The Objectives of Shari'ah
Many jurists have tried to explain the aims and objectives of Shari'ah upon which it is established. Among these the outstanding figures are the Malikite Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, the Shafite al-'Izz ibn 'Abd aI-Salam, and the Hanbalite Ibn Qayyim al-Jawiziyyah. Shatibi is one of those few jurists who have discussed objectives of Shari'ah in elaborate details. This paper summarizes the main elements of Shatibi's discussion of the objectives of Shari'ah.
Definition of Maqasid AI-Shari'ah
Maqasid al-Shari'ah that is, the objectives of Shari'ah can be defined as below:
Maqasid al-Shari'ah comprises those benefits/welfare/advantages for which Allah has revealed His Shari'ah.
Maqasid al-Shari'ah aims at the attainment of good, welfare, advantage, benefits, etcetera, and warding off evil, injury, loss, etcetera, for the creatures. (All this in Arabic terminology can be stated as Masalih al-'Ibad.)
Shari'ah aims at the welfare of the people in this life and in the life hereafter, and for this purpose it has advised the people to adopt such means and measures suggested by it (Shari'ah) as may result in advantage benefit/well-being to them and may ward off evil/injury/loss, etcetera, from them, not only in this world but also in the world hereafter. Same is the philosophy behind His commands and the worships prescribed for His creatures.
Classification of Maqasid AI-Shari'ah
Provisions of Shari'ah aim at protecting its objectives. Objectives or Maqasid al-Shari'ah can be classified as under:
These are the objectives which are must and basic for the establishment of welfare in this world and the world hereafter in the sense that if they are f ignored then the coherence and order cannot be established and fasad (chaos and disorder) will prevail in this world and there will be obvious loss (al-khursan al-mubin) in the world hereafter.
- Protection of Faith (Din)
- Protection of Life (Nafs)
- Protection of Posterity (Nasl)
- Protection of Property (Mal)
- Protection of Reason ('Aql)
Daruriyyah relates to five things:
According to Shatibi, these five protections are daruriyyah for the establishment of welfare in this world as well as in the world hereafter. The protection of the above mentioned elements can be made possible through two types of essential elements.
Necessities required for bringing into and maintaining the very existence of the above mentioned elements, that is: din, nafs, nasi, mal, 'aql, etcetera.
Necessities required for protecting these elements from their destruction. The worships ('ibadah) for example, aim at maintaining the very existence of faith.
Iman (attestations in words and intention), salah, zakah, fasting and hajj are the elements that are required for the maintenance of the very existence of faith (din). All such provisions of Shari'ah are said to have the aims that can be labeled as daruriyyah.
Similarly, the permission to benefit from drinkables, clothing, housing, etcetera, is meant to maintain life and hence fulfill the objective of necessities. Such matters and dealings that are required to maintain and protect the existence of property, reason and posterity also promote necessities from the point of view of bringing these into existence.
On the other hand, such dealings or legal provisions (jinayat), which are required to stop destruction of the above mentioned elements will also be said to aim at daruriyyah from the point of view of the objectives of Shari'ah.
Shari'ah aims at facilitating life or removing hardships. All such provisions of Shari'ah which aim at facilitating life, removing hardship, etcetera, are said to fulfill the hajiyyah (requirements). For example, permission of hunting and use of halal goods for food, lodging, and conveyance, etcetera. Besides, the permission for qirad (profit sharing through borrowing), musaqat (profit sharing), bai salam (forward buying of a commodity which does not yet exist), which are apparently illegal interest bearing dealings, are the examples of Shari'ah provisions that aim at facilitating life or removing hardships in the life in this world. The exploitative, usurious and doubtful dealings and contracts have also been forbidden for the same purpose.
Shari'ah beautifies life and puts comforts into it. There are several provisions of Shari'ah which are meant to ensure better utilization, beautification and simplification of daruriyyah and hajiyyah. For example, permission to use beautiful, comfortable things; to eat delicious food; to have cold drinks and juices; to wear fine clothing and so on.
Relationship between Necessities, Requirements and Amelioratories
Shatibi has identified the relationship between daruriyyah, hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah in the following manner:
- Daruriyyah is fundamental to hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah.
- Deficiency in daruriyyah brings deficiency to hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah in an immutable manner.
- Deficiency in hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah does not necessarily affect daruriyyah.
- An absolute deficiency in hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah may bring deficiency in some extent to daruriyyah.
- To keep up hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah for the proper maintenance of daruriyyah is desirable.
A corollary of this Shari'ah norm relating to daruriyyah, hajiyyah, and tahsiniyyah can be indicated thus:
- Daruriyyah is the basic whilst the other two are in the nature of the complements of daruriyyah.
- Demand for daruriyyah creates the demand for the other two, that is, hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah.
- Demand for hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah does not create demand for daruriyyah.
- Demand for hajiyyah can be set aside for the demand for daruriyyah.
- Similarly the demand for tahsiniyyah can be set aside for the demand for hajiyyah.
- Hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah are pursued for the sake of daruriyyah, that is, to complement them and not for their own sake.
To sum up, it can be stated that tahsiniyyah is the complement of hajiyyah and hajiyyah is the complement of daruriyyah.
Nature of Complementarity
Every complement, as long as it is a complement, is subject to a condition that it will not invalidate or eliminate a darurah. For example bai' (sale) is a darurah and the prohibition of gharar (uncertainty) and jihalah (ignorance) is a hajah. This hajah will not be pursued if its pursuit eliminates bai' (a genuine sale transaction which is a darurah (necessity).
Following the same principle, the jurists have permitted bai' salam (sale of an article that will be produced in future), though normally a bay (sale) contract requires the presence of the mabi' (the good being sold and purchased).
Shari'ah Approves of Good and Forbids Bad: Appreciates Ease and Shuns Unnecessary Hardships
Allah has created both "good" and "bad". Good results in goodness of man, and bad yields badness for him. Good leads to Allah's pleasure and bad leads to His anger. Man has been enjoined upon to do good and avoid bad for seeking Allah's pleasure, but he has been advised to adopt ease and shun unnecessary things for this purpose. Allah has not put any obligation upon man which is beyond his scope. Says the Holy Qur'an: Allah does not take a soul beyond his scope.
"He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship. The Holy Qur'an has stated one of the purposes of the prophecy of the Prophet (SAW) in these words: "He will enjoin upon them which are right and forbid them which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them all the bad things; and He will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear (7:157)
The Prophet (SAW) says, "Religion is focality. The most beloved religion to Allah is tolerant orthodoxy".
The same principle is applicable to man's economic activities, and for the maintenance of his economic needs. He has been asked to meet his need by the virtue of his labor, but to adopt such means as are easy and lawful, and not to adopt even such lawful means (for this purpose) that exhaust him. He is obliged to satisfy his hunger with halal meals and not to eat haram ones, (but in idtirar when any halal thing is not available, he is permitted to eat dead body or what is not properly slaughtered) and other unlawful things. This is in accordance with Shari'ah maxim that:
"necessity (darurah) renders prohibited things permissible".
The examples which illustrate the application of this norm are numerous. Leniency with a debtor, who is in financial strait, is an example of this principle. If the inability of a debtor to pay his debt is established, payment by installments may be permitted. "And if the debtor is in straitened circumstances then let there be postponement to the time of ease." (2:280)
(Although necessity renders prohibited things permissible yet this rule is not absolute but it is limited by the text, by the extent of the necessity and by the time of the necessity.)
Aims of Shari'ah Unchangeable
The aims and objectives of Shari'ah are everlasting and unchangeable. They are set by Allah and their application or interpretation is not left to the sweet will of any person or class. These aims relate to both the worldly life and the life hereafter; and to take them only for the worldly benefits at the cost of the hereafter life's benefits is prohibited and condemned. However, Shari'ah is considerate in case of darurah (necessity) and hardships.
Shari'ah has set priority order for the worldly and religious affairs and the people have been enjoined upon to follow this priority order, and they are not allowed to apply their whims while following either of the two. Shari'ah has prohibited the use of some goods as well as the indulgence in certain economic activities, though sometimes or even always their use or practice may yield economic fruits or progress. Similarly Shari'ah has permitted and sometimes required the use of certain things or the initiative of certain economic activities, though apparently they do not yield such fruits as the prohibited things do. The philosophy behind the permission or prohibition of certain goods or economic activities is known to Allah (SWT). However, some of its parts have been revealed by Him and explained by The Prophet (SAW). In all such commandments, Shari'ah ensures ease and it has permitted the ease of unlawful and prohibited goods and activities in case of necessity (darurah). In this connection, in addition to the verses quoted earlier, the following references are note-worthy: "Allah desireth for you ease; He does not desireth hardship for you." (2:158)
"Allah would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak." (4:28)
The Prophet (SAW) says: "/ have been sent with easy and practicable Shari'ah."
The examples of such ease are found in the permission of ijara (leasing and hiring) and salam sale (that is, sale of a commodity which is to be produced in future) and in the permission of qirad (profit sharing through borrowing) and musaqat (fruit sharing).
Shari'ah never demands its followers to undergo unnecessary hardships and difficulties in performing religious obligations and other noble deeds. However, every difficulty or hardship in Shari'ah yields worldly gains (sooner or later) or the pleasure of Allah.
A person himself should not intend to undergo unnecessary hardship in performance of any noble deed or economic activity. However, if he is put in the same, or he willingly wants to do so to seek Allah's pleasure, he shall be rewarded.
Shari'ah has discouraged the observance of rahbaniyyah, monasticism), and has appreciated the lawful earning for the maintenance of oneself and the family, and preventing oneself from begging for a living.
Shari'ah always stands for following the medium path in observing religious duties and worldly _affairs. Allah (SWT) says, "They ask you what to spend (in way of Allah) say: What is surplus." (2:219)
Shari'ah permits and appreciates the use of lawful adornments; wearing fine dress; eating good food, etcetera, and discourages their abstinence. Says the Holy Quran: "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His bondsmen, and the good things of His provisions?" (7:32)
However, lust for these goods and consequently the worldly mindedness is condemned by Shari'ah. Says the Holy Qur'an: ((This life of the world is but a pastime and a game". (6:32) Says the Prophet (SAW): ((Love of world (wealth) is root of every evil."
In the light of the objectives of Shari'ah, human needs can be classified into, two categories:
- Primary needs and
- Secondary needs.
These are the needs which bring immediate benefits, that is, food (for one's own maintenance and that of his dependants), lodging, clothing, marriage and their related requirements including permission and facilitation of buyu' (sales), ijarah (hiring and leasing), etcetera. These are the needs without which human life is impossible. The fulfillment and continuance of these needs is necessary. Man has been permitted to struggle for the fulfillment of these needs.These needs have been classified further into two categories:
- Personal needs.
- Needs involving others.
For the fulfillment of the second category of primary needs, Shari'ah has permitted economic dealings and transactions such as earnings for the welfare of others through ijarah (hiring and leasing), kirayah (renting of land), trade and all forms of manufacturing. For the smooth fulfillment of these needs and for the smooth running of such activities, Shari'ah has prohibited some harmful activities and malpractices such as marketing of wine, institution of riba, devouring the property of the orphans and the weak and theft, etcetera.
These needs neither yield immediate benefits nor are they required for immediate worldly benefits. They are meant to yield benefit in the long run or in the world hereafter. Their sub-classification is as follows:
Fard 'ain (personal obligation) which has to be performed individually, that is, religious and fiscal obligation of individuals such as salah (prayer) and zakah, and
Fard kifayah (social obligation) which is obligation on the society as a whole such as acceptance of the responsibilities of any state office, propagation of Islamic teachings, etcetera. Fard kifayah has been further classified into three categories:
which neither yields any benefit in this world nor is it performed for enjoining benefits. This category includes services which are performed for the cause of Allah
which may yield benefits in this world too through the service to others such as social professions and social services (for which one may seek remuneration such as receiving fee for teaching children),
which are between the categories mentioned in (a) and (b) above. They are primarily not meant for enjoyment or benefits in this world and in fact are purely in the cause of Allah (SWT). However, one may seek some permitted benefits of this world in the performance of such social obligations, as for example, the custody of an orphan's property for which one is allowed to receive remuneration if he otherwise cannot afford it.
Persons who spare their time and struggle for the benefit of the others are allowed to receive for the noble deeds that they perform, but this is meant to be only a support for their sustenance.
Search of Benefit is Man's Nature
Man, by nature, is in search of his benefit and welfare. Islam also approves this natural instinct but it has polished it with the provisions of lawfulness, justice and benevolence. Hence, Shari'ah does not regard every effort rendered for the fulfillment of the objectives of Shari'ah as noble deed but also allows acceptance of remuneration for the same. Shari'ah lays down the following principles in this respect.
