Is Drinking the Breast Milk of My Wife Problematic?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I get intimate with my wife and in the process, some of her milk goes into my mouth. Does this make our relationship to be tampered?

Answer: Assalam alaykum

This will not affect your relationship.

Drinking the breast milk of a woman only establishes kinship when it is done within a specific time period i.e. two years or two and a half years. After this period, it will not have any affect.

With that said, scholars mention that it would not be permitted for a husband to intentionally drink the breast milk of his wife. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Adoption and Creating a Mahram Relationship Through Nursing

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Please shed some light on adoption and mahram.

My father was adopted and when he was 7yrs old, his mother (the who adopted him) conceived and gave my father some of her breast milk with a spoon.

Would that make my father her mahram? Also would that make our uncle our mahram?

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahmatu Allah,

I pray this finds you in the best states.

According to the Hanafi school, when a baby under 2 lunar years is fed any breastmilk then he/she becomes the milk son/daughter of the woman who fed him, and she thus becomes his milkmother, etc. After a child is two lunar years, it is not permitted to feed him breastmilk nor does it make the woman his milk mother.

Therefore, for your situation, no, your father’s adopted mother is not his mahram. Likewise, his “brother” from his adopted mother would not be your mahram either.

May Allah ta’ala bless your family.

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Accidental Ingestion of Breast Milk and The Rulings that Result from Breastfeeding

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: There is an issue and we need your kind knowledge and advice on it.

One of my good friend’s son accidentally drank my wife’s breast milk, from the bottle. My wife did see him drinking it, but we are not sure how much he drank.
What are the rulings for this situation, between my friend’s son and my daughter, also for his family and my family. I do fallow hanafi madab.

Answer:Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health states.

According to the Hanafi school, the rulings that result from breastfeeding take place regardless of the amount of milk ingested, as long as this occurs within the appointed time period.

According to the preferred position of legal verdict (fatwa), the appointed time period is two lunar years (24 lunar months). [Ibn Humam; Fath al-Qadir; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Maydani, Lubab]

As such, if the baby were of that age or less, and if there is certainty that the baby ingested the woman’s breast milk, then the baby would become her child by nursing. The baby would also be the child by nursing of the man with whom she had intercourse and gave birth, whereby she was able to produce that milk. The couple’s children would therefore be siblings by nursing of the baby, and the same would apply to aunts, uncles, etc. Effectively, the baby is another child of that couple.

So the baby may not marry its nursing parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. Also, the obligation of covering (hijab) would not apply between the baby and the opposite gender relatives of the nursing family, although wisdom and caution do entail modesty in dress and interaction, since they are not actual blood relatives.

Finally, no relation is established between members of the baby’s new nursing family and the actual blood relatives of the baby. So for example, the baby’s new brother by nursing could marry the baby’s actual sister, and hence the obligation of covering would apply between the two families. [Maydani, Lubab; Mawsili, Ikhtiyar]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Should I Use Breast Milk or Formula?

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Is it ok to use powdered breast milk instead of breastfeeding?

Answer: Assalaamu alaikum warahmatu Allah,

Whether a baby should be given breast milk or formula is a decision made between the parents.

Experts agree upon the benefits of breast milk and that it is a superior form of nutrition than formula. Nonetheless, the latter would not require the parents to give their child breast milk, though it would be preferable to do so under normal circumstances for the interests of the child.

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Can a Woman Use Medication to Produce Breast Milk & Establish Nursing Relations?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: If a woman takes medication to produce breast milk, and then breastfeeds an unrelated baby, are nursing relations between her and the child established in terms of marriage, Hijab, etc, and between her husband and the child? Furthermore, can a couple who are unable to have children or an unmarried woman use this method when adopting a child?   

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Allah Most High says:

“And if you decide to get your children breastfed [by another woman], there is no blame on you, provided you pay off what you offered with fairness, and fear Allah, and be assured that Allah is watchful of what you do.” (Qur’an: 2/233)

It is Islamically permitted for a couple to have their child breastfed by another woman, and likewise, it is permitted for a woman to breastfeed a child that is not her own. This is clearly established from the above Qur’anic verse and other texts, and agreed upon by the classical jurists (fuqaha). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself was breastfed by Thawbiya (Allah be pleased with her), the slave of Abu Lahab, and Sayyida Halima bint Abi Dhu’ayb (Allah be pleased with her). (See: Sirah Ibn Hisham, 1/132)

Given this, it is permissible for a couple unable to have children or a woman unable to get married to use medication for producing breast-milk, and then breastfeed an unrelated (or adopted) baby within the period designated for it which, according to the sounder position, is two lunar years. As such, if a mature woman (baligha) takes medication and breastfeeds a baby within this period, the relationship of fosterage/nursing (radha’a) will be established between her and the child. If the child is a male, then upon puberty she does not have to observe Hijab from him, and neither will marriage be ever permitted, since she will be considered his mother through nursing.

Imam Ibn Nujaym, the renowned classical Hanafi jurist, states in his Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq:

“… If [in a rare case where] a virgin woman breastfeeds a child, she will be considered the child’s mother [by way of nursing], and as such, all the rules related to nursing [in terms of marriage and Hijab] will be established between the two.”

As for the husband of a woman who uses medication to produce breast milk and then breastfeeds an unrelated child, if he has consummated his marriage with her, then nursing relations will be established between him and the child. Thus, he will be considered a father by nursing, and if the child is a female, he will be a Mahram to her. Conversely, if the marriage was not consummated, the relationship of nursing (radha’a) will not be established between him and the child.

Imam Ibn Nujaym (Allah have mercy on him) further explains that if the virgin woman who breastfeeds a female infant goes onto marry a man but divorce occurs prior to consummation, then it will be permitted for this man to marry the child she suckled after she grows up because he will not be considered her father or Mahram, and the rules of nursing have not been established. However, if divorce takes place after consummation, he will not be permitted to marry the girl since he has become her father by way of nursing. (See: Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 3/333)

Finally, it should be remembered that even in the case where nursing/foster relationships are established, caution must be observed once the child reaches puberty. Being in seclusion (khalwa) should be avoided especially when there is fear of a sin being committed.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK