Maslaha in Contemporary Islamic Legal Theory

in Islamic Law and Society
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This article investigates the concept of maslaha in contemporary Islamic legal theory. After presenting models of maslaha developed by al-Ghazālī, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Qarāfī, al-Tūfī, and al-Shātibī, I analyze writings on maslaha by leading jurists from the late 13th/19th century to the 1380s/1960s, namely al-Qāsimī, Rashīd Ridā, Mahmasānī, 'Allāl al-Fāsī, Khallāf, and al-Būtī. The findings show that the early reformers tended towards al-Tūfī's expansive understanding of the principle of maslaha in the law-finding process. Later jurisprudents, in contrast, either advocated a holistic approach similar to that of al-Shātibī or espoused a more restrictive use of maslaha like that of al-Ghazālī and al-Rāzī. The way in which jurists employ the principle of maslaha is not random but rather is influenced by education, personal position, and historical environment.

Maslaha in Contemporary Islamic Legal Theory

in Islamic Law and Society


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