Revisiting the Issue of Islam and the Nursing of Adults


Sam Shamoun

Some months ago, I published a paper discussing a number of Islamic traditions speaking about the breast-feeding of adults. In response the Muslim critics/polemicists Hesham Azmy and Usman Sheikh (a.k.a. Johnny Bravo) have written a very scathing personal attack upon me, calling my interpretation and discussion of these Islamic traditions merely the product of my "perverted" mind.

In their paper, they also attempt to give these traditions a completely different meaning. Despite the strong disagreement of what these traditions really say, I am glad to see that Hesham Azmy and Usman Sheikh agree with me that such actions as described in my earlier paper are indeed sick and perverted. Whether these traditions are as innocent as these two Muslim writers now claim, and the perversion was only in my mind, or whether these acts of perversion are genuinely part of Islam will be discussed in this paper. We will focus on addressing whether they were successful in proving me wrong by showing that this perversion was merely my imagination, or whether their rebuttal paper was simply an attempt of covering up the dark aspects of a perverted religion.

Our readers can access their "rebuttal" at these two Muslim websites:

We proceed with an evaluation and response to their arguments.


The very abusive and foul nature of the Muslim response article shows that my original paper has really struck a nerve. The authors were obviously very angry with me and saw no other solution than to go on an ad hominem rampage. That's fine. We are mature enough to handle such heat and will simply ignore it for the most part. In the long run, the only effect of personal attacks is to expose a person's inability to deal intellectually with the arguments set before him.

The real issue here is not their insults or ad hominem arguments, but whether as a result of my "perverted" mind I have misunderstood the hadiths and read into them things not stated. The authors claim that the only way I can justify my perverted understanding of these hadiths is if I can show that others understood them in the same way:

... It is crystal-clear that this missionary did not derive his filthy interpretation from any Islamic source, rather, it came from his equally filthy mind.

In order for his argument to carry at least a little weight, the missionary needs to demonstrate to the readers that others besides him had also misunderstood the tradition in question, in exactly the same way as he did (note that quoting his fellow missionaries proves nothing other than that they are as perverted as he is). HOWEVER, WE ARE 100% CERTAIN THAT HE IS ABOUT THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS PLANET WHO HAS EVER MISUNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF SUCH A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD TRADITION. Therefore his lack of comprehension and the pervert nature of his feeble mind does not prove anything against Islam. That is to say that if Sam Shamoun cannot understand and comprehend an issue, then that proves nothing against Islam other than to demonstrate his own lack of intelligence, more so when he is the only individual who seems to have had a "problem" with the passage and got "confused" with its intended meaning. (bold and capital emphasis ours)

How is it that the words ‘suckling’ and ‘nursing,’ prevalent in the traditions I quoted in the original article, can be taken as ANYTHING BUT LITERAL BREAST-FEEDING!? The authors go on to quote a source trying to prove that this is allegedly referring to placing the milk in a container, but this is nowhere evident in any of the traditions from which I quoted. Furthermore, I will demonstrate below how others drew the same conclusions that I did. These hadiths clearly convey the idea of literal breast-feeding, as I think anybody looking at the traditions objectively should be able to CLEARLY see. It is the burden of the authors to demonstrate that their forced understanding, coming from what we will demonstrate to be a dubious source, is correct. The natural reading based on the traditions is clearly referring to literal breast-feeding.

With that being said, let's see whether or not it is really true (as the authors claim) that I am the only one who allegedly "misunderstood" the hadiths and saw perverted things nowhere stated within these narrations? Let us see:

... The Prophet (may peace and blessing be upon him) said: Give him your BREAST-FEED. SHE GAVE HIM FIVE BREAST-FEEDS. He then became like her foster-son. (Sunan Abu Dawud English Translation with Explanatory Notes, by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume II, Book V (Kitab al-Nikah), Number 2056)

The translator evidently had no qualms about implying that Sahla gave Salim five BREAST-FEEDINGS, not breast milk in a cup. He evidently was unaware of Ibn Sa‘d's version!

It must be kept in mind that Sahla had not given birth to Salim, and he was definitely a lot older than 2 years old, accounting for his adoped father's discomfort with his being in the presence of Sahla while she was unveiled. Therefore, it would not have been possible for Sahla to pump her breastmilk into a cup because, unless she had given birth to a child recently, there wouldn’t be any milk in the glands. Thus, this makes it quite clear that Muhammad wanted her to allow Salim to feed off her breast, much like a mother would breast-feed her infant, and that explains her reaction to Muhammad's request.

According to the next hadith the only suckling that makes marriage unlawful is that which comes directly from the breast itself:

Narrated Umm Salamah:
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The only suckling which makes marriage unlawful IS THAT WHICH IS TAKEN FROM THE BREAST and enters the bowels, and is taken before the time of weaning." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 944 taken from the ALIM CD-Rom)

This is further supported by the word used in the hadiths to describe the action of suckling, namely redha'a. The following online Arabic-English Dictionary defines it as:

nursing, suckling, suck (Al-Qamoos)

Here is another:

Redha'a: Breast Sucking. (Source; see also here)

Now the authors may claim that this refers only to the weaning period of a child and not applicable to men. Well, let us see what this next Muslim has to say (even though he is a Shia):

One of the methods for a person to become "Mahram" (intimate; forbidden to marry) is through fosterage. A woman may suckle the child and become her foster-mother when the child is less than two years old. It is forbidden for a female to show any parts of her body such as breasts, chest, hair, and so on, to a grown male who is not Mahram. However, Aisha claimed that a woman can suckle a grown up man who understands sexuality and has even beard! For a female who wants to suckle such adult male for the first time, SHE MUST DO THE FOLLOWING:

1) To allow this grown-up man to enter her house,

2) TO OPEN HER CLOTHES INTENTIONALLY (by the intention of suckling)



This is for the first time when the person in question is not Mahram as yet based on the Fatwa of Aisha, he will become Mahram after being suckled, and nothing would be wrong! Here are some traditions from Aisha attributing SUCH A SHAMEFUL THING to the Prophet:

Aisha 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 (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) 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 (may peace be upon him) laughed.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3424.

Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr had narrated to him that Aisha reported that Sahla Bint Suhail Ibn Amr came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: Suckle him so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you. He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I refrained from narrating this Hadith for a year or so on account of fear. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a Hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that Aisha had narrated that to me.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3426.

Zainab daughter of Abu Salama reported: I heard Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), saying to Aisha: By Allah, I do not like to be seen by a young boy who has passed the period of fosterage, whereupon She (Aisha) said: Why is it so? Sahla daughter of Suhail came to Allah's messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's messenger, I swear by Allah that I see in the face of Abu Hudhaifa (the signs of disgust) on account of entering of Salim (in the house), whereupon Allah's messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She (Sahlah Bint Suhail) said: He has a beard. But he (again) said: Suckle him, and it would remove what is there (expression of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa. She said: (I did that) and , by Allah, I did not see (any sign of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3428.

