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By: Hussein Issa
Darul Iftaa Student
Faculty of Jurisprudence & Islamic Verdicts
I have been consulted by a group of Muslim property owners who own a property in partnership.
A non-Muslim company has approached the partnership with a view to hiring certain shop premises in the property the partnership owns. The premises are intended to be used as a retail butcher shop.
The products to be sold by the company will include meat (beef and mutton) and processed meats (polonies, sausages etc) that will include up to 6% pork to give the products consistency and taste. The processed products will be encased in hog casings. There will be cross-contamination. For the purposes of the present inquiry, let us assume that the beef and mutton to be sold will also be non-halaal. There is no guarantee where such beef and mutton will be sourced from. Will it make a difference if the polonies and sausages contain not more than 6% pork where the balance of the ingredients will also not be halaal?
The intention of the partnership is obviously to derive rental income. This income will not be the sole source of income for at least two members of the partnership.
The question that arises is whether it is permissible for Muslim property owners, in the scenario described, to let premises to non-Muslims who deal in un-Islamic goods and products. It appears that some person has suggested to my clients that, in the context of the South African situation, it would be permissible to let the premises for the purpose indicated. My own view is that it is not. To obtain absolute certainty in the matter, my clients have instructed me to request you for a fatwa on the issue.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The issue in reference is governed by the juristic principle إعانة على المعصية (asssisting in sin) which is derived from the following verse of the Qur’aan:
ولا تعاونوا على الإثم والعدوان
And do not help each other in sin and aggression (verse: 5:2)
The Jurists (Fuqaha) have primarily categorized assisting in sin into:
Both of which have been sub categorized.
Hiring the premises which involves selling Haraam as is the case in the enquired situation is an academically contested issue between Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) and his two famous students, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Mohammad (Rahmatullahi Alaihima). Accordingly to Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) the hiring contract is of the usufruct of the building. The landlord is not responsible for the impermissible activities of the tenant. According to Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Mohammad (Rahmatullahi Alaihima), the landlord is the means for the sinful activity by hiring his property.
Our Contemporary Ulama have considered our economic climate and ruled that there is a leeway to hire ones property to a tenant conducting impermissible trade in the property. However, it is better (Taqwa) to avoid entering into such a contract.
We have confined our answer to the permissibility and non permissibility of the issue without addressing subsidiary issue emanating from this principle issue.
Hereunder find attached 3 Fatawaa of our Akabireen (pious predecessors) and who were experts in the field of Fatawaa. Also find attached two articles in English that will make beneficial read on the issue of limitation on assisting in sin:
في الدر المختار: ( و ) جاز ( إجارة بيت بسواد الكوفة ) أي قراها ( لا بغيرها على الأصح ) وأما الأمصار وقرى غير الكوفة فلا يمكنون لظهور شعار الإسلام فيها ، وخص سواد الكوفة لأن غالب أهلها أهل الذمة ( ليتخذ بيت نار أو كنيسة أو بيعة أو يباع فيه الخمر ) وقالا لا ينبغي ذلك لأنه إعانة على المعصية وبه قالت الثلاثة ، زيلعي
وقال ابن عابدين رحمه الله: ( قوله وجاز إجارة بيت إلخ ) هذا عنده أيضا لأن الإجارة على منفعة البيت ، ولهذا يجب الأجر بمجرد التسليم ، ولا معصية فيه وإنما المعصية بفعل المستأجر وهو مختار فينقطع نسبيته عنه ، فصار كبيع الجارية ممن لا يستبرئها أو يأتيها من دبر وبيع الغلام من لوطي والدليل عليه أنه لو آجره للسكنى جاز وهو لا بد له من عبادته فيه ا هـ زيلعي وعيني ومثله في النهاية والكفاية
( رد المحتار: 6/392، سعيد )
(Fatawa Mahmudiya: 25/146-147, Maktaba Mahmudiya)
(Azizul Fatawa: pg 637-638, Darul Isha’at
(Imdaadul Ahkaam: 3/534-535, Maktaba Darul Ulum Karachi)
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.