Ask a Muslim Scholar Volume 2

Q: My wife breastfeeds our son now for almost years, he finds it difficult to drink from a cup, he prefers the breast. Is it allowed to feed him more than two years in this situation? It’s very hard for him and us to stop the breastfeeding now. We don’t have plans to have another baby also in this moment.

A: A mother in Islam is expected to provide nurturing care and love for her children; breast feeding is undoubtedly one of the best ways of providing such care. Breast-milk has been specifically created by Allah solely to provide all the necessary nutrients and immunity so vital for the development of the child in its formative years, and as such there is no substitute for it. So you are to be commended for your zeal to provide the loving care for your child.

It is, therefore, not at all surprising when Allah states in the Qur’an, “Mothers shall give such to their children for two whole years, for those who wish the suckling to be completed……if after consultation, they choose by mutual agreement to wean the child, it is no offence for them….” (Qur’an: 2: 233). 

Scholars have deduced a number of points from the above verse: Full term of breastfeeding is two years—if the parents so decide; however, should they prefer to wean earlier, it can be done without incurring any offence or sin so long as such a decision has been made after giving due consideration to the welfare of the child as well as the interests of both parents. 

As for the question whether a mother can breast feed past the two years, the answer is: there is nothing in the sources to indicate that it is wrong to do so. So you are free to do so if you deem it conducive for the wellbeing of your child. 

Having said this, however, I should convince you that some point you must make a distinction between providing, responsible nurturing care and spoiling a child. Sometimes a child may never wish to wean at all if you were to leave it entirely to his choice. It is therefore important for you to plan to wean him gradually without causing him undue emotional stress. You should decide your move in consultation with your pediatrician and a trained nurse.

Q: Is it allowed to donate Sadaqah (charity) to non-Muslims in dire need and fighting for life because of illness?

A: Islam encourages charities to all human beings regardless of differences of religion, race, colour of language. The Prophet, peace be upon him, came to the help of the non-Muslims pagans who had fought against him; their paganism did not come in the way of his assistance for them in their dire need. Allah says describing the quality of faith of the true believers that they feed the prisoners while they themselves are in dire need preferring them over themselves: the poor, the orphans and the prisoners; prisoners mentioned here were none other than pagans taken as prisoners: “They give food to the poor, the orphan, the captive, though they love it themselves, saying, “We fed for the sake of God alone: We seek neither recompense nor thanks from you.” (Qur’an: 76: 8-9).

So Muslims have an obligation to come to the help of their non-Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens; the Prophet said, “if a single person goes to bed in empty stomach, Allah’s guarantee of protection shall be taken away from them!” so let us come together to fight poverty and help those in need regardless of difference in religion, race or ethnicity, color or language. May Allah include among those whom the Prophet, peace be upon him, described when he said, “The best of mankind are those who are most helpful to the servants of Allah!”

Q: Is there any sahih (authentic) hadith that states that you can beat your children to learn? Please comment on this.

A: There is no such hadith that is considered as authentic. Furthermore, teaching through corporeal punishment was never the method followed by the Prophet, peace be upon him. It is well known that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was recognized as the best of teachers by his companions: he taught men, women, young and old. He did so primarily through role modeling and practical examples. We learn from Aishah, his beloved wife, and the mother of the faithful, “The Prophet, peace be upon him, never struck anyone with his hands: neither a man, or a woman, or a servant, or anyone else for that matter…”

Prophet was known for his extreme gentleness, tolerance, and humor as a teacher; he never used threats or condemnation to correct anyone: Anas, who worked for the Prophet, peace be upon him, ten years to do errands for him, said, “I served Allah’s Messenger ten years; yet not even once he condemned me for anything I failed to do or a mistake I made…”

In conclusion: We should never use beating as a method of teaching our children; we should rather use the effective methods of teaching as demonstrated by the Prophet, peace be upon him, our perfect role model. I suggest you better get hold of the excellent work on the Prophetic manners by Imam Bukhari, which is available in English under the title: Imam Bukhari’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners translated by Yusuf Talal Delorenzo.

Q: Is there a good website that I can go to for proper information on the raising of a Muslim boy: i.e., pregnancy, labor, after the birth, circumcision etc.?

A: is a comprehensive website that i can recommend with confidence in this regard.

It has a number of departments: Some of them are directly related to Islamic rulings and advises on such matters, others are related to issues of counseling and health. So you are advised to consult the specific department at the site for the specific information you are seeking. If, on the other hand, you do not find the requisite information already posted, you could also contact the editors, who will be able to provide you the information you are seeking.

May Allah bless you in your search-aamen.

Q: Salaam Alaikum Can a virgin marry a past fornicator who has repented? This man had committed major zina when he was younger. He has repented and not committed any more zina.

A: Fornication is a grave sin Islam. Allah says, “And do not commit adultery – for, behold, it is an abomination and an evil way.” (Qur’an: 17:32).

However, if someone has repented of a sin sincerely and has expiated for his past by leading a virtuous life, then his sins are forgiven. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “One who has repented of a sin is like one who has never sinned.”  But mind you repentance is not simply saying astaghfiru Allah. Rather, it requires changing one’s life around by taking the necessary steps for repentance.

Therefore, if he has repented and has been living an Islamic life, staying away from the bad company and has followed up his sinful life with good deeds to expiate for it, and hence has earned credibility and integrity in the community, then you may marry him. Otherwise, it is not recommended for you to marry him as you may, God forbids, end up in problems with him, as he may be addicted to a permissive life-style. I advise you to consider the issue very carefully and not to rush to it.


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