Scholars of Fatwa Islam explain familiar ties caused by breastfeeding

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Saudi Arabia, in:
Religious Authority: 
Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Scholars of Fatwa Islam explain familiar ties caused by breastfeeding

Question: What is the ruling concerning a women who has reached the age of menopause and she breast feeds a child five sucklings or more during the first two years of that child's life. Does this breast feeding make them illegal for each other [and all the other ramifications], giving him a foster father even though the breast feeding women may be without a husband?

Answer: Breastfeeding makes forbidden what blood relations makes forbidden. Therefore, the breastfeeding mentioned in the question, five sucklings in the first two years, makes the women a [breastfeeding] mother to that child due to that breastfeeding. This is based on the generality of the Quranic verse, '' [Forbidden to you for marriage are] your foster mother who gave you suck ." al-Nisa:23 Even if the milk was produced after she reached the age of menopause, the ruling is the same. If that women was married, the child would be her [foster] child and the son of the one whom the milk is ascribed to. If she was not married and produced milk, then she is the [foster] mother of that child and he has no foster father.

As for the second case, this is where the child has a foster father but no foster mother. An example is where a man has two wives. One of them suckles the child twice and the other suckles the child three times. In that case, he will be the foster child of the husband since he was breastfeed over five times from milk that was the result of intercourse with him. But he will not have a foster mother because neither the first nor the second women suckled him the minimum amount of times required.