The major prescription of Ramadhaan is fasting. It is compulsory and incumbent on every muslim male or female, girl or boy that have attained the age of puberty. Allah Ta`ala says in the Noble Qur-aan:
‘’O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may be God fearing.’’(2:183)
Reported in Bukhari that the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam replied to a Bedouin when he asked: ‘’What Allah has prescribed obligatory on me as far as fasting is concerned?’’. The beloved prophet SAW replied: ‘’The whole month of Ramadhaan.’’(Bukhari)
فَقَالَ أَخْبِرْنِي مَا فَرَضَ اللَّهُ عَلَيَّ مِنْ الصِّيَامِ فَقَالَ شَهْرَ رَمَضَانَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَطَّوَّعَ شَيْئًا بخاري
That is why fasting is a very important injunction and has been made farz and obligatory for adults(attained puberty) whole Ramadhaan. The main objective is to attain Allah Ta`ala`s pleasure and Taqwa.
Further more, the beloved prophet SAW said that Allah Ta`ala said:’’Fasting is done because of me. So I will reward personally those who fast or I am myself the reward for the fasting.’’(Bukhari)
Imaam Bukhari mentions the saying of Rasouloullah SAW in his Sahih Bukhari:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَفَعَهُ مَنْ أَفْطَرَ يَوْمًا مِنْ رَمَضَانَ مِنْ غَيْرِ عُذْرٍ وَلَا مَرَضٍ لَمْ يَقْضِهِ صِيَامُ الدَّهْرِ وَإِنْ صَامَهُ وَبِهِ قَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ
Abu Hurairah r.a. refering to the saying of Rasouloullah SAW: ‘’One who misses one fast of Ramadhaan without any valid excuse or sickness, then even if he would fast whole of his life, even then he would not be able to compensate for that missed fast.’’(Bukhari)
Although a missed fast(woke up without intention of fasting) need only a replacement after Ramadhaan, but the gravity of leaving a fast without valid excuse is irreparable and cannot be imagined. Such that we may fast whole life, but we will not be able to equal to ONE FAST OF RAMADHAAN.
We may also say that ONE FAST of Ramadhaan equals to more than a whole life of Fasting!
Hence muslims men and women should not be negligent to fasting of Ramadhaan since it is a very important injunction. Sad to hear that students and some other muslims are not fulfilling full fast of Ramadhaan. One should fast and encourage his environment to fast.
Besides this, Fasting is a shield, a means to suppress carnal desires and an easy means to achieve divine pleasure.
The beloved prophet SAW said :’’I swear by the One who hold my life in His hand that the mouth odour of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah than the perfume of Musk!’’(Bukhari)
As such one need to preserve one `s fast from sins, discussion and futile talk. If someone want to quarrel, then tell him ‘’I am fasting’’ 2 times and then leave him.(Bukhari).
In fact sahabahs were very strict in fasting such that they would encourage their children also to fast. The sahabas used to encourage their children to fast by preparing some toys when the children used to cry out of hunger.(Bukhari)
When children will keep fast then they will be respectful muslims tomorrow to fast even 19 hours!
As far as salaah is concerned, the beloved prophet SAW said: ‘’Order your children to perform salaah at 7 years of age. Then have recourse to corporal punishment when they are 10. And also separate their beds at 10.’’(Abu Dawood)
As such children are recommended to start fasting at 7 years of age. We did a schema that may work to upbring our children properly according to sunnah insha Allah.
5-6 years old: HALF DAY FAST with gifts rewards.
7 years old: 5 Days fast for Ramadhaan.
8 years old : 10 days fast for Ramadhaan
9 years old: 20 days Fast for Ramadhaan
10 years old: Should fast whole Ramadhaan.
Because puberty is almost after that age, then a child of 10 years or older should fast whole month of Ramadhaan.
Note: If puberty reaches a girl at 9, then she will need to fast whole month.
Instead of forcing the child, rather do like sahabas and encourage them to fast by giving them gifts. If you fast tomorrow, I will give you a gift toy!