Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 2 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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What is your opinion on the obligatory duration of breastfeeding?

What is your opinion on the obligatory duration of breastfeeding?

Answer

Allah the Almighty says, “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]” [Al-Baqarah: 233]. In their exegesis of this verse, scholars said that the two-year nursing period determined in the verse is not obligatory because it is permissible to wean the infant before this time based on the words of God, ”For whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period].” The purpose of determining the nursing period to two years is to end any disputes between spouses concerning its duration. Parents may mutually agree to wean their child before he completes two years provided this does not jeopardize the child’s health. It is not permissible to wean the child before two years if this is the wish of only one parent.

Al-Qurtbi said in what can be summarized as follows:Malik, his followers, and a group of scholars derived from this verse that the prohibition established by suckling and which is tantamount to the prohibition established by blood relation, is that which takes place over the course of the first two years of an infant’s life. By the expiry of the two years, rida’ is complete and any breastfeeding that occurs beyond this time is of no consequence. The holy verse, “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years” [Al-Baqarah: 233] is one manifestation of God’s concern for man, not only from the time of his birth but from the moment of his conception. God the Almighty has commanded mothers to nurse their children during the first two years of their lives because a mother’s milk is the best food for her child during this period as well as the best means to guarantee the child’s health, development, and protection from psychological and mental disorders. Medical experts have confirmed that in many instances children who are nursed by other than their mothers suffer from physical, psychological, and mental diseases. They furthermore proved that a mother’s care for her child during the nursing period through breastfeeding is advantageous to it.[1]

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[1] See: Mohammed Sayed Tantawi. Al-Tafsir Al-Wasit fi Al-Qur`an Al-Kareem, vol. 1, p.696.
 

 

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