The age at which a child is obligated to fast

Question: When does it become obligatory for the child to fast, and what is the age limit?

Answer: A child is ordered to pray when he reaches the age of seven, and beat them to do so at the age of ten, and it becomes obligatory upon him when he reaches puberty. And puberty is determined by:

1) Excretion of sperm due to (sexual) arousing;
2) Appearance of pubic hair around the private parts;
3) Having wet dreams, if sperm is excreted;
4) Reaching the age of fifteen years.

And similar is the case for a female, in addition to her coming on her menses.
The source for the aforementioned is what Imaam Ahmad and Abu Daawood have related on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

«Order your children to pray at seven and beat them to pray at ten, and separate them from each other in bed».

Also, ‘Aa.ishah (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhaa) related on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

«The pen (of obligation) has been lifted for three (individuals): the sleeper until he awakens, the young child until he reaches puberty, and the mentally ill until he comprehends».

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Academic Research and Fataawa, comprising:
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayyaan;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Qu’ood

[Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 233, Fatwa No.177; Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No. 1787]

Published: 6 December 2000

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