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Fatwas Regarding Women

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Questions Related to Breast Feeding

Breast Feeding After Menopause is Treated the Same as Breast Feeding in Earlier Years

Question: What is the ruling concerning a woman who has reached the age of menopause and she breast feeds a child five sucklings or more during the first two years of that child's life. Does this breast feeding make them illegal for each other [and all the other ramifications], giving him a foster father even though the breast feeding woman may be without a husband?

Response: Breast feeding makes forbidden what blood relations make forbidden. Therefore, the breast feeding mentioned in the question, five sucklings in the first two years, makes the woman a [brest feeding] mother to that child due to that breast feeding. This is based on the generality of the Quranic verse,

"[Forbidden to you for marriage are] your foster mother who gave you suck" (al-Nisa 23).

Even if the milk was produced after she reached the age of menopause, the ruling is the same. If that woman was married, the child would be her [foster] child and the son of the one whom the milk is ascribed to. If she was not married, perhaps she was not married and produced milk, then she is the [foster] mother of that child and he has no foster father.

Do not consider it strange that one may have a milking mother and not a foster father. Also, do not consider it strange that one may have a foster father but no foster mother. An example of the first case is where a woman gave two sucklings to a child, the milk that was the result of her first husband. Then she separated from that husband and married another after her waiting period expired. She becomes pregnant and has a child from the second husband. She then suckles her foster child again for the remainder of the suckling amount [with the milk that is the result of a child with the second husband]. She now has become that child's foster mother due to the five sucklings but he has no foster father because he did not suckle at least five sucklings that were the result of one man with the woman. As for the second case, this is where the child has a foster father but no foster mother . An example is where a man has two wives. One of them suckles the child twice and the other suckles the child three times. In that case, he will be a foster child of the husband since he was breast fed over five times from milk that was the result of intercourse with him. But he will not have a foster mother because neither the first nor the second woman suckled him the minimum amount of times required.

Shaikh ibn Uthaimin

They are Your Maternal Uncles and Aunts from Breast feeding

Question: My mother was breast fed by a woman who had co-wives. Are the children of those co-wives considered my brothers or not?

Response: That breast feeding woman is considered your [foster] grandmother by virtue of her breast feeding your mother. Her husband is the [foster] father of your mother and your maternal grandfather. Therefore, her co-wives are treated the same as the wives of your maternal grandfather. The co-wives' children are your maternal uncles and aunts and the siblings of your mother. Since their father is your grandfather, they are the children of your grandfather and are your paternal aunts and uncles from breast feeding.

Shaikh ibn Jibreen

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