Islam cares for the welfare of both the baby and the parents. If a mother wants to prolong the period of breastfeeding for her baby, there is nothing in the source ofShari`ah to declare this as unlawful (haram) as long as this will be beneficial for the baby and will not harm the mother. It goes without saying that medical consultation in these cases are necessary and will help parents decide what is better for all.

In this regard, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “A mother in Islam is expected to provide nurturing care and love for her children. Breastfeeding is undoubtedly one of the best ways of providing such care. Breast milk has been specifically created by Allah to provide all the necessary nutrients and immunity so vital for the development of the child in its formative years, and as such there is no substitute for it.

It is, therefore, not at all surprising when Allah states in the Qur’an, “Mothers shall give such to their children for two whole years, for those who wish the suckling to be completed…if after consultation, they choose by mutual agreement to wean the child, it is no offence for them…” (Al-Baqarah: 233).

Scholars have deduced a number of points from the above verse: the full term of breastfeeding is two years—if the parents so decide; however, should they prefer to wean earlier, it can be done without incurring any offence or sin so long as such a decision has been made after giving due consideration to the welfare of the child as well as the interests of both parents.

As for the question whether a mother can breastfeed past the two years, the answer is: there is nothing in the sources to indicate that it is wrong to do so. So, parents are free to do so if they deem it conducive to the wellbeing of their child.

Having said this, however, I should convince parents that at some point they must make a distinction between providing, responsible nurturing care and spoiling a child. Sometimes a child may never wish to wean at all if parents were to leave it entirely to his choice. It is therefore important for parents/mother to plan to wean him gradually without causing him undue emotional stress. Parents should decide their move in consultation with your pediatrician and a trained nurse.”