A man's wife suckling from her grandmother when she was his grandfather's wife
Q: I have been married to the daughter of my paternal uncle for the past thirteen years. We are endowed with just one daughter who is twelve years old now. Several days ago, I came to know that
my wife was breastfed by her paternal grandmother Hadiyah, who is the second wife of my (paternal) grandfather (`Abd Al-Hady) but she is not my father's mother.
Yet I do not know if my grandfather was the milk-father. Being aware of this, (Part No. 21; Page No. 92) we have separated from each other and are waiting for your answer. As for my wife's mother and her grandmother who breastfed her, they are alive. They witness that my wife was breastfed when she was several days of age until she reached a year and several months. Yet they do not know whether the father by breastfeeding (i.e. our grandfather) is the milk-father or not. They call Allah to witness for that. The causes leading to this breastfeeding were that the mother of my wife was sick, so the father (of my wife) used to bring his daughter to her grandmother Hadiyah to breastfeed her. She would breastfeed her many a time. As for what led to discovering this issue, it was hearing a Fatwa issued by His Eminence Shaykh
the Mufty of
the Kingdom of Jordan,
while watching him on TV. The Mufty mentioned what implies that the husband of the milk-mother is the milk-father and that if a wife breastfeeds a baby, that baby becomes a milk-son of her husband and milk-brother to all the sons of the husband even to those of other wives.It is worth mentioning that my paternal grandfather `Abd Al-Hady is the (paternal) grandfather of my wife. He first married Fatimah, the mother of my father i.e., this was his first marriage. After her death, he married Hadiyah, the (paternal) grandmother of my wife Ikhlas.
The breastfeeding that prohibits marriage takes place only if the baby suckles five times or more during the first two years of breastfeeding. Every time a baby holds the breast and sucks milk and then leaves it to take a breath or to suck the other breast, this is counted as one time of suckling until five times of suckling are counted. If the number is less than five times, even if they are four times of suckling, (Part No. 21; Page No. 93) this breastfeeding does not prohibit marriage. Mentioning the women prohibited to marry, Allah (Exalted be He) says,
...your foster mothers who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters.
It is reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
Milk relationships are equal to blood relationships in rendering marriage unlawful i.e., whatever is prohibited due to blood relationships is also prohibited by milk relationships.
It is related by
`Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
Amongst what was sent down of the Qur'an was 'ten known times of suckling forbid marriage.' Then it was abrogated by 'five known times of suckling.' The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) died while the latter rule was in force.
It is also related on the authority of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
One or two times of suckling do not make (marriage) unlawful.
Thus, if it is proven that your wife was breastfed by the wife of your paternal grandfather, then she becomes your paternal milk-aunt. Thus, you should separate from her, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Milk relationships are equal to blood relationships in rendering marriage unlawful i.e. whatever is prohibited due to blood relationships is also prohibited by milk relationships.
If the foster-woman is not your paternal grandmother but another wife of your paternal grandfather, then she still has the same ruling. If the issue is disputed, it should be referred to the court of law.May Allah grant us success. May Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions!