This is just a very brief comparison of two commonly-used methods of assessing human values:  one from Islam, the other from 20th-century psychology and sociology.

Six Primary Objectives of Shari’a

The preservation and perpetuation of:

  1. Deen – comprehensively, the purpose, truth, living, and civility of the human
  2. Nafs – life, the human self
  3. ‘Uqul – mind, intellect, intellectual ability, mind-health
  4. Nasl – lineage, progeny, and their means (family, inheritance)
  5. al-Maal – property and exchange goods
  6. ‘Irḍ – honor, dignity, reputation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these “deficiency needs” are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term “metamotivation” to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of the basic needs and strive for constant betterment.[8]

The human mind and brain are complex and have parallel processes running at the same time, thus many different motivations from various levels of Maslow’s hierarchy can occur at the same time.


In the first (Shari’a), you have the belief that Divinely inspired Law establishes provisions for the preservation of primary and extended benefits.  “Extended” benefits being further elaborated through categories of ‘usuul(principles) and qawa’id(maxims), further delineated through established ahkaam(rulings), and ijtihad(judgments).  Thus, Muslim scholars have determined that Shari’a has its own embodiment of principled “motives”, for the benefit of human beings.

In the second, it is determined through reason and observation that human beings have categories of needs, some more essential than others, and that human psychology will be largely driven toward the fulfillment of these.

In scholarly discussion of the Objectives of Shari’a, it has been stated that they are in order of importance.  Without Deen, the life is meaningless.  Without life, mind is also dead.  Without mind, rational intentions, self-preservation, anid responsibility toward family and resources is impossible.  Etc.

However, there is also a model for hierarchical delineation of priority through the classification of “needs” using the ‘Usuul : Ḍaruriyyaat (indispensible needs), Hajiyyaat (necessary, productive needs), and Ihsaniyyaat (embellishments, preferences).

In a side-by-side comparison, there is much similarity between the models.