Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Revisiting the Issue of Islam and the Nursing of Adults, Part I

Exposing the misinformation of Muslim critics

by Sam Shamoun

Some months ago, I published a paper discussing a number of Islamic traditions speaking about the breast-feeding of adults. In response the Muslim critics/polemicists Hesham Azmy and Usman Sheikh (a.k.a. Johnny Bravo) have written a very scathing personal attack upon me, calling my interpretation and discussion of these Islamic traditions merely the product of my "perverted" mind.

In their paper, they also attempt to give these traditions a completely different meaning. Despite the strong disagreement of what these traditions really say, I am glad to see that Hesham Azmy and Usman Sheikh agree with me that such actions as described in my earlier paper are indeed sick and perverted. Whether these traditions are as innocent as these two Muslim writers now claim, and the perversion was only in my mind, or whether these acts of perversion are genuinely part of Islam will be discussed in this paper. We will focus on addressing whether they were successful in proving me wrong by showing that this perversion was merely my imagination, or whether their rebuttal paper was simply an attempt of covering up the dark aspects of a perverted religion.

Our readers can access their "rebuttal" at these two Muslim websites:

We proceed with an evaluation and response to their arguments.

The very abusive and foul nature of the Muslim response article shows that my original paper has really struck a nerve. The authors were obviously very angry with me and saw no other solution than to go on an ad hominem rampage. That's fine. We are mature enough to handle such heat and will simply ignore it for the most part. In the long run, the only effect of personal attacks is to expose a person's inability to deal intellectually with the arguments set before him.

The real issue here is not their insults or ad hominem arguments, but whether as a result of my "perverted" mind I have misunderstood the hadiths and read into them things not stated. The authors claim that the only way I can justify my perverted understanding of these hadiths is if I can show that others understood them in the same way:

It is crystal-clear that this missionary did not derive his filthy interpretation from any Islamic source, rather, it came from his equally filthy mind.

In order for his argument to carry at least a little weight, the missionary needs to demonstrate to the readers that others besides him had also misunderstood the tradition in question, in exactly the same way as he did (note that quoting his fellow missionaries proves nothing other than that they are as perverted as he is). HOWEVER, WE ARE 100% CERTAIN THAT HE IS ABOUT THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS PLANET WHO HAS EVER MISUNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF SUCH A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD TRADITION. Therefore his lack of comprehension and the pervert nature of his feeble mind does not prove anything against Islam. That is to say that if Sam Shamoun cannot understand and comprehend an issue, then that proves nothing against Islam other than to demonstrate his own lack of intelligence, more so when he is the only individual who seems to have had a "problem" with the passage and got "confused" with its intended meaning.

How is it that the words ‘suckling’ and ‘nursing,’ prevalent in the traditions I quoted in the original article, can be taken as ANYTHING BUT LITERAL BREAST-FEEDING!? The authors go on to quote a source trying to prove that this is allegedly referring to placing the milk in a container, but this is nowhere evident in any of the traditions from which I quoted. Furthermore, I will demonstrate below how others drew the same conclusions that I did. These hadiths clearly convey the idea of literal breast-feeding, as I think anybody looking at the traditions objectively should be able to CLEARLY see. It is the burden of the authors to demonstrate that their forced understanding, coming from what we will demonstrate to be a dubious source, is correct. The natural reading based on the traditions is clearly referring to literal breast-feeding.

With that being said, let's see whether or not it is really true (as the authors claim) that I am the only one who allegedly "misunderstood" the hadiths and saw perverted things nowhere stated within these narrations? Let us see:

... The Prophet (may peace and blessing be upon him) said: Give him your BREAST-FEED. SHE GAVE HIM FIVE BREAST-FEEDS. He then became like her foster-son. (Sunan Abu Dawud English Translation with Explanatory Notes, by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume II, Book V (Kitab al-Nikah), Number 2056)

The translator evidently had no qualms about implying that Sahla gave Salim five BREAST-FEEDINGS, not breast milk in a cup. He evidently was unaware of Ibn Sa‘d's version!

It must be kept in mind that Sahla had not given birth to Salim, and he was definitely a lot older than 2 years old, accounting for his adoped father's discomfort with his being in the presence of Sahla while she was unveiled. Therefore, it would not have been possible for Sahla to pump her breastmilk into a cup because, unless she had given birth to a child recently, there wouldn’t be any milk in the glands. Thus, this makes it quite clear that Muhammad wanted her to allow Salim to feed off her breast, much like a mother would breast-feed her infant, and that explains her reaction to Muhammad's request.

