Renting out a property to someone who will sell alcohol

Question

A person rented out a property and his tenant wants to convert it into a restaurant, which will include serving alcohol. Is the rent going to be halal?

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Scholars have difference of opinions on this:

1) It is permissible to rent out one’s property to someone who would use it for something haram, such as selling alcohol.

This is because the rental contract is actually for handling over the property to the tenant for their use, not for the purpose they use. That’s why the payment of rent is obligatory to pay once the property is handed over to the tenant, even though the tenant may not do anything in the property.

If the tenant uses the property for an impermissible purpose, that is solely the action of the tenant, not the landlord’s. Therefore the rent income would be permissible for the landlord.

This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him).

But if the landlord rents out his property, with the aim of a haram purpose or it is mentioned in the contract, then the contract and the rent income would be unlawful.

2) According to the other scholars it is not permissible for a Muslim to rent out his property to someone who will use it for something haram, because that would make him an accomplice in sin. Allah Almighty says: “Do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Surah al-Maidah-2)

This is the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on them).

3) Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah have mercy on him) says:

“The more correct view is that one should not rent out his property for haram use.” (Fatawa Rashidiya, page 513)

4) Mufti Muhammad Shafi (may Allah have mercy on him) writes:

“If he (the landlord) rents it out with the intention of haram use then he would be cooperating in sin and therefore it will be haram.

But if he has no intention of the Haram use then there are two scenarios:

  • If he does not know that the tenant wil use it for Haram purposes then the rent is Halal without any dislike.
  • However, if he knows that the tenant will use it for Haram purposes then it would be Makrooh (dislike).” (Jawahirul Fiqh, vol-2, page-461)

5) Mufti Mahmood Gangohi (may Allah have mercy on him) says:

“According to Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah have mercy on him) renting out the property (for an impermissible act) is permissible. What the tenant uses the property for is his action (liability).

According to Sahibain (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad), renting out one’s property for an impermissible act is makrooh and impermissible.

If the act is mixed (i.e. the tenant would do both; halal and haram activities), then the majority will be taken into the consideration.

If the majority of the activity are permissible then rent income would be permissible and if the majority of the activiti are impermissible then renting out the property would be impermissible.” (Fatawa Mahmoodiya, vol-23, page-320)

Conclusion:

If the landlord’s intention is not to rent out the property for haram use and the majority of the tenant’s activities are permissible then renting out the property to him is permissible unanimously and the rent income would be halal.

If the landlord’s intention is not to rent out the property for haram use but the majority of the tenant’s activities are impermissible then renting out the property to him is also permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifah, and the rent income would be valid.

However if one has the choice then he should not rent out his property for haram use as this is a more precautionary path.

:في الموسوعة الفققية
إذا استأجر ذمي دارا من مسلم على أنه سيتخذها كنيسة أو حانوتا لبيع الخمر، فالجمهور (المالكية والشافعية والحنابلة وأصحاب أبي حنيفة) على أن الإجارة فاسدة؛ لأنها على معصية. وانفرد أبو حنيفة بالقول بجواز ذلك؛ لأن العقد وارد على منفعة البيت مطلقا، ولا يتعين على المستأجر اتخاذها لتلك المعصية۔

:و في الفقه الاسلامي و أدلة
و أجاز أبو حنيفة أيضاً إجارة بيت لاتخاذه كنيسة أو لبيع الخمر فيه في بلاد غالب أهلها أهل الذمة؛ لأن الإجارة تقع على منفعة البيت، ولهذا تجب الأجرة بمجرد التسليم، ولا معصية فيه، وإنما المعصية بفعل المستأجر، وهو مختار فيه۔

وقال الصاحبان والأئمة الثلاثة: لا ينبغي كل تلك الإجارات، وهي مكروهة؛ لأنها إعانة على المعصية، ولأنه عليه الصلاة والسلام لعن في الخمر عشرة، و عد منها حاملها۔
واعتبر أبو حنيفة الحديث محمولاً على الحمل المقرون بقصد المعصية۔

:و في الهداية
وإذا قبض المستأجر الدار فعليه الأجر وإن لم يسكنها”؛ لأن تسليم عين المنفعة لا يتصور فأقمنا تسليم المحل مقامه إذ التمكن من الانتفاع يثبت به۔

:و في رد المحتار
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۔

:و في المبسط للإمام السرخسي
ولو كان المستأجر مسلما فظهر منه فسق في الدار أو دعارة أو كان يجمع فيها على الشرب منعه رب الدار من ذلك كله لا لملكه الدار بل على سبيل النهي عن المنكر فإنه فرض على كل مسلم صاحب الدار وغيره فيه سواء، وليس لرب الدار أن يخرجه من الدار من أجل ذلك مسلما كان أو ذميا۔

Allah knows best
Syed Hussain ibn Imamuddin
09 April 2019

Approved by: Mufti Abdur Rahman. (Shaykh ul Hadith of Esha Atul Islam, Ford Square, London)

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