February 8, 2011

A Mother's Milk: The Command from Allah

Umm Abdulkarim is an American mother of two, currently living in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is an Economics, pre-Law and Philosophy student currently studying for her LSAT exam to enter Law School and is an avid breastfeeding supporter. 

By guest author Umm Abdulkarim:

Allah, subhanu wa ta'ala, says in the Qur'an: “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years - give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination." --Sura Luqman, (31:14)

The mother, in Islam, has the highest status and it is her that determines the success of the family. As mothers, we are the foundation our family is built upon. We provide the love, passion and nurturing that every family thrives upon. Our vital role of nurturing our child starts in the womb and carries on throughout our child’s lifetime. 

Even in the earliest stages of development, our children depend upon us for their survival. During pregnancy, we take care of ourselves and make sure we are healthy to ensure that we have done our best to protect and provide for the development of our growing baby. Once our baby is born the most natural and nutritional way to sustain them is with breast milk. Verily Allah, subhanu wa ta’ala, has given us mothers this beautiful gift and made breastfeeding an obligation for those who are able.

Breastfeeding is the right of the child and for all women who are able to breastfeed, it is a must and the blessings you and your child will receive are plentiful.

For in the Glorious Qu’ran in states:
“And We inspired the mother of Musa (Moses): (telling): "Suckle him [Musa (Moses)], but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers."-- Sura Al-Qasas, (28: 7)

“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no sin on them. And if you decide on a foster suckling-mother for your children, there is no sin on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you agreed (to give her) on reasonable basis. And fear Allah and know that Allah is All-Seer of what you do.”-- Sura Al-Baqara, (2:233)

Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir says: "This is a direction from Allah to the mothers to suckle their infants through the complete term of suckling, which is two years." --Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, tafsir.com

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the child, the mother, the family and society. Islam has known of these benefits, as proven by the aforementioned ayat in the Holy Qur'an. 

In his book, The Fragile Vessels, Muhammad Al-Jibaly says, "A woman may not forsake this important obligation unless she has an Islamically acceptable excuse, such as a genuine medical problem. Women who deny their children their nursing rights are liable to punishment in the Grave and the Hereafter."

Abu Umamah al-Bahili reported that Allah's Messenger (saw) said:
"While I was sleeping, two men (angels) came to me, held my upper arms, and took me to a rough mountain. They said," Climb." I said," I cannot climb it." They said, " We will make it easy for you." He continued: " So I ascended until I reached a high place in the mountain. I heard fierce cries and asked, " What are those cries?" The replied, " That is the howling of the people of the Fire." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some people who were suspended by their Achilles' tendons, their cheeks cut and gushing blood. I asked, "Who are those?" The replied, "Those are the ones who break their fast when it is not permissible." He continued: "We moved on until I saw people who were awfully swollen, and had the most foul stench and the most hideous appearance. I asked," Who are those?" He replied,"Those are the dead of the kuffar (on the battlefield)." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some people who were awfully swollen, and had the most foul stench--their stench was like that of gutters. I asked," Who are those?" The replied," Those are the male and female adulterers." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some women with snakes biting at their breasts. I asked," Who are those?" They replied, " Those are the women who deny their children their milk." He continued: "We moved on until I saw boys playing between two rivers. I asked," who are those?" The replied, " Those are the believers' offspring (who die before puberty.) --Recorded by Ibn Khuzaymah (no.1986), Ibn Hibban and others. Verified to be authentic by Sheikh Albani (Sahih ut-Targhib no.991)

Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most important ways to develop your child physically, mentally and spiritually.  May Allah grant us success in this life and in the hereafter! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.


  1. Beautiful post mashaAllah, i wish pple would realize that Breastfeeding its not a choice in whether we feel like it or not it is a right we owe our children, I saw this quote and wanted to share, "A newborn baby has only three demands. They are, warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~Grantly Dick-Read

  2. MashaAllah, wonderful quote. JazakiAllah Khair. InshaAllah "A Mother's Milk" will be a regular series on this blog to further discuss breastfeeding from an Islamic perspective. InshaAllah our next post in the series will focus on the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, so stay tuned! =)