A brother asks: “We are in the timber business which involves cutting down trees which are non-bearing and eventually used to make furniture. Is it allowed to earn an income through such a business? At times fruit-bearing trees need to be cut-down to build over the property or to build furniture. What is the ruling on this?”
It is permissible to cut fruit bearing trees if there is need like if one wants to benefit by its wood or by the land and the evidence for this is :
Allah, The Most High said:
مَا قَطَعۡتُم مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوۡ تَرَكۡتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَىٰٓ أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِيُخۡزِيَ ٱلۡفَٰسِقِينَ
What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by Leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
(Al Hashr 5)
And the Prophet ﷺ commanded the cutting of date palms
And it has also come in a hadith that the Prophet ﷺ forbade the cutting of trees and also the cutting of lote trees (specifically) (*)
So the scholars have explained this hadith that these ahadith of prohibition are specific to the haram of Makkah and Madinah and some of them also explained these ahadith regarding the prohibition of cutting trees which is on the pathways which the people use to benefit from its shade.
So it is permissible to cut the fruit bearing trees if the owner has given permission if there is a benefit like using its wood or benefiting from its land.
Shaykh Abu Bilal Al Hadhrami hafidhahullah
Abdun Noor Al Hindi
(*) It was narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Jaydah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who cuts down a lote tree, Allaah will throw him headfirst into Hellfire.”
Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 6/141; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 614.