Question(s)

I understand breast milk is part of a human’s body and that it should not be sold or bought. The money we give to wet nurses is for their time and not for buying their breast milk.
[1] However, some mothers get breast milk from milk banks through hospitals and other mothers need to buy it from milk banks. Will it be permissible to pay for it?

[2] Also some women get money for taking out time to pump the milk into packs which then get sent to milk banks. It takes about 2-3 hours and sometimes 5 hours to fill a pack of breast milk and they get paid for that. Will this be permissible?

Answer(s)

الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

First and foremost, there are numerous inherent issues that arise from different women donating and storing milk in such milk-donation banks. The primary issue at hand is that, according to Shari’ah, breastfeeding results in the establishment of ‘foster relations’ whereby the woman who breastfed the child is regarded as the foster (raḍāʿi) mother of the child and ḥurmat (maḥram relationship) will be established between the two. Thus, it is necessary for the foster parent and foster child (whilst growing up) to be aware of each other’s identities, so as to be able to observe the Shar’i restrictions. In addition, if the woman breastfeeds a child without need & due to this, a relation he/she has in the future is unlawful, the breastfeeding woman will be sinful. [1]

It is evident that this is a grave issue for milk-banks where donations are often stored in a mixed storage vessel. Furthermore, where milk is stored separately, the milk-banks often do not disclose such details easily.

After having outlined the fundamental issues with such systems, your specific queries are addressed below.

[1] – Generally, it will not be permitted to trade in a woman’s breast-milk. As you indicate, the Qur’an permits the hiring of wet-nurses and compensating them, however, there is a fundamental difference between ‘hiring’ a wet-nurse and ‘trading’ in milk. [2]
Hence, in general circumstances, it will not be permitted to buy or sell breast-milk in this manner, whether individually or from a milk bank, due to various reasons, primarily, milk not being of legal monetary value in Shari’ah and also, due to the sanctity of the human body. [3]

[2] – In the latter scenario, you have indicated to the duration of the milk-pumping process. Thus, if she is being paid for her time, then in principle, this will be deemed permissible, as it’s a payment for her service (Ujrah’). However, if she is being paid the equivalent of how much milk she is donating, then this will be assumed as ‘milk-trading’ and thus, shall not be deemed permissible. This is notwithstanding that there are other various inherent issues that arise from different women storing milk in milk banks in this manner. [4]

Finally, it is vital to note that the above is specifically in relation to the trade (buying/selling) of milk. As for donation, there is scope for permissibility (with certain conditions), on occasions of need. Furthermore, the principles outlined above are for general circumstances. If however, there is a dire medical need such that there is no alternative but to pay for the milk, then there may be scope to do so, once assessed by a local pious and trustworthy scholar (Mufti). [5]

Nonetheless, in times of need, where a pious and trustworthy scholar (Mufti) has deemed appropriate and one is confident that the milk is only from a single woman, it is also advisable to enquire regarding the identity of the donor, as they are often required to keep such records regardless. [6]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best.
Mubasshir Talha
28 Dhul Hijjah 1441/ 18 August 2020

Concurred by:

Approved by:
Mufti Tahir Wadee | Mufti Yusuf Ilolvi
[To see their profiles, click here]

Note: This fatwa is only to be viewed with the question asked. In the event of presenting this to a third party, please ensure it is coupled with the original question, as well as the references below for Islamic Scholars.


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Arguments and ideas propounded in this answer are based on the juristic interpretations and reasoning of the author. Given that contemporary issues and their interpretations are subjective in nature, another Mufti may reach different conclusions to the one expressed by the author. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure total accuracy and soundness from a Shari’ah perspective, the author is open to any correction or juristic guidance. In the event of any juristic shortcomings, the author will retract any or all of the conclusions expressed within this answer.

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[References]

[1]
وإذا نزل للبكر لبن فأرضعت صبيا، فإنها تكون أمه من الرضاعة، لأن
السبب وهو الإرضاع قد تحقق. انتهى
[Al Mabsut, 2/295]

وفي الخانية: لو أرضعت البكر صبيا صارت أما للصبي وتثبت جميع أحكام الرضاع بينهما. انتهی
[Bahr Al-Ra’iq, 3/245]

والواجب على النساء أن لا يرضعن كل صبي من غير ضرورة، وإذا أرضعن فليحفظن ذلك ويشهرنه ويكتبنه احتياطا. انتهى
[Al Fath Al Qadir, 3/439]

[2]
قال الله تعالى في القرآن المجيد (البقرة ٢٣٣): ﴿وإن أردتم أن تسترضعوا أولادكم فلا جناح عليكم إذا سلمتم ما اتيتم بالمعروف﴾ [البقرة:٢٣٣]. وهو الظاهر
[Al Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, Ayah 233]

يجوز استئجار الظئر بأجرة معلومة» لقوله تعالى: ﴿فإن أرضعن لكم فاتوهن أجورهن﴾ [الطلاق:٦] ولأن التعامل به كان جاريا على عهد رسول الله ﷺ وقبله وأقرهم عليه. انتهى
[Al Hidayah, 2/239]


[3]
قال أصحابنا: لا يجوز بيع لبن الآدمية. انتهى
[Al Tajrid, 5/2640]

وقال ابن نجيم في البحر الرائق (٦/٨٧): لم يجز بيع لبن المرأة لأنه جزء الادمي، وهو بجميع أجزائه مكرم
مصون عن الابتذال بالبيع. انتهى
[Bahr Al Ra’iq, 2/87]

(وحجتنا) في ذلك أن لبن الادمية ليس بمال متقوم فلا يجوز بيعه و،، ثم . لأجزاء الادمي من الحكم ما لعينه…واللبن جزء متولد من عين الادمي. انتهى
[Al Mabsut, 15/125]

ولا ينعقد بيع لبن المرأة في قدح عندنا. ولنا: أن اللبن ليس بمال فلا يجوز بيعه… وقال بعد أسطر: لا يباح الانتفاع به شرعا على الإطلاق بل لضرورة تغذية الطفل، وما كان حرام الانتفاع به شرعا إلا لضرورة لا يكون مالا كالخمر، والخنزير، والدليل عليه أن الناس لا يعدونه مالا، ولا يباع في سوق ما من الأسواق دل أنه ليس بمال فلا يجوز بيعه، ولأنه جزء من الادمي، والادمي بجميع أجزائه محترم مكرم، وليس من الكرامة، والاحترام ابتذاله بالبيع، والشراء. انتهى
[Al Bada’i’ Al Sana’i’, 5/145]

[4]
ثم قيل: إن العقد يقع على المنافع وهي خدمتها للصبي والقيام به واللبن يستحق على طريق التبع بمنزلة الصبغ في الثوب. وقيل إن العقد يقع على اللبن، والخدمة تابعة، والأول أقرب إلى الفقه. انتهى
[Al Hidayah, 3/239]

وهذا العقد لا يرد على العين، وهو اللبن مقصودا، وإنما يقع على فعل التربية والحضانة وخدمة الصبي، واللبن يدخل فيها تبعا لهذه الأشياء، ومثل هذا جائز. انتهى
[Al Fath Al Qadir, 9/102]

فيكون كالاستئجار على الخدمة. انتهى
[Al Binayah, 10/288]

[5]
يجوز للعليل شرب البول والدم والميتة للتداوي إذا أخبره طبيب مسلم أن شفاءه فيه، ولم يجد من المباح ما يقوم مقامه، وإن قال الطبيب يتعجل شفاؤك به فيه وجهان، انتهى.
[Rad Al Mukhtar, 2/389]

ولم يبح الإرضاع بعد موته لأنه جزء آدمي والانتفاع به لغير ضرورة حرام، انتهى.
[Dar Al Mukhtar, 3/211]

وهذا؛ لأن الحرمة ساقطة عند الاستشفاء كحل الخمر والميتة للعطشان والجائع. انتهى
[Bahr Al Ra’iq, 1/122; Rad Al Mukhtar, 1/702, Farfur]


الضرورات تبيح المحظورات
ما أبيح للضرورة يقدر بقدرها. انتهى – والله أعلم
[Al Ashbah wa Al Naza’ir, 152, Dar Al Fikr]