will suffice by mentioning a few examples – which are themselves enough to illustrate the point – of the statements of various prophets, may God be pleased with them all. God says:

{And to Midian, We sent their brother Shu‘ayb. He said, ‘My people, worship God. You have no god other than Him. Do not give short measure nor short weight. I see you are prospering, but I fear you will have torment on an overwhelming Day. My people, in fairness, give full measure and weight. Do not withhold from people things that are rightly theirs, and do not spread corruption in the land. What lasts with God is best for you, if you are believers: I am not your keeper.’ They said, ‘Shu‘ayb, does your prayer tell you that we should abandon what our forefathers worshipped and refrain from doing whatever we please with our own property? Indeed you are a tolerant and sensible man.’ He answered, ‘My people, can you not see? What if I am acting on clear evidence from my Lord? He Himself has given me good provision: I do not want to do what I am forbidding you to do, I only want to put things right as far as I can. I cannot succeed without God’s help: I trust in Him, and always turn to Him.’} [11:84-88]

Similarly, God states:

{Moses said to his brother Aaron, ‘Take my place among my people: act rightly and do not follow the way of those who spread corruption.’} [7:142]

Another example is found in the story of Joseph (as):

{‘You will sow for seven consecutive years as usual. Store all that you reap, left in the ear, apart from the little you eat. 48 After that will come seven years of hardship which will consume all but a little of what you stored up for them; 49 after that will come a year when the people will have abundant rain and will press grapes.’} [12:47-49]

Al-Qurŧubī notes:

“This verse acts as a basis for the doctrine that the law seeks to attain certain benefits, these being the preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and wealth. Anything that aids in achieving the preservation of any of these is a benefit. Likewise, anything that causes detriment to any of these is a vice, and its prevention is itself a benefit. There is no disagreement among scholars that the aim of God’s laws is to guide humanity to those things that provide benefit in this life, thereby enabling them to know and worship God, Most High; these two being the cause of humanity’s joy in the next life.”[xxii]

In his explanation of God’s words: {Escape in the night with My servants} [44:23], Ibn al-‘Arabī al-Ma‘āfirī states:

“The order was to leave at night; travel by night being out of fear. This fear can be for two reasons, either because of an enemy, in which case night is used as a cover, since it is one of God’s veils; or fear of hardship on the travellers or animals due to heat or hunger, travel by night being of benefit in this regard. The Prophet (s) himself would travel by night, either early or late, proceeding gently or hurrying depending upon the situation and where the most benefit was found.”[xxiii]

It is reported in Sunan Abī Dāwūd from Abū Hurayrah that the Prophet (s) said:

“Do not use the backs of your animals as pulpits [to stand on]. God has only subdued them for you so they can carry you to lands you yourselves could not reach without great hardship. And He made the earth for you, so fulfil your needs on them.”

Imam Abū Sulaymān al-Khaŧŧābī states in his explanation of this ħadīth:

“It has been reported that the Prophet (s) gave a sermon while standing on the back of his animal. This shows that standing on their backs is allowed if it fulfils a need or achieves a goal that cannot be attained by standing on the ground. The prohibition is directed at standing on their backs unnecessarily, remaining there and using them as a permanent seat, thereby tiring the animal and harming it without any real need.”[xxiv]

Section 2: The Rulings of the Sharī‘ah: Devotional or Rational

There is, without doubt, clear  consensus that the rules of the Sharī‘ah have been established for the benefit of God’s servants. At the same time, however, the scholars of Islam also affirm that there are laws – known by the term ta‘abbudī (i.e. devotional) – whose rationales are not known and whose benefits are not understood. These laws are observed purely as acts of devotion, so as to worship and show obedience to God, Most High. They have been prescribed for the purpose of devotion and they are performed out of devotion. Included in these devotionallaws are most of the rules of ritual worship, as well as some acts found in other categories of regulation.

 In matters of ritual worship, we find, for example that: the reasons for, and manner of ritual purification; the number and times of the prayers in each day; the number of cycles in each prayer; and the various positions in the prayer, such as standing, bowing, and prostrating, are all ta‘abbudī, their meanings being beyond comprehension. The same is true for the timing of the obligatory fasts, which have been instituted in one specific month to the exclusion of all others, and for the period of the entire month, no more, no less. This is also the case with many of the details of Zakāh (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage), with the rules for atoning for sins, and more besides.

In matters not relating to ritual worship, all weights, measures, and numbers specified in the Sharī‘ah are considered to be ta‘abbudī. This includes, by way of example, the number of statements of divorce that can be uttered, the length of a widow’s waiting period, the numbers specified in certain punishments, the various shares of inheritance, and the number of witnesses required in different civil and criminal cases.

This division of legal rulings into devotional and rational can cause confusion and indecisiveness when it comes to assessing the rationale behind any of the laws of the Sharī‘ah. In order to eliminate any confusion, it is necessary to clarify a number of related issues, as will be done below.

Ta‘līl is the Rule and Lack of it is the Exception

This is because the laws that are considered devotional – i.e. that lack a clear rationale, or whose meaning cannot be understood – are the exception and small in number compared with those with rationales. As a result, it is accepted by the majority of scholars that: ‘The norm is that laws are comprehensible, not purely devotional’.[xxv] Even for matters relating to ritual worship, which form the main body of devotional laws in the Sharī‘ah, we find general benefits and wisdoms explicitly stated in the Qur’an and the Ḥadīth. Then, with regard to the specific details of these laws, we find numerous rationales given by the jurists.

For instance, some jurists have expressed the following rationales for the rules of wuđū’, the purification before prayer. Firstly, scholars have noted the necessity of having good manners when calling upon God Most High and preparing oneself to stand before Him. This is a rationale that is obvious to any intelligent, well-mannered person. Another obvious rationale is the physical and psychological benefits attained from purification.

As for the reason that wuđū’ is restricted to only certain parts of the body, on the one hand, these are the parts most likely to become physically dirty, and on the other, they are the ones most likely to be the involved in committing sins, i.e. to be spiritually dirty. Wuđū’ cleanses one in both of these ways.

