Salmaan wants to fast!
"But, Mum, I do not want to eat. I am a big boy and I can fast," Salmaan told his mother.
"But you are fasting, Salmaan, 7-year-old children eat in the morning and a little in the afternoon and then they don't eat anything else till evening."
"But you do not fast like that, Mum," the little boy insisted.
"I am older, Salmaan. Grownups fast that way."
The young boy sat deep in thought and then asked, "Mum, why do we fast?"
"That's a good question, Salmaan." She got up and went to the kitchen cupboard. She removed something from it.
"Do you know what this is, Salmaan?"
"It's a blender."
"Do you know what it is supposed to do?"
"It blends fruit for juice." His mother laughed. "Yes, it does blend. Our body does the same thing. It grinds the food we eat; it takes what it needs and removes the rest. It does this everyday, day in day out."
"Doesn't the body get tired, Mum?"
"It does. Just like the blender. When we have blended juice for too long, it refuses to work. Then it needs fixing. So we have to give our body a rest so it can work better for us. That's why we fast in Ramadan and some other days in the year."
"Does everybody fast, Mummy?"
"Not everybody. If you are ill or expecting a baby or if you are old and weak like your grandpa or if you are 7 years old like yourself then you don't fast.
The little boy thought some more. He ate the food his mother had set before him without much fuss. "What if you don't want to fast?"
"What is your sister Laika's favorite colour?" "Pink".
"And what is the colour of her uniform for Madrassa (School)?" "Blue".
But she says she'd like to wear her pink hijab when she goes."
"And why doesn't she?"
"She is afraid Muallim (Teacher) will punish her."
"You see, she was afraid the teacher would punish her. The teacher will punish her because she has broken the rule of the madrassaby wearing pink.
You see, Salmaan, Allah knows what is good for us and so we have to do as He commands, because He sees and knows everything. We love Him and fear Him and we don't want Him to be displeased with us."
"But Salmaan the real reason fast is to please Allah.Only Allah can give us the reward and fasting creates taqwa in our hearts."
"What is taqwa" Salmaan asked?
"Umar bin al-Khattab asked Ibn Ka'ab for the meaning of Taqwa. Ibn Ka'ab asked Umar how he would travel on a road full of thorns. 'Umar said he would carefully walk, gathering his clothes so they would not get stuck on the thorns which could cause him injury. Ibn K'aab said "This is the meaning of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin during our life's dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey untouched by sin."
"So Salmaan if a person is fasting and drinks water secretly when making wudhu will anybody know?"
"Nobody will no know Mum"
"But Allah will surely know as Allah sees everything and knows about all that we do! So when we fast we do it only for Allah and this will create the fear of Allah in our hearts. We will then be able to obey Allah at all times!"
"But don't you get hungry, Mum?"
"Of course we do. But we keep ourselves busy on other important things to take our mind away from the food and also do things which our dear Rasulullah told us to do.We read the Qur'an, or we visit the sick people or we go to the mosque to read of Salaah and make Zikr and also take part in taalim and dawah. You see there's plenty to do and before you know it, it's time to eat!"
"Is there another reason why Muslims fast?"
"Yes. You are fortunate, Salmaan, because you have food everyday. Not everyone has food to eat, like the poor people in the squatter camps?"
" If we go hungry like them, we will be able to understand that they need help."
The little boy Salmaan seemed satisfied with the answers, his mother had given him.
"Mum, can I go with you and Daddy to help the poor?" "By the Grace of Allah, you can."
" Mum, one more request"
"Can I fast tomorrow?" Salmaan asked
Salmaan's Mum smiled and replied " Allah has allowed 7 year old's not to fast until they grow bigger"
"But my sister Laika fasted yesterday " Salmaan pleaded to his Mum.
"Ok Salmaan I will wake you up for Sehri and then you can try. But if you do get very hungry you may eat ok!"
Happy with reply of his Mother Salmaan read his Salaah and went to bed praying to Allah to let him also fast tomorrow!
We need to explain to our children the essence and importance of Islamic practises so as they grow up they learn to appreciate and understand the wisdom of this beautiful Deen that Allah has gifted us with!