The Evolution of the Discipline of Maqāṣid al-Sharī'ah in Islamic History
تطور علم مقاصد الشريعة عبر التاريخ الإسلامي
The discipline of Maqāṣid al-Sharī'ah is a body of knowledge that is both impactful and esteemed. It has existed in some shape or form since the time of the Prophet s.a.w. and his companions until the modern era. It ought to be said that this body of knowledge did not materialize at once. In fact, it has gone through various stages of evolution until it reached its current form as a distinct body of knowledge and turned into an academic discipline. Scholars started looking at this body of knowledge academically towards the beginning of the fourth century A. H. and beyond. Among the pioneers in this field were: Imam of al- Ḥaramayn al-Juwaynī in his book, al-Burhān fī Uṣūl al-Fiqh, then Imam al-Ghazālī in his book, al-Mustaṣfā fī Uṣūl al-Fiqh, then Imam Al-‘Iz bin ‘Abd al-Salām in his book, Qawā’id al-Aḥkām fī Maṣāliḥ al-Anām, and al-Shāṭibī in al-Muwāfaqāt, who is considered the reference in this discipline. Then came Ibn ‘Ashūr and his book, Maqāṣid al-SharīÑah al-Islāmiyyah; he is considered as the leader of this discipline in the modern age. In the context of the evolution and revival of modern Islamic thought and its major Islamic disciplines, there is increasing interest in the study of the higher objectives of Sharī'ah (Maqāṣid al-Sharī'ah) because it represents the fundamental values of Islam and its basic doctrines and legislative principles. It comprises the basic ingredients of permanency, uniformity, and harmony of the revival of Islamic thought in its myriad issues and dimensions. The interest in this field continues to rise to the extent that you can coin the term Maqaṣidic Revival in the various Islamic disciplines and thought.
Keywords: Maqāṣid al-SharīÑah, Islamic History, Evolution of Knowledge, Islamic Thought
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