I want to know about the permissibility of sharecropping in Islamic Law, whereby farmland is portioned out to tenants for a fixed share of the produce harvested.
Sheikh Sulaymân al-Tuwayjirî
The Prophet (peace be upon him) made an agreement with the people of Khaybar to receive half the yield of their farms. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
Abû Ja`far said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) contracted to take half the yield from the people of Khaybar. Abû Bakr after him did the same, then `Umar, then `Uthmân, then `Alî. Their kinfolk did so up to this day give a third or a quarter.”
This is true. The Prophet (peace be upon him) put this into practice up until the time of his death. The Rightly Guided Caliphs followed suit, upholding this practice throughout their lives, as did those who came after them.
Most of the people of Madînah used to do engage in this sort of contract, including the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) after his death.
Ibn `Umar relates: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) contracted with the people of Khaybar to give half of the yield of all harvests and fruit crops. He used to give one hundred and eighty wasq of dates and twenty wasq of barley of the yield to his wives.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
A wasq equals approximately 145 kilograms.
Those engaged in farming might agree with the landowners to have one party provide the seeds and the other provide the work. Alternatively, the seeds and work might be provided by one party and the land provided by the other. Then the crop yield will be divided between them according to their predetermined mutual agreement.
All of these arrangements are permissible.
There is a hadîth where Râfi` b. Jurayj relates:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade farming out the land. I asked about gold and silver and was told: “He only forbade letting it out for a portion of its produce. There is no problem with gold and silver.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
However, scholars have explained that this statement was probably made before Khaybar. The agreement of Khaybar indicates that this ruling has been abrogated.
Therefore it is permissible for Muslims to engage in sharecropping where the people working the land pay to the landowners a half, a third, a quarter, or any other share of the produce.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital