Relevance of MaqᾹsid Al-Sharī‘ah in Enhancing Nomadic Female Education in Adamawa State

Cite this article as: Sulaiman, A.A., Aliyu, M.T. & Gaya, M.U. (2023). Relevance of MaqᾹsid Al-Sharī‘ah in Enhancing Nomadic Female Education in Adamawa State. Zamfara International Journal of Humanities, (2)2, 87-95. www.doi.org/10.36349/zamijoh.2023.v02i02.010.

Relevance of Maqsid Al-Sharīah in Enhancing Nomadic Female Education in Adamawa State


Prof. Abdullahi Adamu Sulaiman
Department of Islam and Development Studies,
Nasarawa State University Keffi, Nasarawa State
, Nigeria
Phone No: +2348035369774
E-mail: aburuqayyah@nsuk.edu.ng 


Prof. Muhammad Tanko Aliyu
Department of Islamic Studies, Federal University Lafia,
Nasarawa State
, Nigeria
Phone No: +234 (0) 8065355243
E-mail: mtankoaliyu@gmail.com


Maimuna Usman Gaya
Department of Islam and Development Studies,
Nasarawa State University Keffi,
Nasarawa State, Nigeria
Phone Number: 08161771945
E-mail: maimunausmangaya67@gmail.com


The study attempts to examine the relevance of Maqsid al- Sharī،ah in enhancing nomadic female education in Adamawa State, Nigeria. The objective of the study is to highlight the challenges facing the female nomadic. The female nomadic are being disrupted from acquiring and enjoying the dividend of education due to movement from one place to another. This makes them remain in a state of ignorance. In Islam, the search for knowledge is obligatory for all regardless of age and gender. Yet, the nomadic females are deprived of it. The study employs the Maqsid approach as it is relevant for overcoming intellectual stagnation and improving female nomads’ miserable social, cultural, economic and political conditions. The study adopts mixed methods in obtaining its data. The interview was used to get facts from the respondents across the six local government areas of Adamawa State based on sampling. The findings of the study reveal that female nomadic are facing some challenges such as Lukewarm attitudes of the parents toward their female education, poverty, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the religion to mention but a few. The study concludes and recommends that parents should try to obtain knowledge of the religion from the right scholars and give their children the opportunity to acquire knowledge. The government and the stakeholders should provide mobile schools and enlightenment programmes on female education over the Radio and Television. There should be constant enlightenment by scholars about the teachings of Islam among others.

Key Words: Maqsid al- Sharī’ah, Female nomadic and Enhancement of education

1.0 Introduction

Islam considers education as a basic necessity which aims among others to produce God-fearing, reasonable, considerate and well-behaved persons who will lead a meaningful life. Islam forbids injustice among one’s children that one sex should not in any way be overburdened at the expense of others (Elesin 114). Islam is totally against illiteracy, it deters neither man nor woman from learning. Muslims are obliged to search for knowledge from the cradle to the grave. With knowledge, a Muslim can worship Allah (S.W.T). Religious education if taught to the child at the early stage of life will make the child be of good morals and manners. This helps in producing good future leaders hence, the hope of every society. Ahmed, Gaya & Mohammed (195-196), posit that if children lack religious education, there is a tendency for them to be in a state of ignorance about Allah (S.W.T) and that leads to many problems. Similarly, if secular education is lacking, the children (female) will grow up being ignorant hence, the transfer of ignorance to their children creates underdevelopment in the society.

The relevance of Maqsid al- Sharī’ah towards enhancing female nomadic education intends to state the importance of Maqsid al-Sharī’ah in their life and to help them make their mental transition from a focus on means and methods to activity to achieve intentions and objectives (Muhsin, 17). Maqsid al- Sharī’ah constitutes an all-encompassing theme of the Sharī’ah as all of its laws are in one way or another related to the provision of benefits and prevention of harm.

