Malik related to me from Ibn Shihab from Sulayman ibn
Yasar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, used to send Abdullah ibn Rawaha to
Khaybar, to assess the division of the fruit crop
between him and the jews of Khaybar.
The jews collected for Abdullah pieces of their
women's jewellery and said to him, "This is yours. Go
light on us and don't be exact in the division!"
Abdullah ibn Rawaha said, "O tribe of jews! By Allah!
You are among the most hateful to me of Allah's
creation, but it does not prompt me to deal unjustly
with you. What you have offered as a bribe is forbidden.
We will not touch it." They said, "This is what supports
the heavens and the earth."
Malik said, "If a share-cropper waters the palms and
between them there is some uncultivated land, whatever
he cultivates in the uncultivated land is his."
Malik said, "If the owner of the land makes a
condition that he will cultivate the uncultivated land
for himself, that is not good because the sharecropper
does the watering for the owner of the land and so he
increases the owner of the land in property (without any
return for himself)."
Malik said, "If the owner stipulates that the fruit
crop is to be shared between them, there is no harm in
that if all the maintenance of the property - seeding,
watering and case, etc. - are the concern of the
If the share-cropper stipulates that the seeds are
the responsibility of the owner of the property - that
is not permitted because he has stipulated an outlay
against the owner of the property. Share-cropping is
conducted on the basis that all the care and expense is
outlayed by the share-cropper, and the owner of the
property is not obliged anything. This is the accepted
method of share-cropping."
Malik spoke about a spring which was shared between
two men, and then the water dried up and one of them
wanted to work on the spring and the other said, "I
don't have the means to work on it." He said, "Tell the
one who wants to work on the spring, 'Work and expend.
All the water will be yours. You will have its water
until your companion brings you half of what you have
spent. If he brings you half of what you have spent, he
can take his share of the water.' The first one is given
all the water, because he has spent on it, and if he
does not reach anything by his work, the other has not
incurred any expense."
Malik said, "It is not good for a share-cropper not
to expend anything but his labour and to be hired for a
share of the fruit while all the expense and work is
incurred by the owner of the garden, because the
share-cropper does not know what the exact wage is going
to be for his labour, whether it will be little or
Malik said, "No-one who lends a qirad or grants a
share-cropping contract, should exempt some of the
wealth, or some of the trees from his agent, because, by
that, the agent becomes his hired man. He says, 'I will
grant you a share-crop provided that you work for me on
such-and-such a palm - water it and tend it. I will give
you a qirad for such-and-such money provided that you
work for me with ten dinars. They are not part of the
qirad I have given you.' That must not be done and it is
not good. This is what is done in our community."
Malik said, "The sunna about what is permitted to an
owner of a garden in share-cropping is that he can
stipulate to the share-cropper the maintenance of walls,
cleaning the spring, sweeping the irrigation canals,
pollinating the palms, pruning branches, harvesting the
fruit and such things, provided that the share-cropper
has a share of the fruit fixed by mutual agreement.
However, the owner cannot stipulate the beginning of new
work which the agent will start digging a well, raising
the source of a well, instigating new planting, or
building a cistern whose cost is great. That is as if
the owner of the garden said to a certain man, 'Build me
a house here or dig me a well or make a spring flow for
me or do some work for me for half the fruit of this
garden of mine,' before the fruit of the garden is sound
and it is halal to sell it. This is the sale of fruit
before its good condition is clear. The Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade
fruit to be sold before its good condition became
Malik said, "If the fruits are good and their good
condition is clear and selling them is halal and then
the owner asks a man to do one of those jobs for him,
specifying the job, for half the fruit of his garden,
for example, there is no harm in that. He has hired the
man for something recognised and known. The man has seen
it and is satisfied with it.
"As for share-cropping, if the garden has no fruit or
little or bad fruit, he has only that. The labourer is
only hired for a set amount, and hire is only permitted
on these terms. Hire is a type of sale. One man buys
another man's work from him. It is not good if
uncertainty enters into it because the Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade
Malik said, "The sunna in share-cropping with us is
that it can be practised with any kind of fruit tree,
palm, vine, olive tree, pomegranate, peach, and soon. It
is permitted, and there is no harm in it provided that
the owner of the property has a share of the fruit: a
half or a third or a quarter or whatever."
