Though there are various definitions of Al-Ijarah given by the scholars of jurisprudence, they all agree that this contract is a contract on using the benefits or services in return for compensation. In our context, Al-Ijarah refers to a contract to hire, rent or lease. We see the evidence of hire in the story of Musa (Al-Qasas: 26-27) where Musa was hired by his father-in-law to provide a service.
There are two main types of subjects in an Ijarah contract:
- Tasks, where the compensation is for effort expended of skill used (by an employee or a contractor), and
- Property, where the compensation is for the use of a property (such as a car or a house).
An Ijarah contract cannot be cancelled unless both parties agree to it or if one of the parties fails to deliver.
The pillars of an Ijarah contract are:
- Presence of two parties
- Offer and acceptance
- Reimbursement or compensation
- Specified usage
Without any of the above the contract is not valid. A point to note here is the necessity to specify the reimbursement and the usage. If these are missing, the contract is valid only if the two parties agree on them later.
There are a number of conditions attached to an Ijarah contract that will be discussed next.