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Maqasid: the goals of Shari'ah

In Muslims scholarship, there is a legal concept called Maqasid (the goals) of Shari'ah. Let's look into both terms, and see how understanding them can be useful to us.

What is Shari'ah?

Shari'ah is the Divine Law that Allah has releaved to humanity through many of His messengers, the last and final of them being prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The shari'ah is revealed for the benefit of humanity as it helps us to be true slaves of Allah and to live an upright dignified life.

What are the maqasid?

Maqasid, which literally means goals or purposes, is an attempt by Muslims scholars to look at the Shari'ah as a whole and to understand the overall wisdom behind the rulings. Examining the commands and prohibitions given to us, scholars have concluded that the shari'ah rulings aim to protect, preserve, and promote five essential benefits.

What are these 5 benefits the Shari'ah aims to protect?

The five benefits in the order of priority are:

1. Religion (deen), and it is the highest priority.

2. Life (nafs).

3. Intellect (aql).

4. Lineage (nasb), and this includes progeny, i.e. kids.

5. Wealth (maal).

This comprehensive hierarchy has been given the name of al-maqasid (the goals).

Using the goals in practice

We suggest to use these goals as individuals and as a community. As individuals, we can use them to prioritize our activities and direct our effort. Each one of us can ask oneself: how am I doing on these five? Am i keeping the order of priorities? 

While as a community, we can examine the state of our ummah at large: what are the needs we have as a community? What do we need to thrive in all five directions? Here is an example of how we apply it:

1. We need to preserve the Deen. This means to learn it, practice it, be true to it, and pass it to others around us. Can we have a roadmap here? Where to start? In what order to proceed?

2. Life: do Muslims have basic needs covered? This includes water, food, shelter, physical and financial security, health and community around us. What are the things to fix? How to fix them? Who will fix them? Seems like being competent can help with a lot of these points. We need to help each other starting from the people closest to us.

3. Intellect: are we helping the ummah to become smarter? this is a real race right now, as the tiktok and such is making us stupider by day. Educating ourselves, protecting and developing the minds of our kids should not be neglected.

4. Lineage: Are we taking care of our parents? Is marrying easy? Can we have smart healthy kids in a lawful marriage? How are we raising them?

5. Wealth: the matrix is making everyone a slave of this world. It wants us to grind and give everything, to suck out our life energy for its own evil goals. How can we help the ummah to have enough? On the other hand, how can we escape this rat-race of gathering wealth, which has become the number one priority in for many Muslims all over the world. Where is the balance here?

These are the things we could think of. Let's look at ourselves and the communities around us, and see what can be fixed. Let's start from our connection with Allah.  The further question is which of the five maqasid can each one of us take care of for the Ummah? How can we be useful and help the Muslims?

After thinking about it, we've decided to work on a knowledge roadmap for beginners. A roadmap and tools to enable Muslims to practice Islam and have a solid foundation. Right now, the objective is to cover the necessary minimum to fulfil the essentials starting from prayer.

Let's finnish with this beautiful dua from our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):

And success comes only from Allah.