Dr. Monzer Kahf, Scholar in Islamic Economics & Financial Expert, states the following: “According to the well-known Fiqh schools, there is nothing wrong, as far as Islam is concerned, in renting land for agriculture. Though there are Hadiths that prevent such transaction, Muslim jurists argue that those Hadiths are restricted to the cases where the rent is part of the product of the land itself. What further weakens those Hadiths is that they are reported by a young Companion, Rafi` Ibn Khudayyej, and they stand against known principles in Fiqh such as freedom of disposition, right to make productive use of one’ own property and permissibility of sale of usufruct (i.e. renting a property).”
Shedding more light on the issue in his well known book Fiqh As-Sunnah, the late Aharite Sheikh Sayed Sabiq, may Allah rest his soul in peace, adds:
“There is nothing wrong with land renting. However, both parties to the contract, the tenant (lessee) and the landlord (lessor), should agree on the way the land is utilized unless the lessor gives the tenant the green light to utilize the land on his own. If the aforementioned precondition is applied, then the lease contract is valid, and not vice versa.
There is an important example I would like to clarify here. If the lessee and the lessor agree to plant a certain crop, then the former has to abide by the condition (i.e. he is not permitted to cultivate another crop other than the crop agreed upon in the lease contract.)
However, other scholars state that the lessee may be permitted to cultivate another crop as long as the cultivation of the new crop (i.e. that has not been agreed upon) do not cause any harm to the land or at least its harm is lesser compared to the other crop. Other scholars such as Dawud state that the lessee is not permitted to cultivate another crop other than that crop agreed upon by both parties upon concluding the lease contract.”