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle, used to say that all wives of Allah's Apostle disclaimed the idea that one with this type of fosterage (having been suckled after the proper period) should come to them... and no one was going to be allowed to enter (our house) with this type of fosterage and we do not subscribe to this view.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3429.

Aisha herself testified that:

Aisha reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited me when a man was sitting near me, and he seemed to disapprove of that. And I saw signs of anger on his face and I said: Messenger of Allah, he is my brother by fosterage, whereupon he said: Consider who your brothers are because of fosterage since fosterage is through hunger (i.e. in infancy).

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition #3430.

Also al-Bukhari narrated:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.815
Narrated Aisha:

Once the Prophet came to me while a man was in my house. He said, "O Aisha! Who is this (man)?" I replied, "My foster brothers" He said, "O Aisha! Be sure about your foster brothers, as fostership is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period (before two years of age)."

The last three traditions in the above show that the prophet (PBUH&HF) does not approve an adult male to be with his wife (Aisha). He said that fosterage relationship is only possible if the male is less than two years old. These set of traditions are in clear contradiction with the claim of Aisha stated in the early traditions. Besides, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO THINK WHETHER YOU WOULD ALLOW YOUR WIFE TO SUCKLE A GROWN-UP MAN? If no, why do you think that the most honorable man on the earth, the Prophet (PBUH&HF), will allow it?

Regarding the scandal of the above traditions, the translator of Sahih Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, Saudi Arabia) wrote in the footnote of the above traditions that:

This Chapter (i.e., suckling a young boy) is one of the most difficult chapters of this book. Fosterage which makes marriage unlawful is only that which has been referred to in the Holy Qur'an: "And the (divorced) mothers may nurse their children for two whole years if they wish to complete the period of nursing." (2:233) It implies that the fosterage within two years of the child's birth is effective in determining the nature of relationship, and that of the subsequent period, and specially in a grown-up age, is NOT effective. This view is held by Imam Shafi'i, Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad, and is supported on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud, Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar.

Sunni reference: Footnote of Sahih Muslim, English version, by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, v2, p43

(Source: A Shi'ite Encyclopedia, Chapter 1a., Part VI; capital emphasis and underline emphasis ours)

Sunni Muslim Moiz Amjad writes:

Keeping the foregoing background in mind, when Abu Hudaifah's wife expressed her concern in front of the Prophet (pbuh), the Prophet (pbuh) realizing the nature of Abu Hudaifah's concern advised his wife to take an action that was likely to take care of Abu Hudaifah's concern. It seems that the advise given by the Prophet (pbuh) to Abu Hudaifah's wife was, in fact, to take some of her milk and give it to Salem, thereby, making Salem a kind of a foster child and, subsequently, removing Abu Hudaifah's concern regarding the issue. HOWEVER, THE INCIDENT, IT SEEMS, HAS BEEN MISREPORTED IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE PROPHET (pbuh) ADVISED ABU HUDAIFAH'S WIFE TO BREAST-FEED HER GROWN-UP ADOPTED SON. (Source: Understanding Islam; capital emphasis ours)

The two Muslims who accused me of a perverted mind, stated that I needed to find others who viewed these hadiths in a similar manner as I did to prove my case. The above quotations certainly satisfy this criterion. The Shia source quotes those hadiths and does not reinterpret them to mean milk in a cup. The Shia site rejects the hadiths altogether because of the perverted nature of the practice. Also Moiz Amjad, "The Learner", calls it misreported, but he agrees that the narration itself gives this impression.

The authors try to convince their readers that the command to suckle a grown man is completely innocent and that I am at fault for thinking otherwise. In light of this claim the following hadith, which was also used in the Shia encyclopedia, becomes all the more interesting:

Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr had narrated to him that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail b. 'Amr came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: SUCKLE HIM so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I REFRAINED FROM (narrating this hadith) FOR A YEAR OR SO ON ACCOUNT OF FEAR. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) had narrated that to me. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3426; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Here was a man who was afraid to narrate what he had heard and decided to keep this story to himself for a little more than a year! The man obviously didn't share the authors' views regarding the innocence of this story and knew that there was something terribly wrong with this picture. It seems that the Muslim gent wasn't informed that Sahla had placed her breast milk in a cup for Salim to drink.

In light of the foregoing, the preceding Muslims must all be perverts since they too read the same hadiths and walked away with the same understanding that I did. They saw that the natural implication one derives from them is that Sahla breast-fed a young man at the orders of Muhammad.


Instead of refuting my conclusions by appealing to the authentic hadith collection which narrated the story of Sahla breast-feeding Salim, the authors based their "response" on Ibn Sa‘d's version. After reading it our readers can see the obvious reason why they did so:

Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar told us: Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullah, Az-Zuhri’s nephew, told us on authority of his father that he said: an amount of one milk drink was collected in a pot or glass, so Salîm used to drink it every day, for five days. After this, he used to enter at her while her head is uncovered. This was permission from Messenger of Allah to Sahla bint Suhail.[5]

Interestingly, the authors didn't refer to the more popular name of the narrator. They mention the name "Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar" but didn't indicate to the reader that this man is more popularly known as al-Waqidi. What is the Muslim verdict about this man?

Abd Allah Ibn Ali al Madini and his father said: "Al-Waqidi has 20,000 Hadith I never heard of." And then he said: "His narration shouldn't be used" and considered it weak.

Yahya Ibn Muaen said: "Al-Waqidi said 20,000 false hadith about the prophet."

Al-Shafi'i said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."

Ibn Hanbal said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."

Al-Bukhari said he didn't write a single letter by Al-Waqidi. (Siar Aalam al nublaaalthagbi – biography of Al-Waqidi)

The following Muslim author writes:

As a report of history, this narration suffers from two fatally serious defects. The first is the UNIVERSALLY RECOGNISED UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OF AL-WAQIDI. Details of his unreliability as a narrator would probably fill several pages, but all of it may be suitably condensed into a statement by Imam ash-Shafi'ee, who was his contemporary, and who knew him personally. Ash-Shafi'ee has the following to say: "In Madeenah there were seven people who used to forge chains of narration. One of them was al-Waqidi."3 (Sources: and; bold emphasis ours)

Others say:

Al-Waqidi (130/747-207/822-23), who wrote over twenty works of an historical nature, but only the Kitab al-Maghazi has survived as an independent work. His reputation is marred by the fact that he relied upon story tellers; viz., those who embellished the stories of others. Al-Waqidi did such embellish, such as by adding dates and other details onto the account of Ibn Ishaq (at pages 25-29) (

Even the English translator of Ibn Sa'd's work had this to say about al-Waqidi:

... The chain of the narrators is not reliable because the person who narrated to Ibn Sa'd was Waqidi WHO IS NOTORIOUS AS A NARRATOR OF FABRICATED hadithes. The next one Ya'qub is unknown and 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman is not a Companion. Consequently this narration is not trustworthy. (Ibn Sa'd's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi, 110 002 India], p. 152, fn. 2; capital emphasis ours)

And the list goes on of those who called him a liar.

