Distant Kindred and General Rules of Succession among Distant Kindred under Muslim Law in India

Four Classes of Distant Kindred:

Distant kindred can be divided into four classes. These are:

(i) Descendants of the deceased, other than sharers and residuaries;

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(ii) Ascendants of the deceased, other than sharers and residuaries;

(iii) Descendants of parents, other than residuaries; and

(iv) Descendants of grandparents.

The kindred belonging to class (i) succeed in priority to those in class (ii) succeed in priority to those in class (iii), and so on.

General Rules of Succession among Distant Kindred:

1. The first class excludes the second, and so on.

2. The near in degree excludes the remoter one.

Thus, for instance, a daughter’s child excludes a son’s daughter’s children.

3. As amongst the members of the same class and of the same degree, the children of sharers and residuaries are preferred to those of the distant kindred.

Thus, a son’s daughter’s children are preferred to the daughter’s grandchildren.

4. Subject to the above rules, heirs of whole blood are preferred to consanguine heirs, and a male takes double the share of a female.

The above rules of distribution are in accordance with the opinion of Imam Muhammad which, though complicated when compared to those of Abu Yusuf, are followed in India, because they are followed by the authors of Al Sirajiyyah and the Sarifiyya. Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad do not differ so long as the intermediate ancestors do not differ in their sexes or blood.

But where the intermediate ancestors are of different sexes and of different blood, according to Abu Yusuf, regard is to be had to the sex and blood of the actual claimants. According to Imam Muhammad, the sexes and blood of the intermediate ancestors are the most important.