Is it permissible for a woman to wean her baby at 7 weeks without any medical excuse, and later even misbehave with her husband by refusing to discharge her duties towards her milk-suckling baby? And when husband objects to such behaviour was she justified in relinquishing the baby completely, even when she continued to be in wedlock?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has said
“And mothers suckle their children full two years; it is for one who wants to complete the (period of) suckling. The father shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor shall the father on account of his child, an heir be chargeable in the same way. If they both (parents) decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. And if you decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay (the foster-mother) what you offered, on equitable terms. And fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what you do.” (Surah Baqarah v.233)
From the above verse we can deduce firstly, that the total time given for suckling is for two lunar years after which suckling should not be done. However, on the basis of some verses of the Holy Quran and reports from the ahadith, Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) ruled that if it was carried on over a period of 30 months all the legal effects of suckling should be applicable. But breast-feeding a child after completing 30 months is unanimously haraam. Secondly, we can also derive that it is the moral and religious responsibility of the mother that she breastfeeds her child. However, if there is some excuse, such as the mother is too ill or weak or her milk is not suitable for the child or she is pregnant, then she may stop breastfeeding the child. (Maariful Quran p.603 v.1)
The conclusion we can come to is that the mother should breastfeed her child for two years. However, it will be permitted to wean the child before two years, with the mutual consent of the parents, provided this does not harm the child. This will be permitted particularly when breastfeeding may be harmful to the mother or the child, or because of some other genuine reason. Hence, in normal and general cases, the recommended period for breastfeeding is two whole lunar years. (www.daruliftaa.com , Mufti Muhammad Bin Adam Al Kawthari)
With regards to your specific question, if your wife without any reason stopped breastfeeding the child without any consultation with you then morally she will be considered sinful for her action. She will face the consequences in the Hereafter, but she cannot be compelled to breastfeed her child by the husband or by the Imam as this is considered a moral right of the child over her.
Finally, the mother will be considered very sinful for leaving the child. This is akin to breaking ties and the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said “The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter paradise.” (Sahih Bukhari p.885 v.2)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham