A man has adopted a girl who is one year and eight months old and wants to make her mahram to himself, and his brother has a wife who can breastfeed her, but the girl refuses to suckle milk from her breasts. Some have said that if she pours milk into the girl’s mouth 15 times in a row and she swallows it, she becomes mahram to the man. Is it permissible for them to put the girl to sleep with a sleeping pill, then pour milk into her mouth 15 times in a row while she is asleep? If they do so, will it establish the intended mahram relationship?
God Almighty has placed a woman who has breastfed the human being in the same position as his mother and considered her among those whom it is forbidden to marry and said: ﴿وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ﴾; “And your mothers who have breastfed you.” Therefore, if a woman breastfeeds a girl, she becomes similar to her mother and, accordingly, makes her mahram to the men who are not permitted to marry her daughters, including her husband, if consummated the marriage with her, and his brother; as it has been narrated from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, who said: «يَحْرُمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ مَا يَحْرُمُ مِنَ النَّسَبِ»; “What becomes unlawful through lineage, becomes unlawful through breastfeeding too,” provided that breastfeeding takes place before the girl reaches the age of two full lunar years; because of the words of God Almighty that has said: ﴿وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ﴾; “And his weaning is in two years,” and said: ﴿وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ﴾; “And mothers shall breastfeed their children for two full years for one who desires to complete the breastfeeding,” and what has been narrated from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, who said: «لَا رَضَاعَ بَعْدَ فِصَالٍ»; “There is no breastfeeding after weaning,” and what has been narrated from Ali, peace be upon him, who said: «لَا يُحَرِّمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعِ إِلَّا مَا كَانَ فِي الْحَوْلَيْنِ»; “The breastfeeding that establishes mahram relationship is that which takes place within first two years,” contrary to the words of those who consider it permissible to breastfeed an adult without knowledge, guidance, or an enlightening book, and provided that breastfeeding is complete, and it happens when it affects the growth of the girl and makes her flesh grow and strengthens her bones; because that is what springs to mind from the words of God Almighty, not an incomplete breastfeeding that neither nourishes nor satisfies hunger; considering that He has not said: «وَاللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ»; “those who have breastfed you” so that His words would be general, but He has said: ﴿وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ﴾; “And your mothers who have breastfed you,” and the breastfeeding of mothers is not like the breastfeeding of other women; because a mother breastfeeds her child to satisfy his hunger and help him grow, and she does not suffice with an incomplete breastfeeding that neither nourishes nor satisfies hunger; as it has been narrated from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, who said: «لَا تُحَرِّمُ الْمَصَّةُ وَالْمَصَّتَانِ، وَلَا الرَّضْعَةُ وَلَا الرَّضْعَتَانِ»; “Suckling once or twice or breastfeeding once or twice do not make marriage unlawful,” and said: «لَا يُحَرِّمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعِ إِلَّا مَا أَنْبَتَ اللَّحْمَ وَأَنْشَزَ الْعَظْمَ»; “The breastfeeding that establishes mahram relationship is that which makes flesh grow and strengthens the bones,” and in another narration: «لَا يُحَرِّمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعِ إِلَّا مَا فَتَقَ الْأَمْعَاءَ»; “The breastfeeding that establishes mahram relationship is that which enters the bowel (i.e., fills the stomach),” and also it has been narrated from ibn Mas‘ud, ibn Abbas, Aisha, and Abu Hurairah in Mawquf manner, and it is the statement of the Ahl al-Bayt, and this condition is fulfilled when the hungry baby is fed with the milk of the breastfeeding mother until he is full; as one of our companions informed us, he said:
«قُلْتُ لِلْمَنْصُورِ الْهَاشِمِيِّ الْخُرَاسَانِيِّ: مَتَى تُحَرَّمُ الْمَرْأَةُ بِالرَّضَاعَةِ؟ قَالَ: إِنَّمَا الرَّضَاعَةُ مِنَ الْمَجَاعَةِ، فَإِذَا جَاعَ الصَّبِيُّ فَشَبِعَ مِنْ لَبَنِهَا فَقَدْ حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْهِ، قُلْتُ: إِنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ إِذَا أَنْبَتَ اللَّحْمَ وَشَدَّ الْعَظْمَ! قَالَ: إِذَا أَشْبَعَهُ مِنْ جُوعٍ فَقَدْ أَنْبَتَ وَشَدَّ»; “I said to Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani: ‘When does a woman become mahram by breastfeeding?’ He said: ‘Breastfeeding is only because of hunger, so when the baby is hungry, then becomes full with her milk, she becomes mahram to him.’ I said: ‘They say when it makes flesh grow and strengthens the bones!’ He said: ‘When it satisfies his hunger, grows (flesh) and strengthens (the bones).’”
What indicates that is what has been narrated from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, who said: «إِنَّمَا الرَّضَاعَةُ مِنَ الْمَجَاعَةِ»; “Breastfeeding is only because of hunger”; because what is meant by it is that the breastfeeding through which mahram relationship is established is what satisfies the baby’s hunger. Therefore, if a baby who is less than two lunar years old drinks enough of a woman’s milk when he is hungry until he is full, mahram relationship is established. But does it suffice for it if she pours milk into his mouth while he is asleep? It appears that it does not; because what comes to mind from the Quran and the Sunnah is conventional breastfeeding, which is when the baby takes a woman’s breast in his mouth with an appetite arising from hunger and suckles until he is full and releases it due to satiation; as one of our companions informed us, he said:
«سَمِعْتُ الْعَالِمَ يَقُولُ لِامْرَأَةٍ سَأَلَتْهُ عَنِ الرَّضَاعِ: الْمَصَّةُ وَالْمَصَّتَانِ لَيْسَتْ بِرَضَاعٍ، وَلَكِنَّ الرَّضَاعَ أَنْ تُرْضِعِيهِ مِنْ ثَدْيِكِ الَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ بِهِ عَلَيْكِ وَهُوَ جَائِعٌ، حَتَّى يَتَضَلَّعَ وَيَشْبَعَ وَيَنْتَهِيَ نَفْسُهُ»; “I heard the scholar (i.e., Mansoor) say to a woman who asked him about breastfeeding: ‘Suckling once or twice is not breastfeeding, but rather breastfeeding is that while he is hungry, you feed him milk with your breast, by which God has blessed you, until he is full and satiated and ends it himself.’”
Yes, if the baby is fed with only the woman’s milk for one day and night, mahram relationship is established, even if he does not drink enough to be full every time he suckles; because that, too, affects his growth, and this is another narration from the Ahl al-Bayt, as one of our companions informed us, he said:
«قُلْتُ لَهُ: كَمْ رَضْعَةً تُحَرِّمُ الْوَلَدَ؟ خَمْسٌ؟ أَوْ عَشْرٌ؟ أَوْ خَمْسُ عَشَرَ؟ قَالَ: دَعْ عَنْكَ هَذَا، وَلَكِنْ إِذَا كَفَتْهُ يَوْمًا وَلَيْلَةً فَقَدْ حَرَّمَتْهُ»; “I said to him (i.e., Mansoor): How many times does breastfeeding make a child mahram? Five times? Or ten times? Or fifteen times?’ He said: ‘Leave these, but if it suffices him (from another food and another woman’s milk) for one day and night, it makes him mahram.’”