According to the next hadith the only suckling that makes marriage unlawful is that which comes directly from the breast itself:

Narrated Umm Salamah: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The only suckling which makes marriage unlawful IS THAT WHICH IS TAKEN FROM THE BREAST and enters the bowels, and is taken before the time of weaning." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 944 taken from the ALIM CD-Rom)

This is further supported by the word used in the hadiths to describe the action of suckling, namely redha'a. The following online Arabic-English Dictionary defines it as:

nursing, suckling, suck (

Here is another:

Redha'a: Breast Sucking. (
Source; see also here)

Now the authors may claim that this refers only to the weaning period of a child and not applicable to men. Well, let us see what this next Muslim has to say (even though he is a Shia):

One of the methods for a person to become "Mahram" (intimate; forbidden to marry) is through fosterage. A woman may suckle the child and become her foster-mother when the child is less than two years old. It is forbidden for a female to show any parts of her body such as breasts, chest, hair, and so on, to a grown male who is not Mahram. However, Aisha claimed that a woman can suckle a grown up man who understands sexuality and has even beard! For a female who wants to suckle such adult male for the first time, SHE MUST DO THE FOLLOWING:

1) To allow this grown-up man to enter her house,
2) TO OPEN HER CLOTHES INTENTIONALLY (by the intention of suckling)

This is for the first time when the person in question is not Mahram as yet based on the Fatwa of Aisha, he will become Mahram after being suckled, and nothing would be wrong! Here are some traditions from Aisha attributing SUCH A SHAMEFUL THING to the Prophet:

Aisha reported that 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 (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man. Amr has made this addition in his narration that he participated in the Battle of Badr and in the narration of Ibn Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) laughed.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3424.

Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr had narrated to him that Aisha reported that Sahla Bint Suhail Ibn Amr came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: Suckle him so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you. He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I refrained from narrating this Hadith for a year or so on account of fear. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a Hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that Aisha had narrated that to me.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3426.

Zainab daughter of Abu Salama reported: I heard Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), saying to Aisha: By Allah, I do not like to be seen by a young boy who has passed the period of fosterage, whereupon She (Aisha) said: Why is it so? Sahla daughter of Suhail came to Allah's messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's messenger, I swear by Allah that I see in the face of Abu Hudhaifa (the signs of disgust) on account of entering of Salim (in the house), whereupon Allah's messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She (Sahlah Bint Suhail) said: He has a beard. But he (again) said: Suckle him, and it would remove what is there (expression of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa. She said: (I did that) and , by Allah, I did not see (any sign of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3428.

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle, used to say that all wives of Allah's Apostle disclaimed the idea that one with this type of fosterage (having been suckled after the proper period) should come to them... and no one was going to be allowed to enter (our house) with this type of fosterage and we do not subscribe to this view.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3429.

Aisha herself testified that:

Aisha reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited me when a man was sitting near me, and he seemed to disapprove of that. And I saw signs of anger on his face and I said: Messenger of Allah, he is my brother by fosterage, whereupon he said: Consider who your brothers are because of fosterage since fosterage is through hunger (i.e. in infancy).

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3430.

Also al-Bukhari narrated:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.815:
Narrated Aisha: Once the Prophet came to me while a man was in my house. He said, "O Aisha! Who is this (man)?" I replied, "My foster brothers" He said, "O Aisha! Be sure about your foster brothers, as fostership is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period (before two years of age)."

The last three traditions in the above show that the prophet (PBUH&HF) does not approve an adult male to be with his wife (Aisha). He said that fosterage relationship is only possible if the male is less than two years old. These set of traditions are in clear contradiction with the claim of Aisha stated in the early traditions. Besides, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO THINK WHETHER YOU WOULD ALLOW YOUR WIFE TO SUCKLE A GROWN-UP MAN? If no, why do you think that the most honorable man on the earth, the Prophet (PBUH&HF), will allow it?

