Q: Are rental purchases permissible in Islam?

In response to a question I received about the permissibility and features of Ijarah muntahiya ila tamleek or known as Rental purchases.

 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

        Ijaarah muntahiya ila tamleek or what is known as renting purchases is a thing necessary amongst the dealings of people. People have needs that they would like to be met and there are people who can do a specific job very well. There are also people who own these objects of service that are available for use.

We live in a world where we need each other at times when a task has to be done. Suppose someone had a tear in their dress and they didn’t know how to sew. They needed to have that repaired so they can present themselves at, lets say a dinner party. Let us say they did know a very talented seamstress that could possibly do the task for them. However, everyone’s time and talents are valuable so the person would have to compensate them for the time they spent on such an item. Receiving a payment for doing a specific task for someone is perfectly acceptable and permissible. Take this for example, the woman who breastfeeds a young baby. Breastfeeding is not an easy task. At time it can be painful and very time and energy consuming. Reflect on this ayah.

 

In Surah At-Talaq, Allah says,

أَسْكِنُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ سَكَنْتُمْ مِنْ وُجْدِكُمْ وَلَا تُضَارُّوهُنَّ لِتُضَيِّقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ ۚ وَإِنْ كُنَّ أُولَاتِ حَمْلٍ فَأَنْفِقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ ۚ فَإِنْ أَرْضَعْنَ لَكُمْ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ ۖ وَأْتَمِرُوا بَيْنَكُمْ بِمَعْرُوفٍ ۖ وَإِنْ تَعَاسَرْتُمْ فَسَتُرْضِعُ لَهُ أُخْرَىٰ

 “… and if they nurse your offspring [after the divorce has become final], give them their [due] recompense;”

Also, in Surat Al-Kahf you can see that renting was a normal thing to do. When Khidr restored the wall in order to protect the treasure meant for two orphans when they became older, Musa suggested that Khidr could have taken a payment for it.

 

In Surah Al-Kahf, Allah says,

فَانْطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهْلَ قَرْيَةٍ اسْتَطْعَمَا أَهْلَهَا فَأَبَوْا أَنْ يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَنْقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ ۖ قَالَ لَوْ شِئْتَ لَاتَّخَذْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا

“They travelled on until they came to the people of a town. They asked them for some food, but they refused to receive them as their guests. There they found a wall on the point of falling down, so he restored it. Musa said: “If you wanted you could demand some payment for it!”

 

If you were to read the Seerah you will see that even Rasulallah (s) hired a man to help guide him on his way from Mecca to Medina. It is a unanimous consensus that Ijaara is a permitted practise and that it is permissible.

There are a few features one must know about renting. If the object is being used to unlawful reason, then the renting to such a person is not allowed. For example, if you knew a person wanted to rent one of your houses but you knew he would use to it to maybe sell drugs, or manufacture drugs, or use the house for promiscuity or gambling or anything not permissible, you cannot rent to such a person. The object being rented. A few more details should be known.

The specified time period of rent should be known, also the price for which its being rented should be known. As we already mentioned, the use of the object should be lawful, its purpose of renting should be known as well and a few more points as well.

 

The valid Ijaarah is permissible by the evidence we see in the Quran and the Sunnah, and by the consensus of the scholars.

Some people will hire others to religious acts for them that they would normally have done for themselves. Acts for example like fasting, praying, making Hajj. Receiving wages for this is not allowed. However, if one were to make Hajj for someone, it would be okay if this person received a compensation for their work. Receiving a kind of financial support for these acts is okay.

Shaykh-ul Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah clearly mentions in Majmuu Al-Fataawa that Faqihs have unanimously agreed that there is a difference between hiring someone to do religious acts and giving someone financial support for the doing of these acts. One is permissible, the other isn’t. He says that according to the majority of Muslim Scholars hiring someone to do acts of worship on one’s behalf is not permissible.

For the one who is renting his house for example or anything, he has responsibilities to take care of. He must make sure the object to be rented is presentable, in good shape. Anything that needs to be repaired should be repaired before the one renting rents it. The lessor basically has to make sure that the lessee will get benefit. The one who rented the thing also has responsibilities. If during the time of rent he broke a window or a door or scratched the paint or any other kind of damage, the one who rented must fix these things. Therefore, the lessee and the lessor both have duties to fulfill.

Renting is a binding contract, so both parties have to be consented before either wants to cancel the lease as it is a kind of sale. If for example the lessee notices a defect on the lease that the lessee has not been told about before signing the contract, then the lessee has the right to cancel. Nobody wants to purchase a defective item.

Renting is a binding agreement. So the lessor must give the object or rent to the lessee. He cannot prevent him from using the object of rent and even if he does, he may not have full rights to take the rent payment full or partial depending. Also, even if the lessor didn’t come to take the rent payment, it is still binding on the lessee to pay the full amount.

Another feature of the Ijaara is knowing the cases when the lease is to be cancelled. One reason is if the item is damaged. For example, if the car breaks down and is no longer in service, one can cancel the lease. Second is when the reason for hiring or renting has been accomplished or the term has come to and end.  If the purpose is no longer there for the hired person to come, then there is no reason to hire the person therefore the agreement becomes cancelled.

As we can see, Ijaarah, with the proper conditions being in place, is perfectly acceptable according to the texts from the Quran and Sunnah. The persons in the renting agreements should be aware of its conditions and terms so that their businesses can be conducted the best manner and Allah knows best.

 

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