It is one of Allah’s blessings to the Muslim that He enables him to fast in the daytime of Ramadan and spend its nights in Prayer. It is a month in which good deeds are multiplied and people are raised in status, when Allah frees some of His servants from the Hell-fire. So the Muslim should strive to make the most of this month to attain the goodness it brings; he should hasten to worshiping Allah night and day.
Such great blessing of Allah is obvious in considering people who have been deprived of tasting the sweetness of this month because of sickness, death or misguidance! The Muslim must make use of this blessed month to get his children accustomed to the ethics and morals of fasting.
In his response to this issue, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajjid, a prominent scholar and author said:
A Muslim must make the most of his time during this month. He has an unavoidable duty towards his children, to raise them well and bring them up properly, to urge them to do all kinds of goodness and make them get used to that. A child usually grows up in the manner to which the parents make him or her accustomed.
During the blessed days of Ramadan, fathers and mothers have a great role to play in seizing this good occasion for their own benefit and for that of their children, and we can offer parents the following advice:
1. Check on the children’s fasting and encourage those who fall short in this regard.
2. Remind them about the real nature of fasting, and that it is not just giving up food and drink, but it is a means of attaining taqwa (piety), and that it is an opportunity for sins to be forgiven and expiated.It was reported by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) ascended the pulpit and said: “ameen, ameen, “ameen” It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, why did you do that?” He said, “Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allah curse a person who let Ramadan elapse without having his sins forgiven,’ and I (Prophet Muhammad) said, ‘Ameen.’ Then he said, ‘May Allah curse the one who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’ Then he said, ‘May Allah curse the one in whose presence you (the Prophet) are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” (Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah, At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and Ibn Hibban)
3. Teach them the manners and rulings of eating, such as eating with the right hand from what is directly in front of them, reminding them that extravagance is haram (unlawful) and harmful to the body.
4. Don’t let them spend too long on eating iftar so that they don’t miss Maghrib Prayer in congregation.
5. Remind them about the situation of the poor and destitute who cannot find even a mouthful of food to satisfy their hunger. Remind them of the situation of those who have migrated or are fighting in jihad for the sake of Allah in all places.
6. Use these gatherings to bring relatives together and uphold the ties of kinship. This custom still exists in some countries, and it is an opportunity to reconcile and mend broken ties between relatives.
7. Work together as a family to prepare the food and to clean up and put away the leftovers.
8. Remind the children to perform Tarawih Prayer and to prepare for it by not eating too much and to get ready in time to perform the Prayer in the mosque, (if a mosque is nearby. If you do not live close to a mosque, perform Tarawih Prayer together as a family and try to take them to a mosque for Tarawih Prayers at least on the weekends.)
9. Remind the children of the blessing of suhur (pre-dawn meal) and that it gives a person the strength to fast.
10. Remind the children of the virtue of the time before Fajr Prayer for those who have not prayed Witr to pray it then and to make a lot of du`a’.
11. If you live close enough to a mosque, perform Fajr Prayer in congregation in the mosque. If you live far, perform Fajr at home after eating suhur, before sleeping again. Many people wake up at the end of the night to eat, then they go back to bed and neglect Fajr Prayer.
12. It was the practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the last ten days of Ramadan to stay up at night and wake his family. This indicates that the family should pay attention to making the most of this blessed time in doing things that are pleasing to Allah. So the husband should wake his wife and children to do what will bring them closer to their Lord.
13. Encourage the young children in the house to observe fasting; urge your little kids to get up for suhur, praise them and reward them for the days they fast.
It was narrated that Ar-Rubayyi` bint Mu`awwidh said: On the morning of `Ashura’ (10th of Muharram), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent word to the villages of the Ansar saying, “Whoever started out not fasting, let him not eat for the rest of the day, and whoever started the day fasting, let him fast.” She said: We used to fast and make our children fast, [and take them to the mosques] and make toys for them out of wool, then if one of them cried for food we would give him that toy until iftar. (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the words in brackets were narrated by Muslim.)
An-Nawawi said: “This hadith shows that we should train children to do acts of worship and get them used to that, but they are not accountable. Al-Qadi said: It was narrated from `Urwah that when they are able to fast it becomes obligatory upon them. This is a mistake which is disproved by the authentic hadith which reads, ‘The Pen is lifted from three (i.e., their deeds are not recorded): a child until he reaches puberty; an insane man until he comes to his senses; and one who is asleep until he wakes up.’” (Sharh Muslim, 8/14)
14. The husband should not overburden his wife by asking her to prepare food and sweets. Many people go to extremes in this month to prepare fancy foods and drinks. This detracts from the sweetness of this month and goes against the reason for fasting, which is to attain piety.
15. Read the Qur’an together as a family. Parents should teach the children how to recite Qur’an and help them to understand the meanings of the verses.
16. Encourage the children to spend on the needy and to offer any assistance to the neighbors.
It was narrated that Ibn `Abbas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was the most generous of people, and he was at his most generous during Ramadan when Jibreel met him. He would meet him each night and revise the Qur’an with him. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was more generous than the blowing wind. (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
17. Prevent your children from staying up late at night and wasting their time in things that are of no benefit, let alone haram things.
18. Remember the family’s gathering in Allah’s Paradise in the Hereafter, and the great joy of meeting there under the shade of His throne.
19. If possible, the parents should take the family for `Umrah in Ramadan, for that will benefit them all in the Hereafter. `Umrah during Ramadan has the same reward as Hajj.