L'allaitement de l'adulte en islam

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L'allaitement des adultes (arabe : رَضَاعَةُ الْكَبِيرِ), ou l'acte d'allaiter un homme adulte , est mentionné dans plusieurs recueils de hadiths authentiques. Selon cinq hadiths de Sahih Muslim, Mahomet a un jour clairement ordonné à la fille (ou à la femme - les sources ne sont pas claires) d'un compagnon nommé Suhail d'allaiter un affranchi " adulte " nommé Salim afin que Salim devienne le mahram de la fille, ou un parent que la fille ne peut plus épouser, et rende ainsi la cohabitation de Salim avec la famille appropriée et légale.

Les rapports du Muwatta de l'Imam Malik et du Sunan Abu Dawud ajoutent que cette instruction a été réifiée par un verset du Coran, l'écriture sainte de l'Islam, qui était toujours présent dans le Coran après la mort de Muhammad, indiquant qu'il n'avait pas été abrogé par Muhammad de son vivant. Le rapport de Sunan Abu Dawud se poursuit avec Aïcha, l'épouse préférée de Mahomet, qui rapporte qu'alors qu'elle était "préoccupée par la mort de [Mahomet]", "un mouton apprivoisé est entré et a mangé" le morceau de papier sur lequel était écrit le verset "allaiter un adulte". Cette pratique, sanctionnée par un certain nombre de juristes traditionnels, est aujourd'hui largement rejetée par les spécialistes de l'islam.

Traduit littéralement, "mahram" signifie "ce qui est interdit (haram)", ce qui explique la formulation utilisée dans les hadiths (par exemple, "[il] deviendrait illégal pour [elle]"). Le mot mahram est utilisé pour désigner les relations que l'on ne peut pas épouser. Étant donné que les mahrams ne sont pas autorisés à se concevoir comme des partenaires maritaux/sexuels (par exemple, un frère et une sœur), la femme n'est pas tenue d'observer toutes les exigences du hijab et est autorisée à être seule avec un homme.

Après la publication en Égypte d'un livre promouvant l'allaitement des adultes par le Dr Abd Al-Mahdi Abd Al-Qadir, un érudit d'al-Azhar (le "Harvard de l'Islam"), un autre érudit d'al-Azhar, le Dr Izzat Atiyya, a publié une fatwa promouvant cette pratique dans un hebdomadaire très lu en 2007, provoquant une controverse nationale et internationale. Le gouvernement égyptien a ensuite demandé que l'édition concernée du magazine soit retirée des rayons des vendeurs et le Dr Atiyya a été suspendu de son poste à al-Azhar.

L'allaitement des adultes dans les écritures

Dans les hadiths

An entire chapter in Sahih Muslim, containing six hadiths, is dedicated to the topic of "Breastfeeding an adult" (باب رَضَاعَةِ الْكَبِيرِ).[1] The hadiths describes how, via suckling, an adult male can become a female's mahram and thus be allowed to accompany her in private.

'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hadhaifa, lived with him and his family in their house. She (i. e. the daughter of Suhail came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Salim has attained (puberty) as men attain, and he understands what they understand, and he enters our house freely, I, however, perceive that something (rankles) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa, whereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said to her: Suckle him and you would become unlawful for him, and (the rankling) which Abu Hudhaifa feels in his heart will disappear. She returned and said: So I suckled him, and what (was there) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa disappeared.
A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be eupon him) and said: Messengerof Allah, I see on the face of Abu Hudhaifa (signs of disgust) on entering of Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man. 'Amr has made this addition in his narration: that he [Salim] participated in the Battle of Badr and in the narration of Ibn 'Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) laughed.
Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr had narrated to him that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail b. 'Amr came to Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: Suckle him so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I refrained from (narrating this hadith) for a year or so on account of fear. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) had narrated that to me.

Hadiths regarding adult suckling are also found in the Muwatta of Imam Malik, the Sunan of Ibn Majah, and the Musnad of Imam Ahmad.