Regarding the scandal of the above traditions, the translator of Sahih Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, Saudi Arabia) wrote in the footnote of the above traditions that:

This Chapter (i.e., suckling a young boy) is one of the most difficult chapters of this book. Fosterage which makes marriage unlawful is only that which has been referred to in the Holy Qur'an: "And the (divorced) mothers may nurse their children for two whole years if they wish to complete the period of nursing." (2:233) It implies that the fosterage within two years of the child's birth is effective in determining the nature of relationship, and that of the subsequent period, and specially in a grown-up age, is NOT effective. This view is held by Imam Shafi'i, Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad, and is supported on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud, Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar.

Sunni reference: Footnote of Sahih Muslim, English version, by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, v2, p43

(Source: A Shi'ite Encyclopedia, Chapter 1a., Part VI)

Sunni Muslim Moiz Amjad writes:

Keeping the foregoing background in mind, when Abu Hudaifah's wife expressed her concern in front of the Prophet (pbuh), the Prophet (pbuh) realizing the nature of Abu Hudaifah's concern advised his wife to take an action that was likely to take care of Abu Hudaifah's concern. It seems that the advise given by the Prophet (pbuh) to Abu Hudaifah's wife was, in fact, to take some of her milk and give it to Salem, thereby, making Salem a kind of a foster child and, subsequently, removing Abu Hudaifah's concern regarding the issue. HOWEVER, THE INCIDENT, IT SEEMS, HAS BEEN MISREPORTED IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE PROPHET (pbuh) ADVISED ABU HUDAIFAH'S WIFE TO BREAST-FEED HER GROWN-UP ADOPTED SON. (Source: Understanding Islam)

The two Muslims who accused me of a perverted mind, stated that I needed to find others who viewed these hadiths in a similar manner as I did to prove my case. The above quotations certainly satisfy this criterion. The Shia source quotes those hadiths and does not reinterpret them to mean milk in a cup. The Shia site rejects the hadiths altogether because of the perverted nature of the practice. Also Moiz Amjad, "The Learner", calls it misreported, but he agrees that the narration itself gives this impression.

The authors try to convince their readers that the command to suckle a grown man is completely innocent and that I am at fault for thinking otherwise. In light of this claim the following hadith, which was also used in the Shia encyclopedia, becomes all the more interesting:

Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr had narrated to him that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail b. 'Amr came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: SUCKLE HIM so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I REFRAINED FROM (narrating this hadith) FOR A YEAR OR SO ON ACCOUNT OF FEAR. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) had narrated that to me. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3426)

Here was a man who was afraid to narrate what he had heard and decided to keep this story to himself for a little more than a year! The man obviously didn't share the authors' views regarding the innocence of this story and knew that there was something terribly wrong with this picture. It seems that the Muslim gent wasn't informed that Sahla had placed her breast milk in a cup for Salim to drink.

In light of the foregoing, the preceding Muslims must all be perverts since they too read the same hadiths and walked away with the same understanding that I did. They saw that the natural implication one derives from them is that Sahla breast-fed a young man at the orders of Muhammad.

Instead of refuting my conclusions by appealing to the authentic hadith collection which narrated the story of Sahla breast-feeding Salim, the authors based their "response" on Ibn Sa‘d's version. After reading it our readers can see the obvious reason why they did so:

Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar told us: Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullah, Az-Zuhri’s nephew, told us on authority of his father that he said: an amount of one milk drink was collected in a pot or glass, so SalĂ®m used to drink it every day, for five days. After this, he used to enter at her while her head is uncovered. This was permission from Messenger of Allah to Sahla bint Suhail.[5]

Interestingly, the authors didn't refer to the more popular name of the narrator. They mention the name "Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar" but didn't indicate to the reader that this man is more popularly known as al-Waqidi. What is the Muslim verdict about this man?

Abd Allah Ibn Ali al Madini and his father said: "Al-Waqidi has 20,000 Hadith I never heard of." And then he said: "His narration shouldn't be used" and considered it weak. Yahya Ibn Muaen said: "Al-Waqidi said 20,000 false hadith about the prophet." Al-Shafi'i said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar." Ibn Hanbal said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar." Al-Bukhari said he didn't write a single letter by Al-Waqidi. (Siar Aalam al nublaaalthagbi – biography of Al-Waqidi)

The following Muslim author writes:

As a report of history, this narration suffers from two fatally serious defects. The first is the UNIVERSALLY RECOGNISED UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OF AL-WAQIDI. Details of his unreliability as a narrator would probably fill several pages, but all of it may be suitably condensed into a statement by Imam ash-Shafi'ee, who was his contemporary, and who knew him personally. Ash-Shafi'ee has the following to say: "In Madeenah there were seven people who used to forge chains of narration. One of them was al-Waqidi."3 (Sources: and

Others say:

Al-Waqidi (130/747-207/822-23), who wrote over twenty works of an historical nature, but only the Kitab al-Maghazi has survived as an independent work. His reputation is marred by the fact that he relied upon story tellers; viz., those who embellished the stories of others. Al-Waqidi did such embellish, such as by adding dates and other details onto the account of Ibn Ishaq (at pages 25-29) (

Even the English translator of Ibn Sa'd's work had this to say about al-Waqidi:

... The chain of the narrators is not reliable because the person who narrated to Ibn Sa'd was Waqidi WHO IS NOTORIOUS AS A NARRATOR OF FABRICATED hadithes. The next one Ya'qub is unknown and 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman is not a Companion. Consequently this narration is not trustworthy. (Ibn Sa'd's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi, 110 002 India], p. 152, fn. 2)

And the list goes on of those who called him a liar.

Al-Waqidi was also one of those that narrated the story of the Satanic Verses. The most amazing part of this is that the authors' friend, MENJ has a response on the same web site where this rebuttal appears from G.F. Haddad seeking to deny the historicity of the Satanic Verses where he calls into question al-Waqidi's reliability! Here is what Haddad says about al-Waqidi:

[(*) Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Waqidi (d. 207),
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said of him: "He is A LIAR." Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: "DISCARDED." Ibn `Adi said: "His narrations ARE NOT RETAINED, AND THEIR BANE COMES FROM HIM." Ibn al-Madini said: "HE FORGES HADITHS." Al-Dhahabi said: "CONSENSUS HAS SETTLED OVER HIS DEBILITY." Mizan al-I`tidal (3:662-666 #7993).] (Source:

It seems that when it is convenient the authors will quote al-Waqidi to support their position, discarding the Muslim scholarly opinion regarding his unreliability. When al-Waqidi fails to serve their purpose the authors are only too glad to call him into question. What is also interesting is the authors' use of Ibn Sa'd. In
this article, Azmy claims that Mohammad's murders of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, both of which are reported by Ibn Sa'd, are not historical because they do not have isnads. However, we see that Ibn Sa'd is suddenly reliable here since he provides information about an alleged tradition regarding breast milk being placed into containers. This appears to be once again a case of the authors' arbitrarily accepting and rejecting information from their sources, and doing so in whatever way that they feel best suits their purposes. Utilizing such a double standard and practicing such inconsistency appear to be rather hypocritical and neither this paper nor this Muslim site will have much of a chance to get a recommendation for scholarly integrity (cf. also the appendix on plagiarism).

However, we do need to put this in perspective. Al-Waqidi may have been considered a liar without this necessarily implying that everything he reported was a lie. As the following Muslim writes:

Al-Waqidi is reliable for purely historical reports. Ahl al-Hadith consider him too honest and too rich a source to be discarded especially in light of Ibn Sa`d's accreditation, which lent him huge credit--but they unanimously discard him with regard to ahkam reports which are uncorroborated by other narrators e.g. wiggling the index finger in Salat. It is the latter category they meant when they called him a liar, i.e. thoroughly unreliable and/or inaccurate in his isnads, not at all that he was dishonest. Al-Dhahabi said: "I have no doubt in his sidq." And Allah knows best. (Source:

It may be the case that this narration from al-Waqidi is sound. But the burden of proof is upon the authors to show that it is, especially when the other so-called "sound" collections do not report this version of the story.

The authors have apparently taken most of their stuff, including even their Egyptian joke, from an
Arabic webpage, but nowhere indicated that these arguments are not their own but merely a translation of another author's work. This plagiarism will be documented in detail in the appendix. To give our readers an idea of what we are talking about, we reproduce the joke here:

Shamoun's filthy interpretation of the Prophetic permission reminds us of a famous Egyptian joke about an idiot who once wanted to drink hot milk, so he burnt his cow. Shamoun typically thinks like this idiot. If you wanted to drink some cow milk, will you go below the cow and suckle it? Will you put the cow on a fire to heat its milk and then suckle her? If you are Sam Shamoun, the answer must be a YES! Only a filthy idiot diseased with congenital hypothyroidism would think like that! However, this is the only way of thinking familiar to Shamoun's perverted mind.

