Rules of Inheritance


Aḥkām al-mawārīth (Rules of inheritance) is a textbook on Islamic law regulating the inheritance of money and property. The book’s author, Muhammad Muhyi al-Din ‘Abd al-Hamid (died 1972), was a lecturer at al-Azhar in Cairo and the Higher Academy of Law in Khartoum, Sudan, and a widely published scholar in Islamic heritage subjects. In his introduction ‘Abd al-Hamid explains that the foundations of the laws of inheritance are, first, the Qur’an, next the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad, and third the determination of jurists. In Islamic law, ‘ilm al-farā’iḍ (the science of canonical distribution of money and property) is based on the prescriptions in chapter four of the Qurʼan. In this one-volume introductory textbook, the author discusses the main points of the law as they pertain to the list of eligible heirs. He leaves it up to the students to follow the specialized debates and variant interpretations in the classical works of jurisprudence, which he cites in footnotes. The author was born in Egypt and taught there and in the Sudan. He is well known for his teaching and writing in Islamic studies and Arabic language; it was in fact said of him that “in all the world there is hardly a student of Arabic who has not been his student.” Published in 1943, the copy of the book presented here is from the collections of the Law Library of the Library of Congress.

Last updated: May 9, 2016