Social Scientist. v 7, no. 84 (July 1979) p. 43.


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Kinship., Inheritance Among Muslims:

Socio-Cultural Consequences

KINSHIP represents the classification of all who are considered to be related and encompasses all the social usages or patterns of behaviour among relatives. In this regard the kinship system provides the most useful index of social integration.

Inheritance of property is one of the chief functions of the kinship groups as the social life of a community is basically guided by socio-economic relations between individuals. What part kinship plays in the rules of inheritance among Muslims and what are the consequences on the family and social organization among them? A case study was carried out in two Muslim villages of Gopalpur and Denean in Midnapur district of West Bengal, on the basis of geneological techniques and observations. Data were collected through personal interviews.

The Muslim kinship system and laws of inheritance owe to Islamic religion for their formal structure. Egalitarian norms of Islam represent a broad range of kinship organization. Further, complicated rules of inheritance govern a unique type of kinship system among Muslims, which is well organized and integrated in formal pattern but flexible in actual practice. On the basis of relationship and levels of interaction the kins among Muslims can be classified into categories given in tables T and II.

Among Muslims the division of property involves a large number of kins. The inheritance rules concern both self-acquired property as well as the share of ancestral property held by a person. The property, both movable and immovable, is held individually by a man or woman and after death it passess on to their heirs. It is a customary rule among Muslims that after the death of a person, the funeral rites of the deceased are performed from his/her property. If the deceased has any loans then the loans should be



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