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47 Pages

Comparative Land Tenure and Division of Irrigation Water in Two Moroccan Berber Societies: The Aith Waryaghar of the Rif and the Ait 'Atta of the Saghru and South-Central Atlas

In the context of rural, and formerly tribal, Morocco, as well as, most probably, of those of many other Muslim lands in the Maghrib and the Mashriq (i.e. North Africa and the Middle East), traditional concepts both of land tenure and of the use and division of irrigation water may be regarded as being based upon three axes of classification, or, perhaps more pointedly, upon three pairs of opposed or polarised categories: (I) whether the land in question is dry-farmed or irrigated, (2) whether it is collective, and held by the jama 'a, the community at large, or whether it consists of mlllk, of individual , private property holdings, and (3) whether it is or remains in a state of indivision if held in common by members of the same agnatic lineage or patrilineal extended family group, or whether they have divided it as partible inheritance. All these categories fall within the available range of choice. Although no single individual could possibly have land holdings that would fit into all six of these paired opposites , those of most people would nonetheless be found to fit into more than one of them. Only marginally applicable is the concept of habus (known elsewhere as waqf) land, an essentially urban category referring to any land, and the income therefrom, which has been granted by individuals as an inalienable endowment to mosques as pious foundations for religious and charitable purposes.