Question: Should children below the age of fifteen be ordered to fast as in the case with prayer?
Answer: Yes, children who have not yet reached the age of puberty should be ordered to fast if they are able to do it. This is what the Companions would do with their children.
The scholars have stated that a guardian should order whichever youth he possesses guardianship over to fast so that they could practice it and become attached to it, and so that the foundations of Islaam could become instilled in their souls to the point that it becomes like second-nature to them.
However, they are not required to fast if doing so will be difficult on them or bring harm to them. I would like to point out here an issue that some fathers or mothers do, and that is preventing their children from fasting, in direct opposition to what the Companions used to do.
They claim that they are preventing their children from fasting out of mercy and compassion for them. But the reality is that mercy for one’s children is in ordering them to practice the rites of Islaam and to grow accustomed and attached to them. This without a doubt is from the best and most complete forms of raising and cultivating one’s children.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Verily a man is a guardian for the members of his household and he will be questioned as to his flock.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no. 2409) and Muslim (no. 1829)]
That which is required for guardians with respect to those whom Allaah has given them authority over, such as family members and youth, is that they fear Allaah with regard to them and order them with what they were commanded to order them, such as implementing the rites of Islaam.
Posted from: Advice for those Fasting in Ramadaan (Q&A)
Imaam Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen
48 Su’aalan fis-Siyaam (binothaimeen.org). Al-Ibaanah.com