We reviewed request no. 461 which includes the following:
I raise Arabian horses and breed my mares to stallions from private stud farms or the Egyptian Agricultural Organization (affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture, the authority responsible for Arabian horses in Egypt) for a fee. Please note that I bear the cost of maintaining, feeding, and treatment of these horses. In the near future I will have my own studs.
What is the ruling on the money I pay for breeding my mares to studs, a service I may also offer in the future? Please note that the choice of pedigree is based on established international standards to maintain their purity and, therefore, mares can only be bred to stallions from the Egyptian Agricultural Organization or from private stud farms, both of which demand a fee for their services.
There is no disagreement among scholars on the permissibility of loaning stallions for breeding. It is permissible for the stud's owner to accept money for loaning his stallion without a prior agreement for remuneration. This is based on the hadith narrated by Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, "A man from Kilab asked the Prophetabout 'asb al-fahl but the Prophetdid not permit it. So the man said, 'O Messenger of Allah! We [lend] our stallions for breeding and receive a recompense.' Thereupon the Prophetpermitted such financial remunerations" [Reported by Al-Tirmidhi who declared it fair].
Definition of 'asb al-fahl
There is a scholarly difference on the meaning of 'asb al-fahl. Some scholars have maintained that it is the price paid for the stallion's semen while others maintained that it is money received for renting out the stallion to mate with mares.
Reports from the sunnah forbid renting stallions for breeding or selling their semen. The majority of scholars have maintained that this injunction is tantamount to a prohibition. Based on this, they maintained its prohibition because the stallion's semen cannot be evaluated and its quantity and deliverability cannot be pre-determined.
The Hanbalis: Hanbali scholars have maintained that it is permissible for a person to breed his mares to stallions for a fee if he cannot find anyone to offer this service for free. They based their opinion on the need to breed mares to stallions for the permissible benefit accrued from it. According to them, only the recipient of the fee is blameworthy. This is likewise the position of 'Ata` Ibn Abu Rabah from among the Successors.
The Malikis: Maliki scholars—in an opinion that agrees with the most correct opinion of the Shafi'is, the Hanbalis Abu al-Khattab and Abu al-Wafa` Ibn 'Aqil and the Successors al-Hasan al-Basri and Ibn Sirin maintained the permissibility of renting stallions to mate with mares though only for a known period or a determined number of times. They based their opinion on the need for the benefit accrued, analogizing it to hiring a wet nurse and the permissibility of loaning studs to mate with mares. They interpreted the prohibition mentioned in the above hadith as renting stallions for an unspecified period such as until the stallion impregnates the mare.
The Hanbali scholar, Ibn Qudama, mentioned in Al-Mughni (207/6), "It has been reported that Malik maintains its permissibility. Ibn 'Aqil said that he [likewise] maintains its permissibility because it is a contract for the benefit accrued from the stallion, i.e. impregnating the mares; the outcome is planned and it is most likely that the stallion will breed the mare. This is tantamount to hiring a wet nurse to feed an infant. Elaborating on the opinion of the majority of scholars he went on to say, "Based on this, it is impermissible for a person to receive a fee for 'asab al-fahl due to the reasons previously mentioned though it is not prohibited for the person commissioning the service since he spends his money to meet a permissible need. This is not forbidden contrary to profiting from cupping. This is similar to one who profits from cupping. Though it is offensive to receive money from cupping, the Prophetpaid the person who performed cupping on him. Similarly, the Companions permitted the purchase of copies of the Qur`an though they deemed their sale disliked."
The Maliki scholar, Ibn Rushd, stated in Bidayat al-Mujtahid (224/2), "Malik maintained the permissibility of renting studs from camels, cows, and other animals for breeding for a determined number of times. Abu Hanifah and al-Shafi'i maintained otherwise. Scholars who maintained impermissibility based their argument on the prohibition of selling a stallion's semen or renting the stud for breeding while others compared it to other benefits."
Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, the Shafi'i hadith scholar, mentioned in Fath Al-Bari (461/4), "In one of the opinions of the Shafi'is and the Hanbalis it is permissible to rent a stud for breeding for a known period; this is the opinion of al-Hasan and Ibn Sirin and a reported opinion of Malik deemed strong by al-Abhari and others. According to them, the prohibition concerns renting the stallion for an undetermined period; the permissibility is analogous to hiring someone to pollinate palm trees for a known period."
There is no objection to renting stallions for breeding for a determined period or number of times. This is based on the opinion of the scholars who permit it for both the lessor and the recipient. Since Islamic law is built upon lifting hardships, this opinion is further based upon the need to facilitate matters for people and fulfilling their needs.
Allah Almighty knows best.