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The Family Waqf and the Sharʿī Law of Succession in Modern Times

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image of Islamic Law and Society

On the basis of an analysis of waqfiyyas collected mainly from the sijill of the sharīʿa courts of Mandatory Palestine and Israel, I seek to clarify the identity of the initial beneficiaries of the waqf and the manner in which entitlement is transmitted to and apportioned among subseqent generations of beneficiaries. I also evaluate the motives of the founder in using the waqf as an instrument for circumventing the compulsory Islamic inheritance rules and analyze the implications of this practice on the integrity of the patrimony and structure of the family. My main conclusions are: (1) the creation of a waqf makes it possible to keep property intact and prevents its division among heirs; (2) the concentration of entitlement on the founder's male agnatic descendants (in itself a victory of custom over sharīʿa) contributes to the disintegration of the extended family.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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