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The chapter in question dwells upon the concept of Maslahah Mursalah. The author notes that this concept is similar to the concept of Istislah. Though, Maslahah Mursalah focuses on the idea of the good of the entire society. The author also outlines major types of Maslahah Mursalah and the conditions under which the concept can be employed. Then, the author provides different views on the concept. The author concludes that Maslahah Mursalah is one of the best tools that can help develop Islamic jurisprudence. Though, the author also emphasizes that the concept should be exploited properly.
The Essence of the Concept
Kamali (2003, p. 235) notes that essential values (i.e. “religion, life, intellect, lineage and property”) are central to the concept of the Maslahah Mursalah. It is also noteworthy that the concept is aimed at achieving benefits for the entire society and preventing harms that can be caused to society.
The author points out that the Maslahah Mursalah does not refer to written texts. On the contrary, the concept involves the opposite idea. In other words, the Maslahah occurs when there is no particular answer to a question raised. The essence of the Maslahah is that it has to correspond to the divine law.
Types of the Maslahah Mursalah
Kamali (2003) mentions three major types of concepts. Thus, the first type is the so-called ‘essential’. This type is closely connected with the major values such as “religion, life, intellect, lineage and property” (Kamali, 2003, p. 238). The second type is ‘complementary’ and it consists of attempts to avoid hardships in the community. The third type is ’embellishment’ and it involves the improvement of the life of the community.
It is necessary to note that the concept of Maslahah Mursalah can be employed under certain conditions. For instance, the Maslahah must be “genuine” (Kamali, 2003, p. 240). Hence, the Maslahah has to secure the improvement of the community and ensure that people will benefit from various developments. The Maslahah has to protect essential values.
Another condition is that the Maslahah must be general. In other words, laws must lead to improvements for the entire society or, at least, the largest part of the society. The concept cannot be employed to pursue the goals of particular groups of people. The third condition is that the Maslahah Mursalah cannot come into conflict with the Qur’an.
Notably, the concept is associated with certain controversy. For instance, some jurists argue that the Maslahah Mursalah can lead to violation of the divine law as it involves the reasoning of people, who might pursue their own interests. Opponents of the concept claim that the Maslahah Mursalah is not well-grounded as it does not refer to specific texts. According to opponents, this can lead to significant deviations and corruption of the essential values. Importantly, the author notes that even though there is a certain debate on the validity of the concept, there is consensus that the Maslahah Mursalah can be used in society (of course, it must be used under the necessary conditions). Nonetheless, Kamali (2003) states that the concept is beneficial for the Muslim society as it makes Islamic law more flexible. In its turn, this flexibility enables Islamic law to fit to the rapidly changing world. Therefore, it helps the Muslim society to develop and cherish the essential values.
Kamali, M.H. (2003). Principles of Islamic jurisprudence. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society.