Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-242



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Moreover, a rather long-term benefit that comes out of this method of Qur'an and its special style, is that man, once he has sensed it, does not start abiding by the law simply because he knows that acting against it would bring some sort of punishment in the mortal world; much contrary to this, he starts worrying about the displeasure of Allah Almighty and the punishment that would come in the Hereafter (akhirah) and this very concern of his renders his outside and inside, his open and his secret, all even one and indivisible. He cannot act against the law even at a place where there are no chances at all of his being policed, openly or secretly, because he believes that Allah Almighty, great is His Majesty, is present everywhere, watching and knowing everything down to the minutest particle. This is the reason why every Muslim abided by the law considering it to be an ideal of his life as a result of the principles of clean social living taught by the Qur'an.

Aside from identifying limits and restrictions of law, the distinction of a Qur'anic system of government is that by using the tools of persuasion and warning, it raises the standards of human morals and character to heights where legal limits and restrictions become second nature to him, before which he makes his personal desires and preferences take the back seat. A hard look into the history and governments of nations and the roster of crimes and punishments they offer would show that law alone has never reformed any nation or individual. The police and the army alone have never succeeded in rooting crimes out unless the fear of Allah Almighty and the realization of His supreme greatness is impinged on human hearts. That which helps prevent crimes is, in reality, the fear of Allah and the fear of accountability on the Day of Judgment. If this is not there, nobody can keep anybody away from crimes.

Verse 233
[٢٣٣]وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَّهُ بِوَلَدِهِ ۚ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ ۗ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا ۗ وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

And mothers suckle their children full two years; it is for one who wants to complete the (period of) suckling. And on him, to whom the child is born, falls the provision of food and clothing for them (the mothers) with fairness. Nobody is obligated beyond his capacity. No mother shall be made to suffer on account of her child, nor a man to whom the child is born, on account of his child. And on the heir it falls likewise. Now, if they want to wean, with mutual consent, and consulation, there is no sin on them. And if you want to get your children suckled (by a wet-nurse), there is no sin on you when you pay off what you are to give, as recognized. And fear Allah and be sure that Allah is watchful of what you do. (Verse 233)

The injunctions of suckling the children by the mothers This verse contains injunctions relating to rada'ah (رضاعة) or the suckling of children. It will be recalled that in verses appearing earlier and later than this, the injunctions of talaq (divorce) have been taken up. In between, there appear injunctions relating to the suckling of children, because it generally happens that issues concerning the feeding and upbringing of children are disputed following a divorce. Since these disputations lead to violence, this verse offers moderate injunctions which can be carried out easily and appropriately by man and woman both. For the two situations of suckling and weaning, whether these show up during the period of marriage, or after divorce, a system was suggested which helps stop mutual bickering, or injustice to any of the parties.

For instance, it was said in the first sentence of the verse: وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ

that is, 'And mothers suckle their children for full two years' unless there be some strong compelling reason which leads to weaning before that time.

Some rules concerning rada'ah or suckling of children come out from this verse; these are:

Suckling of children is an obligation of the mother
Naturally suckling is an obligation of the mother. If she does not feed without a valid reason or because of some hostility or displeasure, she will be a sinner. And she cannot accept any payment for suckling from her husband, as long as she is married to him because that is her own duty.

The total period of suckling
The second rule is about the total period of suckling which is two years. Unless there be some special reason, it is the right of the child that this period be completed.

From this we also know that the total time given for suckling is full two years after which suckling should not be done. However, on the basis of some verses of the Qur'an and reports from ahadith, Imam Abu Hanifah ruled that if it was carried on over a period of 30 months or two and a half years, all the legal effects of suckling shall be applicable and if this was done because of the weakness of the child, a legitimate excuse, it would then be no sin either. But breast-feeding a child after completing two and a half years is unanimously haram (forbidden).

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