There are some objectives of Shari'ah which are allowed to be carried out through an agent or an employee, and who carries out such objectives of Shari'ah is entitled tor eceive remuneration for the same. No remunerations is allowed for carrying out all other objectives for which agents/employees are not allowed to be appointed.
All such objectives which are fulfilled muamalat (dealings), such as sale, hiring services, etcetera, are allowed to be carried out by agents or employees. Agents claim remuneration for carrying out such dealings. All such objectives which are fulfilled through individual ibadat (worship) or the individual's personal involvement are not allowed to be carried out through agents. Such as eating, drinking, offering salah, payment of zakah, performance of hajj, one's own marriage, etcetera. There is no question of remuneration for such activities. Hence, no one can claim any remuneration for eating or for offering one's salah, etcetera.
Actions with Intention
Both the ibadat (worship) and mu'amalat (worldly affairs) can be performed with or without the intention to seek Allah's pleasure. If the same are rendered for Allah's sake they are turned into worship. For example, one can maintain his parents; his family members; the poor and the needy or can pay zakah without the intention of doing it for the sake of Allah. In that case he will not earn any thawab (Allah's reward) and if he does the same for Allah's sake then it will be as worthy as worship and will have a reward in this world and in the world hereafter.
In worldly affairs, any unintentional transgression will also be compensated; however, the defaulter will not be punished for the same on the Day of Reckoning. If the results or the outputs are opposite to the intention, then, in worldly affairs the reward or punishment will be accordingly to the result. Muslims are under obligation to pursue the objectives of Shari'ah in all their religious and worldly actions with the intention of seeking Allah's (SWT) pleasure.
Shari'ah Rules are General and Not Specific
Shari'ah roles and principles pertaining to conduct its objectives are general and not specific, if it is not othrwise stated. This is because the Islamic Shari'ah is for all human beings and not for a particular group of persons or region. The Prophet (SAW) is prophet for all, and for all periods and places. In this context, the Holy Qur'an enjoins that the Shari'ah maqasid and obligations are for all human beings, except wherever Allah (SWT) or the Prophet (SAW) has declared so.
Masalih are not equal
All masalih (benefits) are not equal. Some are more important and some are less important. Similarly all mafasid (disorders/losses) are not equal. Islamic jurists have classified each of the masalih and mafasid into two categories:
- Primary masalih and Primary mafasid.
- Secondary masalih and Secondary mafasid.
Primary masalih are those benefits which directly relate to the safety of the five elements of life in this world viz: (din, nafs, mal, 'aql and nasi). Similarly primary mafasid are those losses which directly relate to the loss of the five elements.
Secondary benefits are those which assist in the safety of the five elements, and the secondary mafasid are those which assist in the destruction or loss of the five elements. Achievement of primary masalih has priority over achievement of secondary masalih. Similarly, abstinence from primary mafasid has priority over abstinence from secondary mafasid. In the same way there is gradation within primary masalih (as well as within primary mafasid) and a gradation within secondary masalih (and within secondary mafasid). For example, protection of din has top priority within primary masalih. Another example is that all sorts of bai' gharar (uncertain sale) are not equal in terms to their mafasid (losses). So the pursuit of masalih is desired to follow the priorities. More important masalih is required to be achieved. Similarly, if one has to face or to commit, one of the two or more mafasid, one should choose the one which is lighter or less severe in causing fasad (that is, in harm or loss). The Prophet (SAW) has set precedence in this regard. 'Ayesha (RA) reports: "When the Prophet (SAW) had to face one of the two harms or difficulties, he used to choose the easier and lighter one in disobedience".
Another Classification of Masalih and Mafasid
Broadly, masalih and mafasid can again be divided into the following two categories:
- Masalih and maqasid of this life.
- Masalih and mafasid of the life hereafter.
So far, we have discussed the first category of masalih and maqasid. Now, we shall shed light on the second category. Islamic jurists have subdivided this category into two kinds.
Masalih and maqasid purely for the life hereafter, that is, the blessings of the paradise or the punishments of the hell.
Masalih and maqasid which also involve the affairs of worldly life.
Similarly, the struggle made for the achievement of these two categories of masalih and maqasid can also be divided into (1) struggle for the worldly masalih and maqasid (2) struggle for the masalih and mafasid of the world hereafter.
Shari'ah in Ibadat and in Worldly Affairs
In performance of ibadat, the application of reasoning is not allowed whereas in worldly affairs the use of analogy and their analysis is permitted. As a matter of fact, performance of these affairs revolves around maslahah (welfare) of the human being. Sometimes an act becomes illegal because of its harmful effects, while at some other occasions the use of the same thing becomes lawful because of its advantages. For example, the exchange of a coin with a coin of similar specie is prohibited because it involves the exploitation of the needy by the capitalist, while it is permitted in qard (loan/debt of money) because it is done to help a needy for the pleasure of Allah. Similarly, the exchange of fresh dates in exchange of dried ones is prohibited as it includes the elements of rib a (interest) and gharar (deception), whereas it is permitted in araya for the advantage and ease of the people. Permission or prohibition regarding the economic transactions and dealings is in accordance with the masalih (welfare/advantages) of the people.
Secondly, Shari'ah has permitted the application of analogy and inference of the Shari'ah principles pertaining to worldly affairs only to search ease and welfare of the people, as long as it is in accordance with Shari'ah. The Hanafite jurists have furnished for it the principle of istihsan (appreciation or jurists's equity), and the Malikite jurists have given the principle of masalih mursalah (social reform).
But in doing such worldly things the text will be strictly adhered to where text exists. For example in determining the nisab of zakah; beneficiaries of zakah, etcetera, one shall have to follow the text relating to it.
From the above discussion it becomes clear that Shari'ah commandments are of three kinds:
Huquq Allah (rights of Allah), which according to the jurists, are mostly related to faith, worship and success in the life hereafter.
Huqul al-Ibad (rights of the people), which are mostly related to the worldly affairs of the people and their welfare in this world.
Joint rights of Allah (SWT) and His creatures (the people), in which sometimes Allah's rights may dominate, sometimes the rights of others may dominate.
Shari'ah Demands That the People Display Allah's Bounty
Shari'ah advises and expects from the people that they should display and expose the blessings and bounties of Allah bestowed upon them. The philosophy behind this permission and expectation is multifarious. Firstly, in some verses of the Holy Qur'an this display is taken for substitute of thanking.
