At what age should one start observing compulsory fasting?


During the same Gulshan-e-Waqf-e-Nau programme, which was recorded on 12 October 2013 in Australia, another girl asked Huzooraa concerning the age at which they should start fasting during Ramadan.

In reply to this question, Huzooraa said:

“Fasting becomes compulsory upon you when you have fully matured. If you are a student and you are sitting your exams and you are 13, 14 or 15 years of age, then you should not fast. If you are able to bear them, then fasting at the age of 15 or 16 is also fine.

“However, usually it is at the age of 17 or 18 that fasting becomes compulsory. One should definitely start fasting thereafter. If you are really fond of it, you can try out one, two, three or four fasts at the age of eight or ten. However, that would not be compulsory.

“Fasting will become compulsory upon you when you grow older and are able to endure the fasts. What is the time difference in the various seasons here [in Australia]? How many hours of daylight do you get? What is the duration between sehri and iftari? 12 hours? And how long is it during summer? Do you fast for 19 hours? Yes, so you cannot stay hungry for 19 hours.

“During the last summer, the fasts in the UK were longer and your fasts were shorter. There, we had 18½-hour fasts. In countries such as Sweden etc., they have 22-hour fasts. Anyway, we have to readjust the timings because one cannot fast for that long. However, the endurance will come once you have become a young adult.

“When you reach the age of at least 17 or 18 years, then it is okay to fast. Then, you should fast. Understood?

“What do your parents say? Do they say that fasting has become compulsory upon you at the age of ten? Anyhow, you should inculcate the habit. Younger children should also keep two or three fasts every Ramadan so that they can experience the arrival of Ramadan. However, even if you decide not to fast, then wake up in the morning and eat sehri along with your parents, offer nawafil [voluntary prayers] and offer the [obligatory] prayers regularly.

“Ramadan for students and girls like you is that you should definitely wake up during Ramadan, eat sehri, make all the arrangements, offer two or four nawafil before that, offer the [obligatory] prayers regularly and recite the Holy Quran regularly.”

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