What is the legal opinion on ghayl?...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

What is the legal opinion on ghayl?


What is the legal opinion on ghayl?


Ghayl is when a man has intercourse with his lactating wife. Abu Dawud recorded in his Sunan the tradition related by Al-Rabi’ Ibn Nafi’ Abu Tawbah who narrated through Mohammed Ibn Muahjir who narrated through his father that Asmaa` Bint Yazid said, “I heard the Messenger of God [peace and blessings be upon him] say, ‘Do not kill your children secretly, for ghayl overtakes the horseman and causes him to fall off his horse.” Al-Shaikh defined ghayl as engaging in intercourse with a lactating woman; the words “causes him to fall off his horse” denote destruction. He said that a woman who falls pregnant during the nursing period, risks spoiling her milk and exposes her child to weakness. Consequently, when he becomes a man and runs his horse, he will be overcome by the weakness caused by ghayl and fall off. This is considered tantamount to killing him and the cause of his weakness is unknown.

The author of Zad Al-Mi’adsaid that there is no doubt that ghayl is a common matter since a man cannot endure to abstain from engaging in intercourse with his wife during the nursing period. If intercourse during this time were prohibited, it would have been a categorically known matter. Furthermore, it would have been expounded as one of the most important issues and would not have been neglected without anyone coming forth to declare its prohibition. The tradition reported by Asmaa` has therefore been acknowledged by way of advice and precaution for the good of the child who may be harmed by his mother’s milk due to the pregnancy that occurs during the nursing period. It was for this reason that the Arabs employed wet-nurses to nurse their children. The aim of preventing ghayl is to block the means to harming the infant. If the doctrine of “blocking the means” conflicts with a preponderant interest, that interest prevails.[1]
[1] Ma’alim Al-Sunan, vol. 4, p. 225 and Zad Al-Mi’ad, vol. 4, p. 35.


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