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-Shatibis 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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