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Rulings Regarding a number of Marital Issues: Family Planning, Marital Relations, etc

Note before reading:

The following questions were asked in a single email and we have divided them up for better reading. We have taken the privilege of also editing the question to make it more fluid in reading. We also advise and request readers who are young not to read this fatwa until reaching the age of marriage.


Is it haram (forbidden) to suckle one’s wife’s breast or drink her breast milk?


A female human’s breast milk is pure, lawful to consume, and permissible to buy and sell. Imam Nawawi mentioned,

لأنه مائع يحل شربه فجاز بيعه كلبن الشاة اهـ

“…Since it is a liquid that is permissible to drink, then it is permissible to sell similar to goat’s milk.” (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 9/254)

Imam Al-Mawardi mentioned,

لبن الآدميات بيعه وشربه وطهارته عندنا طاهر وشربه حلال وبيعه جائز اهـ

“As for the breast milk of a woman, it is pure, lawful to drink, and permissible to sell, according to us. (Al-Hawi al-Kabir 5/333)

A differing opinion has been transmitted in the School from Abu al-Qasim al-Anmati who stated that it is impure and not permissible for anyone besides a small child to consume; and that is only out of necessity. His opinion also concluded that it is not permissible to sell such milk. His view is exclusive to him alone. (Ibid)


Can a person rub his private part with his wife private part wearing clothes (both has under garments on) during her menstrual period & what about no under garments but without inserting the privates?


It is agreed upon [ijma’] that intercourse is unlawful [haram] during menstruation. Regarding enjoying one’s wife between the navel and the knees, there are three opinions:

i) The relied-upon opinion is that it is unlawful [haram]. This is Imam Shafi’s view in Kitab al-Umm, Mukhtasar al-Buwayti, and Ahkam al-Quran. It is also the view of Abu al-Abbas and Ibn Abi Hurayrah.

ii) The second view is that it is not unlawful. This is the opinion of Abu Zayd al-Marwazi and Abu al-Hasan b. Khayran. It is also the independent opinion [ikhtiyar] of Ruyani and Mawardi in his Iqna. Imam Nawawi made this his ikhtiyar [independently chosen] in light of the evidence.

iii) The third view is that if the husband knows that enjoying his wife between her navel and knees will not lead to intercourse, perhaps due to a lack of desire or extreme scrupulousness, then it is lawful. If the situation is to the contrary, then it is unlawful. Mawardi related this from Abu al-Fayad al-Basri. Imam Nawawi said that it is a good opinion [hasan].

If one adopts the view that it is permissible, it is still disliked [makruh]. Everything besides what is between the navel and knees is agreed upon [ijma] as lawful. (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 2/358-64)

Regarding when there is a barrier, Sh. Sulayman al-Kurdi mentioned,

الحاصل أن الوطء يحرم مطلقا سواء كان بحائل أم لا، والاستمتاع بما عدا ما بين السرة والركبة لا يحرم مطلقا سواء كان بحائل أم لا، والاستمتاع بما بين السرة والركبة فيه تفصيل إن كان بحائل حل وإلا فلا، هذا إن قلنا المحرم الاستمتاع

“In summary, intercourse [while menstruating] is absolutely unlawful regardless if it is with a barrier or not. And, enjoyment with what is other than between the navel and the knees is permissible regardless if it is with a barrier or not. And, enjoyment with what is between the navel and the knees has the detail that if it is with a barrier it is lawful, and if not then it is unlawful; and, this is when we opine according to it being an unlawful enjoyment [meaning: when following the relied-upon opinion (i)].” (Al-Hawashy al-Madaniyyah 1/197)


Is Using Copper T allowed in Islam? & what are the methods allowed as a part of family planning.


Some methods of contraception permanently disable either a man or woman’s ability to reproduce. These methods are unlawful [haram]. Bujayrimi mentioned,

يحرم استعمال ما يقطع الحبل من أصله كما صرح به كثيرون وهو ظاهر اهـ

“It is unlawful to use what will hinder conception from its source, like what many have explained. And, this is clear.” (Bujayrimi ala al-Khatib 4/40)

And, some methods only temporarily hinder the reproductive process. These are permissible, being similar in ruling to coitus interruptus. Bujayrimi mentioned,

وأما ما يبطئ الحبل ولا يقطعه من أصله فلا يحرم اهـ

“Regarding what delays conception, while not hindering it from its source, that is not unlawful.” (Ibid)

To use contraception is disliked [though not unlawful] besides with a reason, like providing a gap between pregnancies in order to properly rear an existing child. (Ibid)

“Copper T” is a temporary means by which the reproductive process is hindered. Although considered temporary, it is relatively long lasting. With that, it should be noted that Copper T is an intrauterine device (IUD), which requires placement by a doctor. This would entail exposing one’s nakedness, which should be avoided. (Maternity and Women’s Health Care 197-98; Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 1012)

Additionally, research regarding Copper T indicates to it having potentially adverse side effects and risks. (Ibid) It would be advisable for one to seek the advice of a qualified Muslim doctor in order to assess what means of contraception would be best, considering one’s current health and other such factors.


Is sperm & the fluid excretion from a woman najas (impure) and can one swallow it?


There are two views in the Shafi’i School regarding the issue of swallowing sperm [mani]. The first, which is relied-upon [al-sahih], is that it is not permissible, by reason of being disgusting. This is related from Imam Baghawi and Imam Rafi. The other view, related from Abu Zayd al-Marwazi, states it is permissible, by reason of it being pure. Abu Zayd’s view cannot be practiced upon, and is only mentioned in reference to the difference of opinion. (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 2/556)


Is it permissible to use food material such as honey in intimate relations with one’s spouse?


It is permissible. Imam Ghazzali said,

يحل للرجل جميع فنون الاستمتاع ولا يستثنى عنه اهـ

“Permissible for a man are all the arts of enjoyment without exception.” (Wasit 5/183)

One’s spouse is lawful for him/her to enjoy, from the top of his/her head to the tips of his/her toes. Unlawful exceptions are: 1) Anal sex according to most scholars and 2) intercourse during a menstrual or postnatal period until she has purified.

And, Allah knows best.

Answered by

Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.


Added on March 24, 2011:


Salam. I would like clarity on permissibility of husband drinking breastmilk. Is it permissible for husband to drink wife’s milk? You state imam Nawawi opinion that it is pure, but is it pure and lawful for adult consumption? Is imam Nawawi’s opinion the majority view?


Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

Imam Nawawi mentioned,

فإن قلنا بالطهارة فهل يحل شربه فيه وجهان حكاها المتولي وغيره أصحهما جواز شربه لأنه طاهر والثاني تحريمه وبه قطع الغزالي في البسيط لأنه يقال أنه يؤذى ولأنه مستقذر فأشبه المخاط

“When we opine that it is pure, is it permissible to drink it? There are two views which Mutawalli and others related. The relied-upon view is that it is permissible because it is pure. And the second view is that it is unlawful. This is what Ghazzali stated in his Basit because it is said that it is harmful and because it is repulsive, similar to snot.” (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 2/569)

And Allah knows best.


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