The great scholar ‘Alā al-Dīn al-Kāsānī adds to the above, saying:

“These parts of the body are a means of receiving great blessings. In fact, you obtain all of God’s blessings through these. With the hand, you take and grasp what you need; with the leg you walk to your destination. The face and the head are the site of the senses, through which you know the enormity of God’s blessings; the eye, the nose, the mouth, and the ear, by which we see, smell, taste, and hear, and through which we feel pleasure and desire and enjoy all of God’s blessings. We were therefore instructed to wash these body parts to show appreciation for what helps us to benefit from these blessings.”[xxvi]

Ibn Rāshid al-Qafašī gives a comprehensive explanation of the rationale for purification, saying:

“The wisdom behind its imposition is to train one to have good character and to be well mannered with one’s Creator. The servant should stand before his Lord having a good appearance, a pleasant smell, and without any repulsive features. There are levels of purification, beginning with external cleanliness from any physical or spiritual dirt. This is followed by purification of the limbs from sins, purification of the character from blameworthy characteristics, such as hatred, envy, and the like, and purification of the heart from anything besides God, Most High, as is alluded to in the verse: {when the only one who will be saved is the one who comes before God with a heart devoted to Him.} [26:89][xxvii]

[Ibn al-Qayyim states:]

In addition to cleaning these body parts, when associated with the intention of worshipping God, this leads to an expansion and strengthening of the heart, a broadening of the chest, joy in one’s soul, and liveliness of one’s body.[xxviii]

In the same manner, we find scholars providing rationales extensively in all topics of the Sharī‘ah. Their intention thereby is to demonstrate the spread of legal rationales in every subject, including those relating to worship.

Lack of a Ta‘līl is due to Human Inability

Many scholars have stressed that laws are actually only deemed to be without rationale in relation to human understanding. In reality, they too must have benefit and wisdom behind them. Al-Ħakīm al-Tirmidhī states: “Their rationales exist; those who know them, know them, and those who don’t, don’t.”[xxix] Similarly, Shihāb al-Qarāfī notes:

“Our belief is that anything for which we cannot find a harm or a benefit is, in reality, of benefit if it is an obligation, and of harm if it is a prohibition. This is in keeping with the Islamic legal principle of bringing about benefit and avoiding harm.”[xxx]

Ibn al-Qayyim states:

“There is not a single ruling in the Sharī‘ah that is without a meaning and a wisdom; whoever comprehends it, comprehends it, and whoever does not, does not.”[xxxi]

On this basis, everything in the Sharī‘ah in reality has a rationale, in all of its aspects. As a result, we find that what some scholars consider to be devotional, has its rationale subsequently explained by others, who have been given a deeper insight by God and have gained a more profound understanding as a result of their own continued research and contemplation.

Sheikh Muħammad ibn ‘Abd al-Kabīr al-Kattānī stated:

“When jurists say: ‘This is devotional’, this comes only from their inability to explain the wisdom and mystery [behind a ruling].”[xxxii]

In a similar way, the great Ibn ‘Āshūr considered that the jurist who avoids giving a rationale for a law, believing it to be devotional, is merely:

“accusing himself of being incapable of understanding the wisdom of the Lawgiver, and his knowledge of being weak in relation to the greatness of the Sharī‘ah; he therefore considers this type of law to be devotional.”[xxxiii]

In his tafsīr of the Qur’an, he writes:

“The aim of this is to teach Muslims to accept God’s command, believing it to be good and beneficial, and that whatever feature of the obligatory actions is unclear to us, we believe it to have a characteristic commensurate with the legal ruling on it. As such, we attempt to grasp that characteristic as much as possible, hoping to understand it, so that we can deduce further rulings based on it.”[xxxiv]

One example that illustrates the above is the ħadīth recorded in Šaħīħ al-Bukhārī in which Ibn ‘Umar states: “The Prophet (s) used to give two sermons, between which he would sit down”; i.e. on Fridays. Some scholars considered this sitting between the two sermons to be devotional and one of the actions of the prayer. One of these was Imam al-Shāfi‘ī, who believed it to be obligatory and essential for the acceptability of the prayer itself. Others deemed it to be merely a short rest for the benefit of the speaker. As such, it is deemed desirable only from the perspective of imitating the manner of the Prophet (s); it is not compulsory, and there is no problem if one leaves it. Ibn Baŧŧāl states:

“Whoever says that it is an obligation has no evidence for this; the sitting is a gap between the two reminders and a rest for the speaker, and it is in no way a part of the sermon.”[xxxv]

It is also reported that Ibn ‘Abbās used to deliver a single sermon; then when this became difficult for him – i.e. when he grew old – he gave two instead, and sat between them.[xxxvi]

Ta‘līl does not negate Devotion

The idea that the rulings of the Sharī‘ah have beneficial rationales does not negate their also being undertaken with the aim of devotion, just as it does not negate their also being a test. God, Most High, tests us in this life. All of life is a test, and all God’s commandments are indeed a test. Despite this, He does not test us with vain, futile things, or things that do not ultimately bring us benefit and happiness. Nor does He test us with riddles and cryptic words that cannot be fathomed. As Imam al-Būšīrī said:

“He did not test us with what minds are incapable of [comprehending]…

out of care for us, so we would not doubt and would not misinterpret.

It is entirely out of God’s grace, wisdom, and goodness towards us that He tests us and makes us serve Him in ways that are beneficial to us: {Who created death and lifeto test you [people] and reveal which of you does best} [67:2].

“Devotion to God is not something contrary or antithetical to ta‘līl, understanding, and that which benefits God’s servants. Devotion is indeed God’s right, but it is also actions, obedience, uprightness, purification, and improvement, and as such it brings benefit. Similarly, observing the benefits approved by the Sharī‘ah is a form of devotion and drawing closer to God.”[xxxvii]

Therefore, it is acceptable – in fact it is preferable – to combine the intention of worship and drawing close to God with some other permitted, worldly intention, such as seeking, during Hajj, to benefit commercially or in terms of one’s health, or from meeting people while there. This is what is implied in the verse:

{Proclaim the Pilgrimage to all people. They will come to you on foot and on every kind of swift mount, emerging from every deep mountain pass to attain benefits and celebrate God’s name, on specified days.} [22:27-8]

In the 122nd chapter of his al-Furūq, al-Qarāfī deals with: ‘The difference between showing off and combining [intentions] in acts of worship’.[xxxviii]  Having clarified that the type of showing off forbidden in relation to acts of worship consists of seeking people’s praise and admiration, he states:

“As for combining [intentions], such as fighting for the sake of obeying God by performing jihad and to obtain wealth by gaining booty, there is scholarly consensus that this does not harm one’s jihad nor is it forbidden, since God Most High granted him this as part of this act of worship. Similarly, if one performs Hajj and combines it with the aim of trading, such that one’s main or even one’s only aim is to travel specifically for trade, with the Hajj being a secondary aim or even completely unintended, coming only subsequently, this does not impair the validity of one’s Hajj nor does it constitute a sin or a form of disobedience. Also, whoever fasts to improve his health or remove an illness that is countered by fasting, with healing being his intention or part of his intention, and fasting being intended at the same time as these other intentions, they do not impair his fasting. In fact, the one who brought the Sharī‘ah commanded the same when he said: “O young men! Whichever of you is able to, should marry. And whoever is unable, should fast, because it acts as a restraint for him.” So the Prophet (s) ordered people to fast for this reason, and if this had detracted from the fasting, he would not have commanded them in this way regarding what is an act of worship. Another example is if one renews ones wuđū’ with the intention of cooling oneself or cleaning oneself. However, none of these aforementioned intentions involve seeking people’s adoration; rather, they involve combining different benefits, which can neither be perceived nor used to show adoration, and hence it does not impair these acts of worship.”[xxxix]

Section 3: Ta‘līl and its Effect on Formulating and Explaining Rulings

Ta‘līl is not just about seeking to understanding the secrets of the Sharī‘ah and its legal philosophy for the sake of some intellectual gain or enjoyment; rather it is an inseparable part of Islamic jurisprudence and acting according to it. As such, it is a practical and intellectual act that is indispensable, particularly for scholars, jurists, and all researchers in jurisprudence. It has profound importance for understanding the laws of the Sharī‘ah, defining their preconditions, explaining their types, and the derivation of new laws via analogical reasoning (qiyās), as will be shown below:

  1. We find that God himself provides the rationale behind many of his laws as was seen in the previous examples, and as will be seen in other Qur’anic examples given below. In fact, God himself directs the Prophet (s) to explain certain rationales, as has been pointed out by Ibn al-Qayyim, who states:

“The same is true of the laws given in the Qur’an. God, glory be to Him, guides us to their aims and rationales. For example, He says: {They ask you [Prophet] about menstruation. Say, ‘Menstruation is a painful condition, so keep away from women during it.} [2:222]. So here, God, glory be to Him, orders His Prophet to mention the rationale for the ruling before even mentioning the ruling itself.”[xl]

  • This was also the practice of the Prophet (s), he being the one who paved the way for us to consider the rationales behind rulings and to perform qiyās. Ibn al-Qayyim states:

“The Prophet (s) mentioned the rationales of different rulings and also what influences these rulings in order to show their connection with them and their application to other matters that have the same characteristics and rationales. Examples of this include his statement about date wine: ‘A good date and pure water’; his pronouncement that: ‘Asking permission to enter was ordained because of what might be seen’; and his declaration that: ‘I only forbade you because of the beggars that may come to ask’.  Other examples are his statement about cats: ‘They are not impure. They are just creatures that roam around you’; and his prohibition on covering the head of, or perfuming a pilgrim who has died as the result of being knocked down by his camel, about whom he said: ‘He will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection reciting the pilgrimage call.’ Then there is his saying: ‘When you do that you break your ties of kinship’, given in explanation of his prohibiting a man from marrying a woman if he is already married to her aunt. Also included here is God’s statement: {They ask you [Prophet] about menstruation. Say, ‘Menstruation is a painful condition, so keep away from women during it.’} [2:222]; and regarding wine and gambling: {With intoxicants and gambling, Satan seeks only to incite enmity and hatred among you, and to stop you remembering God and prayer. Will you not give them up?} [5:91].”[xli]

  • Ta‘līl is the second key – the first being the Arabic language – to understanding the Sharī‘ah and deducing its laws, to knowing the objectives and preconditions of these laws, and putting them in the right place. Without it, one’s understanding falters and remains superficial, deficient, and misguided. Al-Shāŧibī alludes to this when he states: “Whoever does not gain a deep understanding of the objectives of the Sharī‘ah, will understand them in incorrectly.”[xlii]  Ta‘līl is also the broadest and clearest route for deriving rulings in the absence of a Qur’anic or ħadīth text: “The mujtahid expands his field of ijtihād by applying and being aware of the rationales…”[xliii]
  • The juristic principle ‘A ruling changes depending upon the presence or absence of its rationale’[xliv] illustrates a key aspect of ta‘līl and the impact it has on whether to abide by or alter a ruling. The substance of this principle is that established legal rulings based upon a particular rationale and specific preconditions are tied to that rationale. As such, the ruling stands as long as the rationale exists; as soon as the rationale disappears, so does the ruling based on it; and as soon as it returns, so does the ruling.

Ta‘līl leads to a broadening of the impact of a ruling, allowing it to cover that which is not explicitly included in the wording of the text or what that text linguistically entails, but rather what is entailed by virtue of its rationale. Or, as Ibn al-‘Arabī states: “If, through contemplation, the rationale is known, it is applied wherever it is found, and the rule is linked to it wherever it exists.”[xlv]

In the same way, the ruling may need to be suspended in certain circumstances if the rationale ceases to apply, as was noted by the author of al-Badā’i‘ in his statement: “Whenever a ruling is understood to have been established for a specific reason, the ruling itself ceases when the specific reason ceases.”[xlvi]

Ta‘līl: A Scholarly Activity with Its Own Procedures and Principles

Ta‘līl – by which we mean deducing and clarifying the rationales of rulings, i.e. their wisdoms, objectives, and any benefit attained from, or harm prevented by them – is not merely some appraisal or guess that appears in the mind of the thinker or theorist. Rather it is a precise scholarly activity with its own methodological procedures and principles. Any ta‘līl lacking these characteristics and conditions remains merely the statement or claim of whoever expressed it. No one is obliged to follow it and it does not alter anything.

