#455: The Purity of Mother’s Milk

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is a mother’s milk pure or not? What is the ruling if the milk is spilt on one’s clothing and he prayed with it? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

We start with the statement of Allah SWT:

وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً نُسْقِيكُمْ مِمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِنْ بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَبَنًا خَالِصًا سَائِغًا لِلشَّارِبِينَ

“And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” [1]

Syeikh al-Sa’di stated that indeed, Allah SWT has subjected farm animals for the benefit of all of you, there is a lesson that you can learn from that it shows the perfection of the greatness of Allah and the vastness of His blessings. When He grants you drink from what is in the stomachs of the animals that consist of filth and blood. He removed both of these matters, producing pure milk from anything that can make it murky (not mixed with anything), that is palatable for its drinkers. It can both quench people’s thirst and fill their stomachs. None of these matters (occurs) except by Allah SWT’s greatness and doesn’t happen naturally. Is there anything that can naturally change filth eaten by animals and drinks from freshwater and saltwater into pure milk (free from any other contaminants) that is palatable for its drinkers? [2]

Mother’s milk

Mother’s milk refers to the milk produced from the mammary gland of a mother in her breasts. Milk is produced specifically for use as food for babies. Breast milk is seen as an early food in liquid form that has a good nutritional value compared to animal milk or formula milk. It is easily digested well even when given to children aged between 6 months to 2 years. In terms of needs, newborns are very much needed and it is recommended to continue to be fed only breast milk until the baby reaches the age of 6 months. Mothers who have given birth are very suitable to continue to use the milk that comes out of their breasts to breastfeed their newborn baby.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that breastfeeding be exclusively for infants in the first 6 months of life. This means that no additional food is given to the newborn until the baby reaches the age of 6 months after birth. Giving solid food, formula milk, skim milk, fresh milk from animals and even mineral water and drinking water is enough to cause the baby to have growth problems, disease complications and signs of redness or allergies can occur. However, after the baby is more than 6 months old, then additional foods such as formula porridge, skim milk, and drinking water are given in addition to breastfeeding until the baby is 2 years old. However, the prolonged condition of breastfeeding for up to 2 years depends on the wishes of the mother and baby. [3]

There is no denying that breast milk contains benefits, not only for the baby but also for the mother. Among the benefits of breast milk for babies are:

  • Breast milk supplies the best nutrients for the baby because it contains nutrients in sufficient proportions and its content also changes according to the needs of the growing baby.
  • Breast milk, especially colostrum, strengthens the baby’s immune system. It protects babies from infections such as diarrhoea, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Breast milk prevents various allergy problems such as asthma, eczema and infant colic.
  • Breast milk contains certain nutrients that are critical to brain development. It helps in improving your child’s intelligence.
  • It is not easily contaminated compared to other breastfeeding methods.
  • Breast milk is easily obtained at the right temperature at all times. Therefore, it is not difficult to prepare.
  • It gives comfort and emotional security to the baby.
  • It provides an opportunity for mother and child to fully interact and enhance the loving relationship between mother and child.

While among the benefits for mothers, breastfeeding:

  • helps shrink the uterus and return it to its original size quickly as well as reduce postpartum bleeding.
  • burn calories and restore your original body shape quickly.
  • reducing the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • delay birth if breastfeeding is practised completely. [4]

Mother’s milk is pure

Regarding the purity of mother’s milk, Imam al-Nawawi stated that human milk is pure according to the opinion of madhhab Syafi’I and is also what is decided by Shafiite scholars except for the author of al-Hawi. He cited an opinion from al-Anmati – who is one of the Shafiite scholars saying – human milk is impure (najis) and it is halal to be consumed by a child due to an exigent need. However, this opinion is of no value and is clearly a mistake. He cited this opinion with the purpose of being cautious from getting deceived by this opinion. Indeed, Syeikh Abu Hamid cited that the Muslims have agreed on the purity of human milk. Al-Ruyani also said that if we hold unto the opinion of madhhab Syafi’I that humans aren’t considered najis after their death. Hence, when a woman dies and in her breast, there is some milk. The milk is pure and it is permissible to be drunk and sold. [5]

Likewise, the author of al-Fiqh al-Manhaji and Habib Hasan al-Kaff also stated that the milk of impermissible animals to be eaten such as domesticated donkeys and others are najis. The reason is the ruling of the milk is the same as its flesh and when the flesh is considered najis – because it is impermissible to be eaten. Thus, it is prohibited to drink the milk except for humans, for even the flesh of a human is prohibited to be eaten, her milk is pure and clean. [6]

Furthermore, al-Khatib al-Syirbini also said that the milk of animals that can be eaten such as a horse’s milk, even if it gives birth to a mule, its milk is pure. The same for human milk for it isn’t appropriate for the honour granted to people to be said that their milk originates from najis. [7] Moreover, al-Mardawi also said that human and animal milk consumed is pure as agreed by scholars – without any difference of opinions. [8]

Praying with spilt human milk on one’s clothing

When it is sabit that a mother’s milk is pure and not najis, then a prayer performed while wearing a clothing with some of the milk spilt on it is valid even if it is first cleaned or washed just like other pure matters.

Conclusion

According to the above discussion, in our opinion, a mother’s milk is pure and not najis. Furthermore, scholars have agreed on this matter – that is the purity of mother’s milk. Hence, it is fine to wear clothing that has some spilt mother’s milk on it and the prayer performed while wearing it is valid just like other pure matters.

May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1]  Surah al-Nahl: 66

[2] See Tafsir al-Sa‘di, pg. 443.

[3] See https://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susu_ibu. Accessed on 3rd February 2022.

[4] See http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kebaikan-susu-ibu/. Accessed on 3rd February 2022.

[5] See al-Majmu‘ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 2/569.

[6] See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, Pub. Dar al-Qalam, 1/40; 1/503 and al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 128.

[7] See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/234.

[8] See al-Insaf, 1/343.

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