Summary:

Islamic apologists claim that breastfeeding adults is not allowed. However, without "breastfeeding," they cannot manage many practical situations in day-to-day life, such as living in a joint family system or dealing with adopted children. As a result, they often neglect Sharia and indulge in sin by continuing to live in joint family systems. The same applies to adopted children who are not expelled from their homes upon reaching adulthood.

Most importantly, a significant portion of Ahadith has survived only due to adult breastfeeding. Without it, these Ahadith might have been lost, as there were hardly any other practical means of collecting them.

 

Question: Why did Muhammad SMILE?

Sahla, a female companion of Muhammad, had an adoptive son named Salim. When Salim became an adult, Sahla's husband was uncomfortable with him entering the house because Salim was considered non-Mahram to his adoptive mother. Sahla approached the Prophet Muhammad for guidance. He suggested that Sahla should nurse adult Salim (who already had a beard), so that he could become a Mahram to her adoptive mother through nursing.

Muslim scholars have differing opinions on whether Sahla expressed her milk into a cup and then fed it to Salim or whether the nursing took place directly from the breasts. While there is no definitive proof that the milk was collected in a cup, indications suggest that the nursing occurred directly from the breast.

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1453a:

Sahla bint Suhail came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, I see on the face of Abu Hudhaifa (signs of disgust) on entering of Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) SMILED and said: I already know that he is a young man ... and in the narration of Ibn 'Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger LAUGHED.

This smile indicates that the milk was indeed drunk directly from the breasts. Sahla was concerned and hesitant about this, but Muhammad found the situation amusing and laughed.

 

Contradiction: Breastfeeding is from hunger:

According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad instructed Sahla to breastfeed Salim in order to establish a mahram relationship, without specifying any conditions related to hunger.  

However, in his own "personal case" Muhammad denied any such establishment of Mahram relationship, and put the condition of "hunger" with it:

Sunan An-Nasa’i 3314:

Narrated Aisha: The Messenger of Allah entered upon me and there was a man sitting with me. He got upset about that, and I saw the anger in his face. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, he is my brother through breastfeeding.” He said, “Be careful who you count as your brothers, for breastfeeding is from hunger.” 
Hadith Grade:
(Sahih) according to al-Albani

From a logical perspective too, it is unlikely that an adult could satiate their hunger by consuming breast milk. This means, Sahla was not able to satiate the hunger of grown-up Salim through breastfeeding, but Muhammad still made him her Mahram through breastmilking.

 

The issue of "Abdult's Breastfeeding" arose only due to another Islamic issue of "No BOND between foster mother and adoptive son":

Sahla was the foster mother, while Salim was her adoptive child. Poor Sahla had to undergo the shameful act of breastfeeding him ONLY while Muhammad earlier denied any BOND between foster mother and adoptive children. The reason behind this denial was the desire of Muhammad for the wife of his adopted son. He became infatuated with his daughter-in-law upon seeing her in a semi-naked state and used revelations to justify denying any bond between adopted children and their foster parents. Consequently, he made it permissible for him to marry his daughter-in-law. For further details on this matter, you can refer to the article titled:  

The role of a foster parent is esteemed higher than that of a biological parent, as it is not about who gave birth to a child but rather about who fosters, loves, and cares for them. A child instinctively seeks comfort and affection from the person who nurtures and supports them.

The significance of fostering can even be observed in the animal kingdom. For instance, if you place the eggs of a hen under a duck, the chicks hatched from those eggs will still consider the duck as their mother, as they witness her caring for them. This bond is formed despite the lack of a biological connection.

Indeed, the status of a foster parent surpasses that of a biological parent. When a foster mother or father lovingly raises a child, a natural parent-child bond develops between them.

Throughout history, every society has recognized and accepted the powerful bond between an adopted child and their foster parents. This bond is also supported by numerous experiments and acknowledged by psychiatrists worldwide.

Islam is the only religion in the entire world, which denies this natural bond between foster mother and the adopted child. 

 

Contradiction: An adult male slave becomes Mahram to all the wives/daughters of the owner as soon as he is bought from the market:

Unlike an adopted son, an adult male slave becomes Mahram to all the wives and daughters of the owner as soon as he is purchased from the slave market. Instantly, he gains the privilege to stay alone with the owner's wife or daughter under one roof without any need for her to observe Hijab or hide her adornments (Zinah) from him.

Surah Nur, Verse 24:31:

And say to the believing women (that) they should lower [of] their gaze and they should guard their chastity, and not (to) display their adornment except what is apparent of it. And let them draw their head covers over their bosoms, and not (to) display their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers or fathers (of) their husbands or their sons or sons (of) their husbands or their brothers or sons (of) their brothers or sons (of) their sisters, or their women or what possess their right hands (i.e. slaves) 

And also read the following hadith, where Muhammad was telling his daughter Fatima that she didn't need to do Hijab from the male slave.

Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 4106

The Prophet (ﷺ) brought Fatimah a slave which he donated to her. Fatimah wore a garment which, when she covered her head, did not reach her feet, and when she covered her feet by it, that garment did not reach her head. When the Prophet (ﷺ) saw her struggle, he said: There is no harm to you: Here is only your father and slave.
GradeSahih (Albani)

On one hand, Islam forbids an adopted son from being alone with his mother, whom he has been raised by and loved as his own since childhood.However, on the other hand, Islam permits an adult male slave to be Mahram to all the wives and daughters of his owner immediately after he is bought from the slave market. He can enter the house, he can stay alone with the owner's wife or daughter in the same house, without the need for her to observe Hijab or hide her adornments (Zinah) from him.

 

Breastfeeding a grown-up male will not create a mother-son bond, but only the bond of LUST and SEX:

The human rationale makes it evident that Muhammad's ruling is flawed and unreasonable, while:

  • If a woman breastfed a grown-up male man with a moustache and beard, then a mother-son bond will not develop, but only the bond of LUST and SEX can develop. 
  • While it is possible for a relationship of respect to exist between a woman and a grown-up man, breastfeeding would be the most inappropriate method to achieve this purpose. Instead, natural relationships, like a sister/mother bond, can form between individuals through care and nurturing without the need for such actions.

For instance, in many Muslim families living in a joint family system in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, there is a relationship of respect between a man and the wife of his elder brother, showcasing that this kind of bond can develop without resorting to breastfeeding.

Moreover, breastfeeding for 5 times does not change the DNA (i.e. no BOND is developed through DNA too). Therefore, becoming Mahram through 5 times breastfeeding has absolutely no logic behind it, but Muhammad was only following ancient tradition of his Arab culture, where breastfeeding was considered as a form of becoming Mahram. 

The BOND is created only through fostering, loving and taking care, which Islam denied. 

 

Consequence of denying the sacred BOND between foster father and adopted daughter:

According to human nature, every minor child girl needs the selfless love and care of a father.

But what Muhammad did, is as follow:

  • Muhammad first destroyed the sacred bond between the adopted child and the parents and allowed marriage between them. 
  • By doing so, Islam made an adopted daughter a sex object in the eyes of the foster father (and also foster brothers) right from the very first day. 

An adopted son would not be able to have strength to do sex till the age of 13-14 years and thus, no danger for his foster mother (in the eyes of Islam). Thus, Islam allows an adoptive son to remain in the house till he becomes and adult, and only after that he will be expelled from the house (due to fear of indulging in sex with his foster mother). 

But what about adopted daughter?

If Islamic Shaitan (Devil) comes when adult man and woman are alone, then the same Islamic Shaitan is also capable of coming when foster father will be alone with his adopted minor daughter, while there exist no "sacred bond" in the mind of Muslim foster father. 

Moreover, the problem with Islam is DOUBLE fold where:

  • Muhammad not only denied any sacred bond between a foster father and the adopted daughter
  • But Muhammad also allowed the foster father to FORCEFULLY take minor adoptive daughter into his NIKAH (even without her consent). No Islamic court can prevent a foster father from doing it, as it is Halal Allah.

This happened practically during the days of Muhammad himself when his companions started taking minor adopted daughters into their NIKAH either for their beauty or for their wealth. 

The largest Islamic website IslamQA writes (link):

This verse (i.e. Quran 4:3) proves it’s allowed (for a foster father) to marry an orphan. And an orphan cannot be an adult. It’s reported in Sahih Bukhari Hadith no. 2494: “Narrated Urwah that he asked `Aisha regarding the Verse: 'If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, marry (other) women of your choice.' (4.3) `Aisha said, "It is about an orphan girl under the custody of her guardian who being attracted by her wealth and beauty wants to marry her with Mahr less than other women of her status. So such guardians were forbidden to marry them unless they treat them justly by giving them their full Mahr. ”

Ibn Hajar (d.1449 AD) commented on this Hadith saying: “This shows it’s allowed (for a foster father) to marry orphans who haven’t reached puberty. Because after puberty they can’t be called orphans.

For more details, please read our article:

 

Islamist's Excuse: Breastfeeding an Adult is not allowed and The Prophet allowed it ONLY to Sahla as an Exception:

Our Response: 

Firstly: Islamic Scholars differ among themselves

Islamic Scholars differ among themselves and some of them allow adult breastfeeding (Link). It is similar as wives of Muhammad (the mothers of Muslims) who also differed among themselves, and 'Aisha used to sent adult men to her nieces to breastfed them (Sunan Abu Dawud, 2061, Sahih). 

