Now that’s far too late to wean…

By Legal Eagle

I am all in favour of breastfeeding. But sometimes a good thing can be taken too far.

According to BBC News, Dr Izzat Atiya of Al-Hazar University in Cairo issued a fatwa as follows:

He said that if a woman fed a male colleague “directly from her breast” at least five times, they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together at work.

“Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage,” he ruled.

“A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed.”

Apparently, according to sharia law, breastfeeding at infancy establishes a familial relationship between a woman and child even if there is no biological relationship. Dr Atiya sought to extend that principle to adults in order to get around the problem of segregation in the workplace.

Well, I’m glad he was thinking of creative solutions to  segregation in the workplace… That’s a good start to providing equal opportunity for women in the workplace in Islamic countries. But no, no, no, ugh! Allowing a colleague to drink from your breast seems a million, billion, trillion times worse than allowing him to see you with your hair uncovered.

I’m glad to say that this ruling has sparked outrage throughout Egypt and the Muslim world. It has been retracted as defamatory to Islam.


  1. Posted May 29, 2007 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    A simple misunderstanding, is it not? Dr Atiya was just quoting an ancient text. Oops, now I read “colleague”, that’s not very ancient is it?

    Like all things in Islam, the answer is “Ah, but you don’t understand”

  2. fairlane
    Posted May 29, 2007 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Are they hiring?

  3. Anthony_
    Posted May 29, 2007 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Hmm what you get for taking archaic nonsense literally

  4. Posted May 29, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    i love the last para of the article:

    Egypt’s minister of religious affairs, Mahmoud Zaqzouq, has called for future fatwas to “be compatible with logic and human nature”.

    politely put. how anyone can think asking a woman to get her breasts out for a snack is more acceptable and less sexual than asking her to borrow a stapler is – well, i have no words.

  5. Posted May 29, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I nearly fell off my seat when i came across that article.

    You’ve posted 3 posts for the 28th. Hard to keep up really, do you have a quota you try to reach per day?

  6. Posted May 29, 2007 at 2:47 pm | Permalink


    I’m afraid it’s called procrastination, at which I excel. I need to impose a quota not to write too many more blog posts before my next PhD meeting (next week).


  7. fairlane
    Posted May 30, 2007 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    I like your posts. Most of the stuff I read is the same old thing.

    Also, my original post was a joke. The “religious”, of all denominations, are beginning to freak me out and I run out of logical things to say sometimes.

  8. Posted May 30, 2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I knew it was a joke, Fairlane! Just never got around to thinking of a clever reply because I was trying to do thesis yesterday.
    My husband made a variation of the same joke – “That’s a workplace I’d like to work at,” he said.
    It is a bit scary, isn’t it? Sometimes you wonder about people…you really do…

  9. GavinM
    Posted May 30, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of Little Britain…Did you watch it when it was on, LE..?

    Bitty anyone..??

    It would make afternoon tea interesting though…You could ask all the women in the office to line up, and have a buffet…

    I guess it also gives new meaning to the term ‘bosom buddies’..

    Interesting to note that he specifies at least 5 times, I would have thought you’d know each other pretty well after the first one…Very strange this Sharia law…

  10. Posted May 30, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    “Do you want milk with your coffee?” has a whole new meaning in that workplace… Erk!

    It does remind me of Little Britain – all a bit farcical really.

    I presume the 5 times has some sort of scriptural basis?

  11. fairlane
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Did you say 1 lump in your coffee or do you want them both?

  12. Posted May 31, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    “Now this department really should keep abreast of new developments…”

    oh dear oh dear, the double entendres could just go on for ages.

    Did this guy have no sense of humour? No sense of irony? Guess not.

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