When Should Children Start Praying?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: What is the Hanafi Fiqh on the age of when boys should start praying the daily 5 obligatory prayers?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

In terms of fiqh, parents should emphasize the prayer to children at the age of seven, and by the age of ten use discipline if necessary. This is a parental duty (wajib).

In terms of general upbringing (tarbiya), parents should encourage children to pray from a young age, and should reward them for doing so. As with all noble and virtuous acts, this is all the more easier if the parents pray regularly at home, as little kids love to mimic.

For the children themselves, all religious obligations, and accountability in general, begin at puberty: at that point, all five prayers must be performed on time.

For boys, puberty occurs by ejaculation (such as with a wet dream), while for girls it occurs by menstruation. If neither occurs, then at age fifteen (lunar years) one is considered to have reached puberty.

[Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi Falah; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Our Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Command your children to pray at age seven, and strike them [lightly] regarding it at age ten.” [Abu Dawud]

And Allah knows best.

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