Ibn ‘Āshūr warned those researching the field of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah about the seriousness of what they were doing, so they would not deem it an easy matter, saying:

“Whoever researches the field of maqāšid al-sharī‘ah should contemplate long and hard and take extreme caution when asserting one of the objectives of the Sharī‘ah. Beware of being at all negligent about it, because specifying a legal objective, whether its purport be general or related to a specific issue, is something from which can be deduced many supplementary proofs and rulings. As a result any mistake is extremely serious. One must therefore only specify an objective after carefully studying the  way the Sharī‘ah deals with it, and having studied the statements of the leading jurists, so as to benefit from their understanding and expertise in relation to the principles of the Sharī‘ah. If anyone does this, they strengthen their deductive ability, by which they can understand the intent of the Lawgiver.”[xlvii]

Ibn ‘Āshūr then points out that what is worthy of consideration in terms of maqāšid is only what is definitive or close to it, or is at least preponderant. He states:

“The findings of anyone attempting to ascertain the objectives of the Sharī‘ah can be definitive (qaŧ‘ī) or close to it, or they can be speculative (żannī), but no attention is paid to that which is weakly speculative or what is even less than that. If one can only discern what is weakly speculative, one should consider it a mere hypothesis, so that it acts as an introduction for those who follow, as the Prophet (s) advised when he said: ‘A person could well pass on knowledge to someone who understands it better.’”[xlviii]

***************

Below is a selection of practical examples that demonstrate the impact of this principle and the benefit of ta‘līl:

  • It is reported in Šaħīħ Muslim that Abū Ŧufayl said:

“I said to Ibn ‘Abbās: ‘You know this jogging around the Ka‘bah three times and walking four times, is it a sunnah? Your people claim it is a sunnah.’ He said: ‘They are speaking both truth and falsehood.’ I said: ‘What do you mean they are speaking both truth and falsehood?’ He said: ‘The Messenger of God (s) came to Makkah and, out of jealousy, the polytheists said: “Muħammad and his companions are too weak to go around the Ka‘bah.” So the Messenger of God (s) instructed them to jog three times and walk four.’

I said to him: ‘Tell me about going between the hills of al-Šafā and al-Marwah while riding. Is it a sunnah? Your people claim it is a sunnah.’ He said: ‘They are speaking both truth and falsehood.’ I said: ‘What do you mean they are speaking both truth and falsehood?’ He said: ‘There were many people around the Messenger of God (s) saying “This is Muħammad”, “That is Muħammad” until even the infirm, old women came out of their houses. The Messenger of God (s) would not allow people to be forcibly moved out of his way, so when people crowded around him, he rode. However, walking between the hills is preferable.’”

So Ibn ‘Abbās rightly views jogging around the Ka‘bah[xlix] on the first three laps not to be one of the original sunnahs of pilgrimage, but just something the Prophet (s) urged people to do due to a specific circumstance and a particular, transient rationale. When this rationale ceased, so did the ruling and the Prophetic command. However, anyone jogging to symbolically commemorate the action of the Prophet (s), and not as a prescribed sunnah, will be rewarded for that. While whoever leaves it is not doing any wrong, and is following the path of greater understanding and better action.

The same is true of the Prophet’s (s) riding between the hills of al-Šafā and al-Marwah. This was only for a specific reason, so it is impossible to consider it a sunnah that is generally applicable for all people and all circumstances. It remains a concession to be used as and when needed.

  • It is reported in Šaħīħ al-Bukhārī that Jabalah ibn Suħaym said:

“We were afflicted by a year of drought while in the company of Ibn al-Zubayr. [On one occasion] we were blessed with some dates, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar passed by us while we were eating the dates and said: ‘Don’t eat more than one date at a time, because the Prophet (s) prohibited it.’ He then added: ‘Unless you ask your brother’s permission first.’ Shu‘bah said regarding this: ‘The part about seeking permission is Ibn ‘Umar’s own words.’”

Some people take this prophetic prohibition on eating two dates at a time and make it compulsory on all occasions. The reality is, however, that this prohibition has a rationale which may be present, in which case the prohibition will apply, and it may be absent, in which case there will be no prohibition. Imam Abū Sulaymān al-Khaŧŧābī states:

“The prohibition on eating two dates in one go was for a comprehensible reason and a recognized rationale; this being the poverty and lack of food from which people were suffering. They lacked food and had to share what little they had. When people gathered to eat, some of them would avoid eating for the sake of others, preferring others to themselves. The number of people could be considerable, with some of them feeling extreme hunger. Fearing that the food might be eaten before they manage to have their share, they might take two dates at a time to avert their hunger and cravings. As a result the Prophet (s) instructed them to have good manners while eating...

Today, there is plenty of food and when people gather for food, they are polite and urge each other to eat. As such there is no need to seek permission; unless a similar situation of hardship and poverty were to occur, in which case, when the rationale returns, so would the ruling; and God knows best.”[l]

  • One of the effects of ta‘līl on understanding legal texts and explaining the rulings that are derived from them can be seen from the ħadīth recorded by Imam Muslim in his ‘Chapter on straightening the prayer rows and the superiority of the front row and then the next’. The ħadīth is narrated by Abū Hurayrah, who states:

“The Messenger of God (s) said: ‘The best row for men is the front one, and the worst one is the back one. And the best row for women is the back one, and the worst one is the front one.’”

Some take this to be ta‘abbudī and literal, no more, no less; particularly since the ħadīth appears in a chapter relating to acts of worship. As a result, this row is the best and that one is the worst; end of story!

