Breastfeeding a 3 Year Old Orphan; Does it Make Him a Mahram?
Fatwa No: 394765

Question

salam alykum, i would like to breast feed an orphan child in order for him to become muhram to me and my daughter. we would like him to come live with us so that he can have a better life since he currently has no passport or nationality, therefore it will be difficult for him to get a proper education, job or get married in the future. we are able to provide those things for him, however the issue is he is 3 years old already. i was informed by the orphanage that he still drinks formula daily. could i still breast feed him even though he is over 2 years old? otherwise he will stay in the orphanage for his whole life and it is likely he will not be able to work or marry. Thank you and i appreciate your help

Answer

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  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we thank you for your trust in us and for writing to us. May Allah reward you for your concern about this child and for endeavoring to his interest. We ask Allah to record this in the book of your good deeds and benefit you from it on the Day when neither wealth nor children will benefit anyone except one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.

According to the most preponderant opinion of the jurists, becoming a Mahram (forbidden in marriage) due to suckling is if breastfeeding that takes place during the first two (lunar) years. This is the breastfeeding that nurtures the flesh and bone; this is the view of the majority of the jurists. Therefore, breastfeeding this child will not make him a Mahram (to you and your daughter).

Nonetheless, some jurists held the view that breastfeeding an adult (a grown up person) makes him prohibited in marriage (a Mahram). Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was of the view that it is permissible to breastfeed an adult when there is a need, and that, in this case, it confirms the prohibition (he becomes a Mahram).

We consider the view of the majority of the scholars is the most preponderant opinion. However, if the case in question requires special consideration and taking into account the situation of this child because of the environment in which you live, or for any other consideration, then it is better to consult the competent authorities who are specialized in looking at such issues.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 150005, 342208, and 115715.

Allah knows best.

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