Cairo: In a bizarre case of disciplining a cleric for issuing a weird decree, one of the Sunni Islam’s highly regarded institutions is chastising a cleric for issuing an eccentric fatwa, which allows females to breastfeed their male colleagues.
Elucidating on such a decree, Dr Izzat Atiya of Egypt’s al-Azhar University said that it was a unique way of making a man symbolically related to his female counterpart at work, thereby prohibiting any sexual encounter.
However, with the president of al-Azhar University condemning the fatwa, Dr Atiya has finally drawn back from his stance, thereby accepting it as defamatory to Islam.
As per the Islamic tradition, or Hadith, breastfeeding establishes maternal relation, even in case a female nurses a baby, who is not biologically hers.
According to Dr Atiya, the head of al-Azhar's Department of Hadith, such wisdom could be applied to adults.
Dr Atiya said that if a female fed a male co-worker "directly from her breast" at least five times, in such a situation, both would develop a family bond and can be allowed to be together alone at work.
"Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage. A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed,” Atiya said.
Incidentally, the fatwa has sparked an outrage all over Egypt and the Arab community.
On Sunday, Dr Atiya retracted from his statement and said that he was grossly misquoted and said that it was a "bad interpretation of a particular case.”
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Zaqzouq, Egypt's religious affairs minister has called for future fatwas to "be compatible with logic and human nature".
First Published: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 13:14