Others link it to the superiority of men and the lower status of women. As such it is appropriate for women to be kept back as much as possible from the rows of men and made to keep to their natural place. Al-Mulā al-Harawī al-Qārī in his Mirqāt al-Miftāħ conveys the following:

“Ibn al-Malik[li] states: ‘Because the status of women is inferior to that of men, the last row is more appropriate to their rank.’”[lii]

The truth is that what is intended by the ħadīth is neither of these. The real reason is that the shortage of space in the mosque, the lack of a barrier between men and women at that time, and the eagerness of women, like men, to be in the first row used to result in the rows of the two sexes being very close together. The last of the male rows would be immediately followed by the first of the female rows, so much so that it is reported that some men used to keep back in the last row so as to catch a glance of a beautiful woman who always tried to pray in the front row.

In addition, when standing up after prostrating, some women would raise their heads before the men,  a number of whom did not have long enough garments to cover themselves properly. As a result the women could sometimes see the private parts of these men if they were still prostrating. The Prophet (s), therefore, instructed the women to take their time when rising from prostration.[liii] For these two reasons the women were encouraged to stand as far back from the rows of the men as possible.

This undoubtedly befits Islamic manners and morality under normal circumstances, so how much more is this the case with regard to the mosque and prayer, when worshippers should be seeking purification, tranquillity, submissiveness, and solemnity.

The majority of scholars have understood the rationale and intent of the ħadīth in this way, and on this basis they contend that whenever women pray alone in a group, the best row is the front one, and the worst is the back. I.e. the situation reverts to the original ruling: the front row is more superior and offers greater reward, then the second, then the third, etc. There is no difference in this between men and women.

Imam al-Nawawī states:

“With regard to the rows of men, these follow the normal practice, with the best of them always being the front one and the worst of them being the back. As for the women’s rows, what is meant by the ħadīth is: the rows of women when they pray with men. However, if they pray alone and not with men, then they are like men, the best of their rows is the front one and the worst is the back. What is meant by the worst of rows, when speaking about both men and women, is the one with the least reward and merit and the furthest away from what is required by the Sharī‘ah.”[liv]

Al-Amīr al-Šan‘ānī likewise confirms:

“If [women] pray and their imam is a woman, their rows are like those of men, the best of them is the front one.”[lv]

Based on the above, we can say that, if the stated conditions exist, the women’s rear rows are the best in terms of obedience to, and awareness of God, as they are in terms of superiority and reward. The first row is not a physical place or direction, but signifies being the first to do good and to avoid evil and doubtful matters.

  • Another issue relating to ta‘līl and its impact on rulings concerns the share of Zakāh allotted to the mu’allafat qulūbuhum (those whose hearts need winning over). It is well known that, when he was Caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khaŧŧāb (r) stopped giving this group of people their share of Zakāh. This is despite the fact that they are explicitly mentioned in the Qur’anic verse that details how the Zakāh should be distributed. Discussion amongst jurists and Qur’anic exegetes is still ongoing as to the impact of ‘Umar’s suspension of this ruling and was it absolute or merely temporary, whereby the original ruling remains and can be re-enacted.

What everyone does agrees about is that the basis for ‘Umar’s suspension of the payment is the principle ‘a ruling changes depending upon the presence or absence of its rationale’. The rationale in this case is that, when Islam was in its early stages, when it was still weak, it was necessary to win people over and unite them with the Muslims. Likewise, it was necessary to win over some of the leaders amongst the polytheists to stop them harming the Muslims. Up to this point there is agreement as to the rationale and its resulting impact: the cessation of the ruling due to the absence of the rationale, Islam having become powerful and people accepting it in droves.

The difference that remains regarding the issue is: has the rationale for the ruling disappeared forevermore, such that the original condition of Islam will never return; guidance has been made clear from error, and whoever wants can believe and whoever wants can disbelieve? Or is it possible for the rationale to return at any time and place, such that whenever it does and its preconditions are met, the ruling returns and must be implemented?

What concerns me first and foremost for this issue is that part where there is agreement, where the impact of ta‘līl on establishing and changing rulings can be seen. As for the area where there is dispute, this is a secondary issue which is not separate from the principle, but rather confirms it.

  • One of the clearest, and most important examples in this regard is the issue of jihad; and I mean here jihad in its specific sense of ‘fighting in the way of God’.[lvi]  Does this type have a clear rationale or is it ta‘abbudī? And if it has a rationale what is it? And if we know its rationale, what is the effect of this on its rulings and its application in different circumstances? And is jihad considered to be among the acts of ritual worship (‘ibādāt) or from one of the other divisions of fiqh?

The acclaimed scholar Yūsuf al-Qarađāwī expressed the issue by saying: “Is jihad a religious matter or a worldly matter?”[lvii] He then repeated the question with an alternative wording: “Is jihad among the matters of ritual worship (‘ibādāt) or of social interactions (mu‘āmalāt)?”[lviii]

Despite the fact that the majority of jurists consider rulings related to jihad to be from the mu‘āmalāt, many of them, both old and new, affirm the perpetual obligation of jihad and raiding without paying regard to any reason or rationale. We even find some that affirm the obligation of fighting the unbelievers at least once a year, as if it was like fasting Ramadan or performing the Hajj. I.e. they have made it into a ta‘abbudī action, which must be undertaken for its own sake.

However, the obvious, unmistakeable reality is that the fighting required by the Sharī‘ah is based on intelligible rationales that have been stipulated in the sources. This being so, it is dependent upon its rationales, it exists when they exist, it ceases when they cease to exist, it returns when they return, and it is measured according to the specific situation.

Imam Abū Bakr al-Shāshī, known as al-Qaffāl al-Kabīr, clarifies the wisdom for which jihad was legislated, stating:

“Its true meaning is doing one’s upmost to establish truth, call to it, and prevent what opposes it. It makes up part of ‘enjoining good and forbidding wrongdoing’ (al-amr bi-l-ma‘rūf wa-l-nahy ‘an al-munkar), stopping wrongdoers, and preventing corruption in the land.”[lix]

Given that decisive speech has been stipulated by the Qur’an, the following is some of the Qur’anic verses that explain the legitimacy and the obligation of fighting.