Secondly, the exposition of Allah's bounty by the people (particularly the rich), will divert the attention of the poor and the needy (Poor's) needs to them (the rich) for help and fulfillment of their (Poor's) needs. Thirdly, it will strike at the root of monasticism. Fourthly, it would lead the rich to the consumption of wealth which will consequently result in the circulation of wealth in the different parts of the society.
Activities Having Benefits for Oneself
Seeking of one's benefits/welfare (or warding off losses) can take two forms:
- It does not impose a loss upon anyone else.
- It implies a loss for someone else.
The implication of loss for someone else in seeking one's permitted benefits/welfare can be either:
- intentional, or
Unintentional implication of loss has further two categories:
- It is a public loss.
- It is a private or individual loss.
The implication of private loss may be such that if the person (who is causing this loss) is prevented from performing his activities then,
- it may inflict upon himself a loss or injury,
- it may not inflict any loss or injury upon himself.
The last category has further been divided into three categories of losses which are the following:
The loss to others is definite and is certain to occur. Suppose a person wants to dig a well in front of a door which remains in darkness. If this person is not prevented from digging this well, it will cause damage to others (who would come to visit him).
The loss to others is not definite in the sense that it may occur rarely. In other words the probability of occurrence of the loss is very low. For example, suppose a person wants to dig a well in the desert. If this person is not prevented from this, this may cause loss/injury to some but the probability of this is very small.
The loss is substantial (and is quite likely to occur). This may be either (a) very "dominating" loss or (b) "not a dominating" loss. Thus, there are eight kinds of activities in which a person may seek his permitted benefits/welfare. These activities may be restated as below.
First kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare without causing any loss to anyone
Second kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare causing an intentional loss to someone else.
Third kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare having no intention to cause any loss to anyone but his activity may result in a public loss.
Fourth kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare having no intention to cause any loss/injury to others such that, if A is prevented from the activity then A will have to suffer a loss, such as eating or drinking, etcetera.
Fifth kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare having no intention to cause a loss/injury to anyone else but the activity may result in loss to others such that if he is prevented from this activity it will involve no loss/injury to himself, whereas the activity in itself may imply some definite loss injury to others, For example, digging a well in the darkness in front of the main door of one's house.
Sixth kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare with no intention of any loss/injury to others such that if A is prevented from this activity it will involve no loss/injury to him, whereas the activity may result into loss/injury to others. The loss or injury, however, would be less likely to occur, For example, eating food that normally does not harm but at some occasion may cause harm.
Seventh kind: Person A seeks his benefits/welfare having no intention of loss/injury to anyone but the activity may result in a loss to others such that if A is prevented from this activity, it will not impose any loss/injury on himself, whereas the loss/injury to others that may result from the activity is significant and dominating, and is quite likely to occur.
Eighth kind: The situation is the same as in 7 but the loss/injury to, others that may result from the activity is not of a dominating nature more convenient picture of the above possibilities can be seen in Diagram below.
Diagram 1: Path through which a person may seek his welfare.
Shari'ah Rules Relating to the Eight Kinds of Activities
The first kind is fully permitted. There can be no confusion in understanding this permission and hence there is no need to give arguments in favor of permission for an activity in which a person seeks his benefits, without causing any harm/loss/injury to anyone else.
The activity of the second kind his two elements:
There can be no doubt that a loss or injury to others has to be prevented. The principle of Islam is: "La darar wa la dirar". That is, "Don't harm nor become a cause of harm".This situation combines together the "search for own welfare" and the "intention of loss to others". If it is possible to separate the two elements, that is if it is possible that person "A" can have the same benefits in another way in which harm is not caused to others, then this person "A" will have to be prevented from causing harm to others and will be asked to seek his benefits in the other way.But if his benefits and loss to others is an integral part of his activity then he is allowed to perform the activity, but he will obviously carry the sin of having the intention to cause harm to others. A person has to seek his benefits, but the intention to inflict harm on others is prohibited.
- There is a search for own benefits/welfare.
- There is an intention of loss to others.
The activity of the third kind in which a person seeks his benefits by causing an unintentional public loss is prohibited on the Islamic principle that public interest has preference over private interest. One example of this situation is as follows. Suppose a person sells arms to the enemy of Muslims. Obviously he wants to seek a profit for him out of this sale and has no intention to harm anyone. But there is an implicit loss to the Muslim ummah as the arms will be used against Muslims. This sale of arms, therefore, can be prohibited.
The activity of the fourth kind in which a person seeks his benefits such that if he is prevented from this activity, then this will cause a loss/injury to him. This activity is fully permitted even if it may imply unintentional loss to others. This may take three forms:
Sacrificing one's enjoyment for the sake of providing enjoyment to others can take the following two forms:
Getting satisfaction from the beneficial activity. This includes even such activities as eating dead body in emergency or paying bribe to avoid exploitation or to save one's right.
Abandoning one's own enjoyment for a greater cause such as eliminating exploitation or injustice from the society.
Sacrificing one's enjoyment for the sake of others such as spending one's resources in the cause of Allah (SWT), that is, abandoning one's enjoyment to provide enjoyment to the others.
Sacrifice of life does not necessarily mean dying for the cause of: others, it also includes facing hardship for others. All those activities which fall into the activities of the fourth kind are permitted.
- Sacrifice of property.
- Sacrifice of life:
- The activity of the fifth kind, in which the prevention from the activity does not involve harm to person A himself (if he has prevented from it) but the activity may involve a definite loss for someone else. This has two aspects:
Person A is pursuing an objective of Shari'ah, that is, he is attempting to get items of necessity or complementarily or comfort with no intention of a loss to anyone. This is permitted without any reservations.
Person A clearly knows that it will cause a definite harm to someone else. In this case if he performs the activity he will be considered to, have the intention to harm others. He cannot be allowed to do so. But I ' if the person is fulfilling an objective of Shari'ah, he cannot be prohibited from that too. In this situation he may be allowed to perform the activity but he may be required to compensate for the loss that he has inflicted upon others.
The activity of the sixth kind, in which the activity may cause a loss but is likely to occur rarely, is permitted. This is because when benefit/welfare is predominantly known then slight probability of harm cannot be given, consideration.
The activity of the seventh kind, in which the activity will certainly cause some loss which is of dominating nature, may be permitted in principle if it is pursued to fulfill an objective of Shari'ah. However, it is desirable, to be stopped, particularly when the activity is not meant to fulfill any objective of Shari'ah, on the grounds that Shari'ah requires not only the elimination of destruction but also the elimination of the means of destruction.
The activity of the eighth kind, where a substantial harm/loss to others is quite likely to occur, though again is permitted in principle whenever it m a matter of fulfilling the objective of Shari'ah. However, it is desirable to be avoided as far as possible as a measure of caution. The principle of caution is a major element of Shari'ah which has been found in several Shari'ah rules. For example, the prohibition for a man to meet a women in isolation or the prohibition to make a mosque on graves, or the prohibition to have in marriage wife and her niece at the same time, etcetera. The principle of caution has been applied in all these cases.
A Corollary of the Shari'ah Rules Relating to the Activity of the Third Kind
Individuals are not allowed to be involved in activities counter to the public interest. Shatibi has also drawn the following implications from this rule. Shatibi opines that the hoarder of the food is criminal and therefore surplus should be snatched from him by force as he is carrying out an action that causes a general loss to society. So, it is the responsibility of the head of the state to protect the society from his (the hoarder's) malpractice. This opinion, according to Shatibi, is based on Shari'ah sources.
Islamic Shari'ah abhors exploitation and appreciates mutual love and cooperation among the different members of the Muslim society. Shari'ah has laid great emphasis upon the fulfillment of the basic necessities of life. The Prophet (SAW) commended the practice of al-Ashariyyin in this regard. He said: "It comes of Ashariyyin that whenever they set out for Holy war (jihad), or whenever they fall short of provisions while they are at Madina, they pool whatever they have from provision in a cloth and then distribute it equally among themselves with equal measure. Keeping in view of this noble practice they are on my way and I am on their way." As a matter of fact, Islamic concept of the unity of the ummah is so effective and powerful a measure that it has demolished all the barriers of egoism and individualism, and has embodied the Muslims in brotherhood where one's trouble is shared by all.
The second base of the above opinion is that Islamic teachings prepare the Muslims to be self-sacrificing and to give priority to the preferences of their Muslim brothers to their own preferences. The Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) is the true example of this principle.
In this occasion Umar (RA) said to him, "0 Allah's messenger (SAW), why do you accept such responsibility as it is beyond your scope?" The companions of the Prophet (SAW) followed his model or self-sacrifice.
Once 90,000 dirham was brought to the Prophet (SAW). He distributed them all amongst the needy and the poor and did not save even a single dirham for his own use. Meanwhile, a needy person came to ask his share in it. He said to the needy, "Now I have nothing with me; however you come again, and whenever I have anything, I would give it to you".
Looking After the Affairs of Others
If anybody cannot look after his benefits/welfare, the other Muslims, whether or not his relatives, are advised to look after the same on his behalf, provided the performance of this noble deed does not result in any harm/loss to himself. The example of this principle is the collection and disbursement of zakah by the collector; investment of the shareholder's money by the floater of mudarabah for profit; custody of the property of orphans or insane by their guardians, etcetera. However, whosoever acts on behalf of the other can claim for himself a remuneration or reward.
Role of the State
Imam Shatibi assigns the state the role of intervening in the economic activities of the individuals, whenever it feels that they are playing counter to economic interests of the society. He permits the head of the state to stop forcibly all sorts of economic exploitation from the society and establish such economic system which takes away all hindrance that abstain the society from the attainment of their basic necessities of life. Shatibi has, particularly, mentioned the case of foodstuff. He opines that the monopolist of foodstuff is criminal because he commits the crime of hoarding the food and thus creates its artificial scarcity, which results in exorbitant rise in its price. This is economic exploitation that causes loss/injury to the masses. So, it is the responsibility of the head of the state to ward the public of his (the monopolist's) anti-social economic activities.
Allah's Right without Right of Option
Man is obligated to fulfil Allah's all rights and he has no right of option in this regard. The payment of zakah, sadaqah wajibah (obligatory charities), etcetera, are the compulsory acknowledged rights of Allah for the maintenance of the poor and the needy (in the wealth of those who are under obligation to pay zakah, etcetera). Such obligatory are to be paid compulsorily and there is no option in their payment.
Same is the case of the use of those goods/articles, and of those dealings, which Allah (SWT) has declared haram such as eating of dead or eating of the food earned by unlawful means, for example, riba, gambling, invalid sales or devouring the property of the other in vanity. As a matter of fact, all these articles and transactions have been prohibited by Allah, and all the prohibitions are to be followed as Allah's right, in which man has no right of option. The Holy Qur'an has furnished a guiding principle in this regard. "And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity". (2:188).
However, man enjoys the right of option for his own rights and benefits. For example, an individual has the right of option to recover, or to postpone or even to forgive his loan due from other individuals. Says the Holy Qur'an: "And if debtor is in straitened circumstances, then (let there be) postponement to (the time of) ease; and that you remit the debt as alms giving would be better for you if you did but know". (2:180)
Some Implications of Maqasid AI-Shari'ah for the Theory of Consumer Behavior
Shari'ah determines the dimensions of all aspects of human behavior. Economic aspect is only one aspect of the entire human behavior. A discussion of objectives of Shari'ah in the previous pages must have implications for the economic behavior of human beings. Islamic economists should keep in mind these implications while doing economic analysis in Islamic framework.
Drawing implications for the economic theory from objectives of Shari'ah is as huge a task as explaining objectives of Shari'ah. We find ourselves totally incapable of doing the entire task. In fact, this should be a continuous exercise to be caiTied out by several economists interested in the discipline of Islamic economics. Such exercises can provide solid bases for the growth of Islamic economic theories.
This part of the paper intends to provide only a starting point to the process of drawing fundamental implications for economic theory. The few implications drawn in this paper, which in particular refer to the theory of consumer behaviour, are neither final nor exhaustive. These have been drawn, here, only to initiate the process.
Economic Problem of Man
Economic problem is recognized to have three dimensions. What to produce, how to produce and for whom to produce? It is believed that these problems will not arise if resources were unlimited relative to wants to be satisfied or wants were limited relative to resources available to satisfy them.
The following issues arise in defining economic problem this way. The first, and rather basic question, is why produce at all. In this respect the question, for example, is should I work or should I not? Should I till my land or should I continue expecting my parents, neighbors and children to feed me? The second question determines how this objective is achieved.
The three questions, what .to produce, how to produce and for whom to produce, can be answered only as a corollary of the second question. In fact, appropriate answers to these two questions should also automatically answer the three questions mentioned above. The entire conventional economic theory, however, does not specifically answer these two questions to define the economic problem of man.
Economic theory takes the answer to the first question as given. Human beings instinctively want to satisfy their wants. The theory, therefore, concentrates on the second question. Thus, in fact, economic problem is defined by the conventional economic theory as: how to maximize the satisfaction of wants from the available resources which are limited relative to wants.
As will be explained below, the objectives of Shari'ah provide us with a different answer to the question of "why produce at all". The approach to the "economic problem" is, therefore, automatically changed. The second issue in defining economic problem is its consistency. The problem is assumed to arise because of the scarcity of resources. Suppose the scarcity of resources is removed, would the problem be solved? Most probably not. This is because of the inherent inability of material resources to satisfy all human wants.
Their satisfaction, thus, remains vague and economic problem defined in such terms too remains vague. Some secular economists (like Galbraith) too expressed their dissatisfaction on describing objective in terms of wants. According to Galbraith: How can production be defended as want-satisfying if that production itself creates wants?
The satisfaction of human wants is not merely a theoretical assumption to define the economic problem. A capitalistic ideology in a secular framework practically leads the individual to pursue this objective irrespective of how vague or unattainable it is. Objectives of Shari'ah, on the other hand, provides an. entirely different dimension to the economic problem of an individual.
Objective of Individual Economic Activities
The question of why to produce or why to get involved in economic activities in the first place, is that Shari'ah wants individuals to look after their welfare. Shatibi has used the maslahah (welfare-benefit) to describe this objective of Shari'ah. Human beings have been required by Shari'ah to seek maslahah. Economic activities of production, consumption and exchange that involve maslahah (welfare) as defined by Shari'ah have to be pursued as a religious duty to earn one's betterment not only in this world but in the world hereafter. Also all such activities that have maslahah for human beings are called needs. These needs have to be fulfilled.
"Fulfilling needs" rather than "satisfying wants" is the objective of economic activities, and the pursuit of this objective is a religious duty. Man is, therefore, obligated to solve his economic problems.
The approach that unlimited wants relative to scarce resources defines the economic problem of man may be explaining the economic behavior of a capitalistic society, but it certainly fails to explain the behavior of several traditional societies of the world. The members of traditional societies do not feel motivated to maximize the satisfaction of their wants with the resources available with them, because they find their needs adequately fulfilled and they do not feel obliged to look for the satisfaction of wants beyond their needs defined by themselves or by their environment. All development strategies thus fail to bring development in such societies because of the lack of motivation to earn more or to expand resources at one's disposal.
Islamic economic theory, on the other hand, is on more sound footing. It defines economic problem in the light of the objective that Islam assigns to human activities. The fulfillment of this objective is made a religious duty. Islam, thus, becomes a force of economic development even for such traditional societies that are not motivated by the materialistic approach, to maximize the satisfaction of wants. The economic problem of human beings is, therefore, to "fulfill needs" with the available resources which most of the time may turn out to be scarce relative to needs. The inconsistency that was pointed out in the concept of "satisfying human wants" is not present in the concept of "fulfilling human needs". If the resource constraint is relaxed, the human needs can be fulfilled as they are objectively defined (further details are in the next section).
The prime concern of conventional economics is efficiency. This concern emerges directly from their definition of economic problem. If wants are unlimited and resources are scarce then the only solution to the problem is to "economize". This is what is called efficiency that is, "doing the best with what we have". If our wants are virtually unlimited and our resources are scarce, we cannot conceivably satisfy all society's material wants. The next best thing is to achieve the greatest possible satisfaction of these wants.
Compared to this, in the context of Islamic economics, efficiency may not be as much a prime concern. As has been mentioned earlier, desirability is as important a concern as efficiency, the desirability being determined by maslahah.
Fulfilling needs is desirable. It is desirable that necessities be fulfilled on top priority basis. All resources get devoted to the fulfillment of necessities. Necessities are limited, and resources cannot be scarce to meet the necessities. This is against the promise of Allah and against the reality as we see around. There is again no question on economizing on necessities. Once necessities are met, complimentary and ameliorator is to be fulfilled. Complementary and ameliorator get fulfilled as resources become available. Efficiency and desirability are simultaneously required in fulfilling complimentary and ameliorator. Hence efficiency and desirability together are the prime concern of Islamic economics. Where there is conflict, desirability will get preference over efficiency. Desirability is determined by maslahah which has been defined earlier.
Wants Versus Needs
Wants, the focal point of conventional economic theory, emerge from instinctive desires of human beings. Thus, the concept of "wants" is a value-free concept. On the other hand, Islam emphasizes needs and reemphasizes wants. Shari'ah discourages human beings to pursue their wants and desires, and instead encourages them to fulfil their needs as defined in Shari'ah. Needs also emerge from instinctive desires, But in Islamic framework, all desires are not allowed to become needs. Only those desires which have maslahah, that is, the defined benefit in this world or the world hereafter, are allowed to become needs.
Again it is possible that social wants may conflict with private wants. But social needs, in Islamic framework, do not conflict with private needs as both pursue the same maslahah. Following the lines of Shatibi, the Islamic jurists and Islamic economists in the contemporary world are required to work together to determine in detail the determinants of human life. For example, freedom may be the sixth element which may be required to be promoted along with the promotion of the five elements described by Shatibi. On the other hand, it also requires identifying different dimensions of the three levels of promotion (protection, improvement and amelioration) of each of the basic elements.
Maslahah Versus Utility
Conventional economic theory describes utility as the property of good/services to satisfy a human want. "Satisfaction" is subjectively determined. Everyone has to determine the presence of satisfaction according to his own criterion. Economic activity to acquire or produce something is motivated by the utility in that thing. If a thing can satisfy any want, the human being will be willing to make effort to acquire, produce and/or consume that thing.
Maslahah, according to Shatibi, is the property or power of good/services to promote the basic elements and objectives of life of human beings in this world. Shatibi has described basic elements of existence in this world.
- Life (al-nafs)
- Property (al-mal)
- Faith (al-din)
- Intellect (al-aql)
- Posterity (al-nasl)
All such goods or services that have the power to promote these five elements are said to be having maslahah for human beings. According to Shatibi, these basic elements can be promoted at three levels:
- by barely protecting these elements,
- by ameliorating these elements.