Moreover, the Lukewarm attitudes of parents towards their female education, poverty, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the religion, cultural and sectarian problems, and instability of the nomadic to remain in a fixed place (residence) cause some challenges. It is against this background that the research attempts to examine the challenges facing female nomadic education in Adamawa State.

 2.0 Islamic Education

Islamic education dwells on the formation of individuals who will worship Allah (S.W.T) as He (S.W.T) should be worshipped and make use of their knowledge for their wellbeing and the generality of society. Islamic education is a system which transmits the revealed and acquired knowledge to the younger generation of Muslims to worship Allah to prepare them for life and enable them to discharge their duties as the vicegerent of Allah, the highest on earth. It aims at the recognition of Allah as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the sole source of values (NTI, 137).

Islam gives great importance to education. It creates a comprehensive system of education. It always upholds that a human being does not start his journey with ignorance and darkness but with knowledge and light. After creating Adam (A.S) Allah (S.W.T) did not leave him in ignorance and darkness rather He (S.W.T) taught Adam (A.S), the names of all things as explained by the following verse:

And He taught Adam the nature of all of the things; then He placed them before the Angels, and said: “Tell Me of the nature of these if ye are right”. (Q2:31)

 Allah (S.W.T) provided Adam (A.S) with basic knowledge of things which distinguished him from all creatures. Allah (S.W.T) continues to send Angel Jibril (A.S) to bring Allah’s messages to His Messengers to educate the people about Allah (S.W.T) and the fundamentals of human values. Therefore, the first commandment in the revelation to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) began thus;

Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created. Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood; Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (The use of) the Pen, Taught man that which he knew not…  (Q96:1-5).


With the revelation of these verses, Islam considers education as a basic necessity. Education is essential in knowing about your rights and obligations. Those who know are not the same as those who do not know. Those who know are elevated by Allah to great heights The Prophet (S.A.W) encourages Muslims to seek knowledge thus,

Acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for all Muslims (Ibn Majah, hadith 224. V. 1, 81)


Furthermore, education in Islam is not only for one to obtain knowledge but it is a process of decoration of the nature and the character of an individual so that they can jointly represent Islamic ethics.

 2.1 Female Education

Females/women are regarded as important human beings which is why the religion does not discriminate in all dealings regarding them including education. One of the objectives of education is to promote and enrich the faculty of the learners by imparting them good knowledge with proper training. Female education is very vital because if females are educated they become better wives, mothers and caretakers of the family. The first advantage is freedom from ignorance. Educated females become better and healthier Muslim wives and mothers. The strong, educated and wise believers are far better than the weak ones. The wise and educated women spread national development, improve medical and educational services to the community and hence, improve child care delivery.

Hence, when females take care of their medical services themselves, a better result would be obtained and it also extends to other services that require female participation such as teaching, court cases, including para-military services which require searching in these in-securities situations that require female to search their female counterparts, hence, the need for female education.

3.0 Maqsid Al-Sharī’ah

Sharī’ah is an Arabic word which simply means the path to be followed. It means ‘the way to a watering place’. Sharī’ah is a path not only leading to Allah (S.W.T) the Most High, but the path believed by all Muslims to be the path shown by Allah (S.W.T) the Creator Himself through His Messenger Muhammad (S.A.W) (Doi, 2). Allah (S.W.T) obliged Muslims to strive for the implementation of Sharī’ah which has been divinely ordained by Him. He says:

Then We put thee on the (right) way of Religion: so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not (Q45:18).

In another verse, the Glorious Qur'an says:

…to each among you have We prescribed a law and an open way… (Q5:51)

Similarly, Allah (SWT) says:

The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah… (Q42:13)

The above citations contain the divine nature of the Sharī’ah, the Islamic Law containing rules and regulations for the benefit of mankind. Furthermore, Hassan & Jami’u, (2) put forward that Shara’a or Ash-Sharī’ah all mean that which has been revealed to the Messenger of Allah as al-Qur’n or as-Sunnah, containing canonical laws which deal with the faith, morality and actions among other rules. Their submission portrays the divine nature of the Laws of Islam. Moreso, Maudodi, (18) maintains that the Sharī’ah does not limit its functions to providing us with an inventory of virtues and vices only; but it lays down the entire scheme of life in such a manner that virtues may flourish and vices may not pollute and destroy the Islamic society. Maudodi’s submission saintly depicts any vice that may lead to the destruction of good virtues which Muslims should shun.

The term Maqsid (plural of Maqsad) is an Arabic word that refers to a purpose, objective, principle, intent, or goal, and in Greek telos, in French finalite and German Zweck, (Auda, 2). Therefore, when joined together Maqsid al- Sharī’ah refers to the objective, purpose, goal, intent etc. behind Islamic rulings i.e. the divine rules and regulations. Maqsid al-Sharī’ah is an important science that defines the divine wisdom, purpose, goal, intent etc. behind the rulings upon which Sharī’ah is based (Muhammad, Umar & Inuwa, 21).

Sulaiman (223) maintains that Maqsid means goal or purpose, when it refers to Sharī’ah it specifically means the goals and purposes of Sharī’ah. These have been classified into (2) two broad categories.

1)      Promotion of the common good and benefit (Maslaha)

2)      Avoidance and protection from harm (Mafsadah) (Abd-Salam, 4)

3.1 Five (5) Darurt- Necessities or Essentials

 Daruriyyat is the most central and critical theme in Maqsid al-Sharī’ah as it governs several applications and forms the core of every discussion. The Daruriyyat are the cornerstone on which people’s religious and world affairs depend. Their neglect will lead to turmoil and complete chaos. Therefore, all actions aimed at their preservation must be duly taken, both by the individual, collective entities and authorities (Muhsin, 1; Auda, 4 & Kamali, 15).

This submission closely looks at the state of the nomadic female education in Adamawa especially the selected areas of the study, if their educational level is not attended to, their life cycles will be in danger due to lack of obtaining proper education at the right time. Therefore, all the means that lead to lawful and desirable ends should be opened to block those that lead to prohibited ends.

Therefore, all the rules and regulations in the Qur’n are for the benefit of mankind. The benefits as stated by the Scholars of Maqsid al-Sharī’ah are either encouraging Maslahah-good or preventing Mafsadah-evils. To (Ibn Ashur, 8) Maslahah means utmost righteousness and goodness and is an attribute of the act whereby righteousness and goodness take place in public or in private. It is also beneficial for the public or individuals. While Mafsadah is the opposite of Maslahah, an attribute of the act whereby corruption or harm happens to the public or individuals. Therefore, every situation which moves from justice to tyranny, from grace to hardship, from goodness to corruption, from wisdom to absurdity, has nothing to do with the Sharī’ah (Abubakar, 14 & Auda, 20). Below are some of the Qur’nic injunctions on Maqsid al- Sharī’ah, thus:

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. (Q51:56).


Creation is not for idle spots or play. Allah (S.W.T) has a serious purpose (Maqsid) behind it (Ali, 5032).

We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for the all creatures. (Q21:107)


The Messenger of Allah (S.W.T) was sent as a mercy for the whole world. Therefore, the goal (Maqsid) of sending Allah‘s Messenger is to serve as a mercy for all of us.

 4.0 Concept of Nomadic

The word nomad describes a group of people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place, using seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of the pasturage or food supply (Abdulrahman, 413). A nomad is a member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the season from place to place in search of food, water and grazing land. Abdulrahman, (415) maintains that nomadic groups that are found in different parts of the world fall into three categories, namely

(i)         Hunters/food gatherers; (ii) Itinerant workers and (iii) Pastoralists

4.1 Creation of Commission of Nomadic Education

The sensitivity of the Government to the plight made the educational policy of compensatory education formulated to care for their educational needs. Consequently, a nomadic programme was instituted. The National Commission for Nomadic Education was instituted and established by the Government with Decree No. 41 of 12 December 1989, Abdulrahman, (417).