  1. {Those who have been attacked are permitted to take up arms because they have been wronged.} [22:39]

This was the first verse to announce the legitimacy of fighting for the Muslims and permit them to undertake it. It validated fighting on the basis that “they have been wronged”. Hence, oppression that can only be removed by fighting is the rationale for the legitimacy of war against an oppressor who persists in their oppression and aggression.

  • {Why should you not fight in God’s cause and for those oppressed men, women, and children who cry out, ‘Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! By Your grace, give us a protector and give us a helper!’} [4:75]

This verse contains an incitement to fight in God’s cause in support of the oppressed and helpless. It is obvious that the fighting mentioned, even though it is in God’s cause in terms of the intention and expectation of reward, in practice is to support the oppressed and remove oppression from them. Hence the rationale here is the same as that mentioned in the previous verse, i.e. removing oppression and opposing the oppressors.

  • {Fight in God’s cause against those who fight you, but do not overstep the limits: God does not love those who overstep the limits.} [2:190]

This verse is unequivocal about the fact that Muslims should only fight those who fight them and that God forbids them from overstepping limits, part of which is fighting anyone who is not fighting.

  • {Kill them wherever you encounter them,and drive them out from where they drove you out, for tribulation is more serious than killing.Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight you, kill them – this is what such disbelievers deserve – but if they stop, then God is most forgiving and merciful. Fight them until there is no more tribulation, and worship is devoted to God. If they cease hostilities, there can be no [further] hostility, except towards aggressors. A sacred month for a sacred month: violation of sanctity [calls for] fair retribution. So if anyone commits aggression against you, attack him as he attacked you, but be mindful of God, and know that He is with those who are mindful of Him.} (2:191-4)

The rationale here is similarly to respond to fighting with fighting and expulsion with expulsion, while at the same time prohibiting fighting at the Sacred Mosque. However, if they fight us there, we should fight them there too, but if they cease, we should likewise cease: {so long as they remain true to you, be true to them} [9:7]. Whoever commits aggression against us, we should respond in a similar manner, but we should not act unjustly towards them.

The principle of responding to fighting with its like is also confirmed in another verse: “But you may fight the idolaters at any time, if they fight you first, yet remember that God is with those who are mindful of Him.” Hence the Muslims should fight their enemies only as a response, as a deterrent, and in a similar manner to that undertaken against them.

  • The section in the above verses from Surah al-Baqarah that states: “Fight them until there is no more tribulation, and all worship is devoted to God alone”, is similar to verse 39 of Surah al-Anfāl: “Fight them until there is no more tribulation, and worship is entirely devoted to God alone: if they desist, then God sees all that they do.” Here, fighting is tied to the rationale of removing tribulation and making worship devoted to God alone. This rationale contains a description and clarification of the aforementioned oppression and aggression and the tribulation that they lead to, including preventing people from following their religion.

Removing tribulation and making worship devoted to God alone does not mean, like some people think, that we should continue fighting until all disbelief is removed and Islam prevails, and in this way alone can peace be established. This makes no sense.

Firstly, if this were the case, it would represent an injunction that was impossible to fulfil. It would be a commandment for Muslims to eliminate disbelief from the earth, which is something that no one asserts, not to mention its being physically impossible: {Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel people to believe?} [10:99]; {Do the believers not realize that if God had so willed, He could have guided all mankind?} [13:31]. Hence, striving to make all people believe is unrealistic and in fact not possible. And there is consensus among scholars that injunctions that are impossible to fulfil cannot exist in Islamic law.

Secondly, it is incompatible with Christians, Jews , and Magians being allowed to keep their religion, collecting the jizyah tax from them, and coexisting with them. If the aim of fighting was to force all people to accept Islam, there would be no room for treaties, protection of non-Muslims, collection of the jizyah, or coexistence.

It then becomes clear that the tribulation which Muslims should fight to remove is not disbelief, and “making worship devoted to God alone” does not mean forcing all people to accept Islam. Rather, the only possible meaning is that people should have the freedom to worship their Lord and follow and invite others to their religion unimpeded and without compulsion, intimidation, or persecution. This is the meaning of: “until there is no more tribulation, and worship is devoted to God”.

It is reported in Šaħīħ al-Bukhārī that: “Two men came to [Abdullah] ibn ‘Umar at the time of the tribulation involving Ibn al-Zubayr and said to him: ‘People have gone out to fight, and you are Ibn ‘Imar, and you were a Companion of the Prophet (s). So what prevents you from going out to fight?’ He said: ‘What prevents me is that Allah has forbidden me from spilling the blood of my brother.’ They said: ‘Doesn’t Allah say: “Fight them until there is no more tribulation”?’ He said: ‘We fought until there was no more tribulation and worship was for God alone. But you want to fight so that there is tribulation and worship is for other than God.’

In another narration, reported by Nāfi‘, it is stated that: “A man came to Ibn ‘Umar and said: ‘O Abū ‘Abd al-Rahmān, what causes you to perform Hajj one year and ‘umrah the next, and leave jihad for the sake of God even though you know how much God encourages it?’ He said: ‘Young man, Islam was built on five pillars: belief in God  and His messenger, the five prayers, fasting Ramadan, giving Zakāh, and Hajj to God’s house.’ The man said: ‘O Abū ‘Abd al-Rahmān, don’t you see what God says in His book: “If two groups of the believers fight, you [believers] should try to reconcile them; if one of them is [clearly] oppressing the other, fight the oppressors until they submit to God’s command” and “Fight them until there is no more tribulation”?’ He said: ‘We did this during the time of the Prophet (s), when the Muslims were few and a man was persecuted for his religion, such that they either killed him or tortured him. This was the case until the Muslims became numerous and there was no longer any tribulation.’”

