Musfir bin Ali al-Qahtani contributes in this work to the ever growing body of scholarly literature in the field of Maqasid al-Shari’ah (higher objectives of Islamic law). Understanding Maqasid al-Shari’ah: A Contemporary Perspective calls for the development of a juridical sense that is finely tuned to the higher objectives and purposes of Islamic rulings, the aims of which are the formulation of a new methodology in understanding the revealed texts and the reform of Muslim thought and its application. The author draws our attention to the importance of understanding various levels of Maqasid, including distinguishing between primary aims (al-Maqasid al-Asliyyah) and secondary aims (al-Maqasid al-Tabi’ah). Al-Qahtani asserts that a positive understanding of the objectives of the Shari’ah should produce affirmative human and cultural development in Muslim societies. The real strength of this work, however, is in the author’s application of higher objectives and aims to different areas of jurisprudence, such as in deriving and issuing religious rulings (ifta’), and to important social issues and problems present in Muslim societies, such as extremism, jihad, commanding right and forbidding wrong, social change, crisis of Muslim thought, countering religious excessiveness, the need for recreation and leisure, citizenship and nation-belonging, spreading beauty and harmony in Islam, and the role of Muslim women in society. For these reasons, the book should appeal both to the general reader and specialist alike. Where dates are cited according to the Islamic calendar (hijrah) they are labelled AH. Otherwise they follow the Gregorian calendar and labelled CE where necessary. Arabic words are italicized except for those which have entered common usage. Diacritical marks have been added only to Arabic names not considered modern. English translations taken from Arabic references are those of the author.