Secondly: Even the case of Sahla is ENOUGH 

Even if it was ONLY an exception in the case of Sahla, it is ENOUGH for us to determine that Islam is false. No mother should suffer such humiliation to prove mother-child bond. This bond is developed through raising and taking care and loving the child. 

Thirdly: The hardships that Islamic Ruling brings to Humanity

If you wish to understand the severity of this Islamic ruling, take a look at this incident (link), where a Muslim mother found herself in tears, refusing to be separated from her adopted son when he reached the age of 12-13 years. However, the relatives insisted on forcibly separating them, and the Muslim Mufti supported their decision, citing it as Allah's command in Islam. According to the reasoning, Allah fears that allowing both Na-Mahrams (the mother and her 12-14 years old adopted son) to stay together under one roof may lead to the Fitna of fornication.

Fourthly: Education is Enough to have a Bond of Respect 

"Education" of being descent humans is enough to make a relationship of "respect" between a woman and man. Breastfeeding an adult is the most inappropriate method to develop this relationship of respect. Again, look at those Muslim families living in a joint family system in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, there is a relationship of respect between a man and the wife of his elder brother, showcasing that this kind of bond can develop without resorting to breastfeeding.

Fifthly: Islam does not have the Ability to solve practical problems of our lives

Even if we assume that adult breastfeeding is not permissible in Islam, this suggests that Islam struggles to address various practical situations in our lives. Scenarios like that of Sahla and Salim (i.e., a foster mother and adopted child) will continue to arise (along with joint family system). If adult breastfeeding is not allowed, it would only lead to the breaking up of families. Islam would not only separate the foster mother from her adopted orphan son but also remove him from the entire family, including foster sisters. This would effectively orphan the poor child a second time. Moreover, the foster mother would be left grieving and childless for the rest of her life. This is one of the gravest forms of oppression that Islam imposes on humanity.

Similarly, millions of Muslim families in Indian sub-continent live in joint family system. They know that that they are indulging in HARAM and committing sin by doing it, but Islamic Sharia presents no other practical solution. Poor families especially suffer due to it. 

Sixthly: A significal portion of Ahadith survived only due to adult's breastfeeding

'Aisha narrated several thousand Ahadith of Muhammad, while all of Muhammad's other eight wives combined narrated only a few hundred. Some of them narrated zero Ahadith because they had no male relatives and did not allow non-Mahram men to visit them.

However, 'Aisha sent non-Mahram (i.e., not related) collectors of Ahadith to her nieces, who breastfed them, thereby making them Mahram to 'Aisha.

Sunan Abi Dawud 2061:

... A’ishah used to ask the daughters of her sisters and the daughters of her brethren to give him breast feed five times, whom A’ishah wanted to see and who wanted to visit her. Though he might be of age; he then visited her. But Umm Salamah and all other wives of the Prophet refused to allow anyone to visit them on the basis of such breast feeding unless one was given breast feed during infancy. They told A’ishah: “by Allah we do not know whether that was a special concession granted by the Prophet to Salim exclusive of the people.
Grade: (Sahih) Al-albani

 

Islamic System: Woman's Breasts were exposed in Front of Mahram Men (i.e., Father, Brother, Son, Nephews, Uncles, etc.)

There existed (and still exist) many cultures in the world, where women didn't cover their breasts in public. In pre-Islamic Arab culture too, women didn't use any upper garment to  cover their breasts. Later, Muhammad only ordered free Muslim women to put the Jilbab (a sheet of garment) on their heads, and it covered their whole body including their breasts. But Muhammad prohibited slave women from wearing the Jilbab and kept their breast naked in public. Please read our article:

As far as free Muslim women are concerned, then they have to take the Jilbab only in public, but there was no Jilbab inside their homes, in front of their Mahram men (father, son, uncles, nephews, breastfed milk brothers etc.). Thus, according to Fatwas of Muslim Scholars, woman's 'Awarah (nakedness) in front of their Mahram men is only from their navel to the knees. 

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani is considered as an ultimate Hadith Master by Muslims. He wrote the commentary of Sahih Bukhari. And under the commentary of this Hadith, he wrote (link):

 قال القاضي عياض : ظاهره أنهما رأيا عملها في رأسها وأعالي جسدها مما يحل نظره للمحرم ; لأنها خالة أبي سلمة من الرضاع أرضعته أختها أم كلثوم وإنما سترت أسافل بدنها مما لا يحل للمحرم النظر إليه 

Qadi Ayad said: It is apparent that they could see her actions from her head and the top half of her body, because they were allowed to do as she was a milk-aunt to Abu Salamah and his brother from her sister Umm Kulthum. As for the lower part of her body, this was covered.

For more details and fatwas, please read this detailed article:

Thus, Salim most probably saw Sahla with exposed breasts before becoming an adult, and also saw her with exposed breasts after becoming an adult. 

 

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