A Question about Rentals and Payments
Is it permissible to rent fruit trees and paying the rent in advance?
The Hanbali scholars, Harb al-Karamani and abu al-Wafa` ibn 'Uqail maintain the permissibility of renting trees and this is likewise the opinion chosen by Imam ibn Taymiyyah. They base their opinion on Sa'id ibn Mansur's report which states:
"'Usayd ibn Hudayr passed away while he was indebted with six thousand dirhams.
So 'Umar called his creditors and rented out to them Usayd's land which included palms and other trees for several years."
This corresponds to the permissibility of renting land for cultivation, hiring a wet nurse and the like.
Renting trees in this scenario is permissible because it generates benefits while the source itself remains (such as the fruits from trees and the wool from sheep) and is renewable by Allah.
It is permissible for the owner to follow this opinion due to the people's need for it i.e.
renting the trees to those who will water and fertilize them, ward off any damage, and harvest the fruit for a determined period in exchange of a known fee. According to this opinion, renting trees does not fall under the Prophet's prohibition concerning selling unripe produce.
Allah Almighty knows best