Aisha's opinion vs. that of her co-wives

One of the six hadiths on adult suckling in Sahih Muslim describes Aisha as the individual who instructed Muhammad's companions to implement the practice sanctioned by Muhammad.

Umm Salama said to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her): A young boy who is at the threshold of puberty comes to you. I, however, do not like that he should come to me, whereupon 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: Don't you see in Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) a model for you? She also said: The wife of Abu Hudhaifa said: Messenger of Allah, Salim comes to me and now he is a (grown-up) person, and there is something that (rankles) in the mind of Abu Hudhaifa about him, whereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: Suckle him (so that he may become your foster-child), and thus he may be able to come to you (freely).

An account described in the Umm of Imam Shafi'i provides further detail, stating that Aisha enforced the suckling requirement on all those who wanted to meet with her. Imam Shafi'i also describes how Aisha would have her sister Umm Kulthum suckle those who wanted to meet with Aisha in her place, since being the mahram of one person renders one the mahram of all of that person's sibling.

[Aisha] reported that 'in what was revealed of the Kur'an, ten attested breast-feeds were mentioned as required to establish the marriage-ban [i.e. render the suckled person a mahram]. The ten were replaced by mention of five attested breast-feeds. The Prophet died and the five were still being recited in the Kur'an. No man ever called upon 'A'isha who had not completed the minimum course of five sucklings.

'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr reports that the Prophet said, 'One suckling does not constitute the ban, nor two, nor does one or two sucks.'
'Urwa b. al-Zubayr reports that the Prophet commanded the wife of Abu Hudhayfa to feed her husbands mawla [freed slave], Salim, so that he could go on living with them. The prophet specified five breast-feeds.

Salim b. 'Abdullah reports that he was never able to visit 'A'isha. She had sent him to be suckled by her sister Umm Kulthum who, however, suckled him only three times, then fell sick. Salim added, 'Thus, I never did complete the course of ten sucklings.'

Similar statements are found in the following hadith in Muwatta Malik, where we also see that Muhammad's other wives adamantly refused the instruction, and considered the ruling given by Muhammad to be a special dispensation just for Salim and Suhail's daughter. [2]

..."Sahla bint Suhayl who was the wife of Abu Hudhayfa, and one of the tribe of Amr ibn Luayy, came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah! We think of Salim as a son and he comes in to see me while I am uncovered. We only have one room, so what do you think about the situation?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Give him five drinks of your milk and he will be mahram by it.' She then saw him as a foster son. A'isha umm al-muminin took that as a precedent for whatever men she wanted to be able to come to see her. She ordered her sister, Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and the daughters of her brother to give milk to whichever men she wanted to be able to come in to see her. The rest of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, refused to let anyone come in to them by such nursing. They said, 'No! By Allah! We think that what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered Sahla bint Suhayl to do was only an indulgence concerning the nursing of Salim alone. No! By Allah! No one will come in upon us by such nursing! "This is what the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thought about the suckling of an older person."

Similar sentiments from Muhammad's other wives are expressed in a hadith in Sahih Muslim.

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (ﷺ), used to say that all wives of Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) disclaimed the idea that one with this type of fosterage (having been suckled after the proper period) should come to them. and said to 'A'isha: By Allah, we do not find this but a sort of concession given by Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) only for Salim, and no one was ging to be allowed to enter (our houses) with this type of fosterage and we do not subscribe to this view.

In the Qur'an

Accounts provided in the hadith agree that a verse requiring ten sucklings was revealed, followed by a verse requiring just five sucklings. The same hadiths detailing these verses state that the final verse, having been written only upon a scrap of paper stored under Aisha's pillow, was lost after the death of Muhammad when a sheep entered her room and ate the scrap of paper. As noted above, the ruling had been very unpopular with Muhammad's other wives. The Qur'anic verse on stoning adulterers is likewise said to have been lost in this same incident.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Hazm from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Amongst what was sent down of the Qur'an was 'ten known sucklings make haram' - then it was abrogated by 'five known sucklings'. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, it was what is now recited of the Qur'an." Yahya said that Malik said, "One does not act on this."
It was narrated that 'Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” These verses were abrogated in recitation but not ruling. Other ahadith establish the number for fosterage to be 5.
It was narrated that 'Aishah said: “Once of the things that Allah revealed in the the Qur'an and then abrogated [the word translated as "abrogated" is سقط, which means "dropped"[3], and not نسخ, which is the word used to refer to legal abrogation[4]. This is also the usage found in the Qur'an itself[5]] was that nothing makes marriage prohibited except ten breastfeedings or five well-known (breastfeedings).” (Sahih)

2007 Azhar fatwas

Dr. Izzat Atiyya

En 2007, le Dr Izzat Atiyya, chef du département de hadith de l'université al-Azhar (l'une des plus hautes autorités de l'islam sunnite actuel et l'université islamique la plus renommée au monde - souvent décrite comme le "Harvard de l'islam"), a émis une fatwa autorisant les musulmans à mettre en œuvre la pratique de l'allaitement à l'âge adulte pour éviter les inconvénients sociaux et professionnels générés par les exigences du hijab féminin. Il a encouragé l'allaitement par les sœurs ou la mère d'une femme afin d'obtenir le statut de mahram s'il n'était pas possible, pour une raison quelconque, d'allaiter la femme directement. Il a également encouragé les femmes qui adoptent des enfants, puisque l'adoption n'est pas reconnue légalement par la loi islamique, à allaiter leurs fils adoptifs, quel que soit leur âge, afin d'établir une relation mère-fils légale. La fatwa a été publiée dans al-Watani al-Yawm, un hebdomadaire publié par le parti au pouvoir en Égypte, le Front démocratique national, et expliquée par le Dr Atiyya en personne lors d'une interview accordée à la publication. Le Dr. Atiyya a déclaré à plusieurs reprises que les sources qu'il citait appartenaient aux textes sacrés de l'Islam avec la plus haute autorité possible. Selon lui, pas moins de 90 000 érudits contemporains ont confirmé que le hadith cité est authentique. Le Dr Abd Al-Mahdi Abd Al-Qadir, un autre érudit d'Al-Azhar, a écrit et publié un livre présentant des idées similaires basées sur les mêmes sources islamiques avant la fatwa du Dr Atiyya.

"La règle religieuse qui apparaît dans la conduite du Prophète [Sunna] confirme que l'allaitement permet à un homme et à une femme d'être ensemble en privé, même s'ils ne sont pas de la même famille et si la femme n'a pas allaité l'homme dans son enfance, avant qu'il ne soit sevré - à condition que leur présence ensemble serve un but quelconque, religieux ou laïc....

"Être ensemble en privé" signifie être dans une pièce dont la porte est fermée, de sorte que personne ne puisse les voir... Un homme et une femme qui ne sont pas membres de la famille ne sont pas autorisés [à le faire], car cela suscite des soupçons et des doutes. Un homme et une femme qui sont seuls ensemble n'ont pas [nécessairement] de relations sexuelles, mais cette possibilité existe, et l'allaitement apporte une solution à ce problème... J'insiste également pour que la relation d'allaitement soit officiellement documentée par écrit... Le contrat stipulera que cette femme a allaité cet homme... Après cela, la femme peut enlever son hijab et exposer ses cheveux en [présence] de l'homme...

" est que l'homme et la femme doivent être liés par l'allaitement. [Cela peut également être réalisé] par le biais de la mère ou de la sœur de l'homme qui allaite la femme, ou par le biais de la mère ou de la sœur de la femme qui allaite l'homme, puisque [toutes ces solutions les transforment légalement] en frère et sœur....

"La logique qui sous-tend [le concept] de l'allaitement d'un adulte est de transformer la relation bestiale entre [deux personnes] en une relation religieuse basée sur des devoirs [religieux].... Puisque [cet] allaitement a lieu entre [deux] adultes, l'homme a toujours le droit d'épouser la femme [qui l'a allaité], alors que [la femme] qui a allaité [un homme] dans son enfance n'a pas le droit de l'épouser...

"L'adulte doit téter directement du sein [de la femme]...". [Ceci selon un hadith attribué à Aïcha, épouse du Prophète Muhammad], qui raconte que Salem [le fils adoptif d'Abu Hudheifa] a été allaité par la femme d'Abu-Hudheifa alors qu'il était déjà un homme adulte avec une barbe, sur ordre du Prophète.... D'autres méthodes, comme [le transfert] du lait dans un récipient, sont [moins souhaitables]....

"[Quant à la possibilité d'utiliser un tire-lait, qui] augmente la production des glandes mammaires... c'est une question pour les médecins et les savants religieux qui doivent déterminer si le lait [ainsi produit] est du vrai lait, c'est-à-dire si sa composition est identique à celle du lait originel [de la femme]. Si c'est le cas, cette méthode est permise...

"Le fait que le hadith concernant l'allaitement d'un adulte soit inconcevable pour l'esprit ne le rend pas invalide. Il s'agit d'un hadith fiable, et le rejeter équivaut à rejeter le Messager d'Allah et à remettre en question la tradition du Prophète."'

Dr. Atiyya's fatwa was followed by immense controversy in Egypt and internationally. Shortly after publication, a committee assembled by al-Azhar suspended Dr. Atiyya from his academic post and the Egyptian information minister ordered the removal of the relevant edition of al-Watan al-Yawm from sellers' shelves. Dr. Atiyya was ordered by al-Azhar to make a public apology. Dr. Atiyya complied.[6]

"My statements on the issue of breastfeeding an adult were based on the imams Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Al-Shawkani and Amin Khattab [Al-Subki], and on conclusions I drew from the statements of Ibn Hajar [Al-Askalani]. However, I hold that only the breastfeeding of an infant creates a family relationship [that prohibits marriage between the parties and allows them to be together], as the Four Imams [i.e., the founders of the four Sunni legal schools] said, while the [act of] breastfeeding a grown man [mentioned in the hadith] was a [specific] incident that came to serve a [specific] purpose, and the fatwa I issued was based solely on my personal interpretation. Based on what I have learned with my brothers the religious scholars, I apologize for my earlier [statements] and retract my opinion, which contradicts [the norms accepted] by the public."
Quote from Dr. Atiyya; Ibid.; see also Al-Watani Al-Yawm, Egypt: National Democratic Front Party, May 22nd, 2007 


The head of the al-Azhar Supreme Council, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, publicly refused to accept Dr. Atiyya's apology.[6]

"We must not be too lax in matters of religion, especially when the matter at hand is a fatwa that significantly affects people's actual lives, inclinations, and views – because it speaks to their natural emotions which [lead them to] embrace what is permitted and shun prohibitions." Tantawi said, "Society cannot tolerate [a fatwa] that undermines its religious stability. There is enough chaos with all the unsupervised fatwas [published] on some satellite channels. We will never permit this chaos to spread to the religious establishment and to Al-Azhar."
Quote from the head of the al-Azhar Supreme Council, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi; Ibid.

Dr. Abd al-Fatah Asaker commented saying that hadiths such as the relevant hadiths could not be accepted as authentic, even if they came from Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim.[6]

"Would Dr. Abd Al-Mahdi [Abd Al-Qadr] agree [to let] his wife, daughter, sister or even his mother breastfeed a grown man – whether a stranger or a family member? Would the Muslim scholars [want people] to say that their wives breastfeed any man who comes along? . . . It is inconceivable that Islam, which commands the believing [men and women] to lower their eyes [in modesty], should permit a strange man to place his mouth on the breast of a married woman and suckle from [it]."
Quote from Dr. Abd al-Fatah Asaker; Ibid.

The Muslim Brotherhood also criticized the fatwa harshly and took the matter to parliament. Despite 50 Egyptian MPs discussing the matter however, they "refrained from submitting a parliamentary question in order to avoid creating too big an uproar".[6]

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