All such goods and services that have the power or quality to promote (in any of the above mentioned way, that is, to protect, improve or ameliorate) the five elements described above will be said to have maslahah. A Muslim is religiously motivated to acquire or produce all such goods and services which have maslahah. Some goods and services will have more maslahah and some will have less maslahah, depending on the level at which the goods/services concerned are promoting the basic elements. Goods/services that protect these elements will have more maslahah than the goods/services that are merely for amelioration of the basic elements.
It may be mentioned that the list of basic elements given by Shatibi may not be an exhaustive list. For example, one element that seems to be missing from the list is freedom. Islam has given great importance to freedom at the individual level as well as at the society level. To make a free person a slave is extremely disliked in Islam. Freedom from the dominance of non-Muslim rule is extremely important. Thus all such activities that promote freedom (at any of the three levels mentioned earlier) will be treated to be having maslahah. For the Islamic economists, therefore, maslahah is a more objective concept than the concept of utility to analyze the behavior of economic agents. Analytically, the concept of maslahah can more easily be manipulated than the concept of utility.
Though maslahah will remain to be subjective a concept like utility, yet its subjectivity does not make it as vague as the subjectivity of utility. Some of the superiorities of the concept of maslahah are highlighted below:
Maslahah is subjective in the sense that an individual will himself be the best judge to determine whether goods/service has a maslahah for him. But the criterion to determine maslahah is not left to subjective whims as it is in case of utility. For example, whether alcohol has a utility or not, will be decided by different individuals on the basis of different criterion. Similarly whether a Mercedes car has utility can be decided on the bases of different criteria. For example, it is comfortable, therefore, it has utility. Or it is good to show off and one feels proud to have it and therefore it has utility. Or it is manufactured in one's own country or by the country that one likes and, therefore, has utility, etcetera. There can be innumerable criteria on the bases of which one may decide whether something has a utility for him. This is not so in the case of maslahah. The criterion is fixed for everyone and the decision has to be made on the bases of the criterion. This property of maslahah vis-a-vis utility is capable of increasing the predictability and validity of economic policies because criteria available to the individuals for decision making are known.
The individual maslahah will be consistent with social maslahah unlike individual utility which will often be in conflict with social utility. This is again because of the absence of a common criterion for the determination of utility. The promotion of the five basic elements is desirable not only for the individual but also for the society, whereas, individual satisfaction of a certain want may not be desirable for the society. Alcohol may have utility for several people because they like to drink it but it may not have social utility.
The concept of maslahah underlies all economic activities in a society. Thus it is the objective underlying consumption as well as production and exchange, unlike conventional theory, where utility is the objective of consumption and profit is the objective of production whether economic activities are being performed at individual level or state level.
It is not possible to compare the utility of person A from consuming goods (say, one apple), with the utility of person B from consuming the same good in same quantity. This is because how much satisfaction A or B enjoys by this consumption is not objectively describable. Comparison of maslahah in several instances, however, may be possible. It is at least possible to compare different levels of maslahah. For example, it can be compared whether person A and B both are protecting their life by eating an apple or will B be improving his health. In the former case, maslahah is the same for both, whereas in the latter case maslahah of A is more than maslahah of B.
Type-I Maslahah; Type-II Maslahah
The five basic elements listed earlier can be divided into two categories:
Elements whose promotion means maslahah in this world as well as maslahah in the world hereafter.
Elements where promotion means maslahah only in the world hereafter. Thus an Islamic consumer has to make two types of choices:
- How much of his income to allocate between the first basket and the second basket.
- How to choose from different items in the first basket while remaining within the income allocated for this basket.
A secular consumer does not make the first choice as he faces only one' basket. It is true that a secular consumer also has altruistic consideration and may like to spend a part of his income on charities, but such charities are part of the first basket as the consumer finds utility in such charities in the same way as he finds utility in other items of the basket.
Identification of the determinants of first choice can help in various policy and planning matters particularly those relating to social insurance, income distribution, employment, etcetera. The protection of life thus may not simply mean the access to some amount of food, clothing and shelter; it may also mean access to health facilities, clean water, appropriate sanitation, etcetera. Similarly, protection of freedom at social level may require scientific research and development in the society, import controls and import substitution, etcetera. Such detailed identification of the dimension of human needs in an Islamic society are required to be worked out for the purpose of increasing the policy and prediction power of Islamic economic theory.
Size of "First Consumption Basket"
It has been argued above that an Islamic consumer faces two consumption baskets. "First Consumption Basket" contains goods of type-I maslahah, that the goods which primarily are meant to derive directly worldly maslahah. Apparently this basket may look similar to the basket of a secular consumer as both contains goods of world benefit and the basis of choice within the basket is more or less the same, except that one uses the concept of maslahah and the other uses the' concept of utility for making the choice. There are two distinguishing features of this basket:
- Size of the basket.
- Criterion of choice from within the basket.
Size of the "First Consumption Basket" of an Islamic consumer has to be smaller than the consumption basket of a secular consumer in exactly similar conditions.43 The limiting factor for an Islamic consumer will be the concept of maslahah which is only a subset of the utility in secular concept. All goods that have maslahah for the individual have utility too but all goods that have utility may not have maslahah. This is because maslahah refers to fulfillment of needs whereas utility refers to a state of mind. Satisfaction is a broader concept than fulfillment of needs. For example, one may feel satisfied by showing off a huge house. This may not be needed by him if he was an Islamic person and considered his housing requirement according to his needs. The recognition of beautification, tahsiniyyah, as a need gives a wide flexibility to the Islamic consumer to include a wide range of goods and services in his consumption basket. But according to Shatibi "beautification" cannot be allowed without being complementary to any daruriyyah needs. For example, I may like to have colorful illuminating lights in the garden of my house because the colors in the light look beautiful. But this will be permitted only if there is a need for a light in the garden. If there is already enough light in the garden and colorful lights are added to the garden just to beautify it, then this is not allowed. Beautification cannot be pursued on its own. It can be pursued only for the sake of necessities and not in their own sake.
This principle can exclude several consumable goods from one's basket. Notable of such excluded goods would be the set all conspicuous consumption which presently occupies a major part of the household budget of most of the consumers in an economy.
Criterion of Choice from Within the "First Consumption Basket"
The criterion of choice in secular context is simple. The marginal utility of all goods to be consumed are to be equated. The choice criterion for an Islamic consumer too is simple as far as daruriyyah (necessities) are concerned. He has to equate maslahah (of course, at the margin) for halal daruriyyah. But this principle does not apply to hajiyyah or tahsiniyyah as they do not have any maslahah of their own. Their maslahah depends on the maslahah of daruriyyah (necessities) with which they are attached. Even within daruriyyah (necessities), the choice criterion of equating maslahah for all daruriyyah is to be qualified with the following:
The consumer will follow a lexicographic ordering within daruriyyah. Daruriyyah means to have protection of the five basic needs described earlier (nafs, din, 'aql, nasI and mal). A consumer will order these five needs and then start protecting them from the top. After the top need, say, life, has been protected, he will go to protect the next need (say, faith). He cannot go for hajiyyah needs. Within hajiyyah, the lexicographic order will then follow the ordering of the needs. Hajiyyah for the protecting life will get top priority if life is at the top of the list of the consumer. He cannot go for tahsiniyyah without providing the hajiyyah for all the basic needs. After hajiyyah of all the basic needs have been fulfilled, tahsiniyyah will be pursued in order of the needs with which they are associated.
The consumer will avoid israf (prodigality). Equality of maslahah at consumer's own level will be pursued as long as it does not cross the level of israf which is to be defined in terms of relative maslahah. A consumer may go on fulfilling his needs beyond daruriyyah as long as no one in his neighborhood has his daruriyyah unfulfilled. For example, if a consumer is fulfilling tahsiniyyah relating to his nafs (life) while a person in his neighborhood is dying of starvation, the fulfillment tahsiniyyah will fall into the category of israf which he is not allowed to indulge in. This principle of equating individual maslahah (at the margin) for the fulfillment of all basic needs may not be an ideal Islamic behavior under gross inequalities in the society with respect to the fulfillment of the basic needs. For an ideal Islamic economy, the maslahah will be equated across all basic needs for all members of the society.
What institutional framework will force the Islamic consumer to behave in the manner outlined above? The secular framework provides market as an institution for the consumers to pursue their objectives in a capitalistic economy. The capitalistic economics also have special institutional to meet some specific needs of individuals who are unable to exploit the institution of market to satisfy their wants. All these institutions are required to guide the consumer behavior in an Islamic economy too. There will, however, be some additional institutions to guide and monitor some peculiar aspects of the consumer behavior. Mainly, the following aspects would require special institutions in an Islamic economy:
- Abstinence from israf (prodigality).
- Consistency in the fulfillment of needs at the three levels (daruriyyah, hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah).
- Abstinence from gross deviations from Islamic principles.
Instinctively consumers will be inclined to pursue their own maslahah and hence inclined to indulge in israf. For example, consumers may like to eat to their fill while their neighbors are starving, or they may like to earn more income by hoarding the goods, hence causing harm to others and so on. A consumer may continue fulfilling daruriyyah, hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah relating to his nafs (life) or mal (property) and may pay no attention to even the daruriyyah of din (faith) or 'aql (reason) or nasi (posterity). What institutional framework does the Shari'ah provide in such cares so that the individuals and society do not deviate from the objectives of Shari'ah? The same question arises in relation to the fulfillment of social needs which individuals on their own may not be inclined to fulfill. Education, health, research, defense, etcetera are the examples.
Also the individuals may not strictly be following Islamic principles of consumer behavior and may pretend to be doing so. For example, individuals may get involved in conspicuous consumption on the pretension that this is being done on the grounds of pursuing tahsiniyyah. The objectives of Shari'ah described in Part 1 have implications of a need for the following institutions:
Voluntary institutions developed through adequate education and training of the masses in Shari'ah. Shari'ah basically provides complete freedom and autonomy to the individual, to make his own decisions and to be responsible to Allah on the Day of Judgment. For an incomplete behavior, what is therefore required is only adequate education and training in Shari'ah. The massive education in Shari'ah will not only induce the individual to exercise self-restraint not to deviate from the Islamic principles, but will also develop voluntary social institutions to monitor (and control, where necessary individual behavior. Besides this, Shari'ah promotes social institutions to fulfill social obligations (fard kifayah).
Enforcement Institutions to ensure that individuals refrain from activities which create social or economic disorder in the society. The individual freedom ensured in an Islamic framework does not extend to disturbing the peace and order of the society. Such institutions will mainly be state institutions. These institutions, thus, can intervene in the following activities of the consumer in an Islamic society:
Consumption of prohibited goods openly, as it amounts to violating the law and order of economic society.
Conspicuous consumption activities to the extent that they create a state of unrest, jealousy and depravity in the society.
Israf(prodigality) or excessive propensity to consume on hajiyyah and tahsiniyyah when the daruriyyah of a major part of the society are not being met.
Gross deviant or inconsistent behavior from the point of view of Islamic principles, such as spending the bulk of the budget on tahsiniyyah and ignoring daruriyyah. Non-market institutions, thus, will have to play an important role along; with market institutions in an Islamic economy.
The brief discussion of the implication of objectives of Shari'ah for consumer behavior in this paper will obviously lead to a very logical question: "So what?" What does it all imply for the consumer theory? Will the consumer now prefer to buy more when prices rise or will the consumer prefer to buy less when their income goes up, etcetera? If not, then what is the significance of the discussion so far? In order to conclude this paper the "so what" question has to be answered. The discussion, so far, implies the following for consumer theory:
In an Islamic economy, consumers have to first allocate their income between two types of baskets described earlier. In other words, they have to decide how much should be spent in the cause of Allah (SWT) with no explicit direct worldly benefits and how much to spend for gaining direct worldly benefits. How much of the household income is spent in the cause of Allah (SWT) has several implications for macroeconomic policies in the context of savings, investments, growth, income-distribution, employment, inflation, etcetera.44 The estimation of this parameter is, therefore, important for economic planners and policy-makers. The estimation requires establishing a proper theory regarding what determines the value of this parameter, particularly the role of Islamic institutions. Secular economics cannot provide us this theory.
Within the "first basket", it is no more a question of allocation of income among different commodities having different utilities. There is a different basis of ordering involved and hence different formula will have to be derived to explain the consumer behavior in such a situation. Tools of analysis might also have to be changed. Indifference curve analysis, for example, may not be very relevant in explaining a somewhat lexicographic type of behavior.
Unlike capitalistic economics, market institutions are not the only institutions determining consumer behavior. Several institutions, voluntary or state, will have to be developed to promote Islamic consumer behavior. What type of practical non-market institutions can possibly be developed to force the consumers to follow economic principles and hence to achieve objectives of economic theory is an important topic for the Islamic consumer theory that the researchers in this area should attend to.