As many of us know, women and men in Saudi Arabia must be careful not to mingle, as the insanely strict Islamic law bans mixing between the sexes who are not related. Recently, the Saudis have issued a fatwa that forces women who come into contact with unrelated men on a regular basis to breastfeed them so that they can be considered “relatives” and not potential lovers. The strangest part is, this isn’t the actual issue at hand. The issue is, how do the men get the milk? I know, it just gets weirder.
According to the Gulf News, Sheikh Al Obeikan, a consultant to the Ministry of Justice and an adviser to the royal court stated, “the man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the woman without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”
This fatwa applies to men who regularly come into contact with the same woman, or men who live in the same house with a woman. The woman has to pump her breast milk into a glass and give it to the unrelated male. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?
But, not all agree with giving the milk in such a way. Oh, no. Another high-profile sheik, Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, believes that the men should suckle the breast milk directly from the woman’s breast. Now we are talking! How is it that you can get close enough to suckle, though, without getting thrown in jail? If the genders aren’t allowed to mix, how could you do this without the religious police on your ass? This is serious stuff! Under this strict Islamic law, women aren’t allowed to vote, drive, or leave the country without the consent of a male “guardian”.
For example, in March 2009, a 75 years old Syrian widow named Khasmisa Mohammad Sawadi---I repeat---75 years old---was sent to jail for six months and given forty lashes after the religious police found out that two men (who were not her relatives) were in her home, delivering bread. Now, did they really think she was getting it on with these two delivery boys? Give me a break! And, even if she was, who cares? Why the obsession over what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults?
In order to escape punishment, one of the two men, Fahd, explained to police that Sawadi had breast-fed him as an infant, so he was allowed to be there. But, later, the judge ruled that it couldn’t be proven that he was her “breast milk son.” He was given forty lashes and received four months in jail. His friend received sixty lashes and six months in the slammer. Sounds like this judge needs his mommy. Someone’s a wittle cranky.
But, how did this whole breast milk controversy start, anyway? The originator of the adult breast-feeding fatwa was issued in Egypt three years ago. Ezzat Attiya, an Egyptian scholar, was expelled from al-Azhar University (one of the top Sunni Islam universities) for advocating breast-feeding of men as a way to get around not being able to mingle with the opposite sex. Clever, clever. A year later, he was reinstated.
Soon after the fatwa was issued in Saudi Arabia, a woman threatened to file a lawsuit against a bus driver in the country’s Eastern Region after he reportedly told her that he wanted to suckle milk from her breast. Great, just what the women of Saudi Arabia need. More men thinking they own the rights to women’s bodies, specifically, breasts.
Under Islamic law, women are told to breast-feed their babies until they are two years old. It is common for sisters to breast feed their nephews so that they and their daughters will not have to cover their faces in front of them when they get older. The snazzy term for this is called “breast milk sibling.”
However, breast milk siblings must be breast fed five times before the age of two for this to hold water...or in this case...milk. Islam forbids sexual relations between a woman and man that she breast fed as an infant. They can be alone together because he isn’t considered a potential mate. What’s with all the crazy rules inside of rules? No wonder people are constantly fighting and confused over there! They don’t even know which end is up!
Blogger Eman Al Nafjan said that many in Saudi Arabia are disgusted by this fatwa.
“The whole issue just shows how clueless men are. All this back and forth between sheiks and not one bothers to ask a woman if it’s logical, let alone possible to breastfeed a grown man five fulfilling breast milk meals.” She blogs.
“Moreover, the thought of a huge hairy face at a woman’s breast does not evoke motherly or even brotherly feelings. It could go from the grotesque to the erotic but definitely not maternal.”
Al Nafjan goes on to say to AOL News Friday, “We have many important issues that need discussing. It’s ridiculous to spend time talking about adult breast-feeding.”
Thank you, Al Nafjan for pointing out the “glitch” in this absurd plan! How would breast feeding a grown man create a non-sexual relation? Have any of these sheiks ever watched porn? Men love breasts! They want to kiss them, lick them, suckle them, motorboat them...to assume that this would create a maternal feeling towards a grown man leaning down and sucking on a non-related woman’s breast is creepy.
Not only does this new rule disturb me as a woman, it is also logistically impossible to implement and keep track of. First off, not all women breast feed. You have to have just had a baby to do that, usually. Some women are incapable of producing breast milk. And, perhaps, oddly enough, they don’t want to share this sacred moment between mother and child with random, grown men who have teeth! Yikes!
When will the madness stop? Just another way to control women’s bodies, and confuse men into believing that women are nothing more than vessels to be used whenever they see fit.
If this was a fictional novel, one of the saucier female characters would invite a high and mighty sheik to suckle her breast, but secretly she would coat her nipple with a poisonous, undetectable salve. Then, boom! One sheik down! Who’s next? My guess is that would stop the invasion of the boobie-sucklers.