BOTTLE-FEEDING SHAMING: CONCESSION IN ISLAM FOR BABY FORMULA AND EARLY WEANING

When you see a woman feeding her child with a bottle of formula, don’t judge. Islam has granted her that concession.

Some people preach that it is selfish for a mother to wean her child before two years. That to give her child baby formula is against the rulings of Islam. That 2 full years of breastfeeding is incumbent upon the mother according to Islamic law. It’s depressing how much misinformation is spread, shaming mothers for weaning early or turning to formula. While I am in no way advocating for formula or weaning, since the evidence makes it clear that a mother’s milk definitely is best, what’s got to STOP is the religious shaming. Especially when it is laden with false claims about our religion, and often comes from men (from my experience) who have not, nor will ever experience the agony of getting a child to latch, the drowsiness of nursing a child in the middle of the night, the pain of engorgement, the depression of not being able to produce enough milk.

Maybe she tried for weeks but her milk never came in, maybe her child had tongue tie and cries every time she tries to nurse him, maybe her child was allergic to her milk, maybe she had another little one who wouldn’t allow her to spend time alone to nurse the newborn, maybe she was sick and took medication that stopped lactation, maybe she got pregnant, maybe it was just too painful after the baby’s teeth came in, maybe she had to go back to work or school and couldn’t find a suitable place to pump, maybe she had post-partum depression that was exacerbated by her fatigue because she had been waking up three times every night for the last 8 months to nurse her child back to sleep, maybe she actually DID nurse for a whole year and the doctor OK’d cow’s milk and she just wants her body back. Maybe… she just wants to…

And that’s OKAY. Allah Himself gave her that concession. Allah says in the Quran:

“Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period].” 
“And if they both (parents) desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them.”

“And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable. “

[Baqarah: 233]

From the ayaat above, scholars of tafseer and fiqh have derived that proper nutrition (i.e. breast milk) is the right of a child in his first 2 years. Medical science has shown that the nutrients in breast milk are necessary for a baby to survive. A child cannot eat real food for usually the first 6 months, so he NEEDS breast milk.

However, it is not INCUMBENT upon the mother to breastfeed the child. The incumbency is upon the father to provide for his child, whether that’s through the baby’s mother or through a substitute, as mentioned in the ayah. That “substitute” can be in the form of a wet-nurse who breastfeeds, or – by way of qiyaas (analogical deduction) – it can come from formula milk. The two conditions are that both parents agree, and the child accepts the substitute without it causing him harm. Since medical science shows that formula contains similar nutrients to breast milk and fulfills the necessary requirements for a child to survive in those first 6+ months, it has been allowed as a suitable substitute in Islamic law (this is the opinion of , Shaikh Uthaymeen and The Standing Committee for Scholarly Research and Fatwa among others). 

Additionally, the ayah clearly mentions that if the mother and her husband both mutually agree that they want to stop breastfeeding before 2 years are up, THEY CAN! Mufassirroon have agreed that this means she has the choice to stop, if she pleases, if it won’t harm the child, and if her husband agrees (Tafseer Qurtubi, Tafseer Sa’di among others). It doesn’t say she has to be sick or lacking milk in order to wean, she has the choice! The scholars say the only reason she cannot stop breastfeeding is if the child refuses the substitutes given to him. If however, doctors deem that the refusing child is not in need of breast milk anymore (i.e. an older child on solids that can survive without breast milk) then stopping would not harm the child, and she may wean him.

The reality is that many women do stop breastfeeding early… some at 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year, because frankly nursing a child around the clock can be extremely tasking. I know as men you will never have to experience it, but inshaAllah one day you might find your wife in that situation, where she wants to stop nursing – perhaps after a year, a year and a half – because she doesn’t want to have to wake up at 3am every night to nurse. She doesn’t want to have to decline continuing school and work because she knows her child will need to breastfeed several times a day. She might just want to stop for her own personal reasons, and we have to come to the realization that Allah has allowed her that concession.So YES, it is perfectly allowed for the most SELFLESS human (a mother) to be selfish in this regard – so long as the baby is healthy and takes well to the substitute which is given.

SubhanAllah, Allah knows His creation best, and gave the concession to women to stop when they desire to stop, or to keep on going if they desire to keep on going. Because He knows how much women and mothers have to go through, He knows the difficulty associated with it, He knows our nature more than we do.  While of course breast is best and there’s no denying that, we shouldn’t shame mothers who turn to formula or wean early, telling them that they are “selfish” and going against Allah’s commands. Allah has given her the choice, so it’s time we leave it up to her.

And Allah knows best.

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Questions

CAN A WOMAN STAY IN THE MASJID DURING MENSES?

CLICK HERE for video response.

The scholars’ 2 OPINIONS:
1) NO SHE CANNOT STAY IN THE MASJID UNLESS PASSING BY FOR A NEED (MAJORITY)

Evidences:
-The junub (sexually impure person after intercourse) is told explicitly in the Quran (Nisa: 43) not to stay in the masjid. And the junub, by analogy, is similar to the menstruating women because they both have an impurity that requires ghusl.
– Rasulullah (S) said to tell all women (menstruating and not) to come to the Eid prayer, but he said “let the menstruating women avoid the prayer place.”
-Rasulullah (S) in said, “The mosque is not permitted for menstruating women or anyone who is in a state of janabah (sexual impurity).”

2) YES SHE CAN STAY IN THE MASJID
(minority opinion held by Ibn Hazm, Al-Muzani a scholar of the Shafi’I madhab, Dawud Ad Dhaahiri, and modern day scholars such as Shaykh Yusuf al Qardawi and others)

Evidences:
-The hadeeth mentioned above (“The mosque is not permitted for menstruating women or anyone who is in a state of janabah (sexual impurity).”) was classed as da’eef (weak) by Shaykh al-Albaani as well as other scholars, so it is not permissible to make a ruling of fiqh based on a weak hadth.
– The ayah talking about the junub cannot be applied to the menstruating women because they are not analogous.
When Aisha is on her period during Hajj, Rasulullah (S) told her “do everything but don’t do tawaf of the kabah” which indicates she could stay at the Kabah and do worship, dua, etc.
-A slave woman who was freed set up a tent and lived in the masjid. And Umm Mihjaan (the caretaker of the masjid) would regularly take care of the masjid, and was not told to avoid it during menses.
-Therefore, these scholars are of the opinion that if it were really impermissible for a woman to not stay in the masjid, there would be an authentic direct hadith or ayah about it, as women around the messenger regularly had their period. The evidences brought by the majority are not strong enough to make it haram upon her to stay in the masjid.

CAN A WOMAN TRAVEL BY HERSELF?

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Did you know that the wives of the Prophet (S) traveled together WITHOUT a Mahram from Madinah to Makkah to make Hajj?

In short – there are two opinions on the matter. 1) No, she has to have a Mahram. 2) Yes, she can, as long as her safety can be ensured, and that she uses safe public transportation where others are around.

CAN I DO 6 SHAWAL BEFORE MAKE UP FASTS?

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Rasulullah (S) said “Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim]

So CAN I DO 6 SHAWAL BEFORE MY RAMADAN MAKE UP FASTS?

2 Opinions of the scholars:

1) NO, FINISH RAMADAN FASTS FIRST: Some scholars, amongst them the Hanbalis, say that one must finish the obligatory fasts of Ramadan first before you do any other voluntary fast, as obligations are more important than voluntary fasts and because the Hadith says “Whoever FASTS Ramadan and follows it up with 6 of shawal…” indicating one must finish all 29/30 of Ramadan first and foremost. Some of this group say, if one cannot do all of Ramadan make up fasts in Shawal, then they can complete their 6 Shawal in the next month (Dhul Qa’dah).

2) YES, YOU CAN DO 6 SHAWAL BEFORE RAMADAN MAKE UPS:
The other opinion of scholars (amongst them the Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki madhhab) is that the obligation of finishing off Ramadan is an obligation that is given an extended amount of time to fulfill. So since it is given a wide time of 11 months to finish the Ramadan fasts, it should NOT be limited to finishing them off in the very next month (shawal). Shawal is a limited amount of time, and Ramadan is given a long time, and therefore it would be permissible to fast 6 shawal first as long as the Ramadan fasts are accomplished throughout the next 11 months. This is from the mercy of Allah in giving us a long time to make up all the Ramadan fasts.

The precedence that we have in the seerah, is that of Aisha (R) who said that she regularly made up her Ramadan fasts in the month of Shaban, which is the month right before Ramadan. But it is also known that she did many voluntary fasts throughout the year. Scholars conclude that she thererfore saw it acceptable to do voluntary fasts, EVEN though the Ramadan make up fasts had not been completed yet.

It is also very difficult for women to make up Ramadan fasts (maybe 7-8 days) & finish shawal (another 6 days) within one month – because obviously her menses will come (maybe 7-8 days). That almost requires her to fast another WHOLE month minus her period just to accomplish Shawal. And that is definitely a great difficulty.

**Majority of scholars say you cannot combine Shawal and Ramadan make up fasts with one intention. They should be separate intentions and separate days.

NOTE: Know yourself! If you find it difficult to make up your fasts, PRIORITIZE Ramadan fasts over Shawal fasts, because an obligation is like a debt!

May Allah allow us all to fast the 6 of Shawal to get the reward of an entire year! Ameen

CAN WOMEN READ/TOUCH THE QURAN DURING MENSES?

CLICK HERE for video response.

RECITING QURAN – there are 2 opinions:
1) She CANNOT read/recite the Quran.
Most scholars prohibit women from touching the Quran based on the hadith “The menstruating woman and the one who is in a state of sexual impurity (janaabah) should not recite anything of the Qur’aan.”

2) She CAN read/recite the Quran.
This is the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah, ibn Qayyim, Imam Malik, Bukhari, and one opinion of Imam Ash Shafii as well as many other scholars. Their argument is that the hadith mentioned above is Daeef (weak). In fact, the hadith is considered weak by almost all scholars of Hadith and therefore cannot be used in order to make a fiqh ruling. So women may recite or read the Quran, either from memory or from the Quran mushaf (book) itself.

TOUCHING THE QURAN

Scholars of fiqh agree that someone who is not purified CANNOT touch the Quran because Allah says in the Quran “None shall touch it except the purified” (Waqiah: 79). This includes the junub (sexually impure), the menstruating woman, as well as someone without wudhu.

So how can she read the Quran?
1) Use a barrier (glove, towel, pen) so that her hand doesn’t directly touch the Quran
2) Read it off of a tablet or phone as these are not considered the Quran, but rather devices that have the Quran in them.
3)Read a book which has Tafseer/translation in it – as that is not considered the Quran mushaf (book) either. Even if it contains the Arabic, if half is tafseer/translation, it is permissible for an impure person to hold.

WOMEN’S FASTING FAQ

CLICK HERE for video response.

Q:If you fast all day, and your period starts a few minutes before Maghrib, do you have to make that day up?
A: Yes.

Q: If I didn’t make up all my fasts before next Ramadan, what do I do?
A: If you had no excuse, you have to pay the penalty, Fidya as well as make them up later. (Fidya: feeding a poor person a full day’s meal per day that you missed).

Q: Do pregnant and breastfeeding women have to fast?
A: They are exempt if they fear for themselves or the baby. However, if they feel well enough, they can fast, after consulting a doctor.

Q: How do pregnant/nursing moms make up those fasting days if they have years of make ups?
A: There are multiple opinions of scholars:
1- make them all up over the years (majority opinion)
2- pay the fidya only (opinion of Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (R))
3- pay the fidya AND make them up over the years

Connect With Us

5 days ago

Suhbah Institute

New couple in Houston? Or you are from Houston but haven’t been to the masjid since getting married? Or since having kids? Feel like you are sorely missing a social circle? Want to nurture your relationship in a fun way? These reasons are EXACTLY why we have created the following FREE monthly class…

ROIC and Suhbah are excited to present:
Couples’ Night Out!
Starting Friday, October 25th, 7pm-10pm

Once-a month Potluck, Game Night, and Marital Enrichment Activities
For Engaged and Married Couples
Babysitting will be provided!
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RSVP: www.facebook.com/events/485987465290034/
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2 weeks ago

Suhbah Institute

Austin, Texas folks, we have some exciting news!

