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Maqasid and the Three-Stage Development Strategy.

Objectives of Shariah, the maqasid, was developed as an independent field of

inquiry through seminal contributions of leading Muslim scholars, notably, AlGhazali, Al-Izz Ibn Abdelsalam, lbn Taymiyah, Ibn Al-Qayim and Al-Shatibi. Among
these, Al-Shatibis work is particularly groundbreaking as it has effectively
crystallised maqasid into a distinct discipline of intellectual inquiry. His widely
acclaimed book Al- Muwafaqat is remarkably inspiring in the projection of Shariali
objectives through an elaborate scheme of core values shared by almost all human
societies irrespective of religion, culture and history. This is particularly relevant to
the key question: How does Shariah address the overall objective of well-being?
The answer to this question will emerge shortly through a three-stage development
model that starts from Necessities (daruriyyat), to the satisfaction of Needs
(hajiyyat) and finally, towards the satisfaction of open-end Perfections.

In Al-Shatibis terms, Necessities (daruriyyat) are the minimal requirements of

barely sustainable human livelihood even though hardships can be suffered in their
satisfaction. The role of Needs (hajiyyat) is hence to remove hardship and extend
conveniences (tawsicth) in the satisfaction of Necessities whereas perfections
(taJisiniiyat) introduce further refinements towards excellence in quality. Hence,
rather than describing Islamic economic development as a one-off basic needs
strategy, the maqasid scheme accommodates the idea of ever-changing human
wants so long as the process ot economic satisfaction remains well-governed
sequentially and justly in accordance with the three-stage development model. AlShatibi follows earlier Muslim scholars in classifying Necessities into live key
(1) Religion
(2) Sell (for human Life)
(3) Mind
(4) Progeny and
(5) Wealth
He argues that the five key elements given in the order above are recognisable in
all creeds. Figure 2.1 presents these elements through a regular pentagon showing
the priority order of each element. Thus, Necessities are the structural elements of
well-being whereas Needs and Perfections emerge as complementary extensions
and refinements to Necessities rather than independently defined elements. This is
presented in Figure 2.2 where Needs and Perfections emerge as outright extensions
for each structural element of Needs.

Necessities are comparable to the bare structure of a multi-storey building

consisting of rooms, ceilings, floors, doors, windows and nothing more. This
structure is still habitable for households, though with enormous hardship and
frustration. Needs are therefore comparable to the introduction of habitable
conveniences like water pipelines, electrical connections, toilet/ bathroom, kitchen,
wall plastering to cover bricks inside the rooms and perhaps heating and/or aircooling devices.

Why Islamic Economics?

The maqasid model answers the important question of how the Islamic world view
helps prioritise Necessities, Needs and Perfections of humait hfe in the on-going
pursuit of socioeconomic well-being. In this context, ma qasid offers a vital source
of inspiration for the ideal characterisation of an Islamic economy, but the real
challenge is how to approach this ideal as closely as possible. A series of questions
will thus arise on how maqasid differentiates an Islamic economy from alternative
economic systems in terms of policies, mechanisms and institutions, and what are
the roles of governments markets, social institutions and individuals in this pursuit?
These are typical questions that give rise to Islamic economics.
To address the above questions, two sources of disciplinary knowledge are needed,
economics and Shariah. Traditionally, Shariah scholarship has focused mainly on
the detailed jurisprudence of economic transactions to ensure validity of business
contracts (fiqh al-muamalat) rather than analyse the impact of such dealings on the
economy as a whole. The latter marks the domain of Islamic economics which
transcends jurisprudential concerns to more subtle issues about economic
mechanisms, institutions and policies in a way that empowers the Islamic economy
towards the fulfilment of maqasid. The modern industrial environment has brought
with it unprecedented socioeconomic problems affecting human well-being well
beyond the remit of traditional Shariah scholarship, even though the core principles
of Islamic economics have originated in the works of early Shariah scholars who
laid down the foundations of maqasid and utility theory (e.g., Ghazali, Ibn
Taymiyyah, Shatibi). Islamic economics is therefore, a newly emerging discipline
that takes the lead in resolving newly arising from the viewpoint of maqasid. In
other words, Islamic economics to the Mind, the productive human resource.

The Three Central Economic Problems

Regardless of ideological contentions, economics gets into play when three central
problems are addressed, namely:
1 Production decision (what to produce?);
2 Management decision (how to produce?); and

3 Distribution decision for whom to produce?)

Inspired by the above maqasid, the Islamic economy has its own woridview,
institutional setting and mechanisms to address these questions. By contrast,
capitalist and socialist systems act under different woridviews, institutional settings

A Brief Note on Maqasid al-Shariah

The Objectives of Shariah (Maqasid al-Shariah) is a vast topic which is beyond
the scope of this chapter. Here, we have been particularly concerned with the
relevance of this subject to Islamic economics in the way to introduce the principles
of Islamic finance. Shariah scholars, in general hold the primary objective of
Shariah as promoting human well-being from the perspective of Islamic worldview.
Al-Ghazali brings forth the key ingredients of human well-being in his book AlMustasfa: The very objective of the Shariah is to promote the welfare of human
beings, which lies in safeguarding their Religion, Selves, Minds, Progeny and Wealth.
Whatever ensures and safeguards these five fundamentals serves public interest
and is desirable. Whatever hurts them is against public interest and its removal is
The above key ingredients are the tenets of Shariah objectives (maqasid) as
elaborated further by Al Shatibi through his analysis of Necessities (daruriyyat),
Needs (hajiyyat) and Perfections (tahsiniyyat). Al-Shatibi represented Necessities as
the core objective of Sharah, or the structural element of socio economic wellbeing as described in this chapter. This follows from his statement that The
Necessary objectives of Shariah (daruriyyat) are the basic foundations [ash for
Needs and Perfections. Therefor if it is proved that Perfections are subordinate to
Needs and Needs are the subordinate to Necessities, then Necessities are the
ultimate objective [al-matloob] (Muwafaqat, Vol. 2, p.13).

In particular, Figure 2.2 on page 41 is an embodiment of Al-Shatibis assertion that

Every element of Needs and Perfection is a subservient to one foundational
element of Necessities (Muwafaqat, p. 19). Viewed from the socioeconomic
perspective, each foundational element of Necessity (self, mind, progeny and
wealth) stands for one strategic basis of human well-being, whereas Need and
Perfections branch off from each of these strategic bases to contribute appropriately
towards improving the overall quality life. This is the crux of maqasid as explained
in the present chapter.