Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fast Kids

I was reading YgInsaf's post on his son(?) fasting and am reminded of how my kids started fasting.

Fortunately for me, I think they picked up on the fasting habit from Taska Salsaabila, the nursery that they used to go to in Malaysia. Kids as young as 5 years old are taught how to fast for half day, up to lunch time. By the time they were 6, if they could, they could fast for the whole day.
So by the time Ilham was 7, he was already used to fasting.

Fasting in S@udi, however, is different from fasting back home, for kids. In M@laysia, almost everybody else is also fasting along with you, your teachers are prolly fasting as well and it doesnt get as hot as here.

Dh@hran British Grammar School (DBGS), the school my kids goes to now, is quite tolerant and understanding about the practice of sawm (fasting). They have a special room and activities for students who are fasting to sit in (if they choose to) during lunch/snack breaks. They tone down the PE class so that on top of the already water-evaporating heat, these kids did not need to lose anymore water.
The environment is still different though.

Last year when I wrote a note to the teacher about Ihsan starting to fast, I got a note in reply, asking me to reconsider. They said that the understanding is that only children above 10 is required to fast. I actually wrote the note to explain that I still pack Ihsan some lunch even though he wants to fast, and I only wanted to make sure that Ihsan eats if the teacher sees that he's being lethargic or looks weak . I was afraid that Ihsan would insist on continuing to fast because I had promised one riyal for every day he fasts. Well it turns out that Ihsan wuold only last about half a day, so I went ahead and packed him lunch everyday anyway.

Ilham, on the other hand, managed to fast for 20 days last year, when he was 9 years old. I can't remember how many days he fasted the previous year, but I remember his teacher marvelling how a boy his age (he was 8 then) could last a whole day, fasting. I explained to her that Malaysian children are taught to fast at quite an early age. I found out later that some arab children only start fasting at the age of 12.

This year, Ilham has managed to go through 2 full days of fasting (not including today). Ihsan had been sick, so he only strated fasting today. Anis was sick too, so we didnt let her fast, I will probably let her try to fast on weekends.
I'm going to see how they are when they come back from school. It is particularly hot this time of year, and as much as i want them to be strong and observe fasting, I do not want them to faint from dehydration.
Worse comes to worse, I will let them fast in school, but have them drink something once they get home if they feel awfully thirsty.

What do you think? Good plan? Or Not good plan?


  1. I think as mom, we should know better what's the best for our kids - I personally think that our instinct ( and faktor2 cuaca dan environment) plays and important role. Like you've explained, cuaca kat sana lain..I actually baru jer post about my Kakak and Faeqah yang buka puasa on their first day sbb tengok kawan tak puasa - I tak let it go, I marah actually, but I have my reasons-lah. Suasana kat malaysia lain, I personally I think for girls, 9 years old to dah dekat akil-baligh sangat dah..

  2. sya start belajar puasa this year. tapi half day aje. she doesn't fast in school. When I picked her up I allow her to drink. Except that when she gets home, she can start fasting. Itu pun I asked her whether she is up to it. So far she has been abiding.

    I think good planlah. It is very hot this time round. Play it by the ears. Mana- mana yang budak rasa sesuai. Di samping itu we share the virtues of fasting whenever we can. Slowly they would learn.

  3. Anonymous4:11 PM

    oh i'm amazed, budak2 kat sg also at tmes start fasting lambat, usually puasa halfday or weekends only but i think your plan is good as it is and hopefully this year ilham get the full month of fasting :)


  4. beelove5:10 PM

    besides biasakan diorang berpuasa, it is good to let them know that Allah tak membebani hambaNya. kalau sakit bole buka, and maybe bole tambahkan sikit yang bila dah baligh setiap yang tinggal kena ganti. lagi2 cuaca yang sangat panas dan kering memang tak tahan kan.

  5. Najwa puasa today. Puasa susu botol that is. Heheh. She refused dinner which is usually at 6pm because "Kakak puasa" she said.

    Kenapa lambat sangat orang sana start belajar puasa?

  6. Please forgive my ignorance, but I am asking, for my own education. When you fast, does the fasting include abstination from food & water? I understand the food part & any flavored beverages, but always thought it was okay to have water. I have fasted before, for spiritual reasons and learned I am hypoglycemic. If/when I go for several hours without food, I faint. Plain & simple. No food for 8 hours - fall down, go boom. I have fasted from other things, instead - watching televison, sleep... things I enjoy, but won't put me into a coma if I go without. That doesn't sound very spiritual, does it? I will fast with the exception of crackers and water, sometimes.

    Sorry - I'm just curious about fasting and how your culture does it. *hugs*

  7. Yes, I'd also thought that the rules about fasting did not apply to water.

  8. well, the boys got back from school today and the first thing they told me was "I broke my fast because I was thirsty".
    It was a really hot day, so I let it go. And gave them porridge. heh heh.
    We'll try again tomorrow.

    Kimmi and Lib -
    For muslims, fasting means abstaining from eating, drinking or inserting any foreign objects in any orifice for pleasure, between dawn till dusk. For some, it's like the ultimate test of your devotion, a war against worldy pleasures, if you must.
    Allah is merciful, so he encourages eating right before dawn breaks, and the moment dusk falls. In between dusk and dawn you can do whatever you want (inluding inserting anything inside your orifices for pleasure, as long as it's not explicitly forbidden) :)
    During the month of Ramadhan, you are also encouraged to perform special prayers and do extra good deeds.
    Fasting is excused for people who are sick, who are pregnant/nursing and fear for the health of the baby, menstruating women and people who are travelling. You are expected to replace the missed fasting days when you can.
    I am no ulama (expert), so hope that I have explained things well enough.

  9. elisa....good for ilham! :)

    luqman fasts 3/4 day....he breaks fast about 3pm....but keep to light food until iftar time...and he wakes up for sahur along with us....but keeps to cereal..:)

    Enjoy Ramadan in Saudi...:)i do miss having my ramadan in jeddah...and is planning to go to medinah and mekah for a weekend....InsyAAllah.


  10. thankyou for stopping by, encik Idham :)

    Ramadhan here is fun when all the malaysians get together, but I still miss Pasar Ramadhan :)
    Rindu tak payah masak, actually.. heh heh .. tapi actually fun jugak lah.. at least I'm learning how to make my own food.