Rules of Leasing - Ijarah
1. Leasing is a contract whereby the owner of something transfers its usufruct to another person for an agreed period, at an agreed consideration.
2. The subject of lease must have a valuable use. Therefore, things having no usufruct at all cannot be leased.
3. It is necessary for a valid contract of lease that the corpus of the leased property remains in the ownership of the seller, and only its usufruct is transferred to the lessee. Thus, anything which cannot be used without consuming cannot be leased out. Therefore, the lease cannot be effected in respect of money, eatables, fuel and ammunition etc. because their use is not possible unless they are consumed. If anything of this nature is leased out, it will be deemed to be a loan and all the rules concerning the transaction of loan shall accordingly apply. Any rent charged on this invalid lease shall be an interest charged on a loan.
4. As the corpus of the leased property remains in the ownership of the lessor, all the liabilities emerging from the ownership shall be borne by the lessor, but the liabilities referable to the use of the property shall be borne by the lessee.
A has leased his house to B. The taxes referable to the property shall be borne by A, while the water tax, electricity bills and all expenses referable to the use of the house shall be borne by B, the lessee.
5. The period of lease must be determined in clear terms.
6. The lessee cannot use the leased asset for any purpose other than the purpose specified in the lease agreement. If no such purpose is specified in the agreement, the lessee can use it for whatever purpose it is used in the normal course. However if he wishes to use it for an abnormal purpose, he cannot do so unless the lessor allows him in express terms.
7. The lessee is liable to compensate the lessor for every harm to the leased asset caused by any misuse or negligence on the part of the lessee.
8. The leased asset shall remain in the risk of the lessor throughout the lease period in the sense that any harm or loss caused by the factors beyond the control of the lessee shall be borne by the lessor.
9. A property jointly owned by two or more persons can be leased out, and the rental shall be distributed between all the joint owners according to the proportion of their respective shares in the property.
10. A joint owner of a property can lease his proportionate share to his co-sharer only, and not to any other person.1
11. It is necessary for a valid lease that the leased asset is fully identified by the parties.
A said to B. “I lease you one of my two shops.” B agreed. The lease is void, unless the leased shop is clearly determined and identified.
12. The rental must be determined at the time of contract for the whole period of lease.
It is permissible that different amounts of rent are fixed for different phases during the lease period, provided that the amount of rent for each phase is specifically agreed upon at the time of effecting a lease. If the rent for a subsequent phase of the lease period has not been determined or has been left at the option of the lessor, the lease is not valid.
Example (1): A leases his house to B for a total period of 5 years. The rent for the first year is fixed as Rs. 2000/- per month and it is agreed that the rent of every subsequent year shall be 10% more than the previous one. The lease is valid.
Example (2): In the above example, A puts a condition in the agreement that the rent of Rs. 2000/- per month is fixed for the first year only. The rent for the subsequent years shall be fixed each year at the option of the lessor. The lease is void, because the rent is uncertain.
The determination of rental on the basis of the aggregate cost incurred in the purchase of the asset by the lessor, as normally done in financial leases, is not against the rules of Shariah, if both parties agree to it, provided that all other conditions of a valid lease prescribed by the Shariah are fully adhered to.
14. The lessor cannot increase the rent unilaterally, and any agreement to to this effect is void.
15. The rent or any part thereof may be payable in advance before the delivery of the asset to the lessee, but the amount so collected by the lessor shall remain with him as ‘on account’ payment and shall be adjusted towards the rent after its being due.
16. The lease period shall commence from the date on which the leased asset has been delivered to the lessee, no matter whether the lessee has started using it or not.
17. If the leased asset has totally lost the function for which it was leased, and no repair is possible, the lease shall terminate on the day on which such loss has been caused. However, if the loss is caused by the misuse or by the negligence of the lessee, he will be liable to compensate the lessor for the depreciated value of the asset as, it was immediately before the loss.
Source: Republished with the kind permission of Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani.