The World Federation Islamic Laws

Ruling 2247

A number of conditions must be fulfilled for sharecropping to be valid:
  1. there must be a contract between the two parties. For example, the owner of the land says to the farmer, ‘I place the land at your disposal’ and the farmer responds by saying, ‘I accept’; or, without uttering a word, the owner places the land at the disposal of the farmer with the intention (qaṣd) of farming and the farmer accepts;
  2. the owner of the land and the farmer must both be of the age of legal responsibility (bāligh), sane (ʿāqil), have the intention to make a sharecropping agreement, and enter into the agreement of their own volition (ikhtiyār). Furthermore, they must not be foolish with finances (safīh) – i.e. they must not spend their wealth in futile ways – and the owner must not have been proclaimed bankrupt (mufallas). However, if the farmer has been proclaimed bankrupt, there is no problem as long as the sharecropping agreement does not require him to have disposal over that part of his wealth over which he has been prohibited to have disposal;
  3. the share of the land’s produce that the owner and the farmer receive must be in the form of a fraction, such as a half or a third or suchlike. Therefore, if they do not fix the share for either of them, or, for example, the owner says, ‘Farm this land and in return give me whatever you wish’, it is not valid (ṣaḥīḥ). Similarly, [it is not valid] if a specific amount of the produce, such as 10 kilograms, is fixed for the owner or for the farmer;
  4. the period for which the land is to be at the disposal of the farmer must be specified, and the length of the period must be such that it is possible to harvest the crop in that time. If a specific day is fixed as the start of the period, and the end of the period is fixed as the time of harvest, it is sufficient;
  5. the land must be cultivable. If it is not possible to farm the land at present but it can be worked on so that it becomes possible to farm it, the sharecropping is valid;
  6. the crop that the farmer must cultivate must be specified. For example, it must be specified whether it is rice or wheat, and if it is rice then the type of rice must be specified. However, if the parties do not have a particular crop in mind, it is not necessary for them to specify it. Similarly, if the crop they have in mind is known, it is not necessary to expressly state it;
  7. the owner must specify the land if he has a number of pieces of land which are different in terms of their agricultural qualities. However, if there is no difference between them, then specifying the land is not necessary. Therefore, [in the latter case,] if the owner says to the farmer, ‘Farm one of these pieces of land’ and he does not specify which piece, the sharecropping is valid, and after the conclusion of the contract the owner can specify which piece of land [he would like the farmer to farm];
  8. the expenses that each of them must pay for – such as the cost of the seeds, fertilisers, farming equipment, and suchlike – must be specified. However, if the expenses that each of them must pay for are such that they are usually known, it is not necessary to expressly state them.