At What Age Does a Muslim Boy Become a Muslim Man?

Saw a group of Muslim teens praying at a sporting event not too long ago, and it got me to thinking: is there a specific age at which a young Muslim boy is considered a Muslim man and thus must participate in Ramadan fasting and other duties of Muslim adults? Or is it tied to a specific developmental milestone (for example, a Muslim girl achieves “womanhood,” so to speak, at her first period)? Or is it done a case-by-case basis (dependent on parents’ discretion)?

Boys usually start accompanying fathers to the mosque at a young age (its quite an outing I can tell you) and children start keeping the odd fast around 6 or 7, with steadily increasing number of fasts every year until about the mid teens when they might start keeping all. Its a process not an event; and in my case IIRC I was 14 when I first kept all fasts. A persons first ever fast is often a cause for celebration.

Their is no specified or agreed age at which a person becomes and adult and many countries (Iran is the exception) keep it at 18 (Pakistan does, see the Majority Act 1975).

Saw a documentary not long ago about circumcision in Turkey. Apparently, it’ common to do this around age 10. They showed a large group of kids waiting for the ceremony. You never saw a bunch of scared to death 10-year-olds in your life!

It would be a Turkish tradition then not a muslim one. Most circumcisions are done a few days after birth, by doctors.

I’m not sure how they do in Turkey, but I know my husband was around eight when he was circumcised. Allegedly, it is done at this older age because Ishmael was circumcised around that age. He likes to watch Arabic movies sometimes and I am sure I have seen scenes of parties for boys getting it done around that age also. My husband is Iraqi, Muslim, Shia, and a country boy. He wasn’t even born in a hospital. I think it is largely at the parents discretion when, if, or how to do it. I don’t think it has a significant value as a symbol of manhood or adulthood in any case.

Anyways, I don’t think that cultures which do have adulthood initiations such as confirmation or the bar mitzvas find it to be more than a symbol. Teenagers, they’re not adults, and parents know it. But we try to hold them to a certain standard. It’s like potty training, first you tell them yes, you are big now, then you encourage the behavior.