Azizi Khalid

April 13, 2021

Fasting for Children

This is Sakeenah. Our second daughter. She is six years old. She really wants to fast this Ramadan. She thinks she is ready.

However, in our family, we have a rule where a child can only start fasting once the child prays the five daily prayers regularly. You are not allowed to fast until you get your prayers in order. Sumayyah, our first daughter, started fasting when she was nine.

We generally do not encourage our young children to fast. It is not an obligation to them, and they need the nutrition to grow. When our children reach seven years old, we get serious about only two things; Solah and Quran. Look around us; we will see people who pray will automatically fast in Ramadan. But the reverse is not necessarily true. Many people fast in Ramadan yet do not pray regularly.

In fact, Imam Malik prohibits young children from fasting and he considers the practice child abuse.

Even though she is not fasting, we don't want her to miss out on the fun of iftar. So we allow her to fast in the last few hours of the day. Last year she fasted from 4 p.m. to iftar, which was around 5.30 p.m. It wasn't physically demanding for her. Yet, it was mentally challenging for a five-year-old. She can't just drink or eat whenever she wants for that ninety minutes. She learns delayed gratification. And she gets really excited during iftar.

This year her target is to pray four times a day. We will work on Fajr next year, insha Allah.

Ramadan Kareem, everyone!
Azizi Khalid
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