Al-Waqidi was also one of those that narrated the story of the Satanic Verses. The most amazing part of this is that the authors' friend, MENJ has a response on the same web site where this rebuttal appears from G.F. Haddad seeking to deny the historicity of the Satanic Verses where he calls into question al-Waqidi's reliability! Here is what Haddad says about al-Waqidi:

[(*) Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Waqidi (d. 207), Ahmad ibn Hanbal said of him: "He is A LIAR." Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: "DISCARDED." Ibn `Adi said: "His narrations ARE NOT RETAINED, AND THEIR BANE COMES FROM HIM." Ibn al-Madini said: "HE FORGES HADITHS." Al-Dhahabi said: "CONSENSUS HAS SETTLED OVER HIS DEBILITY." Mizan al-I`tidal (3:662-666 #7993).] (Source:; capital emphasis ours)

It seems that when it is convenient the authors will quote al-Waqidi to support their position, discarding the Muslim scholarly opinion regarding his unreliability. When al-Waqidi fails to serve their purpose the authors are only too glad to call him into question. What is also interesting is the authors' use of Ibn Sa'd. In this article, Azmy claims that Mohammad's murders of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, both of which are reported by Ibn Sa'd, are not historical because they do not have isnads. However, we see that Ibn Sa'd is suddenly reliable here since he provides information about an alleged tradition regarding breast milk being placed into containers. This appears to be once again a case of the authors' arbitrarily accepting and rejecting information from their sources, and doing so in whatever way that they feel best suits their purposes. Utilizing such a double standard and practicing such inconsistency appear to be rather hypocritical and neither this paper nor this Muslim site will have much of a chance to get a recommendation for scholarly integrity (cf. also the appendix on plagiarism).

However, we do need to put this in perspective. Al-Waqidi may have been considered a liar without this necessarily implying that everything he reported was a lie. As the following Muslim writes:

Al-Waqidi is reliable for purely historical reports. Ahl al-Hadith consider him too honest and too rich a source to be discarded especially in light of Ibn Sa`d's accreditation, which lent him huge credit--but they unanimously discard him with regard to ahkam reports which are uncorroborated by other narrators e.g. wiggling the index finger in Salat. It is the latter category they meant when they called him a liar, i.e. thoroughly unreliable and/or inaccurate in his isnads, not at all that he was dishonest. Al-Dhahabi said: "I have no doubt in his sidq." And Allah knows best. (Source:; bold emphasis ours)

It may be the case that this narration from al-Waqidi is sound. But the burden of proof is upon the authors to show that it is, especially when the other so-called "sound" collections do not report this version of the story.

The authors have apparently taken most of their stuff, including even their Egyptian joke, from an Arabic webpage, but nowhere indicated that these arguments are not their own but merely a translation of another author's work. This plagiarism will be documented in detail in the appendix. To give our readers an idea of what we are talking about, we reproduce the joke here:

Shamoun's filthy interpretation of the Prophetic permission reminds us of a famous Egyptian joke about an idiot who once wanted to drink hot milk, so he burnt his cow. Shamoun typically thinks like this idiot. If you wanted to drink some cow milk, will you go below the cow and suckle it? Will you put the cow on a fire to heat its milk and then suckle her? If you are Sam Shamoun, the answer must be a YES! Only a filthy idiot diseased with congenital hypothyroidism would think like that! However, this is the only way of thinking familiar to Shamoun's perverted mind.

The false analogy in the authors' joke should be obvious to our readers. Unlike cows, when we are talking about human breast-feeding we assume the direct connection of the mouth to the breast unless we are told otherwise. So their silly comparison is useless as a valid analogy unless the authors want to equivocate Muslim females with cows!

Returning to the issue itself, here is a pronouncement about the breast-feeding of young adults by a well-known Muslim scholar. Sheikh Al-Albani said:

"هل تريد أن تقول هل يرضع منها  مباشرة أم بواسطة الكأس، فأنا أقول لم ينقل إلينا فيما علمنا طريقة إرضاع زوجة أبي حذيفة لسالم مولاهم، لم تنقل إلينا الوسيلة ,وأنا أقول شخصيا  لا مانع عندي من أن يكون الرضاع مباشرة من – شو يسمو هايدي – (صوت) حلمة. ألباني... فإن تحرج متحرج ما من أن يسمح للرجل الذي المراد تبنيه بطرقة شرعية، يتحرج من أن يرضع من زوجته ولو بالإقتصار على النظر فقط إلى الحلمة مباشرة، فهناك طريقة أخرى بأن ينقل الحليب من ثديها إلى كأس"

(Transcribed from audio file:

Here is a rough translation of the relevant statements from Al-Albani's speech:

"Do you want to say if he is nursed directly from the breast or by a cup? I say we don't have any thing that I know of telling us the way that the wife of Abu Hudhaifa breast-fed Salim; we don't know the way. And I personally say I don't see any objection to his being nursed directly from the nipple ... but if someone ever felt uncomfortable with that — some one getting breast-fed from his wife even if he only sees just the nipple — he could opt for an alternative way and that is through a cup. (emphasis ours)

Since the authors apparently know Arabic they can listen to the entire 12-minute recording of the speech that this statement was taken from. The above passage begins around the 10-minute mark.

It must be kept in mind that Al-Albani is a muhaddith, a scholar in Hadith, and would know the weak narrations from the strong ones. Al-Albani doesn't once appeal to the authors' hadith regarding Sahla placing her milk in a cup for Salim to drink. Unlike the authors, he obviously knew that from a Muslim perspective it was a weak narration and couldn't be used to establish a point.

To appreciate the weight of Al-Albani, note that he was (1) the teacher of Hadith at Medina University from AH 1381 to 1384 [AD 1961-65], (2) chosen by King Khaled Al Saud to be a member of the Grand Council of the Islamic university of Medina AH 1395 [AD 1975], and (3) the winner of the King Faisal Award for the best Islamic scholar (person, character) of the year AH 1419 [AD 1998]. Though he is a somewhat controversial person, many Sunni Muslims consider him to have been the highst authority of Hadith in modern times.

To our authors we need to say, have you ever thought about why you had to look really hard for a single narration written by a person considered to be a liar by your own Muslim ulema to refute our argument? Have you ever asked yourself how far are you willing to go to justify something that you know is completely absurd and perverted? Are you that desperate that you will quote just about anything to cover over the shame and filth of your religion? Remember, it was you who called such an interpretation sick, filthy and perverted.

Implication: Since Al-Albani's interpretation agrees with that of Sam Shamoun, our Muslim authors have basically called the Muslim scholar Sheikh Al-Albani "sick, filthy and perverted" and "demonstrating a lack of intelligence" for not only viewing the narrations in this way, but even more for teaching Muslims that they can follow these traditions today.


