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What is Ijarah (اجارۃ)

68 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2012 Last revised: 18 Nov 2012

Justice (R) Dr. Munir Ahmad Mughal

Punjab University Law College; Superior Law College

Date Written: March 6, 2012


Ijarah (اجارۃ) is an Arabic word. Its root letters are Alif, Jim and Raر ج ا) =اجر) which means reward or compensation. To give (exclusive possession of) some thing to another on payment of rent. It means lending of some object to some body in return for some rental against a specified period.

According to the Hanafi School Ijarah means a contract on usufruct for a known consideration.

According to the Shafi'i School Ijarah is a contract on known and permissible benefit in exchange of a known return.

According to the Maliki School Ijarah is an alienation of lawful usufructs for a fixed charge for a fixed period. Ibn Rushd says: Ijarah resembles a sale contract whereby price and use are exchanged.

It also includes letting things moveable and immovable for hire and rendering services such as custody of property and professional services.

It also means employment of a person to work on payment of wages for the work done. One who engages another person to work is called employer or Payer of wages to the worker so employed or an Ajir/آجر (aajir).

One who receives wages is called an employee, a wage earner or Ajir/اجِیر (ajeer).

The amount of compensation paid for the work done or services rendered is called 'Ujrat/اُجرت or Wages or Salary.

Salient Features of Ijarah: 1. The purpose of Ijarah contract is alienation of usufructs (advantages/benefits/gains) which are known and specified. 2. The benefits must be such which are permissible in the Shari'ah. Thus hiring of a house for manufacturing wine or opening a gambling or lottery or any other business of cheating or defrauding people or hiring a women for singing or obscene displays is unlawful and therefore against the Islamic Law. The Holy Qur'an says: Say: The things that My Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He hath given no authority; and saying things about Allah of which ye have no knowledge [7:33]. O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination, of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with Intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? [V: 90 and 91]. 3. The rent or compensation must be specified in the Contract. 4. The period of contract must be specified in the Contract. The authority in support of Ijarah is available in the Holy Qur'an, the Sunnah and the Ijma': The Holy Qur'an says: Let the women live (in 'iddat) in the same style As ye live, according to your means: annoy them not, so As to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until They deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father's) behalf [65:6].

The Holy Qur'an also says: Said one of the (damsels): "O My (dear) father! Engage him on wages: truly the best of men for Thee to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty." He said: "I intend to wed one of these my daughters to thee, on condition that Thou serve me for eight years; but if Thou complete ten years, it will be (grace) from thee. But I intend not to place Thee under a difficulty: Thou wilt find me, indeed, if Allah wills, one of the righteous," [28:26 and 27].

The Authority in the Sunnah (Ahadith): In Sunan Ibn Majah there is a transmission on the authority of Hadrat Ibn Umar (Allah's pleasure be upon both of them) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Make payment of a wage earner before his sweat dries up.

Abdur Razzaq Muhammad bin al-Hasan has transmitted on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (Allah's Pleasure be upon him) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: When any one from among you engages a person on wages (hires a person) he must inform him of the wages he is to receive. The worker is free in his choice to accept such amount of wages or reject it.

Hadrat Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas (Allah's pleasure be upon him) reported that in the age of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the owners of the land used to let their lands on rent. In our modern age vacancies concerning various posts and jobs are advertised. What is there position? Is it permissible to do so?

Keywords: Ijarah, Lease, Islamic Business Principles, Islamic Economics, Islamic Injunctions, Ijma, Qisas

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Mughal, Justice (R) Dr. Munir Ahmad, What is Ijarah (اجارۃ) (March 6, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Munir Ahmad Mughal (Contact Author)

Punjab University Law College ( email )

(Res.)125-B, Judicial Colony, Lahore
Lahore, Punjab 54000
042-35304847 (Phone)
042-35311498 (Fax)

Superior Law College

(Res.)125-B, Judicial Colony
Lahore, Punjab 54000
0092-42-35304847 (Phone)
0092-42-35311498 (Fax)

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