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Ruling On Giving The Infant Food Other Than His Mother’s Milk After The Sixth Month

Nigeria Student Forum / General Discussion / Ruling On Giving The Infant Food Other Than His Mother’s Milk After The Sixth Month

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.

My husband loves to adhere as
much as possible to what the
Sahaabah used to do. This is our
first child, and he does not want to
give him any food apart from breast
milk when he reaches the age of six
months, unless there is evidence to
support that from the Sahaabah. In
my research I have not been able to
find anything to help me convince
him about how important nutrition
is for the baby. Do you have any
evidence or anything that will help
me to convince him of the necessity
of starting to introduce food to the
infant from the age of six months
to two years, and that it is not
obligatory to limit it to


Praise be to Allah.
The feeding of the infant after the
age of six months is one of the
matters that are completely
governed by custom, and it not a
matter of worship. The basic
principle with regard to such
matters is that they are permissible,
and nothing is disallowed unless
there is evidence to that effect
from Islamic teachings. If there is
no such evidence, then the matter
remains permissible and allowed.
This is the established principle
according to Islam.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
People’s actions and words are of
two types: acts of worship through
which they fulfil their religious
duties, and matters of custom and
tradition that are connected to their
worldly interests.
By studying the fundamentals of
Islam, we learn that with regard to
the acts of worship that Allah has
enjoined or that He loves, matters
can only be based on religious texts.
As for matters of custom and
tradition, this refers to things that
people are accustomed to doing for
worldly purposes and serve their
worldly interests. In principle, these
things are not disallowed, so
nothing is to be regarded as being
disallowed except that which Allah,
may He be glorified and exalted, has

The basic principle with regard to
customs and traditions is that they
are overlooked and permissible, and
nothing of them is to be regarded as
disallowed except that which the
religious texts prohibited.
Otherwise, what Allah says about
the mushrikeen would be applicable
to us: “Say, ‘Have you seen what
Allah has sent down to you of
provision of which you have made
[some] lawful and [some]
unlawful?’” [Yoonus 10:59] . Hence
Allah criticised the mushrikeen who
introduced a religion to which Allah
has not consented (cf. 42:21), and
they prohibited things that He had
not prohibited.… This is a useful and
important principle.
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa

Then you should examine the issue
of feeding infants, and other
similar, permissible customs and
traditions. It should be based on
what is in the child’s best interests,
and other interests. Whatever
custom and tradition have shown to
be in people’s best interests, on the
basis of practice and experience,
then people may adopt it and act in
accordance with it, as is the case in
all their affairs. This is what may be
understood from the great principle
that the Prophet (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him) taught
to his companions: “You know
better about your worldly affairs.”
Narrated by Muslim (2363).
It is well-known that the infant’s
teeth usually begin to appear
around the age of six months, and
the main function of the teeth is to
chew food. This is an indication that
at this age, the infant’s body is
ready to receive food other than the
mother’s milk. So suitable food may
be gradually introduced at this age.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have
mercy on him) said:

They (infants) should be restricted
to milk only until their teeth begin
to appear, because their stomachs
are weak and unable to digest food.
Once the infant’s teeth begin to
appear and his stomach becomes
stronger, then he may be nourished
with food. Allah, may He be
glorified, has delayed the growth of
the teeth until the time when the
infant needs food, by His wisdom,
kindness and mercy towards the
mother, so that the child will not
bite the breast with his teeth.
Food should be introduced
gradually. The first thing that
infants should be given is soft food,
so they should be given bread that
has been soaked in hot water,
yoghurt and milk. After that, cooked
food and broth without meat may
be given; then after that, very soft
meat that has been thoroughly
chewed or chopped very finely may
be introduced.
End quote from Tuhfat al-Mawdood
bi Ahkaam al-Mawlood (p. 339).
Moreover, depriving the infant of
regular food altogether after he has
reached the age of six months may
be harmful to him, because his
mother’s milk may not be enough
for him. Furthermore, he may
desire real food after the age of six
months, so depriving him of it
would be a kind of cruelty and
would reflect a lack of compassion
for him. Introducing food to him
gradually prepares him for weaning,
so that when the time comes to
wean him, his body will be ready to
do without milk, and he will be
content with food.

The gradual introduction of food
that is suitable for his age has
another psychological benefit: it will
make it easy for him to be weaned
from his mother, when he reaches
the age of weaning. This is stated
by specialists in psychology. Thus
stopping breastfeeding will be done
gradually, and that will be kinder to
him when breastfeeding comes to
an end and he reaches the stage of
Your husband’s keenness to follow
the Sahaabah is something
praiseworthy, but this and similar
issues have nothing to do with
worship, as noted above; rather
these matters come under the
heading of customs and traditions,
and what is in the child’s best
interests. So you should not look for
evidence from the actions of the
Sahaabah regarding such issues;
rather you should seek evidence
from the actions of the Sahaabah
regarding acts of worship.
And Allah knows best.


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