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The Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law, or al-Muwafaqat fi Usul Al-Sharai'a, written by Ibrahim ibn Musa Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi is an innovation in Islamic jurisprudence for it was for the first time that the objectives of shari'a were addressed, as they are in this book. The book is an authority in understanding the objectives of the shari'a. The difficulty that some may find in comprehending some of its parts may be attributed to the fact that it was the first time that the codification of the maqa id or objectives of the shari'a was undertaken.
It was first published in 1884 in Tunis, and since then it has been a source of inspiration, moderation and renewal in fiqh. The book, however, deals with much more than the maqasid, and substantial research is needed to unravel its full contribution. The Author describes the contents of his book as follows: "When the concealed secrets began to be revealed - I started collecting their unique meanings - I did this to the extent of my ability and strength, while elaborating the purposes of the Book (Qur'an) and the Sunna - organizing these precious gems and gathering these benefits into meanings that have recourse to the principles helping in their comprehension and attachment, and I merged them with the interpretation of principles of fiqh and organised them on a shining and radiant string. The resulting book is divided into in five parts: the fundamental concepts of the discipline; the a kam (rules) and what is related to them; the legal purposes of the shari'a and the a kam related to them; the comprehensive treatment of the adilla (evidences); and the rules of ijtihad and taqlid." The present volume deals with the first two parts. The translation of the third part, dealing with the purposes of the shari'a, will be presented in the second volume.