STRONG COUPLES – Suhbah Islamic Pre Marital and Marital Enrichment in Austin! is coming to ICGA in Austin, Texas in November!

Spread the word! Details below.

Register: Suhbah.com/marriageprep
Questions? info@suhbah.com
_______________
STRONG COUPLES by Suhbah Institute
WHAT: Islamic Pre-Marital Training and Marital Enrichment
WHO: For Engaged and Married Couples
WHEN: Saturday, November 2nd, 10am-6pm
WHERE: ICGA, Islamic Center of Greater Austin

Suhbah STRONG COUPLES is a state certified* Islamic Pre-Marital Training and Marital Enrichment curriculum that brings together the best of two of the top marital education curricula and is infused with Islamic principles to equip couples with the skills and education needed to maintain a happy and sustainable married life. This 8- hour session is geared towards both engaged couples and those in their first few years of marriage. The sessions allow couples to learn theory from the leading marriage research and practices of Rasulullah (S). Couples also participate in practical application of the theory through fun activities and engaging discussions that aid them in resolving the most common challenges faced by Muslim American couples.

*State certified: Engaged couples who complete this course receive $60 off their marriage license and have the 72-hour waiting period waived in the state of Texas.

Main topics covered include: Islamic Rights And Responsibilities In Marriage, Breaking Down Marriage Myths, Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills, Marital Intimacy, Family History Influences, Relationship Roles And Responsibilities, Personality Differences and Languages of Love.

Register: Suhbah.com/marriageprep
Fee: $200/couple (financial aid is available)

Instructors: Imam Mahad Qamar and Ustadha Safiya Ravat hold degrees in Islamic Fiqh and Usul al Fiqh, are completing their Master’s in Pastoral Counseling in Marriage and Family Therapy, and are certified pre-marital training facilitators. They have been married for 10 years and have completed this course with over 50 couples in Houston this past year.

Register: Suhbah.com/marriageprep
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2 weeks ago

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Register: ROICmatrimonial.com

2 Parallel Sessions with 2 different age groups:
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Sunday, October 27, 2019, 3pm-7:30pm
River Oaks Islamic Center (ROIC)
3110 Eastside St, Houston, TX 77098

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One-on-one sessions
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PLEASE, if you know someone looking to get married, especially in the 36+ age group, take the time to PRIVATELY message this to them and encourage them to participate. We have many un-married, widowed and divorced individuals in that age group (and the other age group) who are finding it very difficult to find spouses. THIS is one possible way, and we pray you will encourage them to participate.

May Allah put barakah in these endeavors, Ameen.
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3 weeks ago

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Empowered Muslim Woman at MIC w/ Ustadha Safiya Ravat
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4 weeks ago

Suhbah Institute

Suhbah Institute​ and ISGH River Oaks Islamic Center​ are proud to present:

ROIC MATRIMONIAL MIXER
Register: ROICmatrimonial.com

2 Parallel Sessions with 2 different age groups:
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River Oaks Islamic Center (ROIC)
3110 Eastside St, Houston, TX 77098

Group Discussion Circles
One-on-one sessions
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Limited seats available, No walk-ins
Registration fee: $30 (Deadline October 20th)
Parents without candidates will NOT be allowed

PLEASE, if you know someone looking to get married, especially in the 36+ age group, take the time to PRIVATELY message this to them and encourage them to participate. We have many un-married, widowed and divorced individuals in that age group (and the other age group) who are finding it very difficult to find spouses. THIS is one possible way, and we pray you will encourage them to participate.

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About 24 Hours Ago

This past Ramadan, the community showed a lot of generosity and helped us raise enough funds to grant 15 scholarships for #SuhbahSeminary. http://bit.ly/2nG9rH2