Book of Agriculture and Sharecropping

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 44. Book of Agriculture and Sharecropping

I: The excellence of sowing and planting when people eat what comes from it by the words of Allah Almighty, "Have you thought about what you cultivate? Is it you who make it germinate or are We the Germinator? If We willed We could have made it broken stubble." (56:63-65)

2195. It is related that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is no Muslim who plants a tree or sows a crop from which birds, man or beasts eat but that it is sadaqa for him."

It is related from Anas from the Prophet.

II: What one has to be careful about in respect of the consequences of using agricultural tools, or exceeding the limits which have been ordained.

2196. It is related that Abu Umama al-Bahili said when he saw a plowshare and some agricultural tools, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'There is no people's house which these things enter without Allah making humiliation enter it as well.'"

III: Keeping a dog for agricultural purposes

2197. It is related that Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If anyone keeps a dog, a qirat is deducted from his actions every day - except for a farm dog or a dog used for livestock."

It is related from Abu Hurayra from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "except for a dog used for sheep or the farm or hunting."

It is related from Abu Hurayra from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "a hunting dog or one for livestock."

2198. It is related from as-Sa'ib ibn Yazid that he heard Sufyan ibn Abi Zuhayr, a man from Azd Shanu'a and one of the Companions of the Prophet say, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'If anyone keeps a dog which does not help him either with farming or livestock, a qirat is deducted from his actions every day.'" As-Sa'ib said, "I asked, 'You heard this from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?' He said, 'Yes, by the Lord of this mosque.'"

IV: Using cattle for ploughing

2199. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Once when a man was riding a cow, it turned to him and said, 'I was not created for this. I was created for ploughing.'" The Prophet said, "I, Abu Bakr and 'Umar all believe it. A wolf seized a sheep and the shepherd followed it. The wolf said, 'Who will look after it on the day that wild beasts reign supreme, when they will have no shepherd but me?'" He said, "I, Abu Bakr and 'Umar believe it." Abu Salama said, "On that day, the two of them were not among the people present."

V: When someone says, "Look after my date-palms or other crops and share their fruit with me."

2200. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Ansar said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'Divide the date-palms between us and our brothers.' He said, 'No.' They [the Muhajirun] said, 'Look after them and we will share the fruit with you.' They said, 'We hear and obey.'"

VI: Cutting down trees and date-palms

Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded date-palms to be cut down and they were."

2201. It is related from 'Abdullah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, burned the date-palms of the Banu'n-Nadir and cut them down at al-Buwayra. Hassan said about it:

"The leaders of Banu Lu'ayy found it easy
to watch the fire spreading at al-Buwayra."

2202. It is related that Rafi' ibn Khadij was heard to say, "We had more farms than anyone else in Madina. We used to rent out the land in return for the produce of a section of it which was allocated to the owner of the land." He said, "Sometimes that section would be blighted and the the rest of the land sound and sometimes the rest of the land would be blighted and that section sound, so we were forbidden to do it. As for gold and silver, they were not used at that time."

VII: Sharecropping for half the yield and the like

It is related that Abu Ja'far said, "Every family of Muhajirun in Madina used to work the land for a third or a quarter of the produce. 'Ali, Sa'd ibn Malik, 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, 'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz, al-Qasim, 'Urwa, the family of Abu Bakr, the family of 'Umar, the family of 'Ali and Ibn Sirin all practised sharecropping."

'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn al-Aswad said, "I used to share with 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Yazid in the crop. 'Umar used to arrange with the people that if he provided the seeds himself, he would receive half, but if they provided the seeds, they would receive such and such an amount."

Al-Hasan said, "There is no harm, if the land belongs to one of them but the outlay is on both of them, in their dividing the produce between the two of them." Az-Zuhri thought that too. Al-Hasan said, "There is no harm in picking cotton in return for half the crop." Ibrahim, Ibn Sirin, 'Ata', al-Hakam, az-Zuhri and Qatada said, "There is no harm in letting [the weaver] have a third or a quarter or some such amount of the cloth [he weaves]." Ma'mar said, "There is no harm in hiring animals for a fixed term in return for a third or a quarter [of what they carry]."

2203. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, employed the Jews of Khaybar to work the land in return for half of its produce of fruit or other crops. He used to give his wives a hundred wasqs each, eighty wasqs of dates and twenty wasqs of barley. When 'Umar divided up Khaybar, he gave the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, a choice between a grant of water and land or continuing as before. Some chose the land and some chose the wasqs. 'A'isha chose the land.

