Collection Description

Culture Name

Bosnian Muslims

Culture Description

Bosnian Muslims consider themselves to be a distinct ethnic group with Bosnia-Herzegovina their only homeland. They are the major ethno-religious group of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the country is shared with Serbs and Croats. During the war of 1992-95, especially in the eastern and northern parts of the country, the Serb and Croat armies killed or expelled many Bosnian Muslims. The Bosnian Muslims have a strong urban orientation; after 1995 they concentrated in Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla. The Bosnian Muslims share a common spoken language with the Serbs and Croats (Serbo-Croat, a Slavic language in the Indo-European language family), but after the war they referred to their language as Bosnian.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Europe --Southeastern Europe


Bosnia and Herzegovina

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Bosnian Muslims file consists of nine English language works. Although there is no single study in this collection of documents that gives an overall comprehensive coverage of Bosnian Muslim ethnography, the five works by the cultural anthropologist William G. Lockwood do provide a broad range of ethnographic topics, even though the primary focus of most of these is on social organization. Lockwood's studies center around the village of Planinica in the Skoplje Polje region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the author did most of his fieldwork. These provide information on the market economy, social organization (as noted above), forms of marriage among rural Muslims, social change, culture history, and the function and role of songs in terms of their relationship to social structure. (See Lockwood 1975, 1974, 1979, 1975, 1983; eHRAF documents nos. 1-4, & 9). The two documents by Donia are basically history oriented. The first of these (Donia 1978, no. 5), traces the political, social, economic and cultural foundations of the Bosnian Muslims from the beginning of the Ottoman period (1463) to the 1960s. Donia's second work (Donia 1986, no. 7), presents a detailed historical account of the Bosnian Muslim movement to achieve cultural and religious autonomy under the Habsburg regime in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the period of 1878-1914. Tone Bringa's monograph (Bringa 1995, no. 6), is a study of a mixed Muslim-Catholic community in central Bosnia which she calls "Dolina" (a pseudonym). This book describes how Muslim religion and ethnicity were sustained and experienced in Bosnia prior to the collapse of the Yugoslav state. The author also discusses social values in terms of family, marriage and kinship networks, and how they mold wider political and social identities. Dyker's article provides some brief socio-economic information on the ethnic Muslims of Bosnia culled from various types of published reports. These data relate generally to demography, language, religious orientation, nationalism, and occupations.

The culture summary was written by Tone Bringa, October, 1996. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle, November 1996.

Overview by

John Beierle

AVLIJA -- parking lot for horses, near the market town -- categories 363, 311, 231

BALIJE -- Muslim peasants -- category 565

BEGOVI -- descendants of Muslim aristocracy -- category 565

CARSIJA -- market town -- category 366

COBAN -- herder -- category 233

collateral groups -- category 616

dervishes -- a religious sect -- category 795 (sometimes with 794)

HAN -- primitive hotels -- category 485

HODZA -- Islamic religious leaders and teachers -- categories 793, 875

KADI -- a Muslim magistrate who judges according to Islamic law -- category 693

KAFANA -- coffeehouses -- category 275

KOMSIJA -- groups of neighboring households -- category 621

KUCA -- household -- category 592

MAHALE -- a division of a village similar to the KOMSIJA but on a larger scale -- category 621 (sometimes with 571)

MAJSTORI -- all types of craftsmen, but especially the all purpose village craftsman who works chiefly as a carpenter -- categories 463, 335

MEVLUD -- devotional rituals -- category 796

MOBA -- cooperative work groups -- category 476

Mosque council -- category 795

MUFTI -- a professional jurist who interprets Islamic law -- category 693

MUKABELA -- a gathering of Islamic scholars in the Mosque to recite the Qur'an aloud from beginning to end --category 788

Muslim National Organization (MNO) -- category 665

NACIJA -- "nation"; a group of people with similar religious affiliation -- categories 619, 186, 771

OPSTINE -- communes comparable to American counties -- category 634

OTMICA -- bride abduction -- category 583

PRELO -- spinning bee or generally any occasion of visiting -- categories 574, 461

PRIJATELJATWO -- in-lawship -- categories 606, 607

SEHIT -- a Muslim martyr -- categories 798, 776

SELO -- village -- category 621

SHERIAT -- the Islamic body of law -- category 671

SREZ -- an administrative unit larger than a OPSTINE -- category 631 (possibly with 635)

STARESINA -- household elder; head of a ZADRUGE -- categories 592, 596, 554

SVEKAR -- father-in-law -- category 606

SVEKRVA -- mother-in-law -- category 606

TEVHID -- prayers for the dead -- categories 782, 769

TURBE -- a small mausoleum of a Muslim martyr -- category 778

VAKUF (WAGF or HABUS) -- an Islamic trust fund or foundation which finances religious activities and schools -- category 741

village committees -- categories 623, 631

village mosque council -- category 795

ZADRUGE -- extended family households -- categories 592, 596

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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