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Foundations & Objectives of Sacred Law (Qawa’id & Maqasid) with Dr. Suheil Laher

March 3-4 and March 24-25 from 10am-5:30pm

ISBCC (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center)


Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent by God as a mercy to all creatures (Quran, 21:107). All human beings seek their own welfare and benefit, but what sorts of benefit and gain are really of value in the long run and therefore legitimate to pursue? This course gives you the opportunity to step back to see the bigger picture of Islamic rules and regulations, the universal principles or higher objectives (maqasid) underlying them, and the complex interplay of reason, revelation, ethics and utility within this coherent system. We look at the Islamic understandings (theological and philosophical) of good/evil and benefit/harm, and discuss five overarching objectives of all Islamic regulations – the protection of religion, life, progeny mind and property. We touch on the principles of ethical dilemmas, such as choosing between lesser and greater harms, and balancing individual rights with public interest. We also look at the theory and practice of maqasid today, including their applicability to contemporary global ethical challenges, and various attempts to re-formulate the list of maqasid.

This course is part of the Islamic Intellectual History Certificate Program at the Boston Islamic Seminary, previous courses in this program include Sciences of the Qur’an (Fall 2016), Sciences of Hadith (Spring 2017), and Madhhabs: Development & Differences (Fall 2017).


Dr. Suheil Laher serves as Academic Dean at Fawakih, an Arabic language institute. He has been a tafsir and tajwid instructor at Fawakih since 2010 and has made significant contributions to the content and development of these courses. After studying electrical engineering at MIT, he earned an M.A. in Religious Studies from Boston University and recently completed his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at Harvard University. He has previously taught Arabic at Harvard, Brandeis, and Boston Universities. He has benefited from a number of teachers of traditional Islamic disciplines, in the US and abroad, and has ijazahs in Islamic theology (‘aqidah), Islamic law (fiqh), hadith and other subjects. He has taught ‘aqidah courses at the Ella Collins Institute and the Bukhari Institute. He also has extensive experience working with youth while serving as Muslim Chaplain at MIT (part-time, 1998-2014).


The Boston Islamic Seminary offers competitive tuition rates when considered against other non-degree academic programs offered by a variety of institutions throughout Greater Boston. Standard tuition is $850 per course, however, in our startup phase, we are offering all courses at a substantial discount.

Weekend Intensives – 24 Credit Hours – Price Listing

General Rate Student Rate
Startup Discount Price $450 $250
Early Bird Discount (Before 2/24/2018) $270 $150


The Boston Islamic Seminary is committed to providing quality instruction to all, regardless of financial circumstances, through a generous financial aid program.

Please note that the financial aid application deadline is one week before the start-date of any given course. Financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis until available funds are exhausted.  Please apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being awarded.

Boston Islamic Seminary admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.