Friday, May 25, 2007

Head of the Al-Azhar Hadith Department explains how Breastfeeding Allows a Woman to Be With a Man in Private

Dr. Izzat Atiyya explained his fatwa in an interview with Al-Watani Al-Yawm, the weekly of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Front party. He said: "The religious ruling that appears in the Prophet's conduct [Sunna] confirms that breastfeeding allows a man and a woman to be together in private, even if they are not family and if the woman did not nurse the man in his infancy, before he was weaned - providing that their being together serves some purpose, religious or secular...
"Being together in private means being in a room with the door closed, so that nobody can see them... A man and a woman who are not family members are not permitted [to do this], because it raises suspicions and doubts. A man and a woman who are alone together are not [necessarily] having sex, but this possibility exists, and breastfeeding provides a solution to this problem... I also insist that the breastfeeding relationship be officially documented in writing... The contract will state that this woman has suckled this man... After this, the woman may remove her hijab and expose her hair in the man's [presence]...
Dr. Atiyya further explained that the breastfeeding does not necessarily have to be done by the woman herself. "The important point," he said, "is that the man and the woman must be related through breastfeeding. [This can also be achieved] by means of the man's mother or sister suckling the woman, or by means of the woman's mother or sister suckling the man, since [all of these solutions legally] turn them into brother and sister...
"The logic behind [the concept] of breastfeeding an adult is to transform the bestial relationship between [two people] into a religious relationship based on [religious] duties... Since [this] breastfeeding takes place between [two] adults, the man is still permitted to marry the woman [who breastfed him], whereas [a woman] who nursed [a man] in his infancy is not permitted to marry him...
"The adult must suckle directly from the [woman's] breast... [This according to a hadith attributed to Aisha, wife of the Prophet's Muhammad], which tells of Salem [the adopted son of Abu Hudheifa] who was breastfed by Abu-Hudheifa's wife when he was already a grown man with a beard, by the Prophet's order... Other methods, such as [transferring] the milk to a container, are [less desirable]...
"[As for the possibility of using a breast-pump, which] increases the production of the milk glands... that is a matter for doctors and religious scholars who must determine if the milk [thus produced] is real milk, i.e., if its composition is identical to that of the [woman's] original milk. If it is, this method is permissible...
Dr. Atiyya also said: "The fact that the hadith regarding the breastfeeding of an adult is inconceivable to the mind does not make it invalid. This is a reliable hadith, and rejecting it is tantamount to rejecting Allah's Messenger and questioning the Prophet's tradition."

Note: In response to the uproar caused by the fatwa, Al-Azhar university formed a committee of several experts on hadiths to investigate the matter. After examination, Al-Azhar has suspended Dr. Atiyya.

Question: Does anyone know if Dr. Atiya has been among the missionaries from Al-Azhar who visit Maldives every year and if he has given "waul" at Islaamee marukaz?


  1. Dhivehi Christian12:24 AM

    Does this Sunnah related to Salem ibn Abu Hudheifa mean that it is desirable for stepmothers to breast feed their stepsons; even adult stepsons? I just can visualise hordes of Maldivian men in beards and shortened trousers marching to be breastfed by their many stepmothers. The Adhaalathu Paatey will be organising adult-breastfeeding clinics. Allah Taala knows best.

  2. minister nasheed secretly reads this blog

  3. "A man and a woman who are alone together are not [necessarily] having sex"

    Sex and conquest: the two pillars of Islam. No wonder it's so wobbley.

    "This is a reliable hadith, and rejecting it is tantamount to rejecting Allah's Messenger and questioning the Prophet's tradition."

    I hereby reject Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and question the Prophet's tradition. (Not that I didn't before, but just in case there was some confusion....)

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