Subject : Replying to the Hadith about Adult Breastfeeding
Fatwa Number : 243
Date : 09-04-2009
Classified : Breast feeding other's Babies
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

How should the Hadith concerning the breastfeeding of the adult be replied to?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

The majority of the Muslim scholars from the Prophet`s companions, their followers and the Imams of the four legal schools are of the view that the breastfeeding of the adult doesn`t validate the prohibition resulting from suckling and isn`t taken into account. They have based this opinion on the following verse: "The mothers shall give such to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms" {Al-Baqarah/233}.

Al-Imam Al-Shafie (May Allah have mercy on him) said: "The evidence on the above is: "two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term". Allah Has Set the two years as the limit; therefore, the ruling which applies to the suckling which took place within this period differs from the that which took place after it." {Mokhtasar Al-Moznie, pp.227}. In other words, two years is the period by which prohibition by suckling is validated; therefore, suckling that took place within this period validates the prohibition by suckling; whereas, no suckling should be taken into account after the period of two years.

Another evidence on the non-validity of the prohibition by suckling for the adult is what Aisha said: "Once the Prophet (PBUH) came to me while a man was in my house. He said: "O `Aisha! Who is this (man)?" I replied: "My foster brother" He said: "O `Aisha! Be sure about your foster brothers, as fostership is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period (before two years of age). {Bukhari}. Obviously, the Prophet (PBUH) has specified the two years as the time for the fostership to be valid. This indicates that suckling that took place after two years of age doesn`t establish the prohibition by suckling.

In addition, Umm Salamah narrated that The Messenger of Allah said: “No prohibition results from suckling except for what penetrates the intestines while on the breast before weaning.” {At-Tirmizi}. The learned companions of the Prophet (PBUH) are of the view that prohibition is validated if the suckling took place before the child reached two years of age.

However, it isn`t considered valid if he was more than two years old. Moreover, ' A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, I see on the face of Abu Hudhaifa (signs of disgust) on entering of Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah's Apostle (PBUH) said: "Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (PBUH) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man 'Amr has made this addition in his narration that he participated in the Battle of Badr and in the narration of Ibn 'Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger (PBUH) laughed." {Muslim}.

This Hadith is the least problematic since most of the companions, who were acquainted with the context of the story and its events, understood it as a special concession for Salim because he was raised as their son and was treated as one. However, when adoption was prohibited and Salim became a stranger to that family, Allah has given him that concession. This is why in some narrations it was said that he saw from Sahla what a son is permitted to see from his own mother. Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (PBUH), used to say that all wives of Allah's Apostle (PBUH) disclaimed the idea that one with this type of fosterage (having been suckled after the proper period) should come to them. and said to 'A'isha: "By Allah, we do not find this but a sort of concession given by Allah's Messenger (PBUH) only for Salim, and no one was going to be allowed to enter (our houses) with this type of fosterage and we do not subscribe to this view." {Muslim}.

It is worth mentioning that Salim wasn`t directly breastfed from Sahla because this is definitely prohibited; rather, the milk was given to him from a pot. Ibn Abdulrahman said: "The suckling of the two years old and more was done by giving him the milk from a pot since direct breastfeeding isn`t permissible according to the learned men of the faith." {Al-Istizkar, vol.6/pp.255}. And Allah Knows Best.



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