How do children observe Ramadan?
Learn how younger children can participate in observing Ramadan with you this year.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam and while it is not mandatory for your child to fast before they hit puberty, it is good practise to have them observe Ramadan so that they will understand the meaning and benefits of this month. Need some tips on Ramadan for kids? Here is a breakdown of how children can observe Ramadan.
Follow the moon
The Islamic calendar follows the lunar path and the start of Ramadan is marked by the spotting of the new crescent moon or hilal. While it is not exactly possible to spot the hilal here in the Singapore skies, you can get still go up to Mount Faber or a really tall building with the kids to try and spot the new crescent moon. You can also get your kids to observe the shape of the moon to count down the days of Ramadan. We think it’s a great way to start Ramadan with the kids.
Obligatory or voluntary
Many children observe Ramadan by fasting as fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is every Muslim’s duty to observe fasting during this month. Fasting becomes a Muslim’s obligation once they hit puberty – this can range from as early as nine or 10 for girls and maybe 12 to 13 for boys. Yet many kids start fasting even before they hit puberty. Such voluntary fasting actually trains the child to be more self-sufficient and disciplines as well as prepares them for the Ramadans to come.
What’s in a fast?
The process of fasting is to abstain from all food and drink from dawn to dusk. This can prove to be an arduous challenge for kids. Thus, many parents start their young ones out with half day fasting. For example, their child abstains from food and drink from sahur (pre-dawn meal) to lunch time (noon). This is a great way to introduce your child to fasting as well as teach them to be empathetic towards the plight of the hungry and less fortunate. We recommend that parents make an effort to wake their kids up for sahur and prepare a healthy nutritious meal that is full of fiber as this will help keep your child satiated for longer.
More than food and drinks
What many people are not aware of is that Ramadan is not just a time for Muslims to abstain from food and drinks. It is also a time for them to abstain from worldly pleasures and distractions and get closer to God. If your child is too young to fast, you can get them to understand the idea of sacrifice and empathy by giving up something they love such as a favourite toy or reduce the hours on the computer and TV. Instead your children can observe Ramadan by using that time to read stories about Ramadan and help mum and dad with the iftar (post-dusk meal) preparation.
Do you have any Ramadan tips for kids? Share with us how your children observe Ramadan by commenting below!