Inheritance Law: Definition and Division of Heirs According to Civil Law and Islamic Law

Egi Nugraha

Inheritance Law: Definition and Division of Heirs According to Civil Law and Islamic Law

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Inheritance Law: Definition and Division of Heirs According to Civil Law and Islamic Law
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Legal Literacy – In the division of inheritance, inheritance law becomes very useful as a guide so that the division of assets can be done fairly and in accordance with existing provisions. Therefore, it is important for us to know the law of inheritance, understanding, and the division of heir groups. The article below will discuss in more depth the definition of inheritance law and the division of heir groups according to civil law and Islamic law.

Definition of Inheritance Law

Inheritance law is basically a law that regulates what should happen to the property of a person who dies, regarding the transfer of property left behind and its consequences for the heirs. Prof. Wirjono Prodjodikoro defines inheritance law as a law that regulates the position of a person’s property after he dies (heir), and the ways in which the property is transferred to other people (heirs as people who receive inheritance).

Classes of Heirs according to Civil Law

In civil law, heirs are divided into 4 groups. The provisions regarding these four classes are further explained in articles 852 to 861 of the Civil Procedure Code. The nature of the four groups of heirs is closed inheritance, meaning that if the first group exists and is willing to receive inheritance, then the next group of heirs is closed and does not receive inheritance from the testator. Therefore, it can be concluded that the division of heir groups is carried out to determine the main priorities for the heirs who must take precedence in receiving the inheritance from the testator. The four classes of heirs are as follows:

  • Group I, consisting of the longest-living husband or wife and their children or descendants.
  • Group II, consisting of parents and siblings of the heir.
  • Group III, consists of families in a straight line up after the father and mother of the heir.
  • Class IV: Paternal and maternal uncles and aunts of the testator, descendants of uncles and aunts up to the sixth degree counting from the testator, grandparents’ relatives and their descendants, up to the sixth degree from the testator.

Classes of Heirs According to Islamic Law

In contrast to the division of the class of heirs in civil law, there are several opinions regarding the class of heirs in Islamic inheritance law. Even so, the main reference in Indonesia still refers to the provisions written in Presidential Instruction Number 1 of 1991 concerning the Compilation of Islamic Law (KHI), which was formed on the basis of the arguments of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

Article 174 paragraph 1 KHI explains further about the class of heirs in Islam. The article states that:


(1) The groups of heirs consist of:
a. According to blood type:
– The male class consists of: father, son, brother, uncle and grandfather.
– The female class consists of: mother, daughter, sister of the grandmother.
b. According to marital relationship, it consists of: widow or widower.

Meanwhile, Article 174 paragraph 2 KHI indicates the implementation of a closed inheritance system in Islamic inheritance law, stating that: “If all heirs exist, then only children, fathers, mothers, widows or widowers are entitled to inheritance”.

The classification of heirs according to ahlussunnah wal jamaah is divided into 3, namely:

  1. Dzawul Faraid, is an heir who gets a share whose amount of acquisition has been clearly stipulated in the Qur’an.
  2. Ashabah, is a group of heirs who when viewed from the amount of acquisition, they are the group that gets the remaining part. If viewed from the side of the heir, ashabah heirs are heirs who have a family relationship according to the patrilinial line. The requirement of the ashabah heir is that the heir must be one ashabah of the testator (has a male patrilineal line).
  3. Dzawul Arkham, is a group whose position is quite far from the heir, and can only advance as an ashabah heir or not ashabah if there are no people who belong to the class of heirs dzawul faraidh and Ashabah.

In addition, there is another opinion from Prof. Hazairin, where he divides the group of heirs also into 3 parts based on God’s provisions listed in the Qur’an and hadith, namely:

  1. Dzawul Faraid, is an heir who gets a certain amount that has been determined by Allah in the Qur’an.
  2. Dzawul Qarabat, is a group of heirs who have a bilateral line of relationship to the testator in accordance with his degree as an heir. When viewed from the acquisition, heirs dzawul qarabat is a group that gets the remaining part (open) after the group of dzawul faraid.
  3. Mawali, is a group of substitute heirs, in the sense that the mawali heir replaces the position of the main heir who has died first. An example of a mawali heir is a grandchild who becomes a beneficiary of his grandparents’ estate, replacing his father/mother as the main heir who has died.


  • Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Acara Perdata.
  • Instruksi Presiden Nomor 1 Tahun 1991 tentang Kompilasi Hukum Islam.
  • Mahkamah Agung RI. 2011. Himpunan Peraturan Perundang-Undangan yang Berkaitan dengan Kompilasi Hukum Islam serta Pengertian dalam Pembahasannya. Penerbit MA RI: Jakarta.
  • Fakultas Hukum Universitas Trisakti. 2023. Modul Hukum Waris. Tim Dosen Fakultas Hukum Universitas Trisakti. Penerbit Universitas Trisakti : Jakarta.


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