Shaykh Bin Baz was asked:
What is the correct opinion regarding nursing an elder (past the age of two)?
“The people of knowledge have differed regarding this affair, whether nursing an elder affects or not (a state of relationship precluding marriage). And the reason for that is what has been reported from Aishah may Allah be pleased with her in the authentic hadith where the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered Sahlah bint Suhail to nurse Salim the slave of Abi Hudhaifah who was older in age. When he grew up, Sahlah requested from the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم a solution to this affair (as she became acquainted with him before the ruling of adoption came down, and so it would be difficult for her to cover up in front of him when the ayah of hijab came down). So the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered her to nurse him five nurslings. (Based off of this) the Ulama have differed regarding this case. However, what is most correct is that this situation/case is something specific to Salim and Sahlah and not something general for the Ummah as has been reported from most of the wives of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (except Hafsa and Aisha may Allah be pleased with them). As well, a good amount from the people of knowledge have said that this case is only specific to Salim and this is what is correct. The evidence for this is the speech of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as he said,
‘There is no breastfeeding except that which fills the stomach, and this is before weaning (before the age of two)
And also the speech of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
‘Nursing is only from hunger (i.e. in the first two years)’
[Bukhari and Muslim]
Also the speech of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم :
‘There is no nursing except in the first two years.’
So these ahadeeth indicate that nursing is only specific for the first two years and after that, there is no affect. And this is what is correct. And Allah is the grantor of success.
Sheikh, as you know, may Allah preserve you, the hadith of Salim the slave of Abi Hudhaifah may Allah be pleased with him where his mother (sahlah) took care of him at a young age and so he considered her as her mother. Thereafter the ayah of hijab came down binding her to cover in front of him up to the point where it became difficult upon them (sahlah and salim). So, they mentioned that to the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he ordered Salim to drink from the milk of Sahlah thereby making her mahram (precluding marriage) from nursing. And this hadith comes in Muslim.
I have reviewed the speech of the people of knowledge regarding this issue in the book Zaad ul Maad, and I found two group (with their opinions) and a more balanced opinion. One group sees that the hadith is specific to the case of Salim only, while another group sees the hadith as something general regarding the case of Salim and other than him. And the third group which tries to balance between them sees this hadith as general and applies to situations which resembles the situation of Salim and Sahlah. And this is the opinion of Sheikh ul Islam ibn Taymiyyah may Allah have mercy on him.
So Sheikh, this woman (who is not mahram) has been taking care of me since childhood and it has become difficult upon her to assume the hijab in front of me. So, I wanted to act upon the opinion of sheikh ul Islam regarding this issue but some of her relatives are going against me and telling me to seek a proper fatwa for this specific situation of mine. Therefore, I request guidance from you regarding this affair, may Allah reward you.
We see that the hadith of Salim mawla abi hudhaifah is something specific for Salim as this is the speech of the majority, as well as the authentic hadiths indicating that nursing has no effect except in the first two years. And this is what we have based our opinion on. I ask Allah that he grants success to everyone in that which pleases him.”. End quote. [alifta.net]