Breastfeeding: from an Islamic Perspective!
(Written on: 9th May, 2010)
(NOTE: This is a question answered by a qualified scholar and NOT a question answered by Azizah.)
QUESTION: Assalamu Alaikum. How are you Azizah?!? Do you know of the benefits of breastfeeding from an Islamic perspective? Are we really supposed to nurse our babies for two years? Jaza Kallah Khair! [‘Breastfeeding Mom’ (Sunday 9th May, 2010 5:59 AM)]
Assalamu Alaikum sis’,
I remember reading something about this recently and have sourced the extract for you. I have also quoted my sources below. Since the scholars have spoken about this already and it is a fiqh topic that I am not qualified to answer. His words were:-
“The mother should focus on breastfeeding the newborn child until the age of weaning. Natural milk from the mother has a huge effect in the health and upbringing of a child. Allaah instructs the mothers to breastfeed their children for two complete years. This is for those wish to complete the period of breastfeeding.
Allaah says: “The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling.”[Surah Al-Baqarah: 233]
The reason for this is because the infant senses the affection of the mother while breastfeeding and he is in need of that. Modern medicine has confirmed that there is a high percentage rate of disease and death for those children that were fed in their infancy with processed milk. Natural milk is also advantageous to the mother’s health in terms of mending the uterus after delivery and her digestive system. Islaam also encourages it for it permits the breastfeeding mother to break her fast in Ramadan if the fast will have an effect on her breastfeeding. Perhaps one of the reasons why many children are not affectionately attached to their mothers and why there is such widespread disobedience of them in these times is due to the lack of using natural milk and the high use of processed milk. Since breastfeeding has such an effect on the child being breastfed, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited Muslims from employing a dumb woman for the purposing of breastfeeding one’s child.
Ibn Qaasim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Haashiyat-ur-Rawd commenting on this hadeeth: “This is since breastfeeding has an effect on an individual’s nature.” Then he said: “Al-Qaadee mentioned that whoever is breastfed from a stupid woman, the child too will come out being stupid. And whoever is breastfed from a woman with bad manners, it will pass onto him. And whoever is breastfed from an animal, he will come out senseless, like an animal.”
Ibn Qudaamah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in al-Mughnee:
“It is said: ‘Breastfeeding changes personalities.”
So how much more so for those who are fed formula milk which one does not even know the source from where it came or who processed it?
AUTHOR: ‘Abdus-Salaam bin ‘Abdillaah As-Sulaymaan
SOURCE: Tarbiyat-ul-Awlaad fee Daw’-il-Kitaabi was-Sunnah (pg. 33-34)
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com
[From the upcoming Al-Ibaanah publication: “Raising Children in Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah” by ‘Abdus-Salaam As-Sulaymaan. The book was introduced and commended by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan.]
“May Allah(swt) continue to grant us the strength we need as breastfeeding mothers… Ameen…”
…Comments from My Readers…
“When you pick up a tin of formula, read the ingredients. I have not checked out every single tin on the market but the use of various vegetable oils is horrendous. how many of these oils are genetically modified (most soy and corn oils are) and many crops from which oils are produced are heavily sprayed with pesticides…..On the other hand though breast milk is a LIVING food, rich in live enzymes and living white blood cells that work to fight disease and transfer immunity, it can also be contaminated by pesticides and chemicals in mum’s diet. Naturally the body minimizes this as much as possible but is unable to minimize this completely so mum’s need to be conscious… See more of their food consumption. Peaches, grapes and apples are known to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Eat fresh local fruit as much as possible in preference to the foreign stuff- if possible.” [Doctor Mummy, (Saturday 8th May, 2010)]