Balancing Text and Context Through Maqasid-Based Ijtihad
Contemporary ijtihad is faced with the challenge of relating the revealed text to the surrounding circumstances, i.e. the “text” to the “context” as Tariq Ramadan puts it. This is perhaps why ijtihad is often seen as the principal instrument by which reason is negotiated with revelation. But there may be instances where an asymmetry exists between the text and the context. In such scenarios, one remedy which has been proposed is for the text to be made adapted to the context. However, the context itself may sometimes be interpreted, understood and conceptualised within a framework that may be at odds with the objectives of Shari’ah (maqasid al-shariah). Maqasid-based ijtihad offers a possible way of converging, synthesising and harmonising the context and the text.