Ezzat Attiya is the fellow who was ridiculed worldwide and fired from Al-Azhar after coming up with what appeared to be a novel solution to a long-standing problem: how could unrelated men and women work together in the same office, when Islam forbids men and women who aren’t married or related to be alone together? Attiya’s answer: let her suckle him. Then she will be his foster mother, and they can be alone together.
It seemed novel, as well as ridiculous, but in fact it was based on the words of Muhammad. Attiya, after all, was the head of the venerable institution’s hadith department, and so he was no doubt well familiar with this and other, related ahadith:
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hadhaifa, lived with him and his family in their house. She (i. e. the daughter of Suhail came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Salim has attained (purbety) [sic] as men attain, and he understands what they understand, and he enters our house freely, I, however, perceive that something (rankles) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said to her: Suckle him and you would become unlawful for him, and (the rankling) which Abu Hudhaifa feels in his heart will disappear. She returned and said: So I suckled him, and what (was there) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa disappeared. (Sahih Muslim 3425)
Muhammad tells the daughter of Suhail to suckle Salim. This will make her unlawful to him, that is, he won’t be able to marry her because he will be her foster child. Thus it will be lawful for him to be in the house with her, and Abu Hudhaifa will no longer be angry.
So anyway, now Ezzat Attiya has his job back.
“Egypt court annuls Azhar’s decision to expel controversial sheikh: Breastfeeding fatwa sheikh back at Egypt’s Azhar,” from Al-Arabiya, May 18 (thanks to Twostellas):
CAIRO (AlArabiya.net) The case of the male breastfeeding fatwa, or religious ruling, just took another strange turn as the scholar who issued the controversial opinion was rehired after being fired by Egypt’s al-Azhar University.
The Cairo Administrative Court overturned the decision by al-Azhar’s disciplinary committee to expel Ezzat Attiya, the president of the hadith department, for issuing a fatwa condoning the symbolic breastfeeding of grown men in 2007.
The court annulled the university”s decision to expel Attiya after he issued a fatwa permitting symbolic breastfeeding of men as a way to loosen the customs of segregation between the sexes in Egypt.
“No one can argue with a court order,” Sheikh Fawzy el-Zefzaf, head of religion and dialogue committee at al-Azhar, said in a statement Monday. “We respect the Administrative Court and follow its orders without thinking twice.”
Some students at al Azhar University who disagreed with the fatwa nonetheless endorsed the court’s deicision, saying that no Azhar teacher should be expelled.
“I am glad the Attiya is back at Azhar because no sheikh should be expelled from his job for his opinions,” Abdul Qader Ramadan, 23, told Al Arabiya.
Islam prohibits sexual relations between a man and the woman who breastfed him in infancy. Attiya said that if a woman were to symbolically breastfeed a male colleague, she could be alone with him since he would no longer be considered a potential mate….