After reading Michael Hartoonian’s essay on technology in our September issue of Pegasus, Professor Hashim Kamali sent me his draft article on technology and the moral purposes of Sharia law in Islam – the maqasid. In my judgement, study of the maqasid should be of priority for all non-Muslims and more widely emphasized within the Muslim ummah, as well.
You may read his essay here.
Prof. Kamali draws on the maqasid to make an important distinction between the black letter law and the higher purposes, which give law its virtuous legitimacy.
This distinction was also drawn by Jesus Christ in this passage from the New Testament:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You tithe a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
Prof. Kamali is the founding CEO of the International Institute for Advanced Islamic Studies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He previously served as Professor of Islamic law and jurisprudence at the International Islamic University Malaysia and also as Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilisation from 1985 to 2007. One author has described him as “the most widely read living author on Islamic law in the English language.” Prof. Kamali received his BA from the University of Kabul, his LLM in comparative law from the London School of Economics and Political Science and his Ph.D. in Islamic and Middle Eastern law at the University of London. He features in the book, The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World (2009, 2010, 2016, 2019 and 2020).