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• 24 May

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RAMADAN FOR KIDS

Children are an important part of the Muslim community. Many parents include their children in Suhoor, Iftar, and prayers at the mosque in preparation for fasting. However, teaching Ramadan rules to children can sometimes seem daunting. There’s a lot of information for them to process, which can sometimes be confusing or difficult to understand. Orphans in Need has put together a Ramadan-for-kids-guide that contains all the necessary information in a simple format.

Ramadan Fasting for Kids

Muslim children do not fast during Ramadan until they reach the age of puberty, but preparing them for the event and ensuring they understand it is essential. Likewise, it’s useful for non-Muslim children to understand what Ramadan is and why their Muslim peers participate in it. We have prepared our Ramadan kids guide to help younger people grasp what Ramadan is, how it is observed, why it is observed and what the important rules are.

This guide aims to provide educators, parents, and guardians with everything they need to introduce the subject of Ramadan to children.

Ramadan: An Overview of the Islamic Holy Month

Ramadan is the name of an Islamic holy month. It is the month when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the angel Jibril.

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims use the lunar cycle as the basis of their calendar. This makes the Islamic calendar approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar (which follows the solar cycles) used across most of the world, meaning the date of the start of Ramadan changes every year.

The start of Ramadan is decided by the sighting of the new moon. When the ninth crescent moon appears in the sky, Muslims know it is Ramadan. They know Ramadan is over when the 10th crescent moon is seen, which marks the end of Ramadan.

How is Ramadan Observed? 

Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting for one month. This means they only eat and drink before the arrival of the dawn and after the sunset. As well as not eating during the day, the believers must also not lie, argue, or fight during Ramadan. In addition to fasting, believers read the Qur’an and pray to Allah (SWT) to strengthen their bond with him and try to become better Muslims.

Ramadan is a time to be extra kind and generous. Many Muslims try to achieve this by doing “Sadaqah”, which means “charitable deeds”. Sadaqah can include helping an older person, litter picking, and giving away clothes, food, and money to those who do not have enough for their survival.

At the end of Ramadan, every Muslim – no matter how old they are – must make a charitable donation called Fitrana or Zakat-al-Fitr. In case of children or others who cannot pay for themselves, the head of the household should pay on their behalf. This donation is used to buy food for those going through poverty.

Why is Ramadan Observed?

Fasting in Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims are required to observe the Five Pillars, including fasting. It is obligatory on everyone who has the ability to fast.

Fasting makes Muslims realise how lucky they are to have easy access to food. It reminds them that not everyone in the world is so lucky, making them more compassionate and empathetic of those less fortunate than them.

Ramadan is an opportunity for believers to strengthen their bond with God Almighty and to purify their minds, bodies, and souls.

What are the Rules of Fasting?

The biggest part of Ramadan is fasting. There are certain rules for fasting, and some exceptions are given to those who are not able to fast.

People who don’t have to fast are:

  • Children under the age of puberty (normally aged 12 years and under).
  • Older adults who are frail.
  • People who are sick and on regular medication from the doctor.
  • People who are travelling.
  • Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who are on their period.

If a Muslim misses a fast of Ramadan, he should try to fast at a different time of the year instead. Those who cannot fast at all, even at a later date, should pay Fidya – a donation made to feed one poor person for each missed day.

Everyone else should fast during the day, which means no eating or drinking (not even water) in the daytime.

Suhoor

The first meal before the sun has risen is a bit like breakfast (just eaten earlier) and is called Suhoor. At Suhoor, Muslims are highly encouraged to eat healthy foods that release energy slowly – usually breakfast foods like cereals.

Iftar

The meal eaten to break the fast after the sun has set is called Iftar and is a bit like a normal dinner.

At Suhoor and Iftar, it is traditional to eat dates because this is what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did. Drinking a lot of water is also important to keep hydrated and healthy throughout the day.

What Happens if the Fast is Broken?

If a Muslim breaks the fast without a valid reason, such as illness, he has to pay Kaffarah. It can be paid in two ways:

  • Fast for an extra 60 consecutive days
  • Make a charitable donation that is enough to feed 60 poor people from staple food.

The End of Ramadan

After the 10th crescent moon has been sighted, Ramadan is officially over. To celebrate the end of fasting, Eid al-Fitr celebrations begin. On the day of Eid, Muslims are encouraged to have a shower, wear their best clothes, use perfume, and eat something before Eid prayer. On this happy occasion, families and friends get together to share a nice meal. People greet each other with Eid greetings like ‘Eid Mubarak’, meaning ‘happy Eid’. Some families give Ramadan gifts or Eid money to children.

No one fasts on the day of Eid because fasting at the time of Eid is prohibited. Eid is a special time for Muslims – a time of joy, smiles and enjoying the blessings of Allah (SWT).