Understanding the texts of Shari`ah should be based on understanding the apparent meaning and paying attention to Shari`ah bases, wisdom, and analogies which are indicated by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Focusing only on the apparent meanings of the texts and not paying enough attention to the bases, wisdom, and reasoning which the Lawgiver referred to and the objectives which Shari`ah aimed to achieve, may lead to mistakes with regard to many issues that are referred to by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shinqiti, director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas , states: There are always two approaches to any sacred texts: one is literal and the other is contextual. People with literary culture tend to be less literal and try to “dig” deep in the text and take into consideration the objectives, the metaphor and the wisdom behind words as the intent of the text is more important than its words.
The other approach, which is usually adopted by people with scientific and legal backgrounds, tends to go for the literal meanings and to avoid any speculation on the intent of the texts.
the Western social norms are the context that Muslim minorities in the West are living in and this context cannot be ignored. Like pre-Islamic social norms, not all of the Western social norms are bad. Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) were reformers and not revolutionaries: they adopted anything good in their societies. That is what we understand from the hadith of the Prophet, “I have been sent to complete good morals.” He did not say “to start off” a new moral system.
Therefore, I believe that both the maqasid and the context are very important for us today to formulate a proper fiqh for the minorities.