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Breastfeeding in Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Breastfeeding is highly regarded in Islam. The Qur'an regards it as a sign of love between the mother and child. In Islamic law, breastfeeding creates ties of milk kinship (known as raḍāʿ or riḍāʿa (Arabic: رضاع, رضاعة‎  pronounced [rɪˈdˤɑːʕ(æ)]) that has implications in family law.[1][2] Muslims throughout the world have varied breastfeeding traditions.

Quran and hadith

Several Qur'anic verses, all dating from the Medinan period, lay down the Islamic ethic of breastfeeding [3]:106 Quran 28:7 and Quran 28:12 refer to the nursing of Islamic prophet Moses to emphasize the loving bond between baby Moses and his mother.[3]:106 Breastfeeding is implied as a basic Maternal bond in Quran 22:2, which considers a mother neglecting nursing of her child as an unusual sign.[3]:106

Breastfeeding is considered a basic right of every infant, according to the Qur'an.[4]: Quran 2:233 calls on fathers to sponsor the child's nursing by providing food and clothing for the child's mother for two years, although it allows for earlier weaning of the child by mutual consent of both mother and father.[3]:106 The same verse also allows for motherly breastfeeding to be substituted by wet nursing.[3]:106 Quran 65:6–7 expects the father of the child to be generous towards the wet nurse.[5]:477

The Quran regards ties due to milk kinship similar to ties due to blood kinship.[5]:477 Therefore Quran 4:23 prohibits a man from having sexual relations with his "milk mother" or "milk sister".[3]:107 According to scholars, this prohibition is not found in the Jewish and Christian tradition, though it is found in matrilineal groups.[3]:107 The hadith explain that the wet-nurse's husband is also included as a milk kin,[5]:477 eg. a woman may not marry her wet-nurse's husband.

In Islamic law

Breastfeeding is considered one of the most fundamental rights of a child in Islamic law.[4]: Muslim jurists have given extensive treatment to this topic, for example Al-Mawardi (d. 1058 AD) wrote an entire treatise Kitab al-rada on the topic of breastfeeding.[4] This includes the specifics related to the right of being breastfed, as well as implications of breastfeeding on prohibiting marriage between individuals related by milk kinship.

Milk kinship for infants

The Qur'an regards breastfeeding to establish milk kinship which has implications for marriage.

Sunni jurisprudence extensively discusses the precise delineation of which relationships are subject to prohibition once the milk relationship is established. Shi'ite Islam also prohibits marriage to the consanguineous kin of a milk-parent as per the Qur'an. In Shi'ite societies, the wet nurse was always from a subordinate group, so that marriage to her kin would not have been likely.

The following are the sorts of questions directed to the founder of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence by his son:

I asked my father about a man who has two wives, each of whom has a daughter. Then one of the wives nurses a certain man. "Is it lawful for this man's son to marry the daughter of the wife who did not nurse him?" ... I asked my father about a man who has a wife who nurses both a youth and a girl, and the youth has a brother. "Is it lawful for the brother to marry the girl?" ... I hear my father asked about a woman who nurses a young female slave belonging to someone else. Then a certain man marries the woman who has nursed the young female slave. "Is it lawful for the man to have intercourse with the female slave his wife has nursed if he buys and takes possession of her?"[6]

Other topics

  • laban al-fahl, "milk of the sire", as under Islam the wet nurse's husband is considered the actual owner of her milk (it is his semen which caused the pregnancy that stimulated her lactation), which ties of consanguinity exist between his relations and the nursling?
  • sifat al-radāʿ al-muharrim, "quality of the milk", which ways of transmission create consanguinity?
  • ʿadad al-radāʿ al-muharrim, minimal number of sucklings necessary to establish fosterage;
  • radāʿ al-kabīr, suckling of a grown-up person, the maximum age at which the milk-relationship may be established;
  • al-radāʿ min mayyita, whether or not the absorption of milk from a dead woman creates the impediment.
  • ʿAdad al-radāʿ al-muharrim, or minimal number of sucklings necessary to establish the milk-kinship, was the subject of extensive debate. The differences in number of sucklings amount to differences in jurisprudence methodology. For the adherents of older schools of law, such as the Malikis and Hanafis, one suckling was enough. The Hanafi scholars perceive the variations in the number of sucklings in hadith reports as recommendations for different people, but the minimum being one to establish kinship. Others, such as the Shāfi'īs, maintained that the minimum number was five or ten, arguing that a Qur'ānic verse had once stipulated this number until its wording had been abrogated from the Qur'ānic text, but the ruling was still in place. This is an example of a verse that is abrogated in wording, but its ruling remains. Imam Malik, however, believed its ruling had also been abrogated along with the wording.[7][8]

Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya introduced common topics in the book of The Five Schools of Islamic Law:

"Fosterage (al-Ridi') All the schools concur regarding the veracity of the tradition: (That which becomes haram due to consanguinity becomes haram due to fosterage). According to this tradition fosterage includes the same limits of relationship prohibitive to marriage as consanguinity. Thus any woman who as a result of breast-feeding becomes a foster-mother or a foster daughter or a sister or an aunt (both maternal and paternal) or a niece, marriage with her is haram according to all the schools. But the schools differ regarding the number of breast-feedings which cause the prohibition and the conditions applicable to the foster-mother and the foster-child.

1. The Imamiyyah say: It is necessary that the woman's milk be the result of lawful sexual relations, and if it secretes without marriage or as a result of a pregnancy due to adultery, the prohibition does not come into effect. It is not necessary that the woman remain conjugally bound to the person who is the cause of her turning lactiferous. Even if he divorces her or dies while she is pregnant or lactiferous, the prohibition comes into effect if she breast-feeds a child, even though she marries another and has intercourse with him.

The Hanafi, the Shafi'i and the Maliki schools are of the opinion that there is no difference between the woman being a virgin or a widow and between her being married or unmarried as long as she has milk with which she feeds the child. According to the Hanbali school the legal effects of fosterage will not follow unless the milk is the result of a pregnancy, and they do not set a condition that the pregnancy be due to lawful intercourse (Muhammad Muhyi al-Din 'Abd al-Hamid in al-'Ahwal al-shakhsiyyah).

2. The Imamiyyah consider it necessary that the child should have sucked milk from the breast, so if it is dropped in his mouth or he drinks it in a manner other than direct sucking, the prohibitive relationship would not be established. The other four schools consider it sufficient that the milk reach the child's stomach, whatever the manner (Bidayat al-mujtahid ; Hashiyat al-Bajuri, "Bab al-rida"'). According to al-Fiqh 'ala al-madhahib al-'arba'ah , the Hanbalis consider it sufficient that the milk reach the child's stomach, even if through his nose.

3. According to the Imamiyyah, the prohibitive relationship is not realized unless the child is suckled one day and one night in a manner that his exclusive diet during this period be the milk of that woman without any other food, or is breast-fed fully fifteen times uninterrupted by breast-feeding by another woman. In the book al-Masalik the giving of food has been considered effect-less. The reason given for the above-mentioned quantity is that it leads to the growth of flesh and hardens the bones.

The Shafi’i and the Hanbali schools regard five breast-feedings as the minimum necessary. The Hanafi and the Maliki schools consider that the prohibitive relationship is established simply by being breast-fed irrespective of the quantity fed. be it more or less or even a drop. (al-Fiqh 'ala al-madhahib al-'arbaah)

4. The Imamiyyah, the Shafi’i, the Maliki and the Hanbali schools have mentioned the period of breast feeding to be up to two years of the age of the child. The Hanafi school considers it to be two and a half years.

5. According to the Hanafi, the Maliki, and the Hanbali schools, it is not necessary that the foster-mother be alive at the time of feeding. Therefore, if she dies and the child crawls up to her and sucks from her breast, it is sufficient to establish the prohibitive relationship. But the Malikis have gone further and observed that even if there is a doubt as to that which the child has sucked, whether it is milk or not, the prohibitive relationship would be established. (al-Fiqh 'ala al-madhahib al-'arbaah)

The Imamiyyah and the Shafi’i schools consider it necessary that the woman be alive at the time of breast-feeding and if she dies before completion of the minimum feedings, the prohibitive relationship would not be established.

The schools concur that the sahib al-laban, i.e. the husband of that woman, will become the foster-father of the breast-fed child, and between the two all those things which are haram between fathers and sons will be haram. His mother will become a grandmother for the breast-fed child, and his sister the child's aunt in the same manner as the woman who breast-feeds the child becomes his mother and her mother his grandmother and her sister his aunt."[9]

Adult suckling

The following tradition (hadith) treats both this topic as well as that of radāʿ al-kabīr, or suckling of an adult or breastfeeding an adult and number of sucklings:

She [Aisha] reported that "in what was revealed of the Qur'ān, ten attested breast-feedings were mentioned as required to establish the marriage-ban. The ten were replaced by mention of five attested breast-feeds. The Prophet died and the five were still being recited in the Qur'ān. No man ever called upon 'Ā'isha who had not completed the minimum number of five sucklings" ...

Urwa b. al-Zubayr reports that the Prophet commanded the wife of Abū Hudhayfa to feed her husband's mawlā [i.e. servant], Sālim, so that he could go on living with them [upon attaining manhood]. Sāalim b. 'Abdullāh reports that he was never able to visit 'Ā'isha. She had sent him to be suckled by her sister Umm Kulthum who, however, suckled him only three times, then fell sick. Sālim added, "Thus I never did complete the course of ten sucklings."[10][11][12][13]

For most jurists (Ibn Hazm being one prominent exception), the bar to marriage was effective only if the nursling was an infant. Yet even these allowed that a new relationship resulted between the two; Ibn Rushd, for example, ruled that the woman could now comport herself more freely in front of the nursed adult male, such as appearing before him unveiled.[14] The famous traditionist Muhammad al-Bukhari was forced to resign his position of mufti and leave the city of Bukhara after ruling that two nurslings who suckled from the same farm animal became milk-siblings.[15]

Examples

Egypt

In May 2007 Dr. Izzat Atiyya, lecturer at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, issued a fatwa that suggested that male and female colleagues could use breastfeeding to get around a religious ban on being alone together. The fatwa said that if a woman fed a male colleague "directly from her breast" at least five times they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together at work. "Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage," he ruled. "A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed."[16]

The fatwa sparked outrage and embarrassment, with critics deriding the author on Egyptian television. The university suspended the lecturer, who headed the university's hadith department. The fatwa was widely publicized by Arabic-language satellite television channels and was discussed in the Egyptian parliament.[17] After being threatened with disciplinary action by the university, Atiyya issued a retraction, saying the fatwa was "a bad interpretation of a particular case" during the time of Muhammad[16] and that it was based on the opinions of only a minority of scholars.[17] Egypt's minister of religious affairs, Mahmoud Zaqzouq, has called for future fatwas to "be compatible with logic and human nature".[16]

Saudi Arabia

In 2010, a clerical adviser to the Royal court and Ministry of Justice issued a fatwa suggesting that women should provide breast milk to their employed drivers thereby making them relatives.[18] The driver could then be trusted to be alone with the woman. The fatwa was ridiculed by women campaigners.

See also

References

  1. ^ Giladi, Infants, Parents and Wet Nurses: Medieval Islamic Views on Breastfeeding and Their Social Implications, ISBN 90-04-11223-5, p. 69
  2. ^ G. J. H. van Gelder, Close Relationships: Incest and Inbreeding in Classical Arabic Literature, ISBN 1-85043-855-2, p. 93
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Giladi, Avner. "Lactation". In Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.). Encyclopaedia of the Quran. 3. p. 106-107.
  4. ^ a b c Benaouda Bensaid (2019). "Breastfeeding as a Fundamental Islamic Human Right". Journal of Religion and Health.
  5. ^ a b c Giladi, Avner. "Wet-nursing". In Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.). Encyclopaedia of the Quran. 5. p. 476-77.
  6. ^ Giladi, Infants, Parents and Wet Nurses, p. 70
  7. ^ John Burton, The Sources of Islamic Law: Islamic Theories of Abrogation, ISBN 0-7486-0108-2, pp. 156–158
  8. ^ Burton, Naskh, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  9. ^ "The Prohibited Degrees of Female Relations (al-Muharramat)". Al-Islam.org. 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  10. ^ John Burton, The Sources of Islamic Law: Islamic Theories of Abrogation, pp. 157
  11. ^ "Hadith - The Book of Suckling - Sahih Muslim - Sunnah.com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". sunnah.com. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  12. ^ "Hadith - The Book of Suckling - Sahih Muslim - Sunnah.com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". sunnah.com. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  13. ^ https://fatwa.islamonline.net/19839#
  14. ^ Giladi, Infants, Parents and Wet Nurses, p. 86
  15. ^ Giladi, Infants, Parents and Wet Nurses, p. 69
  16. ^ a b c Breastfeeding fatwa causes stir. BBC. May 22, 2007.
  17. ^ a b Lecturer suspended after breastfeeding fatwa. Reuters. May 21, 2007.
  18. ^ Shaheen, Abdul Rahman (20 June 2010). "Saudi women use fatwa in driving bid". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 19 September 2010.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 1 March 2021, at 18:49
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