In their zeal to commit vicious character slander and ad hominem against me, they forgot to comment on the statements regarding Aisha commanding her family to breast-feed men whom she wanted to allow in her home:

... "Sahla bint Suhayl who was the wife of Abu Hudhayfa, and one of the tribe of Amr ibn Luayy, came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah! We think of Salim as a son and he comes in to see me while I am uncovered. We only have one room, so what do you think about the situation?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Give him five drinks of your milk and he will be mahram by it.’ She then saw him as a foster son. A'isha umm al-muminin TOOK THAT AS A PRECEDENT FOR WHATEVER MEN SHE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO COME TO SEE HER. SHE ORDERED HER SISTER, Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq AND THE DAUGHTERS OF HER BROTHER TO GIVE MILK TO WHICHEVER MEN SHE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO COME IN AND SEE HER. The rest of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, refused to let anyone come in to them by such nursing. They said, 'No! By Allah! We think that what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered Sahla bint Suhayl to do was only an indulgence concerning the nursing of Salim alone. No! By Allah! NO ONE WILL COME IN UPON US BY SUCH NURSING!'

"This is what the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thought about the suckling of an older person." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 30, Number 30.2.12)


... Hence ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) used to ask the daughters of her sisters and the daughters of her brethren to give him BREAST-FEED five times whom ‘A’ishah wanted to see and who wanted to visit her, though he might be of age: he then visited her. But Umm Salamah and still other wives of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) refused to allow anyone to visit them on the basis OF SUCH BREAST-FEEDING UNLESS ONE WAS GIVEN BREAST-FEEDING DURING INFANCY. They told ‘A’isha: By Allah, we do not know whether that was a special concession granted by the Prophet (may peace be upon him) to Salim exclusive of the people. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume II, Book V, Number 2056)

The foregoing shows that Aisha told her family to breast-feed young men in order to make them lawful to enter Aisha's presence. The authors may accuse me of reading too much into this tradition due to my "perverted" mind. If so, we simply present the Learner's response to a questioner's obvious shock over Aisha issuing such a command:

I found the quotation below in a web site:

"Muslim's Sahih (chapter on nursing the adult) tells us that Sahla bint Suhail complained to Muhammad because her husband, Abu Huzeifa, was envious of his servant, Salem. Muhammad advised Sahla to nurse Salem five times. She protested about Salem's having a beard. But Muhammad advised her to nurse Salem in order to cure her husband of envy, for Aisha used to nurse any man when she and Muhammad thought it was suitable. This tradition is described in detail in Ibn Malik's Muwatta (chapter on nursing the adult)."

This seems like it is a false hadith, BECAUSE AYESHA NEVER HAD A BABY, SO HOW CAN SHE NURSE ANYBODY? Never heard of the concept of nursing adults was Salem a child or an adult? ...

As for the second part of the narrative, IT SEEMS ONLY A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE MOTHER OF THE BELIEVERS. Firstly, as you have correctly mentioned that being A CHILDLESS WOMAN, IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY FOR HER TO SUCKLE A CHILD. Secondly, the white lie entailed in the narrative becomes apparent merely on the grounds that not even a single person can be named with any degree of certainty from amongst the Muslims who could be claimed to have actually been nursed by the Mother of the believers. The most that can be said is that the Mother of the Believers may, in contrast to the other wives of the Prophet (pbuh), have actually mistakenly generalized the advice given by the Prophet (pbuh) to Abu Hudaifah's wife. This opinion of the Mother of the Believers GAVE HER OPPONENTS A CHANCE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION BY INCORPORATING, IN THE NARRATIVE, THE FABLE OF HER NURSING ALL THOSE WHOM SHE DESIRED TO PERMIT ENTRY INTO HER CHAMBER. (Source: Understanding Islam; capital emphasis ours)

Aisha also gave Umm Salamah, Muhammad's wife, the following advice:

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 (may peace be upon him) 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 (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him (so that he may become your foster-child), and thus he may be able to come to you (freely). (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3427)

Zainab daughter of Abu Salama reported: I heard Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon himy, saying to 'A'isha: By Allah, I do not like to be seen by a young boy who has passed the period of fosterage, whereupon she ('A'isha) said: Why is it so? Sahla daughter of Suhail came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, I swear by Allah that I see in the face of Abu Hudhaifa (the signs of disgust) on account of entering of Salim (in the house), whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She (Sahla bint Suhail) said: He has a beard. But he (again) said: Suckle him, and it would remove what is there (expression of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa. She said: (I did that) and, by Allah, I did not see (any sign of disgust) on the face of Abu Hadhaifa. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3428)

In the case of these hadiths, the authors cannot make appeal to breast milk in a cup for a very simple reason. UMM SALAMAH WASN'T WEANING CHILDREN AND THEREFORE HAD NO BREAST MILK TO OFFER SUGGESTING THAT AISHA'S ADVICE COULD ONLY BE CARRIED OUT BY ALLOWING THE MEN TO ACTUALLY FEED FROM THE BREAST ITSELF! Aisha's advice shows that, at least in the case of Umm Salamah, the milk in the cup explanation is untenable.[1]

Some Muslims are astonished at hearing that Aisha gave such advice since it allegedly contradicts Muhammad's claim that breast-feeding is to be done during the weaning period of a child. Note what this other Muslim says in regard to Malik's Hadith on Aisha's advice:

(Note: Firstly, Prophet would never tell someone to nurse an Adult (against islam), secondly who ever wrote this hadith OBVIOUSLTY DOESN'T LIKE "AISHA" BY ATTRIBUTING SUCH RIDICULOUS THINGS TO HER). (Source:; capital emphasis ours)

The preceding citations from Muslims show the confusion and shock that breast-feeding young men caused. This leads us to our next point.


Who is to blame for Aisha telling women to suckle men? Who is the real source which led Sahla to perform the embarrassing act of breast-feeding a young man? The following verses show us just who is at fault:

Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers' daughters and sisters' daughters and your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters and mothers of your wives and your step-daughters who are in your guardianship, (born) of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone in to them, there is no blame on you (in marrying them), and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 4:23 Shakir

The blame falls squarely on Allah for claiming that suckling produces familial ties. Dr. William Campbell writes:

In the past many cultures believed that what the mother saw or did could also effect the child. 100 years ago in the United States culture, people believed that if a woman saw a rabbit while she was pregnant her child might be born with a split upper lip just like a rabbit or hare. This split upper lip was called a hare-lip because of this mistaken idea, and the word still remains in usage today - even in medical books.

The Qur'an seems to have one of these same ancient ideas. In the Sura of the Women (Al-Nisa') 4:23 from 5-6 AH, there is a long list of women who are prohibited in marriage which includes the following,

"your (foster) mothers who breast-fed you, your (foster) sisters from breast-feeding...the wives of your sons from your loins..." (as opposed to wives of adopted sons which were made legal by Sura 33:37)

It is perfectly clear according to what Dr. Bucaille would call "sure" modern scientific knowledge that inheritance is controlled by the genes we receive from our biological mother and father. There is no other way. No hereditary characteristics are passed through the milk of a wet-nurse. There is no relationship of any kind between a boy who was breast-fed by a wet-nurse and the biological daughter of the wet-nurse, so there is no scientific reason to prohibit these marriages.

We might say that it was just a matter of honor to the wet-nurse, but this does not seem to be the case. Rather it seems based on the belief that breast-feeding makes you a relative. Bukhari, comments on verse 4:23 mentioned above and quotes Muhammad as saying to Aisha, "Nursing produces (the same) interdiction which childbirth produces".[52]

That is, no marriage with milk sisters, but the same freedom to visit them unveiled as that allowed to blood-brothers. God is free to command that which He wishes, but it certainly does not mirror modern genetic understanding. (William Campbell, The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science [Middle East Resources, Second Edition 2002; ISBN 1-881085-03-01], pp. 194-195;

The first part of Malik's hadith that was already cited provides an additional reason why Sahla did what she did. Here is the relevant section:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that he was asked about the suckling of an older person. He said, ''Urwa ibn az-Zubayr informed me that Abu Hudhayfa ibn Utba ibn Rabia, one of the companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who was present at Badr, adopted Salim (who is called Salim, the mawla of Abu Hudhayfa) AS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ADOPTED ZAYD IBN HARITHA. He thought of him as his son, and Abu Hudhayfa married him to his brother's sister, Fatima bint al-Walid ibn Utba ibn Rabia, who was at that time among the first emigrants. She was one of the best unmarried women of the Quraysh. When Allah the Exalted sent down in His Book what He sent down about Zayd ibn Haritha, 'Call them after their true fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah. If you do not know who their fathers were then they are your brothers in the deen and your mawali,' (Sura 33 ayat 5) people in this position were traced back to their fathers. When the father was not known, they were traced to their mawla ...

According to the Muslim sources Surah 33:5 was sent down in regard to Muhammad's adopted son Zaid ibn Harith:

<nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons.>

This was revealed concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Prophet. The Prophet had adopted him before prophethood, and he was known as Zayd bin Muhammad. Allah wanted to put an end to this naming and attribution ...

This is a command which abrogates the state of affairs that existed at the beginning of Islam, when it was permitted to call adopted sons after the man who adopted them. Then Allah commanded that they should be given back the names of their real fathers, and states that this was more fair and just. Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: "Zayd bin Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Messenger of Allah was always called Zayd bin Muhammad, until (the words of the) Qur’an were revealed ...

<Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allah.>"

This was also narrated by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. They used to deal with them as sons in every respect, including being alone with them as Mahrams and so on. Hence, Sahlah bint Suhaly, the wife of Abu Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: "O Messenger of Allah! We used to call Salim our son, but Allah has revealed what He has revealed. He used to enter upon me, but I feel that Abu Hudhayfah does not like that." The Prophet said ...

((BREASTFEED HIM and he will become your Mahram.))

Hence when this ruling was abrogated, Allah made it permissible for a man to marry the ex-wife of his adopted son, and the Messenger of Allah married Zaynab bint Jash, the divorced wife of Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, Allah said ...

<So that (in the future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them> (33:37)

And Allah says in Ayat At-Tahrim ...

<The wives of your sons from your own loins> (4:23).

The wife of an adopted son is not included because he was not born from the man's loins. A "foster" son through breastfeeding is the same as a son born from one's own loins, from the point of view of the Shari‘ah, because the Prophet said in the Two Sahihs ...

((Suckling makes unlawful as lineage does.)) ...

<Call them by their fathers.> This is concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him. He was killed in 8 AH at the battle of Mu’tah. In Sahih Muslim it is reported that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The Messenger of Allah said ...

((O my son.))" It was also reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi ...

<But if you know not their father's (sic) then they are your brothers in the religion and Mawalikum (your freed servants).>

Here Allah commands that adopted sons should be given back their fathers' names, if they are known; if they are not known, then they should be called brothers in faith or freed servants, to compensate for not knowing what their real lineage is. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 7 (Surat An-Nur to Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 50), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: August 2000], pp. 634-637; bold and capital emphasis ours)

From the preceding we can deduce the real reason adoption of sons was forbidden. Muhammad needed to be spared from the ridicule of lusting after his adopted son's wife, a lust which caused a rift between husband and wife, resulting in a divorce. After which Muhammad then married the divorcee!

Muhammad Ibn Yahya Ibn Hayyan narrated, "The Messenger of God came to Zaid Ibn Haritha's house seeking him. Perhaps the Messenger of God missed him at that time, that is why he said, 'Where is Zaid?' He went to his house seeking him and, when he did not find him, Zainab Bint Jahsh stood up to [meet] him in a house dress,(2) but the Messenger of God turned away from her. She said, 'He is not here, Messenger of God, so please come in; my father and mother are your ransom.' The Messenger of God refused to come in. Zainab had hurried to dress herself when she heard that the Messenger of God was at her door, so she leapt in a hurry, and the Messenger of God liked her when she did that. He went away muttering something that was hardly understandable but for this sentence: 'Praise be to God who disposes the hearts.' When Zaid came back home, she told him that the Messenger of God came. Zaid asked, 'You asked him to come in, didn't you?' She replied, 'I bade him to, but he refused.' He said, 'Have you heard [him say] anything?' She answered, 'When he had turned away, I heard him say something that I could hardly understand. I heard him say, "Praise be to God who disposes the hearts." ' Zaid went out to the Messenger of God and said, 'O Messenger of God, I learned that you came to my house. Did you come in? O Messenger of God, my father and mother are your ransom. PERHAPS YOU LIKED ZAINAB. I CAN LEAVE HER.' The Messenger of God said, 'Hold on to your wife.' Zaid said, 'O Messenger of God, I WILL LEAVE HER.' The Messenger of God said, 'Keep your wife.' So when Zaid left her, she finished her legal period after she had isolated herself from Zaid. While the Messenger of God was sitting and talking with `A´isha, he was taken in a trance, and when it lifted, he smiled and said, 'Who will go to Zainab to tell her that God wedded her to me from heaven?' The Messenger of God recited, 'Thus you told someone whom God had favoured and whom you yourself have favoured: "Hold on to your wife." ' `A´isha said, 'I heard much about her beauty and, moreover, about how God wedded her from heaven, and I said, "For sure she will boast over this with us." ' Salama, the slave of the Messenger of God, hurried to tell her about that. She gave her some silver jewellery that she was wearing." (Hamdun Dagher, The Position of Women in Islam, Light of Life, 1995, pp. 169-170; online source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Note 2 reads:

We read the following in a tradition by al-Tabari: "The Messenger of God went out one day seeking him. On Zaid's door was a curtain, which the wind moved to show her unveiled in her chamber. The heart of the Prophet was stricken by admiration for her" (Annals of al-Tabari, 2:453). (ibid., p. 181; bold emphasis ours)

Here, in fact, is an English translation of al-Tabari's Arabic commentary on surah 33:37:

When the exalted Allah said, "Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor: ‘Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.’ But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah" this was said by Allah as chastisement to His prophet. For when He said, "one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor" this was in reference to Zaid son of Haritha who had been set free by the apostle of Allah – prayers and peace be upon him.

