Breast Feeding and how it makes unlawful relations as lawful


The Forty Forth Hadith

Imām Al-Bukhāri may Allāh have mercy on him said: Abdullāh bin Yusuf narrated to us, he said Mālik informed us, on the authority of Abdillāh bin Abī Bakr, on the authority of ‘Amrah ibnat Abdirrahmān, that Ā’ishah the wife of the Prophet informed her that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was with her and she heard the voice of someone asking for permission to enter the house of Hafsah, so I said: “O Messenger of Allāh, there is a man seeking permission to enter your house,”so the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “I think it is so and so, the foster uncle of Hafsah. Foster relations makes unlawful what birth makes unlawful.” [Agreed Upon]

Question: Who will answer this and explain the two lines of poetry?

أقارب ذي الرضاعة بانتساب أجـــانب مرضع إلا بـنيه
ومرضعة أقـــاربها جــــميعًا أقـــاربه ولا تخصيص فيه

***The relatives of the foster child are non mahram to the foster mother except his children.
And all the foster mothers relatives are his relatives with no specification.***

As for the explanation of the two lines of poetry:

ذي الرضاعة

(Dhī Radhā’ah) is the child,

أجـــانب مرضع

(Ajānibu Murdhi’in)

i.e. non mahram to the woman who gave suckle to him except his children only, for she is his foster grandmother, no matter how for down, and other than his children are non mahram to her.

ومرضعة أقـــاربها جــــميعًا

(Wa murdhi’atun aqāribuhā jamī’an)

And all the foster mothers relatives are his relatives.

Relatives to that child, without specification in it.

It is required in breast-feeding five suckles, due to the Hadith of Ā’ishah. It used to be ten suckles that made it unlawful, then it was abrogated to five suckles that made it unlawful, and this is what is correct. So she becomes his foster mother, because of that woman which he suckled from. And it is permissible for his father or his full brother to marry his foster mother.

As for regards to the woman who gave suckle to that child, then verily her father is his grandfather, and her brother is his paternal uncle and her husband is his foster father. Like so, foster relations make unlawful what lineage makes unlawful.

And from this issue what is correct, is the wife of the foster son, she is unlawful. So for example, a child breast-fed from your wife, we said: The child has to have been younger than two years and suckled as a result of hunger; due to the Hadith of Ā’ishah, she said:

يَا عَائِشَةُ، مَنْ هَذَا؟»، قُلْتُ: أَخِي مِنْ الرَّضَاعَةِ، قَالَ: «يَا عَائِشَةُ، انْظُرْنَ مَنْ إِخْوَانُكُنَّ، فَإِنَّمَا الرَّضَاعَةُ مِنْ الْمَجَاعَة

“The Prophet ﷺ entered upon me and a man was with me,” he said: “O Ā’ishah, who is this?” I said: “My foster brother,” He said: “O Ā’ishah be sure who your brothers are for suckling is that which is the result of hunger.”

And what is above the age of two does not make unlawful. And the Hadith:

أرضعيه يا سهلة تحرمي عليه

“Give him suckle, O Sahlah he will be unlawful to you.”

In the story of Sālim Mawlā Abī Hudhaifah, this story happened exactly to whose situation this was and it is said this was specific. But that which is apparent is that it is for anyone whose situation is this, in the state of necessity. As you can see in ‘Nayl Al-Awtār’ by Shawkāni may Allāh have mercy on him.

Like this, if your wife gave suckle to a child, then this child became big and got married, he is your foster son from your milk. So upon this the wife of your foster son becomes unlawful just as the wife of your biological son is unlawful. Foster relations makes unlawful what lineage makes unlawful.

His statement:

(وحلائل أبنائكم الذين من أصلابكم)

“The wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins”

This is for what is usually the case. And the Hadith clarifies that, for the Sunnah explains the Quran.

And the mahram is the ancestors of a person no matter how far up, and his offspring no matter how far down, and his immediate family.

And your ancestors are your grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents until the end.

And your offspring are your daughters and daughters daughters, no matter how far down, and his immediate family are his sisters, and likewise his sisters daughters and his sisters daughters daughters and so on.

And there has been no differing relayed concerning that the daughters are haram except five, and they are the daughters of the (other) wives of the father, so the son is allowed to marry the daughter and his father with her mother, and the daughters of the wives of the son. So it is allowed for the son to marry the mother and his father with her daughter, and the paternal and maternal female cousins, and the wives sisters without combining between her and her sister. If she dies or he separate from her and he wants to marry her sister he can marry her, the mothers of these five women. What is besides that of daughters, are unlawful. So the daughters of the foster son and daughter enter into that no matter how far down, for verily they are unlawful.

And no differing has also been relayed that the paternal aunties of the paternal aunties are unlawful, and the maternal aunties of the maternal aunties. So these are from the issues which this Hadith points.

يحرم من الرضاعة ما يحرم من النسب

“Foster relations make unlawful what leneage makes unlawful.”

حرمت عليكم أمهاتكم وبناتكم

“Forbidden to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, your daughters”

Points towards the unlawfulness of the ancestors and off-spring.


“Your sisters”

Points towards the unlawfulness of the immediate family.


“Your father’s sisters”

And likewise the paternal aunties of the paternal aunties.


“Your mother’s sisters”

And likewise the maternal aunties of the maternal aunties.

وبنات الأخ

“Your brother’s daughters”

And likewise if it is his daughters or his granddaughters no matter how far down.

وبنات الأخت

“Your sister’s daughters”

No matter how far down.

وأمهاتكم اللاتي أرضعنكم

“Your foster mother who gave you suck”

With the condition of five full suckles and they make the criterion of a full suckle that the baby clings on to the bossom then leave it himself.

وأمهات نسائكم

“Your wives’ mothers”

With a man just merely making the contract with her daughter that woman becomes unlawful and her mother and her grandmother and great grandmother no matter how far up.

And likewise a man merely entering a woman and not by mere contract makes the daughter becomes unlawful no matter how far down due to His statement:

لقوله تعالى: من نسائكم اللاتي دخلتم بهن

“Of your wives to whom you have gone in”

And it is not a condition for her to be in his house, this is just what usually is the case.

فإن لم تكونوا دخلتم بهن فلا جناح عليكم

“But there is no sin on you if you have not gone in them”

This restriction is important, and it is that if he makes the contract with a woman, then seperates from her before he enters her, in this case he can marry her daughter.

وأن تجمعوا بين الأختين

“And two sisters in wedlock at the same time”

Whether they are full sisters or maternal or paternal sisters, it is not allowed to combine between them.

إلا ما قد سلف

“Except for what has already passed”

i.e. what occured in Jāhiliyyah

إن الله كان غفورا رحيما

“Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

To whoever repents, in this verse from the unlawful, there are 14 prohibited. And from them are those who are unlawful temporarily, like combining between two sisters. It is temporarily unlawful, if he divorced her and she finished assuming her waiting period it is allowed for him to marry her sister.

والمحصنات من النساء

“Also (forbidden are) women already married”

Also temporarily unlawful, the intent with (محصنة)Muhsanah here is married.

And from it is permanent unlawfulness.

Summary of the conditions of the breastfeeding that makes unlawful:

1 – That it be before the age of two due to the Hadith of Ā’ishah:

: «إِنَّمَا الرَّضَاعَةُ مِنْ الْمَجَاعَةِ»، متفق عليه،

“Verily breastfeeding is from hunger.” [Agreed Upon]

And due to His statement;

والوالدات يرضعن أولادهن حولين كاملين

“Also (forbidden are) women already married”

It is established from the Hadith of Umm Salamah that the Prophet ﷺ said: “

«لا يحرم من الرضاع إلا ما فتق الأمعاء»،

“There is no suckling that makes (marriage) unlawful except that which reaches the stomach.”

Baghawī said in the explanation of the Sunnah concerning the meaning;

«إنما الرضاعة من المجاعة»،

“For suckling is that which is the result of hunger.”

i.e. the breastfeeding which establishes unlawfulness is what is at a young age where the baby’s hunger is quenched by milk. As for the older child then he doesn’t become full by suckling, nor does it quench it’s hunger.

2 – That it is five full suckles due to the previous Hadith of Ā’ishah.

3 – That it is from a woman, for example, he (the baby) or other than him was suckled by a goat or other than it from the animals then it doesn’t make unlawful.

4 – That milk is present, as for if he is sucking flesh, then it doesn’t make it unlawful, and this is a mistake. Some of them increased that it (the milk) is from intercourse and not from the wetness of the breast if she didn’t marry, and milk occurs, and this is not a must, as long as there is milk present then yes, even if it is not from wedlock then it makes it unlawful.

Question: Do the majority view that a single suckle makes unlawful, and do they view that breastfeeding is only established while young, and it doesn’t make unlawful for the older child?

Answer: yes, even if through the nose they view it makes it unlawful, even if eaten with bread, and this is a mistake. What is correct is that five suckles are required as preceded.

There remains a condition from the conditions of breast-feeding which make unlawful and it is that it reaches the throat, if they vomited it, or he was suckled and it remained in the mouth, and he didn’t swallow it, it would not makes it unlawful.

As for a child to be suckled from a woman twice and then another woman three times, and the milk is the milk of their (two women’s) husband, then the husband is a father to that baby, because the milk of those two women is his.

And neither the one that gave him two suckles, or the one that gave him three suckles are his foster mother, and a ruling is built upon this. If that woman that gave him two or three suckles, has a daughter from a previous husband, it is allowed for the one she gave suckle to, to marry her in this case, as long as the the daughter was not affected by the suckling of the milk of the second husband.

And praise is to Allāh.

Benefited from: Shaykh, the Allamah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu Abdirrahman Yahya bin Ali Al-Hajuri – may Allah preserve him.


Translated by: Abu ‘Abdillāh ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi