The American Journal of Islam and Society would like to invite scholars and historians of Islamic law, legal theory, and practice, scholars of Islamic philosophy and ethics, and specialists in fields (economics, governance, family, etc.) where the notion of maqasid has been frequently deployed, to submit original research papers in any of the following areas:

  • Critical accounts of current and/or past scholarly conceptualizations of the notion of maqasid, including debates between advocates and critics.
  • Theory, critical evaluation, or re/constructive critique of maqasid in the conventional areas of Islamic fiqh as well as in novel areas such as public policy, political theory, economic theory, and family and gender norms.
  • How the maqasid discourse has been politicized by various states, elites, and movements for contradicting ends, and whether such politicization shifts the purpose-oriented and teleological basis of this discourse to result-oriented and self-serving, utilitarian reasoning.
  • How the maqasid discourse has contributed to framing reformist and feminist approaches to concerns about gender and sexual ethics in contemporary Islamic thought and Muslim societies.

In short, we invite scholars to evaluate fundamental theoretical, philosophical, and ethical questions about the maqasid discourse.

To elaborate, we invite studies that take into account the existing arguments from some established disciplinary perspective. We are not asking questions of the type: "How can the maqasid be deployed to solve x, y, and z"  but rather, "What are (or have been in the past) the stakes, risks, benefits, pay-offs, and aporias, of deploying the maqasid discourse in general, or in a particular field?"

In particular, we encourage scholars to ask challenging questions such as:

  • What, if any, are the ruptures or discontinuities—with respect to the epistemology, nature, motives, resources —between premodern maqasid discourse (formative period fiqh, al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn 'Abd al-Salam, al-Shatibi) and more recent proposals of maqasid?
  • Historically, what has been the relationship between the maqasid, traditional usul al-fiqh (in its various versions), and the body of positive law in various schools (fiqh)? And, normatively, what ought this relationship to be?
  • How may the maqasid discourse be brought into productive conversation with the classical and modern theological and philosophical discussions on ethics, legal systems, and political thought?
  • Why should or should not maqasid discourse s replace the traditional usul al-fiqh discourse? Does the maqasid discourse make scripture and tradition redundant or relevant and reinvigorated?

Submission Procedures

Abstracts are submitted and selected. The selected abstracts will receive a remuneration of $100 and an additional $500 upon final submission of a full paper (6000-10,000 words, notes included) if completed before 30 JUNE 2021.

An online symposium will be convened between May 2 and May 5, 2021, where the selected papers will be presented and discussed. All participants in the symposium will submit either the full paper or a 1500-word written talk for circulation by three weeks prior to the symposium

Full papers must be submitted by 30 JUNE 2021 to be eligible for the monetary award. All papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the American Journal of Islam and Society. Please contact the editors with any questions.

Co-Editors, AJIS

Ovamir Anjum                                                             Shuruq Naguib
University of Toledo                                                      Lancaster University