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Autonomy and ‘Lack of Harm’

A Comparison between the Judicial Precepts of Autonomy and ‘Lack of Harm’

This paper will critically compare the precepts of autonomy (qāʿida salṭana/tasālut) and ‘lack of harm’ (qāʿida lā ḍarar). Part one will present the traditional discussion on the meaning and remit of each precept. Part two will examine the areas of conflict between the precepts and propose resolutions to the conflict.

The discussions will appreciate the precepts in their existential capacity in order to aid reconciliation in the areas where they conflict.

The sources used in referencing this article are predominantly books written specifically on the judicial precepts that are being read and taught within the seminaries of Najaf and Qum. Occasionally references are provided from books of uṣūl and fiqh wherein the precepts are discussed in terms of either their applicative remits or a broader context.