In summary, the fighting that is permitted, and insisted upon in Islam is mentioned in the Qur’an with the following rationales:

  • Removing oppression that cannot be removed in any other way,
  • Protecting the weak and oppressed,
  • Being in accordance with the principle of like for like and responding to fighting with fighting,
  • Removing tribulation and making worship devoted to God alone.

Therefore:

  • The permissibility of fighting in Islam is based on these reasons and aims, so every battle that Muslims engage in must be connected with one or more of these rationales, and defined by its limits and scope.
  • The sources that are general in purport and lack a rationale must be understood in the light of those that are restricted and possess a rationale, i.e. in light of the rationales mentioned. In the words of the scholars of ušūl al-fiqh: the general (muŧlaq) verses on jihad must be understood in light of the restricted (muqayyad) verses, and according to what has been stipulated and explained in the science of ušūl al-fiqh. Hence, the texts that enjoin or encourage fighting, which are general and unrestricted, must be understood in the light of those that express a rationale and must follow the requirements of the latter. At the same time, the requirements of those verses linked to inclining towards peace, responding to bad with good, and preferring forgiveness and reconciliation must also be considered whenever possible.

This is in addition to the detailed and practical conditions and rules determined by specialists and those in authority in each specific situation.


[i] I am not comfortable with the description of this preface as theological. Rather, I see this issue as being entirely related to law and legal theory. This is despite all those who squeeze it into the field of theology or vice versa; although al-Shāŧibī is not one of those. Having said this, I do not deny that this issue stems from faith and doctrine.
[ii] Abū Isħāq al-Shāŧibī, al-Muwāfaqāt. Al-Shaykh Dirāz edition. Beirut: Dār al-Ma‘rifah, vol. 2, p. 6.
[iii] Ibid, vol. 1, p. 265.
[iv] Translator’s note: These terms relate to the juristic principle of qiyās (analogical deduction), used to extend a ruling that applies in one circumstance (the ašl or ‘original’ case) to a new circumstance (the far‘) when the two are deemed to have the same rationale (‘illah). For example, extending the prohibition on drinking wine to also include taking drugs due to their having the same rationale: they both cause intoxication.
[v] Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Al-Maħšūl min ‘Ilm al-Ušūl, vol. 6, p. 165.
[vi] Muħammad Mušŧafā Shalabī, Ta‘līl al-Aħkām: ‘Arđ wa Taħlīl li-Tarīqat al-Ta‘līl wa Taŧawwurātihā fī ‘Ušūr al-Ijtihād wa-l-Taqlīd. The work took the form of a thesis that was submitted for the award of PhD in fiqh and its related sciences at al-Azhar University in 1362/1943. It was first published by Maŧba‘at al-Azhar in 1947.
[vii] Ibid, p. 4.
[viii] Ibid, p. 5.
[ix] Ibid, p. 6.
[x] Ibid, p. 96.
[xi] See for this: Ahmed Al-Raissouni, Nażariyyat al-Maqāšid ‘ind al-Imām al-Shāŧibī, (Casablanca: Maktabat al-Hidāyah, 1432/2011), pp. 230-234.
[xii] Examples include: al-Qaffāl al-Kabīr, Abū Sulaymān al-Khaŧŧābī, al-Tirmidhī al-Ħakīm, Abū Ħasan al-‘Āmirī, Abū Bakr al-Jaššāš, Imam al-Ħaramayn al-Juwaynī, Abū Ħāmid al-Ghazālī, Ibn ‘Abd al-Salām, al-Qarāfī, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Daqīq al-‘Īd, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Kāsānī, al-Shāŧibī, and Shah Waliullah Dehlavi.
[xiii] This is taken from the introduction to an unpublished study of mine entitled: al-Jam‘ wa-l-Tašnif li-Maqāšid al-Shar‘ al-Ħanīf. I wrote the study in 1419/1998 for the International Islamic Fiqh Academy on the request of its General Secretary at the time, the late, great scholar Muħammad al-Ħabib ibn al-Khawjah, may God have mercy on him. The study was intended as a resource for those working on the encyclopaedic work: Ma‘lamat al-Qawā‘id al-Fiqhiyyah, later published under the name of Ma‘lamat Zāyid li-l-Qawā‘id al-Fiqhiyyah wa-l-Usūliyyah.
[xiv] Using the words of Muħammad Mušŧafā Shalabī.
[xv] I have confirmed elsewhere that al-Rāzī does not dispute the ta‘līl of legal rulings. See: Al-Raissouni, Nażariyyat al-Maqāšid, op. cit. pp. 237-244.
[xvi] I.e. based on the Shariah being established for the benefit of God’s servants, we can adopt qiyās and ijtihād and act in accordance with them, and if this were not the case neither of them would have any benefit or even any meaning.
[xvii] Al-Shāŧibī, al-Muwāfaqāt, op. cit. vol. 2, pp. 6-7.
[xviii] Al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Ŧabarī (Jāmi‘ al-Bayān), ed. Aħmad Shākir, 1st edition, (Mu’assassat al-Risālah, 1420/2000), vol. 21, p.517.
[xix] ‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salām, Qawā’id al-Aħkām fī Mašāliħ al-Anām, vol. 1, p. 22.
