HIRE. The Arabic term ijarah اجارة
which means the use and enjoyment of property for a time, includes hire rental, and lease. The hirer is termed ajir, or mu’jir. The person who receives the rent is the musta’jir.
The following are some of the chief points in the Sunni law with regard to ijaraj, and for further particulars the reader must refer in English to Hamilton’s Hidayah, vol. iii p. 312, or in Arabic to such works as the Durru ‘l-Mukhtar, Fatawa-i-‘Alamgiri, and the Raddu ‘l-Muhtar, in which works it is treated in the Babu ‘l-Ijarah.
A contract of hire, or rental, or lease, is not valid unless both the usufruct and the hire be particularly know and specified, because there is a traditional saying of the Prophet, “If a person hire another let him first inform him of the wages he is to receive.
A workman is not entitled to anything until his work is finished, but the article wrought upon may be detained until the workman be paid his full wages, and the workman is not responsible for any loss or damage in the article during such detention. If a person hire another to carry a letter to al-Basrah and bring back an answer, and he accordingly go to al-Basrah and there find the person dead to whom the letter was addressed, and come back, and return the letter, he is not entitled to any wages whatever! The strange ruling is according to Abu Hanifah and two of his disciples, but the Imam Muhammad says the messenger aught to be paid.
It is lawful to hire a house or shop for the purpose of residence, although no mention be made of the business to be followed in it, and the lessee is at liberty to carry on any business he pleases, unless it be injurious to the building. For example, a blacksmith or a fuller must not reside in the house, unless it is previously agreed, since the exercise of those trades would shake the building.
It is lawful to hire of lease land for the purposes of cultivation, and in this case the hirer is entitled to the use of the road leading to the land, and likewise water i.e. his turn of water) although no mention of these be made in the contract.
A lease of land is not valid unless mention is made of the article to be raised on it, not only with a view to cultivation, but also for other purposes, such as building, and so forth. Or the lesser of the land may make declaration to the effect: – “I let the land on this occasion, that the lessee shall raise on it whatever he pleases.
If a person hire unoccupied land for the purposes of building or planting, it is lawful, but on the term of the lease expiring it is incumbent on the lessee to remove his buildings and trees, and to restore the land to the lessor in such a state as may leave him no claim upon it, because houses or trees have no specific limit of existence, and if they were left on the land it might be injurious to the proprietor. But it is otherwise when the land is hired or leased for the purpose of tillage, and the term of the lease expires at a time when the grain is yet unripe. In this case, the grain must be suffered to remain upon the ground at a proportionate rent, until it is fit for reaping.
The hire of an animal is lawful, either for carriage or for riding, or for any use to which animals are applied. And if a person hire an animal to carry a burden, and the person who lets it to hire specify the nature and quantity of the article with which the hirer is to load the animal, the hirer is at liberty to load the animal with an equal quantity of any article not more troublesome or prejudicial in the carriage than wheat, such as barley, &c. The hirer is not at liberty to load the animal with a more prejudicial article than wheat (unless stipulated beforehand), such as salt or iron. For a hired animal perishing from ill-usage, the hirer is responsible.
(For the sayings of Muhammad on the subject of hire and leases, refer to the Mishkat, Babu ‘l-Ijarah.)
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam