Adult Breastfeeding in Islam

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Background

We have previously covered in another article that there is much doubt regarding whether A’isha permitted the suckling of adults. However, the stubbornness of some has led us to writing a follow-up article that explains an aspect that is often overlooked by those that hold the opinion that A’isha was a source of sexual perversion. Below, we shall provide some background for this issue for those that are unaware of the fiqh of the matter. This short article is written with the assumption, for the sake of the argument, that A’isha did believe that this act was permissible.

It is known from the Qur’an that suckling is only for two year old infants (2:233) and that such a matter leads to prohibition between a wet nurse (a women who breastfeeds infants) and whomever she is suckling.

We find in the Qur’an, “Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and our sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers’ daughters and sisters’ daughters and your mothers that have suckled you…” (4:23)

As it is clear from the verse, all of the above women are forbidden upon a man. It other words, if one suckles from a wet nurse, it then become impermissible for him to become married to her. In other words, suckling prohibits sexual activity.

With this in mind, one cannot claim that the view that is attributed to A’isha is proof of sexual perversion. Rather, this view states that it is permissible for a man to get married and have intercourse with a woman EXCEPT IF he suckles from her.

Hypothetical Scenarios

To further illustrate the point, we provide a hypothetical scenario. The scenarios revolve around a man with some religious awareness who cares about Islamic law. Those that don’t wouldn’t even care about suckling laws let alone the laws of marriage before carrying out their desires.

Scenario 1

A man wants to get married to a wet nurse. According to the traditional fatwa that does not hold that suckling makes a woman forbidden upon a man, the act of suckling is haram. However, he can get married to her after suckling since this has no affect on his marriage. In other words, he sins, but the marriage is intact.

Scenario 2

A man wants to get married to a wet nurse. He decides to take the ruling that is attributed to A’isha. He suckles from her, which in turn prevents him from ever getting married to her. In other words, the suckling is permissible, but any form of sexual activity, including marriage, thereon out is prohibited.

With the scenarios above in mind, it becomes clear that the opinion that has been attributed to A’isha limits sexual activity more than the traditional opinion.

Conclusion

We once again advise readers to refer to our another article which provides strong evidences that A’isha did not hold this opinion. We hope that objective Shias can contemplate upon the basic argument that we have provided instead of emotionally accusing the wife of the Prophet – peace be upon him – of sexual perversion.

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