The Values and Norms of Islam

  • A. Akgunduz
Keywords: Value, Norm, Islamic Law, Islamic norms, Islamic values, maṣlaḥa, ḥukm-i shar’ī, ḍaruriyyāt, ḥājiyyāt, taḥsīniyyāt, Sharī‘ah, legal norms, moral norms, ḥukm, fiqh, ḥalāl, ḥarām, mandūb, makrūh, mubāḥ, ruḵṣa, azīma.


Ahmed Akgunduz[1]


Islamic Law is one of the broadest and most comprehensive systems of legislation in the world. It was applied, through various schools of thought, from one end of the Muslim world to the other. It also had a great impact on other nations and cultures. We will focus in this article on values and norms in Islamic law. The value system of Islam is immutable and does not tolerate change over time for the simple fact that human nature does not change. The basic values and needs (which can be called maṣlaḥa) are classified hierarchically into three levels: (1) necessities (Ḍarūriyyāt), (2) convenience (Ḥājiyyāt), and (3) refinements (Kamāliyyāt=Taḥsīniyyāt). In Islamic legal theory (Uṣūl al-fiqh) the general aim of legislation is to realize values through protecting and guaranteeing their necessities (al- Ḍarūriyyāt) as well as stressing their importance (al- Ḥājiyyāt) and their refinements (taḥsīniyyāt).

In the second part of this article we will draw attention to Islamic norms. Islam has paid great attention to norms that protect basic values. We cannot explain all the Islamic norms that relate to basic values, but we will classify them categorically. We will focus on four kinds of norms: 1) norms (rules) concerned with belief (I’tiqādiyyāt), 2) norms (rules) concerned with law (ʿAmaliyyāt); 3) general legal norms (Qawā‘id al-Kulliyya al-Fiqhiyya); 4) norms (rules) concerned with ethics (Wijdān­iyyāt = Aḵlāqiyyāt = Ādāb = social and moral norms).


[1]      Ahmed Akgunduz is Professor of Islamic Law at the Islamic University of Rotterdam;