When the Exalted Allah said, "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah" this was concerning Zainab the daughter of Jash whom the prophet –pbuh– had seen in her robes and was enamored by her. Thus when Allah saw what was stirring in His prophet’s soul, he placed hatred in the heart of Zaid towards Zainab that he may depart from her. When Zaid mentioned his intention to separate from Zainab to the prophet, the prophet told him, "Retain thou thy wife" even THOUGH THE PROPHET DESIRED THAT THEY SEPARATE SO THAT HE COULD MARRY HER...

When Allah said, "Thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest," means that the prophet hid in his heart his desire for Zaid to depart from Zainab so that he may marry her, and Allah will reveal what you are concealing in your heart concerning this.

The Almighty said, "Thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah," because Allah was telling the prophet who feared people might say, "He ordered a man to divorce his wife so that he himself may marry her after she is divorced," and Allah aught to be feared more than people.

Narrated by Yunis, narrated by Ibn Wahab, narrated by Ibn Zaid who said, "The prophet –pbuh– had married Zaid son of Haritha to his cousin Zainab daughter of Jahsh. One day the prophet –pbuh– went seeking Zaid in his house, whose door had a curtain made of hair. The wind blew the curtain and the prophet saw Zainab in her room unclothed and he admired her in his heart. When Zainab realized that the prophet desired her SHE BEGAN TO HATE ZAID.

Zaid then came to the prophet –pbuh– and said, "O apostle of Allah, I wish to separate from my mate." The prophet responded, "Why? Has anything evil come from her?" Zaid responded, "No, by Allah! I haven’t seen anything evil from her only good."

The prophet said, "Hold unto your wife and fear Allah." That is what Allah said in the Quran, "Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor: 'Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.' But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest." For the prophet was concealing the fact that he would marry Zainab when Zaid had divorced her. (Source; translated by Dimitrius)

We also provide the comments of another renowned Muslim commentator, al-Qurtubi on surah 33:37, translated directly from the Arabic:

Muqatil narrated that the prophet married Zainab daughter of Jahsh to Zaid and she stayed with him for a while. Then one day the prophet –pbuh– came seeking Zaid but he saw Zainab standing; she was white skinned with a beautiful figure and one of the most perfect women in Quraish. So HE DESIRED HER and said, "Wondrous is Allah who changes the heart." When Zaynab heard the prophet’s exaltation of her, she relayed it to Zaid who then understood (what he had to do). Zaid said to the prophet, "O prophet of Allah, allow me to divorce her, for she has become arrogant; seeing herself superior to me and she insults me with her tongue."

The prophet replied, "Hold onto your wife and fear Allah."

It was said that Allah had sent a wind which lifted the curtain to reveal Zainab in her room. When the prophet saw her HE DESIRED HER and it delighted Zainab to be desired by the prophet – pbuh. When Zaid returned home, she informed him of what had happened and Zaid was thus determined to divorce her. (Source; translated by Dimitrius)

Here, also, are Al-Zamakhshari's comments on surah 33:37:

Keep thy wife to thyself: that is, Zainab bint Jahsh. After having given her to Zaid ibn Haritha as a wife, the Messenger of God once caught sight of her, and she made an impression of him. At this sight he said: ‘Praise be to God who changes the heart!’ Previously his soul had turned away from her so that he had not desired her (as a wife). If he had desired her at that time, he would have asked her for her hand in marriage. Now Zainab heard of this praise and mentioned it to (her husband) Zaid, who understood and to whom God gave antipathy against her and aversion to intimacy with her. So Zaid said to the Messenger of God: ‘I might divorce my wife’; to which the latter replied: ‘What is it? Has something filled you with mistrust against her?’ Zaid answered: ‘By God, no! I have observed only good in her; yet her noble rank places her too high above me and causes me to feel hurt.’ Thereupon the Messenger of God said: ‘Keep thy wife to thyself and fear God.’ But Zaid (nevertheless) separated from her, and as soon as the waiting period (during which the wife may enter into no new marriage) had elapsed, the Messenger of God had said (to Zaid): ‘I have no one whom I trust more than you; therefore, seek the hand of Zainab for me!’

Zaid reported: I went forth and there I suddenly found her just as she was leavening some dough. As soon as I saw her she made such an impression on me, since I knew that the Messenger of God had been speaking of her ...

One may ask what the Prophet kept secret within himself. To this I answer: the fact that he was devoted to her in his heart. Others say: the wish that Zaid might separate from her. Still others say: his knowledge that Zaid would separate from her and that he would marry her, for God had already given this knowledge to him ...

(Further) one may ask what the Prophet should have said when Zaid informed him that he wanted to separate from Zainab, since it would have been objectionable if he had said: ‘Do it, for I want to marry her!’ To this I reply: It may perhaps be God's will that in this case he keep silent or say to Zaid: ‘You know your situation best.’ In this manner he would not have contradicted his secret which he (later) indicated had been revealed ... (Helmut Gätje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis [Routledge and Keagan Paul, London UK 1976], pp. 83-85; bold emphasis ours)

We provide one more and final commentary on Muhammad's marriage to Zaynab, this time from modern Muslim author Martin Lings:

Such demands as these upon the Prophet's time were not to be avoided; but there was a growing need that he should be protected in other ways, and the protection that now came was not unconnected with the following altogether unexpected event which served to emphasize his uniquely privileged position. It happened one day that he wanted to speak to Zayd about something and went to his house. Zaynab opened the door, and as she stood in the doorway telling him that Zayd was out but inviting him none the less to enter, a look passed between the two cousins which made each one conscious of a deep and lasting bond of love between them. In a moment the Prophet knew that Zaynab loved him and that he loved her and that she knew he loved her. But what could this mean? Surprised at the strength of his feeling, and as he turned to go she heard him say: "Glory to God the Infinite! Glory be to Him who disposeth men's hearts!" When Zayd returned she told him of the Prophet's visit and of the glorification she had heard him utter. Zayd immediately went to him and said: "I have been told thou camest unto my house. Why didst not enter, thou who art more to me than my father and my mother? Was it that Zaynab hath found favour with thee? If it be so, I will leave her." "Keep thy wife and fear God," said the Prophet with some insistence. He had said on another occasion: "Of all things licit the most hateful unto God is divorce." And when Zayd came again the next day with the same proposal, again the Prophet insisted that he should keep his wife. But the marriage between Zayd and Zaynab had not been a happy one and Zayd found it no longer tolerable, so by mutual agreement with Zaynab he divorced her. This did not, however, make Zaynab eligible as a wife for the Prophet for although the Koran had only specified that men were forbidden to marry the wives of sons spring from their loins, it was a strong social principle not to make a distinction between sons by birth and sons by adoption. Nor was the Prophet himself eligible, for he had already four wives, the most that the Islamic law allows. (Lings, Muhammad: His Life based on the earliest Sources [Inner Traditions International, Ltd., Rochester, Vermont 1983], pp. 212-213; bold and underline emphasis ours)

That this is why Surah 33:5 was "sent down" can be easily seen from Surah 33:37 which states that Allah permitted Muhammad to marry his adopted son's divorcee as an example for others to follow suit. Allah was supposedly showing through Muhammad's example that there was no sin for men to marry their former adopted son's divorced wives. Note what Ibn Kathir says:

<so that there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them.>

means, ‘We permitted you to marry her, and We did that so that there would no longer be any difficulty for the believers with regard to their marrying the ex-wives of their adopted sons.’ Before prophethood, the Messenger of Allah had adopted Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, and he was known as Zayd, the son of Muhammad. Allah put a stop to this when He said ...

<nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons> until ...

<Call them after their fathers, that is more just with Allah> (33:4-5).

Then this was confirmed and made even clearer by the marriage of the Messenger of Allah to Zaynab bint Jash, may Allah be pleased with her, when Zayd bin Harithah divorced her. (op. cit., p. 698)


It is quite obvious that the prohibition of having adopted sons was directed at saving Muhammad from being mocked for doing something that even the pagan Arabs knew was shameful and wicked:

Muhammad's marriage to Zainab, who was the wife of his adopted son, led to many accusations against Muhammad. The dissimulators said, "Muhammad prohibits the wives of the son while he himself marries the wife of his son Zaid." `Abdullah Ibn `Umar narrated: "We have always called him [namely Zaid] Zaid Ibn Muhammad." So this charge that the dissimulators, among others, levelled against Muhammad necessitated the revelation of yet another verse: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but [he is] God's Messenger and the Seal of the Prophets. God is Aware of everything!" (Sura al-Ahzab 33:40). `Abdullah Ibn `Umar said, "We only called him Zaid Ibn Muhammad till the verse 'Muhammad is not the father of any of your men' was revealed." (Hamdun Dagher, p. 171; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir agrees with Ibn Umar's statement:

<Muhammad is not the father of any of your men,>

After this it was not permitted to say Zayd bin Muhammad, i.e., he was not his father even though he had adopted him ... (op. cit., p. 701; bold emphasis ours)

Now the authors may claim that Surah 33:37 was revealed before the Quranic prohibition of adopting sons. But if this is the case then it proves our contention that Allah only forbade the adoption of sons in order to spare Muhammad from the humiliation he experienced. If the authors claim that the prohibition of adopting children was given before Surah 33:37 then they are left with the problem of explaining why their god revealed a command that had no practical value seeing that there were no longer any adopted children? In other words how could Surah 33:37 set the precedent for Muslims to marry the divorced spouses of their adopted sons?

Returning to the issue at hand, it was Allah's command forbidding adoption which led to Abu Hudaifah's discomfort over Salim coming near his wife. Because of Allah's command Sahla was forced to give her husband's former adopted son her breast milk in order to ease her husband's discomfort. (Note that according to the translators of Ibn Kathir Sahlah was commanded to BREAST-FEED Salim, not simply give him milk in a cup!)

Hence, Allah, Muhammad's god, is to be blamed for causing all these problems. Allah is also at fault for Aisha telling women to breast-feed grown men since he was the one who supposedly sent down the command regarding foster-relations in 4:23.

This command of Allah was also the reason why jealous wives suckled their husbands' slave girls in order to make it unlawful for their spouses to have sex with them:

Yahya related to me from Malik that Abdullah ibn Dinar said, "A man came to Abdullah ibn Umar when I was with him at the place where judgments were given and asked him about the suckling of an older person. Abdullah ibn Umar replied, ‘A man came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said, 'I have a slave-girl and I used to have intercourse with her. My wife went to her AND SUCKLED HER. When I went to the girl, my wife told me to watch out, because she had suckled her!' Umar told him TO BEAT HIS WIFE and to go to his slave-girl because kinship by suckling was only by the suckling of the young.’" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 30, Number 30.2.13)

Allah is to be blamed for this perverted practice which led to confusion, chaos and shame. The saddest thing about all this is that the authors are actually trying to justify this perversion instead of seeing it for what it truly is.



[1] According to Muslim sources Muhammad married Umm Salamah shortly after her husband's death from wounds suffered during the Battle of Uhud. Umm Salamah had four children from her first husband:

Then the Messenger of God married Umm Salamah, and her name is Hind bt. Abi Umayyah b. Al-Mughirah b. ‘Abdallah b. ‘Umar b. Makhzum. Previously, she was married to Abu Salamah b. ‘Abd al-Asad b. Hilal b. ‘Abdallah b. ‘Umar b. Makhzum, who was present at Badr with the Messenger of God. He was an intrepid warrior of his clan and died of wounds suffered on the day of Uhud. He was the Messenger of God's cousin [son of the Prophet's paternal aunt] and foster brother, whose mother was Barrah bt. ‘Abd al-Muttalib. She bore with him ‘Umar, Salamah, Zaynab, and Durrah. When Abu Salamah died, the Messenger of God said nine takbirahs [during the prayer over him]. When he was asked whether he was distracted or had forgotten [the proper number], he replied, "I was neither distracted nor had I forgotten. Even if I said a thousand takbirahs [during the prayer] over Abu Salamah, he was worthy of it," and he prayed for the surviving members of his family. The Messenger of God married [Umm Salamah] in the year 3/624, before the battle of al-Ahzab. Salamah, son of Abu Salamah, married the daughter of Hamzah b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib. (The History of Al-Tabari, Volume IX, The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1990], p. 132)


Umm Salamah: She married Muhammad (salalahu walayhe wasalam) in the year 4 a.h. She was previously married to Abdullah ibn Abdu'l Asad and they had four children together, Zaynab, Salamah, Umar and Durra. She married Muhammad after becoming a widow and was still nursing Zaynab. She bore no children with Muhammad (salalahu walayhe wasalam). (

Now the only way the authors can deny my claim is to assert that Aisha gave Umm Salamah this advice while the latter was still weaning her youngest child. The problem with this assertion is that this suggests that Muhammad was still alive when Aisha was telling others to suckle young men that they wanted to enter their homes. The authors would therefore be implying that Muhammad permitted this practice since he said nothing about it, or worse, Aisha was willfully disobeying Muhammad while the latter was still alive and living with her!

The only logical explanation is that Aisha's advice was given after Muhammad died. In other words, this occurred when Umm Salamah had no weaning children and no more breast milk to put in a cup, demonstrating that Aisha was actually advising women to allow men to suckle their breasts!

