Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
I pray to Allah to bless you in your productive work to provide a lawful source of income to support yourself and your family.
Before coming directly to your question, let me state upfront: The purpose of zakah in Islam is to reduce the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor and it is not to make the poor poorer and the rich richer.
The Shari`ah is the sacred law of Allah, whose sole purpose is to realize equity and justice. Therefore, any ruling that amounts to be unfair to the poor cannot be the rule of the Shari`ah, which from Allah who is All-Wise and Just.
Zakah on the agricultural produce falls on both the landowner and the one who leases the land to cultivate it.
As for you who has leased the land, you owe zakah on the net produce you get after deducting the rent (paid to the landowner) as well as the expenses you have incurred in cultivating the land (including that of the tractor, thresher, fertilizer, etc.).
And the landowner, on the other hand, ought to pay zakah on his share of the produce. To say that you ought to pay for the gross produce and thus to excuse the land owner cannot be considered the law of Allah.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.