Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I have read that if a woman breast feeds a child under two he will becomes mahram to the man and woman AND the family’s relatives. Hijab rulings wouldn’t apply.
From other sources I have been told that the child would become only mahram to the couple and their children.
Which is correct?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
If an infant consumes a single drop of breast milk between birth and twenty-four lunar months, they are legally considered to be a milk-child.
Subsequently, the milk-child is akin to the other children in that the same relationships which are established by blood, between them and other relatives, are also established and upheld. So, the milk-son cannot marry the maternal aunt, for instance, just as his milk-brother, the nephew, cannot marry her.
This is understood from the tradition (hadith) reported from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in which he said, “Suckling makes unlawful what lineage makes unlawful.” [Bukhari]
Therefore, the milk-child is unlawful for the parents, and similarly the grandparents and above. Hence, and if a girl, she would not need to cover in front of your husband’s father, unless there was a fear of something unbecoming.
However, there would be a different set of rulings for the interaction between your new husband’s father and (a) your daughter from a previous marriage, and (b) your adopted daughter.
[Samarqandi, Tuhfat al-Fuqaha (2.351); Haskafi/Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Qadri Pasha, al-Ahkam al-Shar‘iyya fi al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya (66)]
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.