My wife is 8 weeks pregnant and is breastfeeding our 14-month child. She wants to continue breastfeeding, but she is unable to take adequate amount of food and fluids due to nausea and epigastria pain, resulting in her feeling very weak. It is almost impossible here to get some nurse to breastfeed the child. As a doctor, I understand that this condition is detrimental to the health of all three, i.e. the mother, breastfeeding child, and the unborn child.
We understand that, according to the Sharī`ah, mothers are required to breastfeed their children for 2 years. We also know that a woman cannot have an abortion. In our condition, which is the better option, to wean off the child or to have an abortion?
In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The Sharī`ah does not require the mother to breastfeed for two years. Rather, it sets the maximum time for breastfeeding as two years. The Qur’ān clearly mentions that the parents may wean off the child with mutual consultation and agreement, and that there is no harm in doing so.
وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَدِهِ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُمْ أَنْ تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُمْ مَا آتَيْتُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (البقرة: 233)
The mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years, (that is) for those who wish to complete the term of suckling…If they decide on weaning after mutual consent and consultation, there is no sin on them… (Qur’ān 2:233)
In your case, since breastfeeding is unhealthy for the mother, the breastfeeding child, and the unborn baby, you and your wife should agree to wean off the child. It is impermissible and harām for your wife to have an abortion.
And Allāh knows best.
Muftī Abrar Mirza
Chicago, IL (USA)
Under the Supervision of:
Muftī Ebrahim Desai
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