VIII: When the number of years of sharecropping is not stipulated

2204. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, employed the Jews of Khaybar for half of its produce of fruits or other crops."

2205. It is related that 'Amr said, "I said to Tawus, 'I wish you would give up sharecropping since they claim that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade it.' He said, ''Amr! I give them land and help them. The most knowledgeable of them, i.e. Ibn 'Abbas, told me that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not forbid it, but said, "It is better for one of you to give land to his brother than to take a fixed rent for it."'"

IX: Sharecropping with the Jews

2206. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave Khaybar to the Jews to work and cultivate in return for half of what it produced.

X: Disliked conditions in respect of sharecropping

2207. It is related that Rafi' said, "We had more fields than anyone else in Madina and one of us would rent out his land and say, 'This piece is mine and that is yours.' Sometimes one would produce and the other would not. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade people to do that."

XI: When someone cultivates using people's money without their permission and it results in profit for them

2208. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Once three people were out walking. They were caught by the rain and took shelter in a mountain cave. A rock from the mountain fell down in front of the mouth of their cave and trapped them inside. They said to one another, 'See what right actions you have done for the sake of Allah and supplicate Allah by them so that hopefully He will let us out of here.' One of them said, 'O Allah, I have two aged parents and I also have young children. I used to graze the animals for them. When I returned to them, I would milk and give my parents milk first before my children. One day I was delayed and did not return until evening, finding them asleep. I milked as I normally did and stood at their heads, not wanting to wake them up nor to give the children milk either, even though the children were crying at my feet until dawn broke. If you know that I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then make an opening for us through which we can see the sky!' Allah made an opening and they saw the sky.' Another said, 'O Allah, I had a niece whom I loved with the strongest love with which a man can love a woman. I tried to seduce her and she refused me unless I brought her a hundred dinars. I wanted to have intercourse with her. When I was between her legs, she said, "Slave of Allah! Fear Allah and do not deflower without marriage," so I got up. If you know that I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then make an opening for us!' and it opened further. The third said, 'O Allah, I hired a worker for a faraq of rice. When he finished his work, he said, 'Give me my due.' I offered it to him but he refused it. I continued to sow it until I had cows and a cowherd from it. He came to me and said, "Fear Allah." I said, "Go to those cattle and the cowherd and take them." He said, "Fear Allah and do not mock me." I said, "I am not mocking you, take them." He took them. If you know that I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then make an opening for us!' and it opened the rest of the way and Allah set them free."

It is related from Nafi' that he said "sa'aytu" (rather than "baghaytu".)

XII: The awqaf of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and kharaj land, their sharecropping and other arrangements

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to 'Umar, "Make a sadaqa of the entirety of these [trees] which will not then be able to be sold. However their fruits can be sold and given as sadaqa."

2209. It is related that 'Umar said, "If it were not for future Muslims, I would have divided up every village I conquered among those who took it as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, divided up Khaybar."

XIII: Someone bringing barren land to life

'Ali thought that that also applied to the devastated land in Kufa.

'Umar said, "If anyone brings barren land to life, it belongs to him." It is related from 'Umar and Ibn 'Awf that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "provided it does not rightfully belong to another Muslim. A man does not have any right to what he plants in it wrongfully."

It is related from Jabir from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

2210. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone cultivating land which does not belong to anyone else has the most right to it."

'Urwa said, "'Umar gave that decision during his khalifate."

2211. It is related from 'Umar £ that when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in his resting-place in Dhu'l-Hulayfa at the bottom of the valley, he dreamt that he was told, "You are in a blessed valley."

Musa said, "Salim made our camels kneel at the place where 'Abdullah made his kneel, seeking the resting-place of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It was below the mosque which is in the bottom of the valley, halfway between it and the road."

2212. It is related from 'Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Tonight someone came to me from my Lord (when he was at al-'Aqiq) to pray in this blessed valley and say, ''Umra with the hajj."

XIV: When the owner of the land says, "I will let you remain as long as Allah lets you remain" without mentioning a specific term, the arrangement continues as long as both parties are in agreement

2213. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace ..."

It is related from Ibn 'Umar that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab expelled the Jews and Christians from the land of the Hijaz. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, conquered Khaybar, he wanted to oust the Jews from it. When he conquered it, the land was for Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Muslims. He wanted to oust the Jews from it but the Jews asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to let them remain there and they would work the land and take half of the produce. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them, "We will let you remain under that arrangement as long as we wish," and they remained there until 'Umar expelled them to Tayma' and Ariha'.

XV: The Companions of the Prophet used to share crops and fruits

2214. It is related that Rafi' ibn Khadij related that his uncle, Zuhayr ibn Rafi' said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade us something which made things easy for us." Rafi' said, "I said, 'What the Messenger of Allah*, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said was true.' He said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called me and said, 'What do you do with your fields?' I said. 'We rent them out in return for what grows by the river or for some wasqs of dates and barley.' He said, 'Do not do that. Cultivate them yourselves, or have them cultivated, or keep them.'" Rafi' said, "I said, 'We hear and obey.'"

2215. It is related that Jabir said, "They used to cultivate land for a third or a quarter or a half. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Anyone who has land should cultivate it, or give away the use of it (for nothing). If he does not do that, he should simply let his land lie fallow.'"

2216. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah*, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who has land should cultivate it, or give away the use of it to his brother (for nothing). If he refuses to do that, he should simply let his land lie fallow.'"

2217. It is related that 'Amr said, "I mentioned it to Tawus and he said, 'It is rented out for cultivation.'" Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not forbid it, but he said, 'It is better for one of you to give it to his brother than to take a stipulated fee for it.'"

2218. It is related from Nafi', "Ibn 'Umar used to rent out his fields in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and at the beginning of the rule of Mu'awiya. Then he was told of the narration from Rafi' ibn Khadij that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade renting out fields. Ibn 'Umar went to Rafi' and I went with him. He asked him and he said, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade renting out fields.' Ibn 'Umar said, 'You know that we used to rent out our fields in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in return for what was on the river banks and some figs.'"

2219. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "I know that in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, land was rented out." Then 'Abdullah was afraid that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had related something about it which he did not know, so he stopped renting out land."

XVI: Renting land for gold and silver

Ibn 'Abbas said, "The best thing you can do is to rent uncultivated land on a yearly basis."

2220. It is related that Rafi' ibn Khadij said, "My two uncles related to me that they used to rent out land in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in return for for what grew on the river banks or for something stipulated by the owner of the land. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade that." Hanzala ibn Qays said, "I asked Rafi', 'What about renting for dinars and dirhams?' Rafi' replied, 'There is no harm in doing it for dinars and dirhams.'" Al-Layth said, "If those with understanding of the lawful and unlawful had looked into what was forbidden regarding that, they would not have allowed it because of the danger inherent in it."

2221. It is related from Abu Hurayra: "One day the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was speaking and a man of the desert was with him, 'A man of the people of the Garden asked his Lord for permission to sow. He said to him, 'Are you not surrounded by everything you desire?' He said, 'Yes, but I like to sow.' He said, 'He sowed and his plants grew quickly and stood straight ready for harvesting. They were as high as mountains. Allah says, "Here you are, son of Adam! Nothing satisfies you."' The bedouin said, 'By Allah, you will find that he is either Quraysh or an Ansari! They are people of agriculture, and we are not people of agriculture.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, laughed."

XVII: What has come about planting trees

2222. It is related that Sahl ibn Sa'd said, "We used to be happy on the day of Jumu'a. There was a woman among us who used to pull up by the roots the garden-beet (silq) which we planted by our irrigation channels and put them in a pot. Then she would put in some barley. (I think that he said, "There was no fat or melted fat in it.") After praying the Jumu'a prayer we would visit her and then she would bring it to us. We used to be happy on the day of Jumu'a because of that. We did not have lunch or an afternoon nap except after Jumu'a."

2223. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "They say that Abu Hurayra relates many hadiths. Allah is the One who will be met [on the Day of Rising!]! They say, 'Why do the Muhajirun and Ansar not relate the same hadiths as him?' My brothers among the Muhajirun used to be busy with their business in the markets and my brothers among the Ansar were busy with their property. I was a poor man and I would stick close to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in order to fill my stomach and be present with him when others were absent and remember when they forgot. One day, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Whoever of you spreads his garment until I finish what I am saying and then gathers it to his chest will never forget anything that I say.' I spread out a striped cloak of mine which was the only garment I had until the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, finished what he was saying and then I gathered it to my chest. By the One who sent him with the truth, I have not forgotten anything right up until today. By Allah, if it had not been for two ayats in the Book of Allah, I would never have related anything: "Those who conceal the Clear Signs that We have sent down..." to "Most Merciful." (2:159-160) "