Allah the almighty says:

Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. ... (2:233)

From this one would conclude that rada'a or breastfeeding only counts for babies and or little children.

Neverthless there are ahadith that seem to consider rada'a being valid for adults like:

  • 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) 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 (ﷺ) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) laughed.
    (See for example in Sahih Muslim, in Sunan ibn Majah and Sunan an-Nasa-i)

  • 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 (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) said: Suckle him (so that he may become your foster-child), and thus he may be able to come to you (freely).
    (See for example in Sahih Muslim and a similar narration in Sunan an-Nasa-i)

And some athar:

  • Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Salim ibn Abdullah ibn Umar informed him that A'isha umm al-muminin sent him away while he was being nursed to her sister Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and said, "Suckle him ten times so that he can come in to see me."

    Salim said, "Umm Kulthum nursed me three times and then fell ill, so that she only nursed me three times. I could not go in to see A'isha because Umm Kulthum did not finish for me the ten times." (Al-Muwatta')

  • Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Safiyya bint Abi Ubayd told him that Hafsa, umm al-muminin, sent Asim ibn Abdullah ibn Sad to her sister Fatima bint Umar ibn al-Khattab for her to suckle him ten times so that he could come in to see her. She did it, so he used to come in to see her. (Al-Muwatta')

  • Don't these ahadith contradict the Qur'an especially as there are actually statements and maybe even ahadith from other sahabah saying that breastfeeding an adult doesn't count.

  • Or is this just a special case, as it seems only 'Aishah () and other mothers of believers are referred to in all ahadith I know of that seem to agree that breastfeeding adults create a mahram relationship.
  • How do scholars of fiqh and tafsir actually interpret these evidences?


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