Question # 407: Assalamualaikum brother, I had a question regarding milk kinship. I have drank milk from my mothers aunt when i was a few months old on one occasion however, i drank for a lot of minutes. I have read answers on your page but i am still confused because i have read that drinking milk on five occasions creates a milk relationship but i have also read on one website that majority of the scholars agree that drinking once creates a relationship. Also my Islamic teacher at school also said that drinking once creates a relationship. I am very confused and don’t know what to believe. I would like to know what are the most authentic opinions on the number of feeds which prohibits marriage and the sources? And after hearing my situation, am I able to marry the son of the lady from whom I drank milk from? I will be looking forward to your reply InshaAllah. JazakAllah khair

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The scholars differed in opinion with regard to the number of suckling times that prohibit marriage – the Hanafi, Maliki Schools of jurisprudence and Ahmad (in one narration from him) and many Companions and Taabi’is are of the view that even one sucking renders a couple forbidden to each other, in accordance with their interpretation of the ayah 23 of Soorah an-Nisa’a. On the other hand, the Shafi’i and the Hanbali Schools of jurisprudence are of the view that less than 5 (five) sucklings do not make a couple forbidden to each other; their evidence is the authentic hadith of ‘Aa’ishah, where she narrated that less than five suckling times does not make a couple forbidden to each other. Also, it was authentically reported from Prophet (saws) that one suckling or two do not make the (marriage) unlawful. And this is considered the most preponderant opinion among the scholars. Also Refer Question # 46: Marriage forbidden among milk siblings (breastfed by the same woman)Question # 130: Maximum Breast-feeding Period, Question # 233: Relationship of Mahram through Breastfeeding  and Question # 426: Start of Weaning Period for Infants.

Long Answer: The scholars differed in opinion in regard to the number of suckling times that prohibit marriage, so the Hanafi, Maliki Schools of jurisprudence and Ahmad (in one narration from him) and many Companions and Taabi’is are of the view that little or much suckling renders a couple forbidden to each other even if it were one sucking, since the condition of suckling that prohibits marriage is that the milk reaches the stomach of the child no matter what its amount is. Their evidence is the Saying of Allah about women to whom marriage is prohibited (which means): “your [milk] mothers who nursed you, ….” (Soorah an-Nisa’a, 4:23)

On the other hand, the Shafi’i and the Hanbali Schools of jurisprudence – according to their correct opinion – are of the view that less than five suckling times does not make a couple forbidden to each other: this is narrated from ‘Aa’ishah, Ibn Mas’ood and Ibn Az-Zubayr  and it is the view of ‘Atta’ and Taawoos  and their evidence is what is narrated by ‘Aa’ishah who said: “It has been revealed in the Qur’an that ten clear (attested) sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated by five sucklings and Allah’s Messenger (saws) died and it was before that time (found) in the Quran and recited by Muslims.” (Muslim)

[Another hadith in this regard is noteworthy, Umm al-Fadl reported: A bedouin came to Allah’s Apostle (saws) when he was in my house and said: Allah’s Apostle, I have had a wife and I married another besides her, and my first wife claimed that she had suckled once or twice my newly married wife, thereupon Allah’s Apostle (saws) said: One suckling or two do not make the (marriage) unlawful. (Muslim)]

Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi writes in his ‘Towards Understanding the Qur’an’ (English version of Tafhim al-Qur’an) “According to Abu Hanifah and Malik, prohibition is established if a child suckles milk from a woman’s breast equal to that minimum quantity which nullifies fasting. But according to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, it is established by three sucklings; and according to Shafi’i by five.”

However, …the preponderant opinion [is that] 5 sucklings [is considered to be] a condition to prohibit marriage because the hadith is a clear text for that.

[Furthermore,] suckling… if it took place when the child was more than two years old, then this suckling is of no effect and it does not make him a suckling brother/sister… because the suckling that prohibits marriage is that which takes place before two years of age; the evidence is the hadith which reads: “Suckling does not prohibit marriage except which penetrates the (i.e. serves as a nutrition for the child) from the breasts, and it is prior to weaning.” and the hadith which reads: “Suckling is only valid if it takes place before two years of age.” (Ad-Daaraqutni) At-Tirmidhi  said: “Most of the scholars  from among the Companions and others adopted the opinion that suckling does not prohibit marriage except that which takes place before two years of age, and the suckling that takes place after two years of age does not make one forbidden for marriage at all.”

(Unless stated otherwise, the above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam