Question: When should parents start teaching their child how to read Qur'an? Also, what is the appropriate age for a child to start memorizing Qur'an? I heard before the age of seven, children should only play and no teaching is required. When they reach seven, then parents should start teaching them to pray and other things. Is this correct?
Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Parents are responsible for the religious and worldly education of a child. Children should be taught the book of Allah, both its method of recitation and actual implementation of the injunctions contained therein.
They should also be taught the disciplines of life, basics of Islamic doctrine that includes Aqidah, oneness of Allah and His attributes, Seerah of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), basics of what is lawful and what is unlawful, the practical fiqh with regards to prayer, fasting, and other duties.
From an Islamic perspective, there is no fixed age before or after which the parents may or may not teach children the Qur’an or any other aspect of Islamic knowledge. As such, a child may differ from another in his mental ability and intellectual capacity. Some children are seen to mature before others. At times, it is observed that a child is similar to another in age, but the difference in their understandings is huge.
Therefore, this will be a decision that is made by the respective parents of the child. If a child shows signs of excellence and has a great memory, it would be wise to begin teaching him Qur’an even at an early age. Especially, as memorisation is very effective at a young age. There have been incidents in Islamic history, where a child is born having memorised many parts of the Qur’an due to the fact that the mother had been regularly reciting the Qur’an during pregnancy.
However, if this is having an affect on a child, then parents should start teaching him/her later on when they have grown slightly older. Some children may be good at grasping other things, such as good habits, knack of getting domestic work done, etc, rather than memorisation. For them, it would be wise to learn the social conducts and behaviours of life, rather than the more nitty-gritty aspects of knowledge.
However, it is generally observed, that memorisation is most effective when carried out at a young age. There are many examples where children as young as seven memorized the Qur’an and that it did not have a harmful affect on them in any way. I my self (not boasting, may Allah save me, but merely giving an example of personal experience) began memorising the Qur’an at the age of seven and with the grace of Allah Almighty, I finished at nine, and I don’t for one moment regret for having done so. The memorisation at such an age becomes so firm that even if one is neglectful of revision (as I am, may Allah forgive me), it does not become lost so easily.
May Allah inspire the children of this Ummah in learning, practising and preaching the knowledge of Islam, and becoming a source of guidance for the whole of humanity.
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam, Darul Iftaa of the Hanafi fiqh list.