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Breastfeeding longer than 2 years in Shafi”i madhab

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

Is it permissible to breastfeed a child older than 2 years in Shafi’i madhab?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

As long as the child is less then seven lunar years of age, it is permissible for the mother to breastfeed him or her directly. If, however, the child has reached the age of seven lunar years (which is the age at which most children reach the point of discernment), then it seems that it is unlawful for the mother to allow the child to breastfeed.

This ruling can be inferred from the following two rulings (both of which are explicitly stated by our imams):

(1) It is unlawful for a man to touch the stomach and legs of his close female relatives (like his mother and sister) […] even though it is permissible for him to look at these parts [h: when this is done without any desire or fear of temptation].

(2) It is obligatory for the guardian to teach his seven-year old child everything that is unlawful or obligatory for someone who has reached the age of puberty, so that the child becomes used to adhering to the injunctions of the Sacred Law [h: by the time he or she reaches puberty and becomes morally responsible]. The guardian is responsible for scolding the seven-year old child if he violates any of the above.

[…]

It is best, however, for the mother to wean the child before he or she reaches the age of seven so that the image of breastfeeding isn’t impressed in the child’s mind, which may cause the child to fall into error after reaching the age of discernment.

And Allah Most High knows best, and to Him is the final return.

Amjad Rasheed.

السؤال: هل تجوز الرضاعة بعد سنتين ؟
الجواب: إذا كان الطفل دون سنِّ السابعة جاز للأم مباشرةُ إرضاعه من ثديها، أما إن بلغ الطفلُ سبعَ سنين (وهو سنُّ التمييز غالباً) فالظاهرُ أنه يحرم على الأم تمكينُه من ذلك؛ أخذاً مما ذكره أئمتُنا من أنه يحرم على الرجل أن يمسَّ بطنَ مَحْرَمِهِ (كأمه وأخته) ورِجْلها أو يُقَبِّلَها بلا حائل من غير حاجة مع أنه يحلُّ له النظرُ إلى ذلك، ومما نصُّوا عليه أنه يجب على الولي تعليمُ ابنِ سبعِ سنين ما يجبُ وما يحرمُ على المكلَّف ليعتادَ فعلَ الواجبات وتركَ المحرمات ويزجرُه على مخالفة ذلك، والظاهرُ أن هذا منه، خصوصاً أن الحاجةَ إلى الرضاع في هذا السنِّ تكاد تكون منتفية، وما ذُكِرَ لي من أن بعضَ النساء قد يفعلنَ ذلك لفَرط شفقتهن بالطفل وتعلُّقاً به، شيءٌ نادرٌ خارجٌ عن المعتاد بخصوص هذا الأمر فالظاهرُ عدمُ اعتبار ذلك.
    والأولى بالأم أن تجنبَ طفلها ذلك إن قارب سبع سنين طالما لم تكن هناك حاجة؛ لئلا ينطبعَ في نفسه صورةُ ذلك فيقع فيما لا تُحْمَدُ عُقباه بعد تمييزه، والله أعلم الصواب وإليه المرجع والمآب.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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