Fatwa On Woman Breastfeeding Man Stirs Debate In Islamic World

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Muslim Woman
File photo of a Muslim woman in a veil

The extreme fatwa on Islamic adult breastfeeding is back again, with the Kuwaiti clerics examining and redefining it in the context of husband and wife relations.  

Quoting Kuwaiti activists, a new fatwa published in an Arabic RT report has said, Husband getting breastfed from wife is not prohibited according to Islamic law.

The report has once again brought the issue of adult breastfeeding rules in Islam to debate. The fatwa on women breastfeeding adult men was issued by Islamic clerics in the past also. 

In May 2007, a fatwa was issued by an Islamic cleric in Egypt, which said a female worker should breastfeed a male colleague to establish a maternal bond between them, in order to overcome the Islamic private meeting law.

The cleric, Dr. Izzat Atiya, head of Al Azhar University's Department of Hadith, based his fatwa on a hadith by Prophet Mohammad.

According to a BBC report, Dr. Izzat Atiya, head of Al Azhar University's Department of Hadith, said that if a woman fed a male colleague directly from her breast at least five times, they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together at work. Breastfeeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage, he ruled.  A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed, the fatwa added.

The fatwa raised a storm and many Egyptian women were not ready to breastfeed their co-workers. The fatwa has neither been withdrawn nor enforced. But it kept coming back with different interpretations by the clerics, time and again.

In 2010, Saudi Sheikh  Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican issued a fatwa that said, women could give their milk to men to establish a degree of maternal relations and get around a strict religious ban on mixing between unrelated men and women, according to an AINAreport.

However, al-Abaican's fatwa said that the man should not take the milk directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it [from a cup] and then [he] becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam's rules about mixing, according to the report.

The new fatwa by Kuwait activists say that though Islam doesn't forbid men drinking breast milk, it doesn't encourage it either.  

Nonetheless, the return of the adult breastfeeding fatwa has stirred intense debate on the subject and different Kuwaiti scholars have come up with different interpretations on the subject.

Raymond Ibrahim, who is a  widely published author on Islam, say that a section of clerics feels that the wife's breast milk can enter the husband's mouth but he needs to spit it out, and even if it enters his stomach, he needs to vomit it. However, another section of clerics is of the opinion that accidental breastfeeding during foreplay is not forbidden

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