This article examines the concept of maqasid al-Shari'ah in Islamic jurisprudence in order to highlight its contribution to more comprehensive, rational and realistic answers to contemporary financial issues and to thereby increase awareness of the maqasid approach in structuring and developing Islamic finance products. For this purpose, the authors examine the literal and technical meanings of maqasid al-Shari'ah and scrutinise the position of the concept in Islamic law. They also present the essential elements of maqasid al-Shari'ah and explain how this approach may contribute to better solutions for various Islamic finance issues and challenges. Islamic finance has experienced phenomenal growth and success in the last three decades. It has expanded beyond its traditional markets to become a global phenomenon. Despite this encouraging development, skeptics continuously allege that Islamic finance is failing to fulfill its objectives as defined by the maqasid al-Shari'ah. These objectives, which prevail within the ambit of the Shari'ah, are to be expressed not only in the minutiae of Islamic finance operations but in the breadth of Islamic finance’s role to the Ummah as a whole. Indeed maqasid al-Shari'ah reflects the holistic view of Islam, which has to be looked at as a whole, not in parts, for Islam is a complete and integrated code of life, and its goals encompass all of life, including the individual and society, in this world and the hereafter.
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