Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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Fatwa of the Day #10

Breastfeeding-icon-medFor those of you who enjoyed my previous “Fatwa of the day” posts, I’m sure you are going to love this one. This Fatwa revolves, once again, around the issue of breastfeeding.

Back in 1974, a Fatwa was issued by the Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta (Arabic for Home of Fatwa Issuing) in response to following inquiry:

A man was wondering whether he is allowed to marry a women whom his grandmother had breastfed almost 40 times, back when she was a baby (as you will see below, the number of times—here 40—is very important).

Dar al-Ifta, issued a Fatwa in response to this inquiry (you can read the arabic version here). The verdict was as follows:

When a woman breastfeeds a baby not her own, and she does it more than five times, that baby is considered her child. He or she become a sibling to her own children.
Hence, in the case above, the inquirer is not allowed to marry the woman who breastfed from his grandma. She is an aunt to him per breastfeeding; and marrying your aunt is forbidden!

There are literally hundreds of Fatwas concerning the issue of breastfeeding that you can read about on the Dar al-Ifta website (the texts are in Arabic). One other Fatwa, in particular, caught my eye. It says that if two people are already married, a similar discovery to the case above—the partner had breastfed from the mother or grandmother of the other—the marriage must be annulled! Can you imagine the consequences?

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