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The maqasid al-shari ah (higher intents and purposes of Islamic Law) have been either directly stated in the Qur an and the Sunnah or inferred from these by a number of scholars. All of these address the raison d Ítre of the Shari ah which, as recognized by almost all the jurists, is to serve the interests of all human beings and to save them from harm. In this paper Dr. Chapra explores the Islamic vision of development in relation to the maqasid al-shari ah arguing that Islam has emphasized all the ingredients of human well-being, including the human self, faith, intellect, posterity as well as wealth, for society to flourish. For the Muslim world to focus on economic development only may in the short term result in relatively higher rates of growth but in the long-run will lead to a rise in inequities, family disintegration, juvenile delinquency, crime, and social unrest.
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Muhammad Umer Chapra is Research Advisor at the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah. Prior to this position, he worked at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Riyadh, for nearly 35 years, retiring as Senior Economic Advisor. He has also taught as Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin (Platteville) and the University of Kentucky, Lexington; as Senior Economist and Associate Editor of the Pakistan Development Review at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics; and as Reader (Associate Professor) at the Central Institute of Islamic Research (Pakistan). He is a prolific writer having authored 15 books and monographs, as well as many papers and book reviews.
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