The only way to remain in private with a female colleague in the workplace is to let her breastfeed you, according to a fatwa (Egyptian religious decree) of two theologists from al-Azhar which has sparked scandals and polemics in the Egyptian media over the past days. The Islam bans a person from being in private in one and the same room with a person from the opposite sex - unless they are married or have close relations (parents and children, brothers and sisters, and so forth).
The fatwa in question was issued recently by Izat Atiyah and Abd el-Mahdi Abd el-Kader, professors at the Cairo-based al-Azhar University, the world's most important centre of Sunni theology. According to them, a woman can lift her veil and remain in private with a male colleague at their workplace only if she had breastfed him five times already.
"Entering a public office you should not be surprised if you one day happen upon a 50-year-old employee who is sucking milk from his colleague," ridiculed the al-Distur independent newspaper. A theologian from al-Azhar judged as "senseless" the discussion of a topic of the kind. "If the al-Azhar Mufti himself said such things, he would be a non-respected person and would be considered crazy," theologian Malika Yussef said, quoted by the independent daily al-Karama.
Another al-Azhar theologian, Mabruk Attia, believes that the fatwa in question is a wrong interpretation of a "particular case" from the times of Prophet Mohammed. The latter is believed to have advised a woman to give milk to her adopted son, already grown up, in order to become his milk mother, after adoption was banned by the Islam. The woman gave him her milk to drink from a container, and not via direct breast feeding.
With thanks to ANSAmed