What is the ruling on gheelah in Islam?.
Praise be to Allaah.
It was said that gheelah
means having intercourse with a wife who is breastfeeding, or it was said
that it means a pregnant woman breastfeeding her child.
It is reported in Saheeh Muslim (1442) that the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“I had thought of forbidding gheelah, then I remembered that the Romans and
Persians do that and it does not harm their children.”
The scholars differed as to what is meant by gheelah in this
hadeeth. Maalik said in al-Muwatta’, and al-Asma’i and other scholars
of Arabic language said that it means having intercourse with a woman who is
breastfeeding. Ibn al-Sakeet said: It means a woman breastfeeding when she
The scholars said: The reason why the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) thought of forbidding it was that he feared
that the breastfed child may be harmed by it. The doctors used to say that
that milk was harmful, and the Arabs disliked it and feared it.
The hadeeth shows that
gheelah is permissible, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) did not forbid it, and he stated the reason why he did
not forbid it.
Sharh Muslim, 10/17, 18
Muslim (1443) narrated from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas that a man
came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) and said: “I practice coitus interruptus (‘azl) with my wife.” The
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to
him: “Why do you do that?” The man said: “Out of compassion towards her
child.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “If that was harmful, it would have harmed the Persians and
There is nothing that is contrary to this permission except a
weak hadeeth that was narrated by Abu Dawood (3881) and Ibn Maajah (2012)
from Asma’ bint Yazeed (may Allaah be pleased with her), according to which
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade
gheelah. This hadeeth was classed as da’eef by Shaykh al-Albaani in
Da’eef Sunan Abi Dawood.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) quoted in
Tahdheeb al-Sunan the ahaadeeth which indicate that it is permitted,
then he said: “These ahaadeeth are more sound than the hadeeth of Asma’ bint
Yazeed. Even if her hadeeth is proven to be saheeh, it may be understood as
referring to that which is preferable, not as meaning that it is haraam. End
He also said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (5/147, 148):
There is no doubt that
having intercourse with a breastfeeding woman is something that is
widespread, and it is too hard for a man to keep away from his wife for the
duration of the breastfeeding period. If having intercourse with
breastfeeding women was haraam, it would be well known in the religion, and
the ummah and the best of generations would have known that. But there is no
clear report that any of them regarded it as haraam. It is known that the
hadeeth of Asma’ is to be regarded as advice about what is better for the
child and to avoid interrupting the child’s milk supply in the event of the
mother becoming pregnant.
Conclusion: gheelah is not haraam or makrooh, because there
is no proof that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) forbade it. The one who avoids it in order to be on the safe side for
his child is not doing anything wrong.
And Allaah knows best.