How many sucklings are required before marriage becomes unlawful

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️How many sucklings are required before marriage becomes unlawful▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:

📩 Question:

The questioner says: How many sucklings are required before marriage becomes unlawful?

📝 Answer:

Imaam Muslim reports in his Saheeh from the Hadeeth of Aa’ishah -may Allaah be pleased with her- that she said:

“It was previously revealed in the Qur’aan that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then this was abrogated (and replaced) by five sucklings and Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ passed away while this was still being recited in the Qur’aan.”

The strongest opinion is that five sucklings is the minimum number required for marriage to become unlawful / suckling relations to be established. Nonetheless, four and three sucklings are also highly doubtful, so one should be careful concerning this and stay on the safe side, because even though the Prophet ﷺ explicitly said that one and two sucklings are not effective in making marriage unlawful, he kept silent concerning three and four; which is why a group of the scholars determined that three sucklings is the minimum number for marriage to become unlawful / suckling relations to be established, as well as the generality of the Prophet’s saying ﷺ:

((يحرم من الرضاع ما يحرم من النسب))

“Suckling makes unlawful (for marriage) the same things that blood ties makes unlawful.”

So the fact that the prophet ﷺ declared two sucklings ineffective in making marriage unlawful and withholding from saying the same about three proves that three and four sucklings is something of great doubt, which is why a group of scholars assert that it does make marriage unlawful, so it’s better to take precaution.

Five sucklings is certainly effective, but three and four is a matter of doubt, so one must be cautious and avoid it altogether.

If a girl was suckled three times by the same lady as you, you should taken precaution from two angles; you should avoid marrying her on the one hand and stay away from looking at her on the other, because there’s no restriction mentioned in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah; (she didn’t say,) “It’s only 5 sucklings which makes marriage unlawful”; it would have been a straightforward matter had the hadeeth stipulated 5 sucklings, but since this is not the case, three and four sucklings remain a matter of great doubt. As for one and two sucklings then a hadeeth has come proving their ineffectiveness in making marriage unlawful; (the prophet ﷺ said,)

((لاَ تُحَرِّمُ الرَّضْعَةُ أَوِ الرَّضْعَتَانِ أَوِ الْمَصَّةُ أَوِ الْمَصَّتَانِ))

“Being suckled once or twice, or one suckling or two, do not make marriage unlawful.” [Narrated by Muslim from the hadeeth of Umm Fadhl]

However, the statement of A’isha, “five clear sucklings” -and the focus is on ‘clear’- seems to indicate that five sucklings is a requirement.

Furthermore, the scholars have not stipulated / made it a requirement for a child to become full for the suckling to count, rather one suckling occurs when the child latches onto the breast, drinks some milk, then releases by himself. This counts as one suckling according to them, because this is the customary definition of suckling in the Arabic language.


Translated by:

Abu Ishaq Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ba-‘Alawi

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