Considering Maalat as an Approach to Applying Maslahah in Reality

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Muhammad Shahrul Ifwat bin Ishak

Abstract

Maalat (consequences of an action) was suggested by al-Shatibi as a principle to engage with situations where the outcomes of Islamic rules are not in line with their objectives. While rules in Islam are revealed for the sake of maslahah (well-being), in some situations implementing them might not achieve this element, maybe even militating against it. Through maalat, al-Shatibi suggested providing exceptions in those situations, involving either the banning of a permitted action or the toleration of a prohibited action. However, without a proper understanding of this principle, its application could be misunderstood as a way to justify amending a rule in the name of maslahah. This might eventually endanger the integrity of the Islamic rules. In this regard, this paper aims to analyse al-Shatibi’s conception of maalat and identify the fundamentals behind this principle. The findings reveal that the principle of maalat must be applied under the disciplines of ijtihad (reasoning) and maqasid al-Shariah (objectives of Islamic law), and with reference to an accurate understanding of reality, thereby ensuring its application is in line with Islamic principles.

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