[xx] Abū Bakr ibn Abī Shaybah, Mušannaf. Edited by Dr Muħammad ‘Awwāmah. Dār al-Qiblah, vol. 16, p. 504.
[xxi] It seems to me that there is a dire need for one or more studies on the subject of the attainment of benefit in the biography of the Prophet (s).
[xxii] Al-Qurŧubī, Tafsīr al-Qurŧubī. 2nd ed. Cairo: Dār al-Kutub al-Mišriyyah, 1384/1964, vol. 9, p. 203.
[xxiii] Ibn al-‘Arabī, Aħkām al-Qur’ān. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1424/2003, vol. 4, p.118.
[xxiv] Abū Sulaymān al-Khaŧŧābī, Ma‘ālim al-Sunan. Aleppo: al-Maŧba‘at al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1351/1932, vol. 2, p. 253.
[xxv] This is rule number 128 in Ma‘lamat Zāyid li-l-Qawā‘id al-Fiqhiyyah wa-l-Usūliyyah. See: 1st edition, 1434/2012, vol. 5, p. 455.
[xxvi] ‘Alā al-Dīn al-Kāsānī, Badā’i‘ al-Šanā’i‘ fī Tartīb al-Sharā’i‘, 2nd edition, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1406/1986, vol. 1, p. 115.
[xxvii] Ibn Rāshid al-Qafašī, Lubāb al-Lubāb fī mā Tađammanathu Abwāb al-Kitāb min al-Arkān wa-l-Shurūŧ wa-l-Mawāni‘ wa-l-Asbāb, p. 9.
[xxviii] Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, A‘lām al-Muwaqqi‘īn ‘an Rabb al-‘Ālamīn. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1411/1991, vol. 2, p. 60.
[xxix] Al-Ħakīm al-Tirmidhī, Kitāb Ithbāt al-‘Ilal, ed. Khālid Zahrī, 1st edition, published by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Rabat, 1998, p. 67.
[xxx] Al-Shihāb al-Qarāfī, al-Furūq (Anwār al-Burūq fī Anwā’ al-Furūq), vol. 2, pp. 56-7.
[xxxi] Ibn al-Qayyim, A‘lām al-Muwaqqi‘īn, op. cit. vol. 2, p. 51.
[xxxii] Muħammad al-Bāqir al-Kaŧŧānī, Tarjamat al-Shaykh Muħammad al-Kaŧŧānī al-Shahīd, 1st edition, (Maŧba‘at al-Fajr, 1962), p. 35.
[xxxiii] Al-Ŧāhir Ibn ‘Āshūr, Maqāšid al-Sharī‘ah al-Islāmiyyah, (Dār Saħnūn and Dār al-Salām: 1428/2007), p. 13.
[xxxiv] Al-Ŧāhir Ibn ‘Āshūr, Al-Taħrīr wa-l-Tanwīr, (Tunis: al-Dār al-Tūnisiyyah li-l-Nashr, 1984), vol. 2, p. 323.
[xxxv] Abu al-Ħasan ibn Baŧŧāl, Sharħ Šaħīħ al-Bukhārī, 2nd edition, (Riyadh: Maktabat al-Rushd, 1423/2003), vol. 2, p. 512.
[xxxvi] Al-Kāsānī, Badā’i‘ al-Šanā’i‘, op. cit. vol. 1, p. 263.
[xxxvii] Al-Raissouni, Al-Jam‘ wa-l-Tašnīf, op. cit. p. 7.
[xxxviii] Combining intentions means having the intention to perform a specific action along with the intention to obtain some other benefit thereby.
[xxxix] Al-Qarāfī, al-Furūq, op. cit. vol. 2, pp. 22-3.
[xl] Ibn al-Qayyim, A‘lām al-Muwaqqi‘īn, op. cit. vol. 4, pp. 124-5.
[xli] Ibid, vol. 1, p. 152.
[xlii] Abū Isħāq al-Shāŧibī, al-I‘tišām. Saudi Arabia: Dār ibn al-Jawzī li-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawzī‘, 1429/2008, vol. 3, p. 102.
[xliii] Al-Shāŧibī, al-Muwāfaqāt, op. cit. vol. 1, p. 200.
[xliv] See rule number 1969 in Ma‘lamat Zāyid li-l-Qawā‘id al-Fiqhiyyah wa-l-Usūliyyah, op. cit. vol. 29, p. 311.
[xlv] Ibn al-‘Arabī, Aħkām al-Qur’ān, op. cit. vol. 1, p. 628.
[xlvi] Alā’ al-Dīn al-Kāsānī, Badā’i‘ al-Šanā’i‘ fī Tartīb al-Sharā’i‘, 1st edition, (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1417/1996).
[xlvii] Ibn ‘Āshūr, Maqāšid, op. cit. p. 138.
[xlviii] Ibid, p. 139.
[xlix] Translator’s note: the original actually states “jogging between al-Šafā and al-Marwah” but this is clearly a mistake given the preceding and following paragraphs.
[l] Abū Sulaymān al-Khaŧŧābī, Ma‘ālim al-Sunan, op. cit. vol. 4, pp. 255-6.
[li] He is the Ħanafī jurist ‘Abd al-Laŧīf ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Amīn al-Dīn ibn Farishtā, commonly known as Ibn al-Malik, who lived in the 9th century.
[lii] Mirqāt al-Mafātīħ Sharħ Mishkāt al-Mašābīħ, 1st edition, (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1422/2002), vol. 3, p. 851.
[liii] See: Šaħīħ Muslim, ‘Chapter on the command for women praying behind men only to raise their heads from prostration after the men.’
[liv] Al-Nawawī, Sharħ Šaħīħ Muslim. 2nd ed. Beirut: Dār Iħyā’ al-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1392 AH, vol. 4, p.159.
[lv] Al-Amīr al-Šan‘ānī, Subul al-Salām. Maŧba‘at al-Sunnah al-Muħammadiyyah, vol. 1, p. 375.
[lvi] As for jihad in its general sense of ‘striving in the way of God’, this is multifarious, Ibn al-Qayyim dividing it into 13 different types and levels. (See: Zād al-Ma‘ād, vol. 3, pp. 9-10.)
[lvii] Yūsuf al-Qarađāwī, Fiqh al-Jihād, (Doha: Markaz al-Qarađāwī li-l-Wasaŧiyyah al-Islāmiyyah wa-l-Tajdīd), vol. 1, p. 59.
[lviii] Ibid, p. 60.
[lix] Abū Bakr al-Shāshī, Maħāsin al-Sharī‘ah, first edition, (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2007), p. 187.

Source note:
This article is part of the book; The Fundamental Rules of the Science on Sharīʿah Objectives, translated into English and will be published soon by the Foundation;  
Ahmed Raissouni, The objectives of the Law; the Fundamentals Principles of the Science of Maqāšid, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, London, UK.