Rules for suckling the infant
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verse – 233 of 286, Section – 30 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
233a. Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No one should be compelled beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child.
233a. Wal-waalidaatu yurzi’-na ‘awlaada-hunna haw-layni kaa-milayni liman ‘araada ‘any-yutimmar-razaa-‘ah. Wa ‘alal-mawluudi lahuu rizquhunna wa kiswatuhunna bil-ma’-ruuf. Laa tukallafu nafsun ‘illaa wus-‘ahaa. Laa tuzaaarra waalidatum-bi-waladihaa wa laa mawluudul-lahuu bi-waladihii;
razaa-‘ah – (length of time for suckling), in the Divine Law of Islam, natural length of time for suckling has been fixed two complete years. More duration or less has been left upon mutual willingness among husband and wife. Detail of these orders is being discussed in this lesson.
‘al-waalidaatu – (women having child), it aims the mothers of the children, whether they are in marriage or have been divorced.
It has been narrated in this verse that the mother should suckle the child for two years and this length of time is for those mothers and fathers who wish to complete the duration of suckling. Otherwise, it is lawful also to lessen this period, as it will come at the end of the verse. Those mothers come in this instruction too, whose marriage still stands and those who either have been divorced or their term has passed. Difference will be only that the feeding and clothing of the wife is incumbent on the husband in each condition.
It has been known from this verse that length of time for the mother who will suckle the child or the father who has to pay the charges of suckling to the mother of his child is complete two years. Then it has been disclosed also that the father will have to provide feeding and clothing to the mother of the child in each condition. In the first form, she is in his marriage and in the second, he has to pay remuneration of suckling the child, and the parents of the child should not anyhow vex each other, for example; either the mother should not refuse from suckling the child without any reason or the father should not get suckled his child separating him from his mother without any reason or he should not be narrow in paying her feeding and clothing.
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233b. And on the (father’s) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, it is no sin for them; and if ye wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provided that ye pay what is due from you in kindness. And observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what ye do.
233b. Wa ‘alal-waarisi mislu zaalik. Fa-‘in ‘araadaa fisaalan ‘an taraazim-min-humaa wa tashaa-wurin- falaa junaaha ‘alayhi-maa. Wa ‘in ‘arattum ‘an- tas-tar-zi-‘uuu ‘awlaadakum falaa junaaha ‘alaykum ‘izaa sallamtum-maaa ‘aataytum- bil-ma’-ruuf. Watta-qUllaaha wa’-lamuuu ‘annAllaaha bimaa ta’-maluuna Basiir.
‘al-waarisi – (heir), heir means that intimate relative who is lawful heir after the father.
mislu zaalik – (incumbent) the like of that, it means that as incumbent (protection of rights) regarding the child’s mother is on the father, like this the incumbent is also on the nearest relative after the father.
It is father’s responsibility to bear the expenses for bringing up his child and when he dies, then it is the order that if the child is owner of wealth/property, then his expenditures will be taken from that wealth, and if he doesn’t have any wealth/property, then those persons who are out of his intimate rich relatives, and besides being intimate relatives they are also lawful heirs, then it is their duty to bear the child’s expenditures. Reason for assuming the charges of an innocent suckling child on others, is that the child has not virtue to bring him up himself. Another thing also appears from it that expenses for the lives of poor women, cripple men and minors are incumbent on their relatives.
After that it has also been instructed that if the parents want to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, then it is no sin for them. The mother has more right to bring the child up due to her kindness feelings. So the matters relating to the child have not been left on the opinion of only father. Then it has been cleared too that in some circumstances; when it has become necessary to get suckled the child from any other woman, then it is no sin also, provided that she has been paid remuneration.