The programme was aimed at acquiring functional literacy and numeracy as well as situational changes and skills relevant to the lifestyles and occupational roles of the nomads. Nomadic education is a programme aimed at providing basic education to the school-going age children of nomadic pastoralists so that it will enhance their integration and transform their life, Abba (106). However, the aim of nomadic education is very clear that an explanation need not be made. But, the problem is the implementation. Had it been that strict measures were taken on the implementation the case for this study wouldn’t arise. This study is concerned with the third (3rd) category of the nomads which is the pastoralists. Hence, there is a good aim but no good implementation. While the Sharī’ah pursues protecting the five necessities or essentials of life viz (protection of the faith, the life, the intellect, the lineage and the property) hence, the need for Maqsid al- Sharī’ah approach. Similarly, the study is intended for the protection of the intellect of the female nomadic which in essence will lead to the protection of their lives, faith and provision of wealth for the females.

4.2 Enhancement of Nomadic Female Education through Maqsid al-Sharī’ah

Looking at the major categories of Maqsid al–Sharī’ah Daruriyyat, Hajiyyat and Tahsiniyyat each has relevance in the life of the female nomads.

First and foremost, Muslim Scholars agree that Islamic Law calls for the preservation of the Essentials (Daruriyyat) and that these essential interests are vital to be preserved namely: Faith, Life, Lineage, Intellect and Property. There is also a consensus that whatever contributes to the preservation of these five essentials is a benefit, and everything which causes them to be forfeited is a source of harm, hence, its prevention is a benefit (Raysuni, 17). Muhsin (4) states, that these essentials are crucial for the sound and healthy survival of humankind on earth and to get excellence in the hereafter. Therefore, their absence will lead to destruction and catastrophe in both worlds. The Shari’āh protects the intellect of its adherents. Hence, the relevance of Maqsid al-Shari’āh in protecting the intellect is that intellect is a great gift from Allah (S.W.T) to mankind. It is one of the capacities that differentiates mankind from animals.

Therefore, protecting the intellect/mind means that we safeguard it from anything that might harm the ability and functions of the brain e.g. avoidance of consumption of liquor or any similar substance that will disturb the function of the brain. In this regard, Allah (S.W.T) prohibits taking intoxicants. Therefore, for the females to adequately carry out the great and laudable tasks enjoined by the religion on them and the tasks of child and home care they need education hence, protection of intellect and it is one of the relevance of Maqsid al- Sharī’ah. Therefore, anything involving the protection of this fundamental is a benefit (Maslaha) and anything involving its destruction is haram (Mafsadah) whose removal is a benefit (Muhsin, 2). However, (Al-Raysuni, 17) posits that Al-Shatibi says the true interest serves not to destroy life but to support and nurture it.

4.2.1 Protection of the Intellect- Maqsid Al-Shari’āh Approach

This study adopts the fourth of the essentials of Maqsid al-Sharī’ah i.e. hifzul aql (protection of the intellect) because of its importance to the overall development of human beings. If this necessity is acquired, the remaining four can easily be protected. People’s minds need protection from anything that would create disorder. Otherwise, any type of disorder of the intellect will lead to serious corruption. Therefore, any defect affecting the mind of an individual leads to a partial corruption of the society, while a defect affecting the mind of the community will lead to total devastation, corruption and evil (Chapra, 10).

Moreover, (Muhammad, Umar & Inuwa, 23) posit that Scholars such as al-Ghazali have proposed education models that highlight development as an integral part of learning, leading ultimately to knowledge of God. Therefore, the female nomads can obtain solid education only if their intellects are well protected. Hence, by protecting the intellect of the female nomads through the application of al-Sharī’ah as stressed the Maqsid nourish it with sound knowledge and useful education and not through hawking and rearing cattle. It is, therefore, expected that the intellect of the female nomads will benefit them, their families, society and the generality of the populace.

