Mainstreaming the Shari’ah as an Integrated Model for Community Development
Yusuf Roque Morales
With the discourses that the Shari’ah is an efficient tool for the Muslim ummah (community of believers) to live in peace, harmony, and development, there is clearly a need to have a paradigm in which we can view Shari’ah as an acceptable paradigm that can be used for community development.
Muslim generally adhere to a way of life which is embodied in the Shari’ah. The linguistic meaning of Shari’ah is “a non-exhaustive source of water to satisfy thirst, which implies that Shari’ah is a source of life and guidance.” This word, according to Arab linguists, may also mean, “a way to the watering hole,” or “place where water is drawn.” Water traditionally in Shari’ah figures significantly as a symbol of life and that Shari’ah, according to Islamic scholars, is alternatively called a way of life or the way of the Law. Shari’ah is the one defining the sphere of relationships and the legal implications of relationships and transactions.
This article is an attempt to present the context of Shari’ah, in particular the Maqasid al-Shari’ah, as a framework for community development. It is hoped that people will understand the perspective of Islam through the Maqasid al-Shari’ah, and through this enable the community development planners to integrate these ideas by becoming more sensitive to the unique needs of Muslims and to define and express development in terms that are closer to Muslim spirituality.