Rulings on Fasting Children-I

Rulings on Fasting Children-I

This is a group of chosen Fatwas (religious rulings) given by scholars about the fasting of our beloved children.

When should a child fast?
Q: When should a child start fasting? At which age does it become obligatory for him to fast?
A: A child is commanded to pray when he is seven years old, and should be lightly beaten for leaving it when he is ten years old, and it becomes obligatory for him when he attains puberty. Puberty is marked by the discharge of semen accompanied by sexual arousal, the growth of the coarse hair round the pubic area, wet dreams which lead to the discharge of semen, or reaching fifteen years of age. The same applies to the female, in addition to a fourth condition, that is, menstruation.
The basic rule in this goes back to the narration of Ahmad and Abu Daawood on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb from his father from his grandfather that he said that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), said: "Command your children to pray when they are seven years old, beat them for leaving it when they are ten years old, and separate their beds."
It was narrated by Ahmad on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, from the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), that he said: "The pen (of writing deeds) is lifted from three (types of persons): from the sleeping person until he wakes, from the child until he attains puberty and from the one afflicted by insanity until he becomes sane."
The same was narrated by him on the authority of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him. It was also narrated by Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi who said that it is Hasan (good).
Permanent Committee of Fatwa, Fatwa no. 1787 
Should the child who has reached the age of discernment be commanded to fast?
Q: Should the child who has reached the age of discernment be commanded to fast? Would he be fulfilling the duty of fasting if he attains puberty during the day of fasting?
A: When boys and girls become seven years old and more, they should be commanded to fast, in order to get accustomed to it, and it is incumbent on their parents to command them to do so, just as they command them to pray. When they attain puberty, fasting becomes obligatory for them.
If they attain puberty during the day, this day would suffice them for the obligatory duty. If a boy is supposed to have completed fifteen years of age at noon time and he is fasting on that day, this would suffice him for the obligatory duty; and the first part of the day would be counted a supererogatory deed for him, and the latter part an obligatory duty for him, if he has not attained puberty by the growth of the coarse hair around the private parts, i.e. pubic hair, or the discharge of semen.
The same applies to the girl, except that there is a fourth condition by which she attains puberty, that is, menstruation.
Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz: Tuhfat Al-Ikhwaan, p.160
It is stated by scholars that the guardian should command the children under his guardianship to fast, in order to train them in fasting and for them to get accustomed to it, so that the fundamentals of Islam would be imprinted in their souls and become innate within them. However, if it is difficult or harmful for them, they should not be obliged to do it. Here, let me bring to mind a very important issue done by some parents, that is, to prevent their children from fasting, contrary to the conduct of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, under the claim that they do so out of mercy and fear for them. In fact, mercy towards children is to command them to abide by the rites of Islam, accustom them to such rites, and raise them upon that. Without doubt, this denotes a sound upbringing and perfect care.
It was proven that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), said: "The man is a guardian in his family, and responsible for those under his guardianship." It is due on the guardians regarding those put by Allah The Almighty under their guardianship, of the family and children, to fear Allah The Almighty concerning them, and enjoin upon them what they are commanded to enjoin, of the rites of Islam.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen: Kitaab Ad-Da‘wah: 1:145-146.

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