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A Fasting Child

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A Fasting Child

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:28 pm


In the living room of a simple and beautiful house, Khaalid was absorbed in play with his brother ‘Amr while their mother was in the kitchen preparing lunch. Suddenly, the sound of the Athaan (call to prayer) was raised from the neighboring mosque declaring “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest)”. The mother called out to her children, who were more than seven years of age, to stop playing and go to pray.

In a loud objecting voice, ‘Amr said, “Mother, there is plenty of time before the ‘Asr Prayer (late afternoon) and the Athaan of the Dhuhr Prayer (afternoon prayer) is not over yet.” Agreeing with his brother, Khaalid said, “Mother, please let us play and we will go to pray just before ‘Asr.”

Dear parent, this scene is not specific to this home; unfortunately, it is a repeated scene in many Muslim homes. A father complains, “My son neither prays nor memorizes the Qur'an.” Another father says, “My son does not offer prayer until the next prayer is due and he performs it quickly.” A third father says, “My son offers prayer, but he prays for my sake alone. If I am not there, he does not pray at all.”

Dear parent, we are about to receive a great blessed month, Ramadan. Being on the threshold of this month and sensing its glad tidings drove me to write these words and meaningful phrases to make this month a school full of intensive lessons which form the personalities of our children in a refined way. Through this month and its blessings, we can elevate their state in prayer, Qur'an, fasting and other acts of worship.

Dear reader, we must realize that the worldly life is like a market where the clever trader makes gains by seizing the opportunities once they appear on the horizon. Now, we can see the coming of a great opportunity that is approaching us: the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan.

Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.} [Qur'an 2] Ramadan is a month that uplifts the faith for every believer, young and old. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous} [Qur'an 2]

If Ramadan is not the chance to build the relationship of our children with Allah The Almighty, then, when could this chance be? The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, described this month in very beautiful and eloquent words: he said: “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month. Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast it (this month). In this month, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained up. In it there is a night that is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is deprived indeed.”


But my child is still young!

Many parents frequently say, “My child is still young” or “He is not old enough”. Hence, they neglect teaching their children prayer, fasting and the Qur'an under the pretext of being young. Such parents do not realize that they are making their children miss precious chances. Do you know why? Because whoever grows up accustomed to something, becomes accustomed to it in his old age.

Through practice it appears that the child who is accustomed to something in his youth, will have this habit implanted in him for the rest of his life and he will not be able to get rid of it. There is an Arab poet who expressed this meaning in a great poetic verse highlighting the fact that the child grows up accustomed to what his parents made him accustomed to.


Our role models used to bring up their children this way:

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, our great models, used to accustom their children to obeying Allah The Almighty by praying, fasting and memorizing the Qur'an.

Ar-Rubayyi‘ bint Mu‘awwith, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
“The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, sent (a person) on the morning of ‘Aashooraa’ to the villages of the Ansaar around Al-Madeenah (this message): He who got up in the morning fasting (without eating anything) should complete his fast, and he who had had his breakfast in the morning should complete the rest of the day (without food). We, henceforth, observed fast (on the Day of ‘Aashooraa’) and made our children observe that. We made toys out of wool for them and when any of them felt hungry and wept for food, we gave him these toys until it was time to break the fast.”

When Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, was a young boy, he used to pray the voluntary night prayer with the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not say that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, was a young boy or anything to that effect. Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Once the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was about to perform ablution. So, I hurried to prepare the water of ablution for him. When he was about to pray, he gestured to me to stand beside him. I stood behind him. When prayer was finished, he said to me:‘Why did you not stand beside me, ‘Abdullaah?’ I said to him, ‘You are too venerable and honored in my sight to stand beside you, O Messenger of Allah.’”


It is a responsibility:

There are many among the youth whose states are lamentable and they do not pray at all, look at the Qur'an or cry out of fearing Allah The Almighty because their parents did not teach them prayer, reciting the Qur'an or guide them to the mosque. So, this is the fruit of our seeds.

What will be our reply when we will be questioned before Allah The Almighty about our responsibility towards our children? The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, warned us saying: “All of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and is responsible for his subjects. The man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for his subjects. The woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husband's house and his offspring. The servant is a guardian for his master’s property and is responsible for it. So, all of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects.”

Our children are pieces of our hearts walking on earth. You may wonder at my discourse because children are not commanded to fast. However, a good plant does not grow unless it is watered with good water and receive a great deal of care from its caretaker.

I do not mean that we should oblige our children to fast on all the days; I mean that we should utilize the opportunity provided by the month of Ramadan to make them accustomed to obeying Allah The Almighty: fasting, praying and reciting the Qur'an. In this way, there will be a specified portion in their life for obedience to Allah The Almighty.

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