Worth a Look: Crane on Islam–Concise & Coherent

Worth A Look

Human Responsibilities and Rights in the Shari’ah: An Advanced Primer

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Ibn Qayyim wrote:  “The Islamic law is all about wisdom and achieving people’s welfare in this life and the afterlife.  It is all about justice, mercy, wisdom, and good.  Thus any ruling that replaces justice with injustice, mercy with its opposite, common good with mischief, or wisdom with nonsense, is a ruling that does not belong to the Islamic law.”

This introductory essay defines the highest level framework, akin to constitutional principles, and introduces various schools of fiqh or schools of thought (madhahib) that have been established by leading Islamic scholars or Imams, namely, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, Ja’fari, and Zaidi.  Regardless of the school(s) of thought one may follow, the discussion of the universal human responsibilities and rights culminates in what is the essence of Islam, i.e., truth, love, and justice.


The classical five maqasid (al dururiyat al khamsah) or huquq (sing. haqq) of Al Ghazali in the 4th Islamic century were the protection of din (faith and religion), haya (life), mal (private property), karama (dignity and honor), and ‘ilm (mind and knowledge).  Later scholars, especially Al Shatibi, added nasl or nasab (family and community) and hurriyah (self-determination or political freedom).  Some twenty-first century scholars have added an eighth maqsad, known as haqq al mahid or respect for the physical environment.

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