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How Many Hours My 7-Year-Old Should Be Fasting?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 02, 2019

Question

As-salamu Alaikum, I wanted to ask about my son – 7 years old- being in school this Ramadan and he is starting to practice fasting. Here in US, iftar is the same time as his bed time.

Is it better for him to fast from Fajr till Duhr or is better to fast from Duhr to Maghrib? Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


How Many Hours My 7-Year-Old Should Be Fasting? - About Islam

In this counseling answer:

•Firstly, give the choice to him at first. Let that be a way that he can also get involved. If he is the one to make the choice it will also give him more motivation to maintain the fast.

•Perhaps he could test one option for a couple of days and the other for another couple of days and ask him which felt best for him.

•This is a great time for him to increase his own spirituality and appreciate his blessings from Allah as he is in a better position to feel empathy for those who do not have the blessings of daily access to good food and drink.


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Masha Allah, that is great that your son is starting to practice fasting already. This will be beneficial to him in many ways; it will make it easier for him to experience the spirit of Ramadan being a part of it as much as everyone else in the family and it will be a chance for him to experience what is like to go without food and drink for a portion of time making it easier to increase to longer periods of time as he gets older.

There are a few ways you could approach deciding whether he should fast from Fajr to dhuhr or dhuhr to Maghrib.

Firstly, give the choice to him at first. Let that be a way that he can also get involved. If he is the one to make the choice it will also give him more motivation to maintain the fast.

Otherwise, perhaps he could test one option for a couple of days and the other for another couple of days and ask him which felt best for him. It may be that he finds one easier than the other. Or you mind find that to break fast just before bedtime becomes a challenge.

Whichever options he takes, continue to check in with him each time he fasts and be open to switching to the other time if it becomes more difficult. However, do keep in mind that if no particular difficult arises it is generally best to maintain the same timing to enable a routine to be established which makes fasting more comfortable.

How Many Hours My 7-Year-Old Should Be Fasting? - About Islam

In trying decide which 2 timings to decide, think about the practicalities potential difficulties of starting or ending a fast whilst at school (assuming he is in school at dhuhr time), will one of the 2 be more difficult or inconvenient? If so, that could be a deciding factor in making the best choice. Likewise regarding challenges with him eating at Fajr or eating iftar just before going to bed.

Whilst these are practical issues that should be considered, from a spiritual perspective there are much blessings in both suhoor and iftar. Blessings that would be a great experience for him. Generally, for most families the time of iftar is a time when families get together to eat their meal together so is typically a more special time of the fasting day.

For this reason it is common for children in this same situation to chose the latter of your 2 proposed options as it means that they can feel a part of the group as they break their fast.


Check out this counseling video


This is a great time for him to increase his own spirituality and appreciate his blessings from Allah as he is in a better position to feel empathy for those who do not have the blessings of daily access to good food and drink.

May Allah bless you for supporting and encouraging your son in Deen and may Allah reward his struggles for the sake of Allah.

Ameen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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