Do children have to fast during Ramadan?
In Islam, children that have not yet reached the age of puberty are not required to fast during Ramadan. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam but only becomes obligatory after the age of puberty.
Families spend much more time together since meal times and schedules line up. Ramadan is a time where families come together, have gatherings and meet at the mosque for iftar and taraweeh prayers. Children usually like to participate in the fast and it is encouraged by their parents and the Muslim community. Children who have not reached the age of puberty usually fast for a shorter amount of time and even this is not obligatory, but it makes the child feel like they are a part of the community. Sometimes the child will even decide to fast for one whole day out of the week so they feel included. This short fast is usually referred to as “siam al asafeer”. This is great practice for your child since In sha Allah one day they will fast for the whole day. Even children who attend school usually will not fast during the school day but many will try. It is much easier in Muslim countries since school hours are shortened during the month of Ramadan and physical education classes are on pause.
Who is exempt from fasting during Ramadan?
Children who have not yet reached the age of puberty are exempt. The elderly/young who are physically or mentally incapable of fasting are also exempt from fasting. Pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers are not required to fast but are encouraged to do so, if they can. Travelers are also exempt from fasting. Women who are on their periods must not fast. Remember that fasting days missed during Ramadan must be made up later during the year. If the fast cannot be made up, for whatever reason, “Fidya '' must be paid. Fidya is a payment made when one can not fast. Are you unsure of how much fidya you have to pay? On Faith Consulting we have Muslim Financial Advisors who will help guide you and help answer all questions about fidya or even zakat calculations.
Written by Anan Helwih