Developing a Mahram Relationship Through Nursing in Maliki Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu

My father was adopted and when he was about 7 yrs old his mother (who adopted him) conceived and she gave my father some of her breast milk with a spoon.

Does this make him her mahram? Will that also mean my uncle is now my mahram?

JazakaaAllahu Khairan

Answer: According to the verse in the Quran in Sura Baqara (2:233), “Mothers shall nurse their children for two complete years.”  The years here refer to lunar years.  From this verse the scholars have deduced that two years is maximum time that nursing can cause the mahram (non-marriageable) relationship.

Some scholars, such as the Maliki scholars, have added two months to the two years. This is based on the principle that “proximity to something will incur the same ruling.”  Two months were deemed as being close enough to the limit to be given their ruling.
Beyond this, nursing will not cause a mahram relationship to occur.  Thus, your father will not be considered to be the mahram of the caretaker who gave him milk when he was seven years old.  Since the mahram relationship did not occur, your “uncle” who is the caretakers son, will not be your mahram.
As a note, the Maliki scholars do not require that milk reach the child directly from the mother’s breast.  If the milk was given through a bottle, syringe, spoon or the like, that will be sufficient. But again, this would have to be before the 2 year and 2 month limit.
And Allah knows best.
[Mukhtasar Khalil]

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