An Abridged Shari‘ah Perspective: Obligations to Future Generations

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

﴿رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي * وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي * وَاحْلُلْ
عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي * يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي﴾

The following is an abridgment of my paper Obligations to Future Generations: A Shari‘ah Perspective, published by Tabah Foundation. Please see the original for references and additional details.


Technology and population have advanced to where today’s decisions result in irreversible changes or damages which will be passed on to generations of persons who are not yet born. Do we have any obligation to these future generations? Is there a Shari‘ah-based foundation for such an obligation? If so, what are these obligations? What follows is a brief introduction to the concept of obligations to future generations, a demonstration that the overall objectives of the Shari‘ah (maqaṣid al-sharī‘ah) call for such obligations and suggest particular obligations. It then ends with several observations for Muslim scholars. The full paper covers a wider range of topics and in greater detail, and is available for those who are interested.

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Dear Mufti…

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title: “Dear Mufti…”
date: 2013-02-19 07:04
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The “Dear Mufti…” tweets express some of the messages conveyed within many of the requests I received. Some of the original question were sincere and serious, others were trollish. While most of the questions presented here are caricatures of groups of questions, a few are close to verbatim.

“Dear Mufti, Declare riba halal so Allah declares war against you instead of me.”

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Seeking a coherent Islamic law

In order to be applicable to all contexts, the Shariʿah cannot be arbitrary or incoherent, nor can it be exhaustible or of limited lifetime. Rather, it must be systematic, consistent, and coherent. It must also be comprehensive and durable in order to provide guidance for humanity until the end of their earthly existence. The madhhabs, or schools of Islamic law, exhibit legal theories and bodies of law that, thus far, meet all of these qualities. These schools have demonstrated the ability to grow to address new cases and contexts without losing these qualities. Alternatives have yet to exhibit and sustain these qualities, leaving the madhhahbs as the best tool for approaching the Shariʿah.

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It’s the harasser who’s responsible in Islamic law

“Oppressing women and justifying it using Shari’a is more offensive to our Prophet than a cheap film.” Al-Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri Fear of sexual harassment is a fact of life for women in Egypt. Many have posited that women themselves should bear responsibility for such harassment, with even seemingly religious arguments being deployed to support such … Read more…

Collection of Maqasid

The following list of maqāṣid al-sharī‘ah—overarching objectives and purposes of Islam[ic Legislation]—was extracted from Ibn ‘Āshūr’s Maqāṣid al-sharī‘ah. For more information, please consult the Arabic original or its English translation. This list is by no means exhaustive, though it does include the main ones mentioned in the book.

The maqāṣid include:

  • preservation of the order of the world & regulating human conduct
  • preventing our inflicting harm and destruction upon the world
  • preservation of religion, life, the intellect, property, lineage, & dignity

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The Overarching Purposes (maqāṣid) of Medicine

From the perspective of the Shari‘ah, the overarching purposes (maqāṣid) of medicine are the preservation of life, the body, its limbs, and considering them as necessities; warding off harms and anything which is harmful; preservation of health and providing treatment; and, enabling mankind to fulfill its role of stewardship (Ar. khilāfah).1 There is a large … Read more…