Breasfeeding while Pregnant
  • Question:

    I have heard it is forbidden to continue breastfeeding while one is pregnant. Someone also referred this hadith to me, can you kindly clarify? Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 28, Number 3872: Narrated Asma, daughter of Yazid Ibn as-Sakan: I heard the Apostle of Allaah (peace be upon him) as saying: 'Do not kill your children secretly, for the milk, with which a child is suckled while his mother is pregnant, overtakes the horseman and throws him from his horse.'


    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    You have referred to the practice which is known as “Ghail” or “Gheela” in the Islamic terminology.

    Imam Abu Sulaiman Al Khattabi states, “The meaning of Ghail is when a man has intercourse with the wife during a period of time, when she is breastfeeding a child”. (Ma’aalim Al Sunan)

    There is an authentic hadith recorded in Saheeh Muslim, wherein a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and stated, “I withdraw from my wife (during intercourse)”, The Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Why do you do that?” the man then said, “I fear her child”. The Prophet (pbuh), said, “If this practice (of having intercourse while the wife is in a state of breastfeeding her child” was harmful, it would have harmed the Romans and Persians (since they engage in this practice)”. (Muslim)

    Imam Abu Sulaiman Al Khattabi explaining the hadith you have quoted, says, “The Prophet (pbuh) is indicating that when the husband has intercourse with his breastfeeding wife, which results in pregnancy, it reduces her milk, thus depriving the suckling child, as it is being nourished from that milk, hence weakening the suckling child”. (Ma’aalim Al Sunan of Imam Abu Sulaiman Al Khattabi)

    Imam Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah writes, “The prohibition (of intercourse with the wife during a period of time, when she is breastfeeding a child) means either:

    1. A recommendation and advice (not necessarily absolute haram prohibition)
    2. A disliked (makruh) prohibition (not forbidden)

    (See Tahdheeb of Imam Ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawziyyah on the Sharh of Sunan Abi Dawood)

    Thus, to answer your question, the hadith indicates that the matter is not forbidden, however, it is still not advisable to become pregnant while breastfeeding. If one does, then the wife may continue to breastfeed, but one needs to be careful, so that there may be no harm for the child or weakness on part of the mother.

    Assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Laurie C. Zephyrin writes, “Both breastfeeding and pregnancy require extra nutrition and rest. It is possible to breastfeed while you're pregnant, but you have to make sure that you're eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins, and getting plenty of rest. Nipple stimulation sometimes stimulates the release of a hormone that might cause contractions or uterine cramping. If this occurs regularly, see your doctor for an exam”. (www.babycenter.ca/)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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