The false analogy in the authors' joke should be obvious to our readers. Unlike cows, when we are talking about human breast-feeding we assume the direct connection of the mouth to the breast unless we are told otherwise. So their silly comparison is useless as a valid analogy unless the authors want to equivocate Muslim females with cows!

Returning to the issue itself, here is a pronouncement about the breast-feeding of young adults by a well-known Muslim scholar. Sheikh Al-Albani said:

(Transcribed from audio file: Here is a rough translation of the relevant statements from Al-Albani's speech:

Do you want to say if he is nursed directly from the breast or by a cup? I say we don't have any thing that I know of telling us the way that the wife of Abu Hudhaifa breast-fed Salim; we don't know the way. And I personally say I don't see any objection to his being nursed directly from the nipple ... but if someone ever felt uncomfortable with that — some one getting breast-fed from his wife even if he only sees just the nipple — he could opt for an alternative way and that is through a cup.

Since the authors apparently know Arabic they can listen to the entire 12-minute recording of the speech that this statement was taken from. The above passage begins around the 10-minute mark.

It must be kept in mind that Al-Albani is a muhaddith, a scholar in Hadith, and would know the weak narrations from the strong ones. Al-Albani doesn't once appeal to the authors' hadith regarding Sahla placing her milk in a cup for Salim to drink. Unlike the authors, he obviously knew that from a Muslim perspective it was a weak narration and couldn't be used to establish a point.

To appreciate the weight of Al-Albani, note that he was (1) the teacher of Hadith at Medina University from AH 1381 to 1384 [AD 1961-65], (2) chosen by King Khaled Al Saud to be a member of the Grand Council of the Islamic university of Medina AH 1395 [AD 1975], and (3) the winner of the King Faisal Award for the best Islamic scholar (person, character) of the year AH 1419 [AD 1998]. Though he is a somewhat controversial person, many Sunni Muslims consider him to have been the highst authority of Hadith in modern times.

To our authors we need to say, have you ever thought about why you had to look really hard for a single narration written by a person considered to be a liar by your own Muslim ulema to refute our argument? Have you ever asked yourself how far are you willing to go to justify something that you know is completely absurd and perverted? Are you that desperate that you will quote just about anything to cover over the shame and filth of your religion? Remember, it was you who called such an interpretation sick, filthy and perverted.

Implication: Since Al-Albani's interpretation agrees with that of Sam Shamoun, our Muslim authors have basically called the Muslim scholar Sheikh Al-Albani "sick, filthy and perverted" and "demonstrating a lack of intelligence" for not only viewing the narrations in this way, but even more for teaching Muslims that they can follow these traditions today.


In their zeal to commit vicious character slander and ad hominem against me, they forgot to comment on the statements regarding Aisha commanding her family to breast-feed men whom she wanted to allow in her home:

... "Sahla bint Suhayl who was the wife of Abu Hudhayfa, and one of the tribe of Amr ibn Luayy, came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah! We think of Salim as a son and he comes in to see me while I am uncovered. We only have one room, so what do you think about the situation?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Give him five drinks of your milk and he will be mahram by it.’ She then saw him as a foster son. A'isha umm al-muminin TOOK THAT AS A PRECEDENT FOR WHATEVER MEN SHE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO COME TO SEE HER. SHE ORDERED HER SISTER, Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq AND THE DAUGHTERS OF HER BROTHER TO GIVE MILK TO WHICHEVER MEN SHE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO COME IN AND SEE HER. The rest of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, refused to let anyone come in to them by such nursing. They said, 'No! By Allah! We think that what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered Sahla bint Suhayl to do was only an indulgence concerning the nursing of Salim alone. No! By Allah! NO ONE WILL COME IN UPON US BY SUCH NURSING!' "This is what the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thought about the suckling of an older person." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 30, Number 30.2.12)


... Hence ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) 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 still other wives of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) refused to allow anyone to visit them on the basis OF SUCH BREAST-FEEDING UNLESS ONE WAS GIVEN BREAST-FEEDING DURING INFANCY. They told ‘A’isha: By Allah, we do not know whether that was a special concession granted by the Prophet (may peace be upon him) to Salim exclusive of the people. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume II, Book V, Number 2056)