The authors may wish to argue that, as in the case of Aisha, Umm Salamah could have asked a near relative of hers to do the breast-feeding for her. The burden of proof would be upon the authors to show that this is how Umm Salamah would have understood Aisha's advice in light of the fact that the latter used the example of Sahla's breast-feeding Salim to justify her position. Especially when Umm Salamah is said to have narrated the following tradition (quoted earlier):

Narrated Umm Salamah:
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The only suckling which makes marriage unlawful IS THAT WHICH IS TAKEN FROM THE BREAST and enters the bowels, and is taken before the time of weaning." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 944 taken from the ALIM CD-Rom)



Hesham Azmy and Usman Sheikh made it a big point that "this missionary did not derive his filthy interpretation from any Islamic source" and that they "are 100% certain that he is about the only person on this planet who has ever misunderstood the meaning of such a simple, straightforward tradition" (see their full statement above). We have already shown that they are wrong in this since there are plenty of Muslims from the Shia and the Sunni branch of Islam who have understood these traditions in exactly the same way, some rejecting the traditions as not possibly authentic, some accepting them as genuine but "difficult", and at least one well-known Muslim scholar even teaching about the nursing of adults as an acceptable practice for today (Sheikh Al-Albani).

In addition to being factually wrong, there are also two serious ethical problems with this Muslim article, the first is plagiarism and the second deliberate lying. Although there are plenty of articles on various Muslim websites which consist of claims and quotations only, without any documentation as to the sources, our present authors do not belong to this kind of writers. For their section on the nursing of adults we find 14 footnotes with references carefully documenting their quotations from the Muslim sources, i.e. the traditions (ahadith) and the commentaries (tafsir). However, they failed to mention that the substance of their article is nearly entirely taken from an Arabic webpage and is merely a translation of the work of another author. Presenting the work of somebody else as if it was one's own original research is called PLAGIARISM and is a serious violation of the ethical standards in academia.

It is obvious why they would not want to admit that they are translating another person's work and only added to it some personalized insults to Sam Shamoun since this original article was written before Sam Shamoun's article was published and does not make any reference to him. This in itself is conclusive proof that there are others who have understood these traditions the same way as Sam Shamoun, since otherwise there would not have been any need to write this Arabic refutation in the first place. Thus their claim to be certain that nobody else ever understood these traditions in this way was not a statement made out of ignorance, i.e. not knowing of anyone with this understanding, but it was a conscious and deliberate lie in order to deceive the readers of their article. The following table will list the parallel passages to show the extent of their plagiarism.

English Article by Azmy & Sheikh Original Arabic Article by Derballa
[Shamoun’s filthy interpretation of the Prophetic] permission reminds us of a famous Egyptian joke about an idiot who once wanted to drink hot milk, so he burnt his cow.

الاجابة علي هذا السؤال تذكرني بالنكتة مصرية التي تقول (ان رجلا اراد شرب اللبن البقري ساخنا فاشعل النار في البقرة)

If you wanted to drink some cow milk, will you go below the cow and suckle it?

فهل يشترط لمن يشرب اللبن البقري او الجاموسي انه ينزل تحت الجاموسة ليشرب مباشرة من ثديها؟؟!!!

Direct contact is not necessary for nursing. In other words, the milk is collected in a cup or pot and the foster son drinks it without getting into close contact with the foster mother. This was what actually happened in the case of Sahlâ bint Suhâil and Salîm, as reported by Muhamad Ibn Sa'âd and Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalâni in their respective biographies of Sahlâ bint Suhâil:

عموما نقول ان مباشرته للمرأة غير وارد و انما يتم حلب اللبن و يشربه دون ان يري عورتها , وما ثبت بخصوص رضاعة سالم و هو كبير من قبل التي ربته سهلة بنت سهيل هو انها حلبت لبنها في وعاء وأعطته ليشرب من الوعاء و هذا ثابت في طبقات ابن سعد ترجمة سهلة بنت سهيل.

Why Was the Nursing of Adults Permitted? 2- لماذا جاء الاسلام برضاعة الكبير؟؟؟
The reader of this report can easily recognize that Salîm used to enter Sahlâ's home when he was her adopted son, but when Islam forbade the adoption, a transitional phase was necessary because Salîm was like a real son to Sahlâ and it was difficult for her to push him away as a stranger.

الناظر لحديث سهلة سيعرف لماذا ؟

لان سهلة نفسها تقول ان سالم كان يدخل عليهم (اي انه كان ابنها بالتبني) فلما حرّم الاسلام هذا التبني كان لابد من مرحلة انتقاليه.

كذلك سهلة هي التي قامت بتربية سالم فكان عندها مثل ولدها و عز عليها فراقه.

Was this permission for Sahlâ alone? We tend to say: "Yes!" because the general Islamic view is that there is no effective nursing after the first two years of age. Our proof is the report on the authority of 'Aishâ herself.

3- هل معني ذلك ان الامر كان خاصا بسهلة ؟؟

انقسمت الارآء علي ثلاث :

منهم من رأي ان الامر كان خاص بسهلة فقط.

منهم من راي ان الامر كان لمن كان له مثل حالها و للراي الاول و الثاني ذهبت ام سلمة و سائر زوجات النبي.

منهم من راي ان الامر مطلق (والي هذا ذهبت ام المؤمنين عائشة)

Is the Nursing of Adults Permitted Now?

The obvious answer to this question is "No!", for nursing which leads to fosterage is effective only in the first two years of age.

4- هل تحل رضاعة الكبير الان ؟؟؟

لا تحل و الدليل انها لا تحل بعد الحولين ما قاله :

‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib

Ibn ‘Abbâs

Ibn Mas’ud


Abu Huraîra

Ibn ‘Umar

Umm Salam,

Sa’id Ibn-ul-Musayyîb


Sufyan Ath-Thawrî



Ahmad Ibn Hanbâl


علي ابن ابي طالب

ابن عباس

ابن مسعود


ابي هريرة

ابن عمر

ام سلمة

سعيد بن المسيب



مالك ( رغم انه اخرج الحديث في الموطأ )





Imam Abu Hanifah is reported to have allowed …. but his chief disciples Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Ash-Shaybani disagreed with this view and joined the above authorities. All scholars of Abu Hanifah’s madhâb (i.e., school of thought) follow the view of Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Ash-Shaybani

اما ابو حنيفة فخالف و رده تلامذته ( ابو يوسف و محمد ) و علي رأي ابو يوسف و محمد الذي هو التحريم يدور مذهب الاحناف.

The translation is not literal in every aspect. The English "authors" altered it the way they wanted it, adapting it as response to the article they wanted to rebut, but to anyone knowing both languages, it is entirely obvious that this is the source. The changes are minor. They also went ahead and extended it slightly, for example stating the correct full names of the scholars. The Arabic article refers to them in merely an abbreviated way since Arab Muslims are expected to know them. Furthermore, the English "authors" added the text of the hadiths where the Arabic original just gives the reference for them.

Continue with Part 2: Paul and Homosexuality.

Further documentation on the topic: Reda'a: Opinions of Muslim Scholars On the Issue of Breast-Feeding

Responses to Bismikaallahuma
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page