Maḳāṣid al-Sharīʿa
(1,313 words)

(a.), literally, “the aims or purposes of the law”.

The term is used in works of legal theory ( uṣūl al-fiḳh [q.v.]) and refers to the idea that God’s law, the S̲h̲arīʿa [q.v.], is a system which encompasses aims or purposes. If the system is correctly implemented, these aims will be achieved. From such a perspective, the S̲h̲arīʿa is not merely a collection of inscrutable rulings. One who claims that the S̲h̲arīʿa has maḳāṣid is, therefore, making a statement concerning the rational nature of the S̲h̲arīʿa: that God intends to bring about a certain state of affairs by instituti…

Cite this page
Gleave, R.M., “Maḳāṣid al-Sharīʿa”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 14 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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