My Parents Won’t Let Me Practice Islam Until I am 14

24 January, 2020
Q My parents won’t let me practice Islam until I am 14. I still want to pray but can’t fast. Should I convert behind their backs or obey their orders? I don’t know what to do because I really believe in Allah(SWT).

Answer

Short Answer: I believe it is never a good thing to start something in the wrong way. Let us see if we can get your parents to accept your fasting. Having said that, I have found some Muslims actually do hide their conversion to Islam from their families. They announced their conversion after some time, even years. Personally, while I don’t favour that approach, I can see it might be an alternative in specific situations.

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Thank you for your question. It is one which is often asked by the children of born Muslims as well.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you may be among those that have taqwa.” [Quran 2:183] 

Where taqwa can have many meanings: piety, fear of Allah, consciousness of Allah, in the case of fasting – restraint, and many more.

Summary

Choose the shorter days in summer. Commence on a weekend and, initially, break the fast at lunchtime and then fast again for the afternoon. Encourage your parents to try it with you, so he can experience for himself any (perceived) hardship or even benefit. Fasting Ramadan in this day and age can be compared to a detox course in terms of health benefits.

Disclaimer

I believe it is never a good thing to start something in the wrong way. Let us see if we can get your parents to accept your fasting. Having said that, I have found some Muslims actually do hide their conversion to Islam from their families.

They announced their conversion after some time, even years. Personally, while I don’t favour that approach, I can see it might be an alternative in specific situations.

Obligatory fasting – What age?

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. That is, it is one of the main obligatory acts of worship. The question is when to start? This is usually answered by when one reaches puberty. However, puberty can occur between the ages of 9 and 19. 

My Parents Won’t Let Me Practice Islam Until I am 14

Many children are asking to fast and even encouraged to do so from the age of 10. However, there is no specific age defined in Islam.

13 is usually taken as the age of puberty. Initially, children are not expected to just commence the full fast. Some parents encourage their children to fast two fasts in a day. That is, they end the fast with lunch and then again afterward, until sunset.

It is usually best to commence fasting on weekends, where the parents can see for themselves whether there is any distress for their child. Again, since the fasts in summer, in the Northern Hemisphere, are longer than in the winter.

Winter is an easier time to commence fasting. The cooler weather suggests the fasting person will not have possible dehydration (lack of water) problems that they might encounter in the summer.

Can anything extra be done in hot weather?

This writer, originally from the UK spent 23 years in Saudi Arabia and fasted without problems, praise be to God. Initially, it was suggested to him, if he felt uncomfortable then he should do wudhu’ / ablution.

This had the effect of cooling him down. He found in rinsing his mouth he had a problem, making sure no water was actually swallowed. He was uncomfortable with this and dispensed with the extra ablutions.

A recommended course of action

My recommendation to you is to request your parents to let you fast two fasts in a day to start with (breaking at lunchtime). To start your first fast on a weekend in summer. This way your parents can see for themselves how you cope.

Of course, strenuous exercise (e.g. playing football) is not recommended during fasting periods and certainly not in hot weather. God Willing, you will ease your way into fasting in this manner and your parents will support you through it.

Conclusion

It is commendable that you are thinking about this at your age. I pray Allah makes it easy for you, and that your parents accept it and encourage you. Maybe they could try it with you such that they have the first-hand experience for themselves? God Willing, you will experience for yourself the health, mental, spiritual and physiological benefits. 

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Can I Convert If My Parents Are Against It?

A Basic Introduction to Islam (Special Folder)

New Muslims: How to Break the News to Your Parents?

About Daud Matthews
Daud Matthews was born in 1938, he embraced Islam in 1970, and got married in Pakistan in 1973.
Matthews studied physics and subsequently achieved Chartered Engineer, Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Management.He was working initially in physics research labs, he then moved to computer management in 1971. He lived and worked in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1997 first with the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran,and then with King Saud University in Riyadh. He's been involved in da'wah since 1986.