How Old is Your Child?

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded”

Chapter 66: Surah At-Tahrim; Ayah:6

Narrated ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb ؓ, from his father, from his grandfather, who said: The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old and smack them if they do not pray when they are ten, and separate them in their beds.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Boys and girls are to be told to pray when they are seven years old and are to be smacked if they do not pray when they reach the age of 10. Similarly they are to be told to fast Ramadan and should be encouraged to do good things, such as reading Qur’an, offering supererogatory prayers, Hajj and ‘umrah, and reciting a lot of tasbeeh, tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed, wearing modest clothing ( hijab for the girls) and they should be prevented from committing all kinds of sin.

The hadith talks about:

1. Salah

We need to teach our children how to pray, including wudhu and all other conditions of Salah when they are seven. And then make sure they perform Salah after the age of ten, even though accountability starts at puberty. This has been commanded by our Prophet  and should not be taken lightly.

Regarding Fajr Salah  Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:

a. For 10 years and older:

If a man has children, male or female, who have reached the age of ten, he should wake them up for Fajr Salah.

b. For 10 years and younger:

With regard to children who are younger than that, if he wakes them up so that they may pray on time, that is better, but there is no sin on him if he does not do that. If it is winter, for example, and it is very cold, then there is nothing wrong with leaving him and telling him to pray when he wakes up. But if the weather is normal and there is no harm done by waking him up, then you should wake him up so that he will get used to praying with the people. If a child gets used to that from an early age there is a great deal of goodness in that. But if it causes hardship, then you do not have to wake them up. But when they wake up you should tell them to pray.[1]

2. Separating the Beds

The hadeeth is general in meaning and includes both boys and girls. This separation of children includes all children: males with males and with females; and females with females and with males. Separating means giving each boy and each girl a separate bed, even if they are in the same room, because one being with another in the same bed may be a means that leads to immorality. But if that is not possible, and they need to sleep altogether in one bed, or two of them need to sleep in one bed, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as each one of them has her own cover or blanket.[2][3][4]


1.  Fasting

The age at which parents should start teaching their children to fast is the age when they are able to fast, which varies according to the physical constitution of each child, but some scholars have defined it as the age of ten years.[5]

It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh ibn ‘Afra’ (may Allah be pleased with her) said: On the morning of ‘Ashoora’, the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) sent word to the villages of the Ansaar around Madeenah, saying: “Whoever started the day fasting, let him complete his fast, and whoever started the day not fasting, let him complete the rest of the day (without food).”

After that, we used to fast on this day, and we would make our children fast too, even the little ones in sha Allaah. We would make them toys out of wool, and if one of them cried for food, we would give (that toy) to him until it was time to break the fast.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1960) and Muslim (1136).

2.  Observing Hijab and Avoiding Mixed Gatherings

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: ‘There is no ruling on the ‘awrah of a very young girl, and she does not have to cover her face, neck, hands and feet, and a small girl should not be obliged to do that. But when a girl reaches an age when men could be attracted to her and desire her, then she should observe hijab so as to ward off fitnah and evil. This varies from one woman to another; some of them grow quickly and start looking attractive and others do not.
With regard to wearing skimpy clothes, it is better not to let young girls get used to such clothes. It is important for girls to grow up loving virtue, until they get used to it. Hence Islam gives children a preparatory stage in which they can get used to praying and does not make it obligatory all of a sudden, because it takes time to get used to it and learn it. When a girl is nine years old, she should start learning and getting used to what will be required of her, before she reaches puberty. It does not make any sense to make the difference between covering the ‘awrah and not doing so till the night when the girl gets her period and reaches puberty. That should not happen.’[6]

If any one of the signs of puberty appears in a girl, then she is obliged to do all the obligatory duties and to avoid all haraam things. One of the obligatory duties is wearing hijab.[7]

The same applies to boys regarding avoiding mixed gatherings.

3.  Removing Hair For the Purpose of Tahaarah

The child – male or female – needs to know about this ruling when he or she approaches the age of puberty and when you think that this hair, which has been made one of the signs of puberty, and which we have been commanded to remove for the sake of tahaarah (purity), cleanliness and good health, has started to grow. You could introduce this idea gradually in the context of other points and ideas that the child needs to know and be reminded of as he or she approaches the age of puberty. [8]


Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“The same applies to all matters that are blameworthy; young children should not get used to them even though they are not yet under any obligation, because otherwise they will get used to them when they grow up and will enjoy indulging in them.” Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, 11/386 [9]

1.      With regard to smacking a child for not praying, it is stipulated that the smacking should be light and should not be painful and should not break the skin, or break a tooth or bone.

2.      It should be on the back or the hand and the like, and the face is to be avoided because it is forbidden to strike it, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forbade that.

3.      It should not be more than 10 blows, and it should be done for the purpose of discipline and teaching.

4.      The parents should not show their desire to punish, except when there is a need to show that, such as if the child is turning away from prayer and forsaking it, and the like.

5.       It should also not be done in front of anyone else, so as to protect the child’s self-esteem and his dignity in front of his friends and others.

6.      The command implies that it is obligatory, but it is limited only to cases where smacking will be beneficial, because sometimes you smack a child but he does not benefit from being smacked, it only makes him scream and cry more and does not serve any benefit. Liqa’ al-Baab il-Maftooh, 95/18 [10]


The Prophet ﷺ said: “The pens have been lifted from three: from one who has lost his mind until he comes back to his senses, from one who is sleeping until he wakes up, and from a child until he reaches the age of adolescence.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4399; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

It should be noted that we should not force the child to perform these duties before he/she is ten years old. The age of 7-10 is a period of training. It is important to pay attention to this and not be harsh so that this will not make them hate acts of worship or lead them to lying or make them sick, because they are not yet one of those who are accountable . Nevertheless, children must be taught everything, and we should make sure that they are aware of its obligatory duties, essential parts and conditions, then if they neglect any of these things, we must advise them and teach them time after time, then if they persist they may be disciplined by means of smacking until they pray properly. This is so that they can get used to it, and because the good deeds that they do will be recorded for them.

The successful way to raise children is the moderate or middle way, in which there is no excessive strictness or neglect. There should be no violence or harshness, and there should be no neglect or carelessness.[11]


There are three signs of puberty that males and females have in common:

1 – Nocturnal emissions (wet dreams)

2 – Growth of coarse hairs around the private parts

3 – Reaching the age of fifteen

In the case of females there is a fourth sign, which is:

4 – Menstruation

If even one of these signs of puberty appears in a girl/boy, then she/he is obliged to do all the obligatory duties and to avoid all haraam things.[13]


The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave the parents the responsibility of raising the children and made that obligatory upon them.

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for his flock.” He said: and I think he said, “A man is the shepherd of his father’s wealth and is responsible for his flock. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 583; Muslim, 1829.

It is essential that there be a real life example, in the parents’ being keen to offer the prayers on time. And obeying Allah in all matters of life.[14]


1 Comment

  1. April 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    […] the rest here: How Old is Your Child? « Mymusingzs's Blog This entry was posted in Hajj & Ummrah and tagged after-the-age, children-how, conditions, […]

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