Furthermore, the command to “…ask the people of the message if you do not know” Q16:43. Encouragement for the Muslims to pray for the increase me in knowledge which says “… say My Lord increase me in knowledge” Q20:114. Similarly, Q58:11 states that…” God will raise to (suitable) ranks (and degrees) those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) knowledge…” Q35:28 says the fear of Allah (S.W.T) mostly comes from those who know; “…those truly fear God, among His servants, who know...”Other verses condemn those who “do not think” or “do not use their minds” Q3:66 & 71. However, other verses praise those who learn, contemplate, think, discern, reason and seek protection from worthless information Q49:6. All these teachings and encouragements are to help protect the intellect of an individual and others which the female nomads require in daily life. One of the purposes of Maqsid is to fulfil the duties of ‘Ibadah, Khilafah and Amanah, to ensure the earth is going well and useful to all mankind, to facilitate the way towards excellence here and hereafter, and to populate and civilize the earth and preserve the order of peaceful coexistence therein.

 4.3 Challenges Facing Female Nomads

In every striving towards good, one will expect some challenges in future, which care has to be taken to stop its occurrence. The causes of challenges facing the Female Nomads, in Adamawa State, Nigeria include among others the following:- Neglect of parental roles, poverty, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the religion, improper location of schools, lack of funds to manage the schools, lack of proper training of the indigenous.

i. Neglect of Parental Roles

The parents are the means through whom a child comes into this world. They are enjoined in Islam to take proper care of the child. It is, therefore, the right of the child to be provided with good dealings, because children are the symbol of achievement, a source of pride, hope and satisfaction. They are the link between one generation and another, Sada (19). Parents who neglect their roles of taking proper care of their children such as feeding, good maintenance, provision of adequate shelter, and encouraging them to seek knowledge of both Islamic and Western are abandoning their duties, they are therefore, making their children not get proper guidance and protection (Patu Ibrahim in an interview).

ii. Poverty/ Looking for Sustenance

Poverty is one of the greatest challenges affecting the female nomads. The nomadic parents do move about looking for suitable grazing places for their herds by so doing they equally look for sustenance for their family (Ahmadu Yakubu & Suleiman Adamu in an interview). This scenario greatly affects the female not to settle at a fixed place to benefit from schooling because where they migrate to graze their herds may usually not have school facilities the female children may end up acquiring household-related activities from their mothers and sisters (Innajo Shuaibu in an interview); in addition to the production of dairy products like cheese, milk to sell the products in the nearby markets. Hence, they are also deprived of the benefit of regular schooling (Dija Ahmadu in an interview) because they do not stay in one place.

iii. Misunderstanding and Misinterpretations of the Religion

 One of the major causes of challenges to female education is the poor or little knowledge of Islam among Muslims, especially in rural areas. Some parents according to AbdulHamid, (42) are not aware of the Islamic injunctions to seek knowledge and so do not support the majority of the girls in acquiring Islamic education. Some scholars mix the religion with their cultural beliefs about the tenets of the religion thereby misleading their followers by discouraging females from acquiring education. An ignorant child who does not have a proper direction to education either Islamic or secular becomes a great threat to society. Imam, (24) states that such ignorance can either be from one’s faith which makes him act contrary to the teachings of his religion or from other people’s faith. Some parents according to (Aji Habu in an interview) are not aware of the Islamic injunctions to seek knowledge and so do not support the majority of the females to acquire Islamic education. Other parents keep their female wards out of school thinking that religiously it is prohibited for a female to be educated (Innawuro Adamu in an interview). Hence, misinterpretation of the religion also made some parents not send their females to school. Others even denied their male children for fear of Western education that may lead their children out of Islam (Jummare Bello & Adamu Yakubu in an interview).

iv. Improper Location of Schools

Muhammadu Bello in an interview, laments that the improper location of schools creates problems by preventing the females from attending schools. Some highly populated schools have little infrastructure while those with a few populations have many. Similarly, some communities with highly populated people have few schools while those with few people have little and sometimes none at all. The places where schools were erected in the majority of the nomadic areas were not suitable for the indigenes hence, creating problems for the nomads.

