Islamic Perspectives on Human Nature: Ibn Ashur's fitrah-based Theory of Maqasid al-Shari'ah

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Gowhar Quadir Wani


The concept of human nature is central to both Islamic and Western thought, as manifested in the rich legacy of literature on human psychology in both intellectual traditions. A comprehensive account of human nature (or fitrah) from an Islamic perspective, can be gleaned from the Qur'an, Prophetic narrations and works of Muslim scholars like al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and al-Razi. The famous Zaytuna Imam, Tahir Ibn Ashur (d.1973), in his book on the objectives of Islamic Law, Maqasid al-Shari'ah al-Islamiyyah, provides a fitrah-based model for building human civilisation, thereby linking Islamic law to psychology. The present paper is a humble attempt to study the views of Ibn Ashur on human nature and to highlight the relevance of Islamic perspectives on the 'humn being' with regards to civilisational development.

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