2256. Muz¡ra‘ah is contract wherein the owner (of a land) or someone who is vested with the powers of an owner, such as the guardian, the owner of its benefits, or a person who has a right over a piece of land, such as owing to the right of stone fencing, forms a contract with a farmer by placing the land at his disposal, so that the farmer may cultivate the land and give a part of the produce to the owner or the acting owner.
1. An offer by the owner and acceptance by the farmer. For example the owner may say to the farmer, “I have placed the land at your disposal,” and the farmer may respond by saying, “I have accepted,” or the owner places the land at the disposal of the farmer with the intention of cultivation, without uttering a word, and the farmer takes possession of the land. It is also permissible for the farmer to make the offer and for the owner to accept it.
2. The owner of the land and the farmer should both be sane and b¡ligh. In addition, no one should have wrongfully coerced either of them to enter into the muz¡ra‘ah contract. The owner should also not be interdicted by the shari’a from disposing of his property, and this includes people who are feeble-minded and those who have been prohibited by the ¦¡kim al-shar’yy from disposing of their property due to bankruptcy. The same will apply to a bankrupt farmer, in the event that the act of farming by the farmer necessitates his disposal of his property. It is also not permissible to make a muz¡ra‘ah contract with a feeble-minded person without the consent of his guardian.
3. The produce from the land should be distributed between the two. Hence if they stipulate that the entire produce would belong to one of them, or the produce which is harvested first or last belongs to one of them, the muz¡ra‘ah will be void.
4. The share of each party should be an abstract fraction of the whole, such as a half or a third. Hence if the owner says to the farmer, “farm this land and in return give me whatever you wish,” or if a specific amount is fixed for the owner or the farmer, such as ten kilograms, the muz¡ra‘ah will be void.
5. They should also specify the period for which the land will be at the disposal of the farmer, and it should be a period wherein it would be possible to harvest the crop. In fact, if they set a particular date as the beginning of the period and the day of harvest as its last day, it will also suffice.
6. The land should by cultivable. The muz¡ra‘ah will also be in order if the land is not cultivable, but can be prepared for cultivation.
7. If they both intend for a particular crop to be cultivated, they should specify the crop that the farmer must cultivate. However, if a particular crop is not under consideration, or if the crop that they intend to be cultivated is known, it will not be necessary to specify it.
8. The owner should specify the land in a manner that the subject of the transaction should not be ambiguous. It is also apparent that specifying it in an abstract manner in a specific area is also sufficient, even though the pieces of land may be different from each other.
9. The expenses that each of them must incur should be specified. However if the expenses that each of them must incur is known, it will not be necessary to specify it.
If the farmer fails to farm the land without a valid excuse, then if the land was at his disposal, and the owner had no discretion over it, the farmer will have to pay the equivalent rent to the owner.
However if they stipulate a condition within the muz¡ra‘ah that permits one or both of them to unilaterally nullify the agreement, they may nullify the agreement in accordance with the condition that was stipulated.
However if the farmer passes away, and they had stipulated within the agreement that the farmer himself would farm the land, the muz¡ra‘ah will be nullified. In this case if the crops have become visible, the share of the farmers should be given to his heirs. They will also inherit all the other rights that were reserved for the farmer. As for the presence of the crops on the land until they are harvested, its ruling is the same as elaborated in article 2259.
However, if the seeds belonged to the farmer, the crops will also belong to him. He in turn will have to pay rent to the owner for using the land, and remunerate him for all the expenses that he incurred, and also pay him rent for any (of his) equipment used to farm the crops.
In both cases, if the sum of the equivalent rent and the expenses is greater than the amount that was agreed upon in the agreement, to claim rights over the excess amount is problematic. The precaution is that they reach a settlement compromise.