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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

21.5 BREAST-FEEDING, ridhaa

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.

21.5.1 CONTROL OF LACTATION

Onset, continuation, and end of lactation are under endocrine & neural control, neuro-humoral. Lactation can be affected by the psychological state of the mother. Drugs can also affect lactation either enhancing or suppressing.

 

21.5.2 PERIOD OF BREAST-FEEDING

The Qur'an set the statutory period of breast-feeding as 2 full years, muddat al ridha'a. No maximum period was set. However maternal milk is not sufficient as a sole nutrient after 6 months and has to be supplemented. Artificial feeding is not a substitute for natural feeding because breast feeding involves emotional and psychological aspects in addition to providing food.

 

21.5.3 PAYMENT FOR BREAST FEEDING

The father has to give financial compensation to a divorced wife who is breast-feeding his child. Any other woman can be paid to breast feed the baby.

 

21.5.4 FOSTER BREAST FEEDING

Breast-feeding is not merely nutrition. Unlike blood transfusion or organ donation, it involves a more intimate biological and psychological interaction between the infant and the lactating woman. Breast-feeding of a child not issued from the mother automatically creates a legal relation that in the regard of the Law is no different from that that of a son or a daughter. The relation encompasses the wet nurse, the children of the wet nurse, and the husband of the wet nurse. The conditions set by the Law for this relation to hold are: the wet nurse must be a female at least 9 years of age, the baby suckled must be less than 2 years old, suckling must be from the breast and not milk expressed in a container, and at least 5 separate breast feeding sessions must be held. The legal relationship thus established leads to marital restrictions between foster brothers and foster sisters. On the basis of necessity, dharurat, the Law permits collecting milk from several lactating mothers in a milk bank and using it to feed premature babies or those who have no natural mothers. This does not create legal relations based on ridha’at because the babies did not feed from the breast directly.

 

21.5.5 ACTIVITIES DURING BREAST FEEDING

A nursing mother is allowed to combine 2 prayers. A nursing mother may not fast and make up later. Intercourse with suckling woman, al ghayla, is allowed. Work and maternity leave for lactating woman: New ijtihad is needed on the minimum period of maternal leave since the Qur’an sets a limit of 2 years.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004