Malik said, "Share-cropping is also permitted in any
crop which emerges from the earth if it is a crop which
is picked, and its owner cannot water, work on it and
"Share-cropping becomes reprehensible in anything in
which share-cropping is normally permitted if the fruit
is sound and the good condition is clear and it is halal
to sell it. He must share-crop in it the next year. If a
man waters fruit whose good condition is clear and it is
halal to sell it, and he picks it for the owner, for a
share of the crop, it is not sharecropping. It is
similar to him being paid in dirhams and dinars.
Share-cropping is what is between pruning the palms and
when the fruit becomes sound and its sale is halal."
Malik said, "If some one makes a share-cropping
contract for fruit trees before the condition becomes
clear and its sale is halal, it is share-cropping and is
permitted . "
Malik said, "Uncultivated land must not be involved
in a share-cropping contract. That is because it is
halal for the owner to rent it for dinars and dirhams or
the equivalent for an accepted price."
Malik said, "As for a man who gives his uncultivated
earth for a third or a fourth of what comes out of it,
that is an uncertain transaction because crops may be
scant one time and plentiful another time. It may perish
completely and the owner of the land will have abandoned
a set rent which would have been good for him to rent
the land for. He takes an uncertain situation, and does
not know whether or not it will be satisfactory. This is
disapproved. It is like a man having someone travel for
him for a set amount, and then saying, 'Shall I give you
a tenth of the profit of the journey as your wage?' This
is not halal and must not be done."
Malik summed up,"A man must not hire out himself or
his land or his ship unless for a set amount."
Malik said, "A distinction is made between
sharecropping in palms and in cultivated land because
the owner of the palms cannot sell the fruit until its
good condition is clear. The owner of the land can rent
it when it is uncultivated with nothing on it."
Malik said, "What is done in our community about
palms is that they can also be share-cropped for three
and four years, and less or more than that."
Malik said, "That is what I have heard. Any fruit
trees like that are in the position of palms. Contracts
for several years are permissible for the sharecropper
as they are permissible in the palms."
Malik said about the owner, "He does not take
anything additional from the share-cropper in the way of
gold or silver or crops which increases him. That is not
good. The share-cropper also must not take from the
owner of the garden anything additional which will
increase him of gold, silver, crops or anything.
Increase beyond what is stipulated in the contract is
not good. It is also not good for the lender of a qirad
to be in this position. If such an increase does enter
share-cropping or quirad, it becomes by it hire. It is
not good when hire enters it. Hire must never occur in a
situation which has uncertainty in it."
Malik spoke about a man who gave land to another man
in a share-cropping contract in which there were palms,
vines, or the like of that of fruit trees and there was
also uncultivated land in it. He said, "If the
uncultivated land is secondary to the fruit trees,
either in importance or in size of land, there is no
harm in share-cropping. That is if the palms take up
two-thirds of the land or more, and the uncultivated
land is a third or less. This is because when the land
that the fruit trees take up is secondary to the
uncultivated land and the cultivated land in which the
palms, vines or the like is a third or less, and the
uncultivated land is two-thirds or more, it is permitted
to rent the land and share-cropping in it is haram."
"One of the practices of people is to give out
sharecropping contracts on property with fruit trees
when there is uncultivated land in it, and to rent land
while there are fruit trees on it, just as a Qur'an or
sword which has some embellishment on it of silver is
sold for silver, or a necklace or ring which have stones
and gold in them are sold for dinars. These sales
continue to be permitted. People buy and sell by them.
Nothing described or instituted has come on that which
if exceeded, makes it haram, and if fallen below makes
it halal. What is done in our community about that is
what people practise and permit among themselves. That
is, if the gold or silver is secondary to what it is
incorporated in, it is permitted to sell it. That is, if
the value of the blade, the Qur'an, or the stones is
two-thirds or more, and the value of the decoration is
one-third or less."