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Doctoral Thesis: The Theory of Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa in Shīʿī Jurisprudence

Muḥammad Taqī al-Mudarrisī’s maqāṣid al-sharīʿa paradigm is characterized as pragmatic epistemologically, more accessible and dynamic methodologically and employing a virtue ethic.

The emergence of the theory of maqāṣid al-sharīʿa as a legal theory, which is a purposive approach to the law in which the main purposes of the law are considered as deriving elements of the legal rulings, has occurred in a particular socio-political and cultural context for the Shīʿa and within a particular epistemological construction. Given the lack of a historical reading of Shīʿī jurisprudence and the limitations of the methodological approaches which have to date been employed, this research applies a holistic approach. “The Bahbahānian paradigm” is identified as the overarching epistemological paradigm in modern and contemporary Shīʿī jurisprudence. The Bahbahanian paradigm was formed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is arguably characterised as being a combination of Aristotelian epistemologically, formalist methodologically and soft utilitarianism. Within this paradigm in the context of the twentieth century, maqāṣid al-sharīʿa emerged in Shīʿī thought, especially in its systematic and comprehensive theorisation by Muḥammad Taqī al-Mudarrisī – a contemporary Shīʿī scholar. The introduction of the maqāṣid al-sharīʿa approach represents a paradigm shift that departs epistemologically, methodologically and functionally from the Bahbahānian paradigm. Mudarrisī’s maqāṣid al-sharīʿa paradigm is characterized as pragmatic epistemologically, more accessible and dynamic methodologically and employing a virtue ethic.

Mudarrisī’s maqāṣid al-sharīʿa reflects the eclipse of the quietist character of the previous paradigm and the ambition of the contemporary Shīʿī religious institution. This ambition comprises a more significant role in the public sphere, which is embodied in the application or renewal of the sharīʿa in reality on one hand, and confronting the systematical secularization of the modern nation-state of the public sphere on the other. Mudarrisī’s version of maqāṣid al-sharīʿa is obligated to challenge three intellectual enterprises; that is, the classical Shīʿī jurisprudential reasoning by embracing hermeneutical tools which are more accessible to religious knowledge; the Sunnī soft utilitarian maqāṣidī approaches by providing virtue ethical jurisprudence; and the secular nation-state by providing a flexible legal system.

Bibliographic Information

Title: The Theory of Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa in Shīʿī Jurisprudence: Muḥammad Taqī al-Mudarrisī as a Model

Author: Hasan J E H M Beloushi

Date issued: 2014-08-22

 Language: English

Length: 310 pages

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