Breast-feeding and relationships

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  • Publish date:28/05/2007
  • Section:FATWA FOR ALL
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Until what age can the child be breast-fed by the mother? After that age if any child is breast-fed, will the relationship change? If a man when making love to his wife drinks the milk of her breasts, intentionally or unintentionally what is their relationship? How many times is breast-feeding required to develop a milk suckling relation?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The age at which an infant stops breastfeeding is two complete years.  Allah Says (what means): {The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, …} [Quran 2:233]

If after the two complete years another suckling woman gives suck to infant, the latter does not become automatically a Mahram for her, and she is not considered a suckling mother for him; this is what is agreed upon by the Muslim scholars.  It is also the opinion of Abu Haneefah, Maalik, Shaafi’e and Ahmad and their successors.  It is also the opinion of the former and later scholars.

So, the fact that a husband drinks the milk of his wife, does not affect their marital relationship, because it is suckling outside the normal age of suckling known in Shariah as explained.  And there is no difference whether this suckling is intentional or unintentional.

However, it is better for a husband not to drink his wife's milk taking into consideration the opinion of those who believe that the suckling of a big person also establishes the relation of flesh and blood. This is the opinion of 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, 'Ataa`, Al-Layth and Ibn Hazm  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them.

Finally, the number of suckling times by which a person becomes a Mahram is 5 times as in the Hadeeth reported by 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, who said: "What was first revealed from the Quran was that suckling 10 times, makes the person Mahram to his suckling mother.  But this was abrogated to 5 times (only).  The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) passed away, and it (that number of times) was still what is recited from the Qur'an. She meant that the abrogation of the verse that reads “the number of suckling is 5 times” was abrogated so late that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) died and some people were still reading that abrogated verse."

Allah knows best. 




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