Professor Ahmed Ibrahim defines default benefit المصالح المرسلة in his book علم أصول الفقه, as perceived benefits to people that are not based on textual evidence, but rather on the understanding of the intent, or spirit, of the law. He says that the majority agree about its validity as a deduction method, and that Imaams Maalik and Ibn Hanbal used it a lot. He did say that some warned against it and he postulates that they were wary of giving leeway to rulers who may not be so observing of the religion.
Some examples of the use of default benefit, that Professor Ibrahim lists are,
- Abu-Bakr (RA) collecting the scrolls on which the Quran was written and binding them together in a Book. Similarly, Uthamaan (RA) making copies of it, and sending the copies to the capitals of Muslim countries.
- Abu-Bakr fighting the Zakah-evaders.
- Suspension, by Umar (RA), of the punishment for theft on the year of famine.
- Maalik ruling that a mother may hire a wet nurse to nurse her newborn, even when the mother can nurse it, if she can afford it.