Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Study of the Understanding Amongst Academia towards the Islamic Concept of Breastfeeding

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Study of the Understanding Amongst Academia towards the Islamic Concept of Breastfeeding

Article excerpt

Abstract

Understanding the importance of breastfeeding from the Islamic perspective is important in ensuring the success of breastfeeding particularly amongst working mothers. The focus of this research is the understanding of the Islamic perspective on breastfeeding amongst university intellectuals who are considered to be highly educated and a role model for other women. This is a field study that employed the quantitative method where data were obtained through questionnaires and an interview with a specialist in the Islamic Family Jurisprudence (Fiqh). A total of 140 respondents were selected from the Malaysian higher education institutes such as UiTM Kuala Terengganu, University Malaysia Terengganu and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Terengganu. The results showed that the respondents have a sound understanding with regards to breastfeeding from the Islamic perspective, scoring an average mean value of 2.67-3.92. This finding indicates that knowledge about breastfeeding according to Islam is an important foundation to the successful practice of breastfeeding.

Keywords: understanding, academia, breastfeeding

(ProQuest: Foreign text omitted.)

1. Introduction

The implementation of breastfeeding is considered to be an important branch in the Islamic Family Jurisprudence (fiqh); it is a command of Allah and the Prophet as ordained in both the Qur'an and Hadith. Furthermore, a mother's milk carries an important status in the Islamic law due to its effect on forging milk kinship amongst unrelated individuals. For example, a woman who is a wet nurse to a child is forbidden from entering into marriage with the said child indefinitely. Due to its esteemed position, a mother needs to understand the major Islamic principles associated with breastfeeding. Understanding this would ensure the success of breastfeeding that conform to the Islamic rules. Among the issues dealt in this study is the Islamic perspective on nursing that is in accordance with Islamic law, the rules of milk kinship, the need for expressing milk, and forms of payment for breastfeeding.

The scope of this study is the female university academia's understanding of breastfeeding from the Islamic perspective. The respondents are selected from Malaysian universities of diverse academic backgrounds: the Islamic education, science, economics and social sciences. The focus of this study is their understanding of breastfeeding from the following aspects: as a commandment of Allah the Almighty, the Islamic laws of breastfeeding, the duration of breastfeeding, the breastfeeding system that builds kinship, expressing milk, and the hiring of wet nurses.

Although prior field research in Malaysia on breastfeeding have been conducted among nurses (Nik Normanieza Nik Wan, 2009), housewives and mothers in general (Shaaban, 2000), a study on the understanding of breastfeeding according to the Islamic perspective is insufficient. Outside of the Malaysian context, Ihsan Dogramasi (Dogramasi, 2013) conducted a study on breastfeeding practices amongst Muslims in the United States. However the study did not address their understanding according to the Islamic perspective. I??m's study at the Islamic University of Gaza, on the other hand, focused on the general publics' understanding towards the family bond developed through breastfeeding ('I??m 'Abd. Zuhd, & et. al, 2006), rather than on the academics' understanding which is the focus of this present study.

The reason that this present study chose university academics as respondents is because no other study have explored this issue, even though the academics are considered as being amongst the highly educated. Their understanding is thus relevant because of the assumption that they may have a better understanding of breastfeeding from the Islamic perspective compared to others from different employment sectors. To verify this, the researcher has selected respondents from three public universities in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia: Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Teknologi Mara, Kuala Terengganu branch (UiTM). …

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