Beginning with a brief etymological-lexical analysis of the term, this article investigates the genesis, meaning, usage, and scope of the principle of maslaha (simply defined as what is best) in its theological-jurisprudential context. Taking it in a binary opposition to mafsada (simply translated as what is detrimental or harmful), it presents maslaha as the ratio legis or purpose of divine legislation (tashri) or, more precisely, Islamic law/sharia. Drawing on this theological consideration, it then moves on to the conceptualization of maslaha by Imam al-Ghazali, Shahīd al-Thāni, and Imam Khomeini. It argues in the light of the views of these three Muslim jurists that maslaha is directed more at warding off mafsada to a Muslim state or society than at seeking advantage/benefit without compromising on ideological, moral, legal, or ethical principles or tenets of Islam. While showing that the principle of maslaha is not by any means an ideological Trojan Horse to pursue and further “un-Islamic” interests, this article then provides a theoretical account of the operationalization and application of the principle in the domain of foreign policy of Muslim states. It argues and shows with an example that maslaha–if utilized properly in line with the essence of Islamic world view—can play a major role in solving a number of Muslim states’ foreign policy issues and dilemmas as it takes into account the situational factor or realities (both internal and external) of the time in the context of the general principles of Islamic jurisprudence and presents solutions to them.
Raziq Hussain. (2020) HOW THE PRINCIPLE OF MASLAHA CAN GUIDE THE FOREIGN POLICY OF A MUSLIM STATE, Noor-e-Marfat, Volume 11, Issue 2.