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When do Muslims start praying? How is puberty known?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 By default, does a Muslim start praying at 10 (max) and fasting at 12 (max) years of age? If they reach puberty after those ages, do they start praying and fasting before?

[Would the start of menstrual period be a sufficient sign of puberty for girls? What if she started late, such as at 15? and for boys who have had emission late in age as well? What age with respect to the obligation of prayer and fasting would apply to them?]

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Order you children to pray when they are seven, and discipline them regarding it when they are ten.” [Abu Dawud; Nawawi confirmed that its chain of transmission is sound (hasan)]

The parental duty regarding prayer taken from the wording of the text (`ibarat al-nass), and their duty regarding fasting and other religious obligations by what it indicates (dilalat al-nass).

1. In terms of religious education (tarbiya), children are encouraged to pray from when they are small. It is emphasized from the age of seven, and enforced with discipline from the age ten. The same applies to fasting, though small children are in not expected to ‘formally’ fast, given the physical rigor of fasting.

2. In terms of religious obligation, both prayer and fasting become obligatory from puberty. Sidi Sohail Hanif explained the fiqh related to puberty in the following answer: http://www.sunnipath.com/resources/Questions/qa00000262.aspx

Allah Most High has cautioned us:

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is humans and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commands them, but do that which they are commanded.”[Qur’an, 66.6]

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Razi explained in his Ahkam al-Qur’an that this means that,

“We must teach our children and families the matters of religion and good, and that which cannot be done without of proper manners.” [Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an, 3.697]

And Allah alone gives success.


Faraz Rabbani

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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