Yes, the day has finally come! My daughter has turned nine years old – according to the Islamic lunar calendar. As a mother, I will celebrate her birthday and invite her friends over. I will bring cake and sweets and shower her with gifts.
Yes, my daughter has turned one year older, however, it is not like any other birthday. That is because with the completion of nine years of age according to the Islamic calendar, my daughter has now reached the age of maturity (buloogh) which Allah (swt) has determined as the age for every girl. What exactly does that mean and how does it affect my daughter?
Nine years old marks the transition from childhood into a new level of maturity. Nine years old signifies the Islamic date by which the girl becomes officially responsible to performing her obligations and to be cognizant and accounted for the permissible and forbidden acts.
But my daughter is still young and she looks like a seven-year-old! She hasn’t developed physically and is still immature!
But she’s too young to fast and I can’t bear to see her whining from hunger during the holy month of Ramadan when the days are long and hot in the summertime!
But she’s too little to be waking up for morning prayers to pray on time just like grown-ups!
Al-though these may appear to be valid excuses, they do not stand against the justice of Islam and Allah (swt) knows best.
Allah, the Wise and Knowledgeable, has determined that regardless of looks, size, height, weight, or physical development, every girl officially reaches the official age of maturity, accountability, and responsibility at nine lunar years old. She is no longer a little kid and has transitioned to becoming a young lady and beautiful blossoming flower. With that said, it is a great day to celebrate!
What does that mean to the respected mothers of the nine-year-old daughters who have reached this key milestone of their lives?
Dear respected mothers, you are responsible for preparing your daughters to embrace and get ready for this day early on and the responsibilities which this day carries with it. It is your duty in front of Allah (swt) to nurture your daughters at any early age to get used to the idea of wearing the scarf and feeling comfortable with that dress code and the social conduct that accompanies it. So that when the time comes to wear it full-time consistently, your daughter finds that transition easy and there is no doubt or hesitation in her mind as to whether to wear it and why she is wearing it.
Dear believing mothers, it is your homework to make sure that your daughter has already learned and been trained on the basic rules of how to perform ablution, how to pray correctly, and to be prepared for fasting during the holy month of Ramadan which may very well be around the corner. It is your obligation not only to show your daughter what needs to be done, but to also explain the basic reasoning and wisdom behind the obligatory act so that she understands and performs the deed with conviction.
Our daughters are a beautiful gift and bounty from Allah (swt), so let us protect our daughters from committing wrong-doing and discipline them to become students of Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra (as) and the followers of Sayyida Zainab (as). It is up to us how we would like for our daughters to be. We should make every effort to train and discipline them from a very young age as to the principles and morals of Islam and the virtues of a pious woman. If we wait until our girls reach their teenage years, it is too late to start teaching or correcting, it is too late to start introducing the idea of modesty through the hijab because their personalities and tendencies may have already been developed, the transition will be much more difficult, and they may already have started to be affected by their friends who may not be the best examples to follow. It is advisable to make sure that they are spending time with the right circle of friends and sisters who are modest in conduct and dress code. Peer pressure is one of the causes of struggles which affect young women, so as parents we should keep an eye on our daughters and make every effort to guide and direct them in a loving and gentle manner, and to surround them with friends who will have positive influence on them.
It is not enough to preach our daughters to observe the hijab and other obligatory responsibilities that is now incumbent on them. It goes without saying that we must also practice what we preach. The mother is the first and most important role model to a young girl. After all, how can we expect that our daughters observe hijab when we ourselves don’t? Sayyida Zainab (as) did not become Zainab until she followed the footsteps of her pure mother. Our daughters may still have not learned about the beautiful characters, autobiographies, and way of life of these great personalities; however we can teach them by being true followers of these noble ladies ourselves. We are the main examples whom our daughters have in front of our eyes to observe, imitate, and follow.
Let us prepare for this beautiful birthday early on and mark this significant event in our daughter’s life by making a special celebration of takleef (becoming responsible for required deeds) where the daughter feels she has graduated from the stage of childhood to the stage of womanhood. It will be a sweet and special memory which she shall cherish and take seriously for the rest of her life.
May Allah (swt) bless our daughters and enable us to nurture, raise, and discipline properly to become the role models and the best mothers for the next generations!