Teaching children how to receive Ramadan and fasting it
Muhammad Mustafa Himidah
Published On: 1/8/2012 A.D. – 13/9/1433 H.
Teaching children the fasting of Ramadan is one of the things which occupies the minds of parents. It is one of the difficult matters which people have to endure patiently in order to reach their goal of Ramadan. Therefore, we shall direct the parents to how to teach their children fasting and the acts of worship that are performed during that month through the following directions.
First, receiving the Month of Ramadan
Parents should receive the month of Ramadan with joy and happiness and speak to their children about this month in order to make their children feel the greatness of the Month. They should tell them that Muslims wait for this month every year because of its blessings, multiplication of good deeds, and the goodness of its nights. By this, we instill in the minds of children the rearing of the Pious Predecessors: Some of the Righteous Predecessors used to invoke Allah for six months to reach Ramadan then invoke Allah for another six months to accept from them the worship of Ramadan.
As for the age during which parents should teach their children fasting is when they are able to endure the difficulty of fasting which differ according to the structure of the child which scholars fixed with ten years.
Al Khiraqy said: “If a child reaches ten of age and it is able to fast, it should do say.”
Al Awza`y said: “If a child is able to fast for three consecutive days without feeling weak, it may fast Ramadan.”
Ishaq said: “When a child reaches the age of 12, I like that it is charged with fasting for getting used to it. Considering the age of ten is better because the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed Muslims to command their children to offer Salah at the age of ten and measuring fasting to Salah is better because they are alike as they are bodily acts of worship and two pillars of Islam, however fasting is more difficult and the person who endures Salah may not endure fasting, therefore ability is taken into consideration.” [Al Mughny 4: 412].
The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to command their children to fast and when one of their children cried, they would give it some toys to play with. It is not permissible to insist on commanding them with fasting if fasting will harm or weaken them.
The mistakes of parents with their children:
There is a statement which some parents repeat: “My child has not grown up yet.” “It is still young.”
Indeed, those parents who balk to teach their children fasting and other acts of worship under the pretext of still being young had wasted valuable chances for their children without knowing; do you know why? Because the one who grows up on something gets used to it.
The experiment has proved that a child who gets used to something at young age gets used to that habit all life long even if he tries to get rid of it. Al Rubayyi` bint Mu`awwidh (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated about the community of the Companions saying: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent on the morning `Ashura’ (the 10th day of Al Muharam) to the villages of the Ansar which were located around the Medina saying: He who got up in the morning fasting (without eating anything) should complete his fast, and he who had had his breakfast in the morning should complete the rest of the day (without food). The Companions said: We henceforth observed fast on it (on the day of `Ashura) and made our children observe that God willing; We went to the masjid and made toys out of wool for them and when anyone felt hungry and wept for food, we gave them these toys till it was the time to break the fast.”