Breastfeeding in Islam

Breastfeeding is highly regarded in Islam. The Qur’an regards it as a sign of love between the mother and child. In Islamic law, breastfeeding creates ties of milk kinship (known as raḍāʿ or riḍāʿa (Arabic: رضاع, رضاعة pronounced [rɪˈdˤɑːʕ(æ)]) that has implications in family law.[1][2] Muslims throughout the world have varied breastfeeding traditions.

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Several Qur’anic verses, all dating from the Medinan period, lay down the Islamic ethic of breastfeeding [3]:106Quran 28:7 and Quran 28:12 refer to the nursing of Islamic prophet Moses to emphasize the loving bond between baby Moses and his mother.[3]:106 Breastfeeding is implied as a basic Maternal bond in Quran 22:2, which considers a mother neglecting nursing of her child as an unusual sign.[3]:106

Breastfeeding is considered a basic right of every infant, according to the Qur’an.[4]Quran 2:233 calls on fathers to sponsor the child’s nursing by providing food and clothing for the child’s mother for two years, although it allows for earlier weaning of the child by mutual consent of both mother and father.[3]:106 The same verse also allows for motherly breastfeeding to be substituted by wet nursing.[3]:106Quran 65:6–7 expects the father of the child to be generous towards the wet nurse.[5]:477

The Quran regards ties due to milk kinship similar to ties due to blood kinship.[5]:477 Therefore Quran 4:23 prohibits a man from having sexual relations with his “milk mother” or “milk sister”.[3]:107 According to scholars, this prohibition is not found in the Jewish and Christian tradition, though it is found in matrilineal groups.[3]:107 The hadith explain that the wet-nurse’s husband is also included as a milk kin,[5]:477 eg. a woman may not marry her wet-nurse’s husband.

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