Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher
Is it permissible to breastfeed a child older than 2 years in Shafi'i madhab?
As long as the child is less then seven lunar years of age, it is permissible for the mother to breastfeed him or her directly. If, however, the child has reached the age of seven lunar years (which is the age at which most children reach the point of discernment), then it seems that it is unlawful for the mother to allow the child to breastfeed.
This ruling can be inferred from the following two rulings (both of which are explicitly stated by our imams):
(1) It is unlawful for a man to touch the stomach and legs of his close female relatives (like his mother and sister) [...] even though it is permissible for him to look at these parts [h: when this is done without any desire or fear of temptation].
(2) It is obligatory for the guardian to teach his seven-year old child everything that is unlawful or obligatory for someone who has reached the age of puberty, so that the child becomes used to adhering to the injunctions of the Sacred Law [h: by the time he or she reaches puberty and becomes morally responsible]. The guardian is responsible for scolding the seven-year old child if he violates any of the above.
It is best, however, for the mother to wean the child before he or she reaches the age of seven so that the image of breastfeeding isn't impressed in the child's mind, which may cause the child to fall into error after reaching the age of discernment.
And Allah Most High knows best, and to Him is the final return.
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