The foregoing shows that Aisha told her family to breast-feed young men in order to make them lawful to enter Aisha's presence. The authors may accuse me of reading too much into this tradition due to my "perverted" mind. If so, we simply present the Learner's response to a questioner's obvious shock over Aisha issuing such a command:

I found the quotation below in a web site:

Muslim's Sahih (chapter on nursing the adult) tells us that Sahla bint Suhail complained to Muhammad because her husband, Abu Huzeifa, was envious of his servant, Salem. Muhammad advised Sahla to nurse Salem five times. She protested about Salem's having a beard. But Muhammad advised her to nurse Salem in order to cure her husband of envy, for Aisha used to nurse any man when she and Muhammad thought it was suitable. This tradition is described in detail in Ibn Malik's Muwatta (chapter on nursing the adult)."

This seems like it is a false hadith, BECAUSE AYESHA NEVER HAD A BABY, SO HOW CAN SHE NURSE ANYBODY? Never heard of the concept of nursing adults was Salem a child or an adult? ...
As for the second part of the narrative, IT SEEMS ONLY A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE MOTHER OF THE BELIEVERS. Firstly, as you have correctly mentioned that being A CHILDLESS WOMAN, IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY FOR HER TO SUCKLE A CHILD. Secondly, the white lie entailed in the narrative becomes apparent merely on the grounds that not even a single person can be named with any degree of certainty from amongst the Muslims who could be claimed to have actually been nursed by the Mother of the believers. The most that can be said is that the Mother of the Believers may, in contrast to the other wives of the Prophet (pbuh), have actually mistakenly generalized the advice given by the Prophet (pbuh) to Abu Hudaifah's wife. This opinion of the Mother of the Believers GAVE HER OPPONENTS A CHANCE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION BY INCORPORATING, IN THE NARRATIVE, THE FABLE OF HER NURSING ALL THOSE WHOM SHE DESIRED TO PERMIT ENTRY INTO HER CHAMBER
. (Source: Understanding Islam)

Aisha also gave Umm Salamah, Muhammad's wife, the following advice:

Umm Salama said to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her): A young boy who is at the threshold of puberty comes to you. I, however, do not like that he should come to me, whereupon 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: Don't you see in Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) a model for you? She also said: The wife of Abu Hudhaifa said: Messenger of Allah, Salim comes to me and now he is a (grown-up) person, and there is something that (rankles) in the mind of Abu Hudhaifa about him, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him (so that he may become your foster-child), and thus he may be able to come to you (freely). (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3427)

Zainab daughter of Abu Salama reported: I heard Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon himy, saying to 'A'isha: By Allah, I do not like to be seen by a young boy who has passed the period of fosterage, whereupon she ('A'isha) said: Why is it so? Sahla daughter of Suhail came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, I swear by Allah that I see in the face of Abu Hudhaifa (the signs of disgust) on account of entering of Salim (in the house), whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She (Sahla bint Suhail) said: He has a beard. But he (again) said: Suckle him, and it would remove what is there (expression of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa. She said: (I did that) and, by Allah, I did not see (any sign of disgust) on the face of Abu Hadhaifa. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3428)

In the case of these hadiths, the authors cannot make appeal to breast milk in a cup for a very simple reason. UMM SALAMAH WASN'T WEANING CHILDREN AND THEREFORE HAD NO BREAST MILK TO OFFER SUGGESTING THAT AISHA'S ADVICE COULD ONLY BE CARRIED OUT BY ALLOWING THE MEN TO ACTUALLY FEED FROM THE BREAST ITSELF! Aisha's advice shows that, at least in the case of Umm Salamah, the milk in the cup explanation is untenable.[1]

Some Muslims are astonished at hearing that Aisha gave such advice since it allegedly contradicts Muhammad's claim that breast-feeding is to be done during the weaning period of a child. Note what this other Muslim says in regards to Malik's Hadith on Aisha's advice:

(Note: Firstly, Prophet would never tell someone to nurse an Adult (against islam), secondly who ever wrote this hadith OBVIOUSLTY DOESN'T LIKE "AISHA" BY ATTRIBUTING SUCH RIDICULOUS THINGS TO HER). (Source:

The preceding citations from Muslims show the confusion and shock that breast-feeding young men caused. This leads us to our next point.


Continues on Part II


1 comment: