Do children fast in Ramadan, a holy month for Islam? What are the rules and beliefs about it?

Muslim children are not required to fast during Ramadan until they reach the age of maturity (puberty). At that time, they are responsible for their decisions and consider themselves adults in terms of fulfilling religious obligations. Schools and other programs that include children may find that some children choose to fast, while others do not. It is advisable to follow the child’s initiative and not force an action in one way or another.

Younger children

All Muslims around the world fast at the same time every year. Family schedules and meals are adjusted during the month, and more time is devoted to community meetings, family visits and prayer in the mosque. Even the youngest children will be part of the celebration because Ramadan is an event that involves all the members of the community.

In many families, younger children enjoy participating in fasting and are encouraged to practice fasting in a way that is appropriate for their age. It is common for a small child to fast during part of the day, for example, or one day during the weekend. In this way, they enjoy the “adult” feeling that they are participating in the special events of the family and the community, and they also get used to the full fast they will practice one day. It is unusual for young children to fast for more than a couple of hours (for example, until noon), but some older children may struggle to try longer hours.

However, this is left largely in the hands of the child; Children are not pressured in any way.

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At school

Many younger Muslim children (under 10 years of age) do not fast during the school day, but some children may express a preference to try. In non-Muslim countries, an elaborate accommodation is not expected for students who fast.

On the contrary, it is understood that one can face temptations during fasting, and that one is responsible only for his actions. But fasting students will appreciate the offer of a quiet space during lunch (in the library or in a classroom, for example) to be away from those who are eating or of special consideration during physical education. lessons

Other activities

It is also common for children to participate in Ramadan in other ways, apart from daily fasting. They can collect coins or money to donate to the needy, help cook meals to break the day’s fast or read the Koran with the family at night. Families usually get up late at night for special meals and prayers, so that children can go to bed later than usual during the month.

At the end of Ramadan, children are often given gifts of sweets and money on the day of Eid al-Fitr. This festival is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, and there may be visits and activities during the three days of the festival. If vacations fall during the school week, children will probably be absent at least the first day.

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