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What if an Adult Drank Breast Milk

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

Dear Mufti, in the reply (on blood transfusion), you mentioned that it is permissible out of necessity to drink breast milk-would this not carry the implications therefore that the one drinking becomes a foster child of whose milk it is? (Depending on the fiqh i.e. how much milk drank is required for one to become a foster child).

If so would this have repercussion to who is mahram and on marriage?

ANSWER

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

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reports: “Once the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) entered my house while a man was with me. He said: “O Aisha! Who is this?” I replied: “My foster brother” He said: “O Aisha! Be careful in determining who your foster brother is, for suckling is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2504 & Sahih Muslim, no. 1455)

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also said:

“Suckling (radha’a) does not prohibit (i.e. marriage) except which penetrates the intestines (m, meaning which serves as a nourishment for the child) from the breasts, and it is prior to weaning.” (Recorded by Imam Tirmidhi in his Sunan, no. 1152)

Due to the above narrations, the four Islamic Sunni schools of thought unanimously agree on the fact that, suckling and breastfeeding will only be considered (i.e. in prohibiting marriage, etc) if it takes place in the period designated for it, and it is of no significance after that period.

Imam Tirmidhi (Allah have mercy on him) states after reporting the above (second) Hadith:

“This is a rigorously authenticated (sahih) Hadith, on which is the practice of the majority of the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) and others, that breastfeeding and suckling does not prohibit except if it is carried out before the child reaches two years of his age. Any suckling that takes place after two full years does not prohibit anything.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 3/459)

The jurists (fuqaha) differ as to what is the duration of the suckling period. The majority of the scholars, i.e. the Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanbali schools and Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (Allah be pleased with both) from the Hanafi school are all of the opinion that it is two complete years. Any suckling that takes place after two years will be of no significance. Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) however, is of the opinion that this period is two and a half years.

Allah Most High states:

“The carrying of the child to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months.” (Surah al-Ahqaf, 15)

Thus, according to the majority (jumhur), six months will be for the pregnancy, and the remaining two years is the suckling period. Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) interprets the ‘carrying of the child’ as ‘after birth in the mother’s lap’, thus thirty full months (2 and a half years) are for suckling. (See al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar, 3/145)

Regardless of this difference of opinion, all the jurists are unanimous that milk which is given to an adult is of no significance and does not establish anything.

It is stated in al-Hidaya:

“When the period of suckling elapses, prohibition (m, of marriage) will not be established by suckling, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “There is no suckling after the expiration of the period” (Mu’jam al-Kabir of Tabrani, See: Zayla’i, Nasb al-Raya, m). Also because, prohibition is not established by any suckling except such as is a cause of growth and increase, which are obtained only by suckling within its proper period, since grown up persons would not find any effectual nourishment from suckling.” (al-Marginani, al-Hidaya Sharh Bidayat al-Mubtadi, 2/351)

In conclusion, the injunctions that relate to suckling (radha’a) such as the prohibition of marriage and the removal of Hijab rules will only apply when this suckling takes place within the first two and a half years (or two years) of a child’s age. If a grown up was to drink the milk of a woman, then this will carry no implications.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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