Everything you need to know about involving young family members in Ramadan
Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Everything you need to know about safely involving younger members of the family in the Holy Month.
Should kids fast?
In Islamic teaching, children are not required to fast for Ramadan until they reach the age of puberty. However, in many families, younger children enjoy participating and are encouraged to practise their fasting. It’s important to make kids aware of what fasting involves, but fully fasting for children under the age of seven or eight isn’t advisable. Instead, they could fast for part of the day, or give up their favourite chocolate bar, or something similar.
How should children begin fully fasting once they reach the appropriate age? By getting your kids involved with Ramadan from a young age, you will help them become more prepared to fast once they reach their teens. Once they begin fasting for the first time, having a good daily routine is beneficial. Set aside time for reading the Qur’an and involve them in the preparation of iftar and the evening meal. You could also suggest they volunteer with a charitable organisation with some other friends who are fasting so that they are able to support each other. Bear in mind the summer heat and the capabilities of each individual – and avoid any activities which would put physical stress on the body – but otherwise most healthy children should be able to fast without too much disruption to daily life.
What else should children observe during Ramadan? It is important that children learn about the aspects of Ramadan that are not involved in fasting. For example, emphasis should be placed on reflection, helping others, charity work and small actions such as trying harder to get on with siblings and being kind to everyone around them.
Children should also take part in the daily prayers by the age of ten. They can also join in with Tarawiyah prayers with their family in the evenings. This prayer includes recitations of the Qur’an and takes place after Isha, usually in a mosque, and is a chance to rest, relax and reflect.
How can non-Muslim children living in Abu Dhabi find out more about Ramadan?
Get the whole family involved with a charitable cause by volunteering, which is an important aspect of the Holy Month. Another good way to give your children a taste of what Ramadan is about is by accepting any invitations to an iftar dinner by a neighbour, friend or co-worker. Better yet, host your own for friends, family and neighbours.