v. Inadequate Provision of Fund

Insufficient funding creates a great vacuum in the smooth running of the schools. Yusufa Muhammadu & Muhammad Bello in an interview maintain that lack of prompt payment of the salary of the teachers makes most teachers not attend their places of work. Similarly, the lack of provision of adequate facilities and the like disrupted the school systems hence, those females who had interest later developed a lack of interest towards education.

vi. Lack of Training of the indigenes

The non-involvement of the indigenes at the planning level, the implementation and even in addressing the problems also create problems. According to (Babayo Isa & Patu Ibrahim in an interview) if the government wants to address the problems of female nomads the indigenes should be contacted and employed. Moreover, there is a dire need for the government to train the indigenes to be teachers, administrators and other required staff in running the affairs of the schools.

 5.0 Conclusion

Islam is a religion that is based on knowledge. A Muslim cannot carry out his duty correctly without knowledge. The Prophet (S.A.W) was raised to Prophethood with knowledge. Hence, religion encourages seeking for knowledge. All the Islamic injunctions that addressed males are also binding on females. Sharī’ah being the path leading to the Creator contains objectives, aims, goals and purposes. The purpose of man’s creation, for instance, is to worship Allah (S.W.T). Therefore, the study briefly states the meaning of Islamic education, female education, Maqsid al-Sharī’ah and the five necessities of Sharī’ah that are to be protected such as protection of the faith, life, lineage, intellect, and property. The concept of nomadic was also briefly mentioned. The creation of the commission of nomadic education, and the enhancement of the female nomadic through Maqsid al-Sharī’ah were as well captured. Similarly, the protection of the intellect through the Maqsid approach was highlighted briefly, it encourages them to seek knowledge in all ramifications so that their faith and intellect can be used for good (Maslaha) not just for hawking and rearing cattle. Yet, female nomads in Adamawa are still facing some challenges in obtaining knowledge. Examples are numerous such as neglect of parental roles, poverty, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the religion, improper location of schools, and lack of funds to manage the schools, lack of proper training of the indigenous, among others.

Hence, all evil ends (Mafsada) such as rearing cattle and hawking that deny them the opportunity to be educated should be prevented, stopped and blocked rather suitable areas should be earmarked for all nomads and comfortable educational facilities should be provided to encourage them to attend school so that they can be educated thus, tapping from the objectives of Shari’āh. The study concludes and proffers recommendations.

 6.0 Recommendations

In addition to the above ways of enhancing the female nomadic education through Maqsid al-Sharī’ah, the challenges facing nomadic females toward obtaining education should be tackled in the following ways;

Muslim parents should imbibe the splendid characters and the pattern of life from the Prophet (S.A.W).

Parents should take care of their children because children are trusted and gifts. They should also remember that Allah frowns and warns those parents who do not take care of their families.

Parents should obtain knowledge from the rightful scholars and give their children the opportunity to acquire knowledge too.

The government should provide enough funds to alleviate the poverty conditions of parents. The nomadic parents should be empowered so that they can also empower their children through provisions of skills according to the nature of their living such as crafts, marketing, and sewing to mention but only a few.

Stable abodes with relevant school facilities should be provided to the nomads by the government to stabilize them.

Correct Religious scholars should be provided for them, to teach them sound knowledge. Teachings should be in the form of train-the-trainers to produce learned indigenes who can take the mantle to continue teaching the communities, hence, tackling misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the religion.

There should be constant awareness, workshops and serious campaigns on the importance and values of education to the nomads by the government, scholars and relevant stakeholders over the Radios, Televisions and other means of communication available.

Areas should be redefined to attract the nomads. Those communities without schools should be provided with modern schools by the government and stakeholders, with the consent of the communities. This would tackle the issues of improper location of schools among the nomads.

Mobile schools should also be provided, monitored, and be provided with relevant materials, equipment and facilities to motivate them.

Indigenes should be well trained, and informed and be part of planning and decision-making. These would also go a long way in tackling most of the problems and the issues of not allowing their female wards to attend school will be drastically reduced.

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